"Headless" Flying V build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ctmullins, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    This one's been brewing for the last few months:

    Walnut body with flame maple cap
    Maple/walnut/maple bolt-on neck
    Mac Ebony 32" scale 24-fret fingerboard
    Steinberger DB four-string bridge (with detuner)
    Duncan SSB-4 pickups
    John East BTB-01 preamp

    VIMG_0030.jpg

    VIMG_0033.jpg

    VIMG_0031.jpg

    VIMG_0032.jpg

    VIMG_0029.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
    moonshinegtrs and Scoops like this.
  2. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    Montreal
    Subbed!
     
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    This build came about (as so many do) because of a change of plans. I had a fretless that I wasn't happy with, so I decided to cut its headstock off and turn it into a headless, so I bought the Steinberger bridge. But the fretless had other issues that prevented that plan from being fully satisfactory, so the fretless got scrapped and the bridge went into the spare parts bin.

    Meantime, I decided I needed a Flying V to go with my other Gibson-inspired builds. :) You know how it is, maybe; when you get a notion in your head and it just won't go away, you start to find ways to make it reality. I realized that going headless with a V would address what is perhaps the number one complaint about that body shape - neck-dive. But the traditional Flying V headstock is, IMHO, an integral part of the overall aesthetic, so this build will have a headstock, just without machine heads. I'm going for something like Miziomix's approach, with a traditional shape to the headstock, and embedded string anchors. Full details of the anchors have yet to be worked out, but it will be essentially one allen-headed set-screw for each string.

    Woods already on hand are used, which is why the body is as thin as it is - 1.25". The thin body forces me to take a bit extra care in routing the cavities, particularly the pickup cavities and neck pocket. Fortunately the Steinberger bridge is taller than a typical F-style bridge, so the pickups can stick out of the body a bit more, making the needed cavity depth shallower. Still, there will be precious little room for adjusting pickup height.

    The pickups were originally to have been a pair of Wilde L90 4H, but I changed my mind at the last minute to the EMG35-shaped SSB4s. (I'll use the L90s in an upcoming project.) I briefly had the SSBs installed in the OctoBird and liked them fine, but that form factor also means I'll have other options down the road if I feel the need. The East BTB-01 will help a lot there too!

    For now, I'm planning on a black stain, which will probably really mean a dark grey, but we'll see. Maybe I'll stain the whole thing, or maybe just the mapleā€¦

    I got the frets installed earlier this week, so the next step is to dress the ends and shape the back of the neck. Stay tuned!
     
  4. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    V-ubbed!!!!!
     
  5. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    white or creme binding would be cool w/a trans black top and natural back/sides (an option anyway - mine is piano black)

    IMG_6881_zpsef651250.jpg
     
    Barbaric.Eric likes this.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I've always loved the look of binding, but I can't get on with the way it can cut into my forearm. :( I might be able to do a faux binding with the maple cap though.
     
  7. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    You can round over the edge - it doesn't have to be crisp. For that matter, you can layer (black/white/black) to give yourself more to round over. Just a thought.
     
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Well, I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether to set it up for single-ball strings, or double-ball strings, or possibly both. I bought a set of D'Addario XL double-ball strings, just so I could have them for reference measurements, and I think "that would be easier, let's just do that". Then later I think "no, let's do the allen set-screws so that we're not limited to the available double-ball strings". Then I think, why not do both, but then that's more work....

    Aaaargh! Can't decide!

    Anybody have any strong opinions about single-versus-double-ball-strings?
     
  9. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    Double Ball end strings definitely easier to install, but they limit you to what's available locally, as well as the overall limited choices in general (there is a lot more options today as opposed to ten years ago).

    Having both options would be cool, but if I had to choose I'd go with the single ball option (there's no way to put that last sentence without it coming out wrong... :rollno:).

    Moonshine :bassist:
     
    Andii Syckz likes this.
  10. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    I like db strings. Status Hotwires are cheap and great sounding db strings. No need to look any further IMO. I've broken a few sb strings by tightening the set screw too tight. If you go with db head clamp you can easily make or buy an adapter for sb strings.
     
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Thanks for the input, guys. I think between the selection available through bassstringsonline.com and the Status Hotwires (which seem to get great reviews), I needn't worry about double-ball string varieties. So I'll start prepping the headstock for DB strings.

    This could all change tomorrow though.... :confused:
     
    Splods and GKon like this.
  12. Single ball end every time. I had a hohner that only used db strings in the 90s. Total pain in the butt. :( I had 1 rotosound B string that went black in 24-hours. Not happy! I've never bought a set of rotosounds since...
     
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Work has been monopolizing my time, and we're about to spend the next few days prepping the house for Thanksgiving visitors, so I took a couple hours this evening to further this build.

    Got the neck rough-shaped. Man oh man, either I'm getting old and wimpy, or this is some super-tough maple. Yeah, it's got to be the latter... ;) It's still at least a sixteenth too thick for the entire length, so I'll fine-tune it later. But I always love going from a rectangular-section blank to something that fits the hand. :)

    Bolted it on, drilled for and installed the strap buttons, mounted the (heavy) bridge, and tried it on for balance. Couldn't resist a few rock-star poses in the mirror too! Here I am demonstrating how well it balances sans electronics and strings - this is just a regular nylon strap; nothing special:

    VIMG_0036.jpg

    (Yes, those are my smiley-face jammie pants. :) )

    Nice and light too! Feels good.
     
    Novarocker, Dadagoboi, Scoops and 5 others like this.
  14. That's great! You realize it's the ONLY vee bass in history that balanced on a strap. :D
     
    ctmullins, Hopkins and Splods like this.
  15. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    And that's without pickups or electronics
     
  16. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    Montreal
    Killer looking :p it might just be me, but with that picture, the Vee looks short scale.

    Correction, it isn't me, it's supposed to be like that :D my bad, keep it up, Between you and me, who's gonna finish their "gibson" first :)
     
    ctmullins likes this.
  17. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    My daughter just said "is that a lady or a man? If it's a man, his pajamas are even sillier than yours, plus that shirt looks like mom's". Yes! Thank you for increasing my manliness in my daughter's eyes... :D
     
  18. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Haha! Glad I could help, Beej! I love me some jammie pants. :)

    Here are the strap button locations:

    VIMG_0037.jpg

    VIMG_0038.jpg

    The rear strap isn't on the tip of the V as some are; this helps with balance.

    I will be putting sacrificial cheap strap buttons on the tips, so I can stand it up without using a stand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  19. gsnad2000

    gsnad2000 Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2011
    Boston
    Owner of Wrong Way Customs
    Hey love the way your bass is looking so far. Nothing says rock n roll like smiley face pj's. ;) just thinking, for the feet, why not a little piece of rubber or felt? Might be less prone to slipping on a hard floor than strap buttons, but still protect the finish.
    Either way, great work!
     
    Andii Syckz likes this.
  20. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    solving Gibson neck-dive one bass at a time...

    IMG_4873.JPG