1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Help DEconstructing a Steingberger Synapse

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by edpal, Jul 23, 2012.


  1. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Ok, I have this plan: got a used Steinberger Synapse on a deal. Many things I love:tuners, neck. I hate the body, specifically the curved top - I like a top to be at least another 3/16-1/4" under the fingerboard level, for thumb resting purposes, amoungst others.. So, I am planning on removing the top(or killing this bass trying). I have other plans if that can be accomplished, as that dude said in Pulp FIction, "and then we are going to get medieval".
    Suggestions on removing the top are what I want. My plan(seriousy) was to slide it through the table saw and skin off the finish along one side so I can find the line where it is bound to the body, then tap in a putty knife while going along warming it up.
     
  2. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Well you could always sand the finish along all sides, steam and heat, score with a razor and use a putty knife in between steaming. It's kinda like removing a fretboard I presume. Wood glued too wood, glue gets rehydrated, wood separates. Just take your time with it. I'm currently removing the fretboard on my Warwick corvette. It's just tedious.
     
  3. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    In my honest opinion though, I would leave it. I'm not sure but it looks like the fretboard on those may run over the top. That could cause an issue. Also it's going to be really tough too refit electronics of they are mounted into the top and not the main body. What I would do, is do some serious sanding to get your desired height and make sure you get measurements of all aspects of the control cavity to make sure it doesn't get messed up.
     
  4. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I plan on removing all the electronics first - I plan on cutting BOTH wings off the body eventually. Concerns of the control cavity depth are non-concerns, since there will be a new wing with fresh control pocket.

    I'll use the jewelers saw to cut around the three sides of the neck where fingerboard goes over top.

    Leaving it alone is not an option(hence this thread) - the choices are (a remove top and continue or (b)destroy bass trying to accomplish "a".

    Pray for my sanity.
     
  5. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Good luck haha post pics
     
  6. Shardik

    Shardik

    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    If that is your plan, why not start there. No point in tediously removing the top on parts you are not going to keep anyway.
     
  7. Praxist

    Praxist

    May 28, 2010
    British Columbia
    I'm not a luthier, so take this for what it is but if i were going to do this, I would build a router sled and mount the body firmly in it and then go over the entire thing with a router in very small increments. I smoothed the top of an oak table doing this about 1/16" at a time and at the end I had a smooth, level surface with no tearouts. I'm sure others will contribute ideas too but i'd give that a shot, or maybe a planer if you have one, but I've never used one so I'm not sure.

    Also I completely support your plans, however if you ask folks around here, some of them think i'm nuts for doing the stuff i do!
     
  8. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I agree. I did like the suggestion to just heavily sand the edge to look at it. Hmmm, darn well attached, thicker than you would think.

    Hey, I like the suggestion of the router sled. I was thinking that way too, having been a tool maker for 12 years. Basically I make a plywood template to mount above it and take it down by dialing the router down - with form to guide the router around the neck first on one side, then the other. I've now completely stripped it of hardware (wife will be gone for several hours ;) ) and I see the bridge and pickup pockets sit plenty low, and even they are still about 1/4" above the battery compartment. I've charted out the electronics layout and the soldering iron is heating!
    Ok, my plan is to chop off the wings, put on fresh wings for a Flying V, topping with a .28" top layer of curly,tiger oak. I've already bought a bookmatched set...I'm figuring with the two halves cut to tip in for the V, that will put the curly from the two V halves at a really killer visual angle to each other. And yes, I'll put the Steinberger leg-jack back on for comfortable playing sitting :D.

    That's the plan. I'm gonna go dig out the router and figure out what else I need. I have starting pictures and will take some more before I hit the top.

    [Edit - before I start, here's the victim.]
     

    Attached Files:

  9. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I built the router sled as Praxist suggested after deciding the ready made one weren't that great at $180..mine was $40. As you can see, I have it down to just a hair over the bridge pocket, and all is very nicely aligned, even from side to side and front to back.

    In the second picture, I have continued, and just wiped the smudge of the stain off the bridge pocket.

    Following two shots show the real madness. AS if this wasn't enough.:D

    I used the wings to anchor the body down(screwed) to the white laminated board I used as a work surface. Their second to last use(more). :)
     

    Attached Files:

  10. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I would never do this to a lady.

    And now I have clipped the wings. AS it turns out, quite conveniently, a line parrallel to the outer edge, if placed the right distant in, misses the pickup cavity and the battery cavity. Of course, since I am building a "V", the controls will run parallel to the lower wing.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    .. we have the technology.

    Got the wings cut, then sized them down to same as body using router sled, again. Roughed in the radius on the edges. Hoping to route out the control pocket tomorrow and get'r glued.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Shardik

    Shardik

    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    I think it may fly, yes. :) Looking forward to see the finished result. Take your time with the finish. It is what separates good from great when it comes to DIY. (Personally I live with good on my DIY efforts).
     
  13. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Thank you brother - I need the encouragement! It gets topped with the curly oak you see to the right, then the idea is black back and sides, quickly fading to black translucent over the oak. The inspiration is my black with golden brindle bulldog.;) I totally agree on the final finish making the difference between looking home-made and WOW.
     
  14. Shardik

    Shardik

    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    I love DIY because it is (in my opinion) the ultimate customization (at least if the abilities are up to it). I think you have given your "Flying V" design a lot of thought. Judging from your picture, I suspect that the chosen angles of the V is from your preference, rather than a carbon copy of some Gibson flying V body, and I totally respect that.

    Myself, I have never made a bass body, but my first DIY guitar was my own design built around a neck from eBay. I put every crazy idea I had at that point into it. Very much a prototype. I was delighted that it was playable.
    My second DIY effort was a customization of a Telepartscaster. And my last (and simplest) DIY effort was a re-defret of a frankenfretless in a rather miserable state.

    Why am I rambling on about this? Simply because I understand the need to make your own design when the product you want is simply not available as a finished product. Some people may think we are crazy and weird, not being satisfied with any of the innumerable instrument designs in the world, but sometimes the combination of all preferences just does not click with any known design. My preference is not a flying V, but I love the headless idea, and look forward to see YOUR preferred headless. :)
     
  15. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    +100 - nicest thread reply. THank you.

    My V shape: I looked at various V's on Google images. It became immediately apparent that there are symetrical V's, pointed, corner V's, wide/narrow V's, demon-horned Vs. Since this isn't a Gibson or Epiphone neck I figured why stress over it it. Even the Steinberger "paddle" body" could be argued is a V - the worldest fattest, shortest legged V. In the end this is the V that could be made with the wood I had. It looks a little wide right now, but it is really only 2" wider than a Gibson Flging V guitar. This is a 5 string bass, and I am a fairly big guy @6'1", so I am hoping once asembled and my fiinish tones down the contrasting colors of the body, it will look fairly normal on me.

    DIY - yeap, wanted a combination of features I couldn't find in one axe. I think a V body is a bit flashy, almosy too much so for my taste, but I do love the very clear neck access. The thought of being able to pull her in close when I am playing something fast and strenuous in the upper register makes me a little giddy. Or maybe it's Getty.:D I love the combination of graphite reinforced neck with the phenolic fingerboard - the sound is very consistent across the entire fretboard.

    LAst night:Routed the control cavity, drilled hole for wires and routed the recess for the access panel on back.
    Glued and clamped it together last night - should be ready for a picture and then I start blending the body to the neck. I keep debating chambering the body before I put the top on, but it really isn't that heavy.
     
  16. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Well, it's glued and set! Now I've contoured out the backside of the top wing, making the top edge only about half the body thickness at one point. Here is a picture(#1) of of the top pieces, getting roughed in. I decided I have to work keeping the center seam tight around the pickups and bridge, then worry about dialing in the outer edges. (#2) A little closer.

    I have since finished shaping the top pieces, put a bevel on the outer edges (doing a double-drop top= top 2 bevel 2 radius 2 side). Now have glued the top, sanded/shaped , sealed all the wood and stained the top. Even more - it is now hanging in my barn, drying with the first coats of clear(front) and black(sides and back).:bassist:
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Shardik

    Shardik

    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    At this point it doesn't look like much, but I like where you seem to be going. :)
     
  18. ian_s

    ian_s

    Jul 10, 2009
    Thanks for the thread. I've been brainstorming a new body for my Hohner B2B, a singlecut to the 12th fret, fitting the original neck and hardware. This gave me some ideas.
     
  19. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I haven't looked at where the Hohner has it's battery hatch, but if in the center like the Steinberger, then it should be fairly easy to remove a wing.

    I realize mine dens't look like much yet in the photo, but that is because none of the top has been fit and glued down. I suppose I could have made life a lot easier by going with a paint finish...I'd have been done a lot sooner. Some might think the oak top is a bit low class, since oak is used so much for common furniture. But rarely is it anywhere as curly as the pieces I have used. I have a feeling I will do this again, but I will start from a clean neck-thru blank. Retrofitting is like remodeling - fitting up to the old stuff takes more time then rebuilding fresh. Still, has been a lot of fun. My wife and I agreed we wouldn't go on a vacation this year, so this is my relaxation/kickback project. I have other basses to play, so it isn't mission critical on the time. I do want it to be a good looking, very playable instrument when I am done. I've had my morning coffee - time to go sand and get another coat on.:D
     
  20. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Moving along....

    Got the body all done, urethane has dried for a few days,started running the wiring and decided the factory cable for the EMG pickup was too buggered for me to stitch together for the additional distance, so I had to order another ($6! for 15"). I'll redo the battery clips while I'm at it, you can only change them so many times before they get worn out in various ways. The cable came today - I'll try to assemble tomorrow. Here's where I'm at.
     

    Attached Files:


Share This Page