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MüB Über Groove 6 Fretless. The Oblivion.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    My oh my... It has been ages since my last thread. Even though I'm on TB since 2010 I feel like a novice. So, perhaps, before I start this thread a quick introduction is in order.

    I posted my first thread on TB about six years ago. A build based on a number of ideas I had been toying with for some time which eventually converged under the title: Building the Über-Jay (those interested can still find that thread here on TB).

    It took me about 18 months to finish it. Well, I was concurrently learning woodwork, how to build a bass, making prototypes of parts that were not available on the market and tweaking the design.

    The bass was the Jazz bass I always wanted - lighter, smaller, neutrally balanced, more ergonomic and with more attack and sustain. Oh and with the headless tuning system plus a headstock.


    All went reasonably well. So i built a second prototype. Twelve months. A thread is also somewhere here ( The Über-Jay Mark2. The Eldorado)


    In the meantime I received an order. Yes. An order. From a customer. A paying customer. Cool. I wanted to start building basses professionally and that was happening faster than I thought. But, hey!, you don't get to choose both the What AND the When, right?

    So here's the first official Über-Jay.

    The Ragnarök.


    Today I build full time for direct customers and shops alike. Two models (the Über-Jay and the Üver-Groove) in infinite number of customization and mods. From my original Headless-Hybrid to standard tuners to true headless.

    Much has changed in the design and the options. One thing hasn't though: the name. What started off as a perhaps a bit corny joke (the Über-Jay) has stuck with me since. Even though I'd gladly let that go (Come on, today they drive you around town with that name) I somehow felt obliged to honor those humble beginnings (mmm...Über...humble... needs rethinking)

    So the company (yes, a proper company) name is Maurizio Über Basses. Maurizio being me. Yes, I'm Italian. MüB for short. There's a website under that rather long name and a FB page. Feel free to check them out. Thanks!


    This thread is about a bass which came to me as a rather intriguing project. I always ask for a theme before discussing woods and specs. A theme - a word, a concept, a name if you wish - helps focusing my creativity towards a certain goal. Giving your bass a name before it's built isn't the same as naming it after.

    The owner, who's a very talented and creative gentleman sitting in Canada, suggested we create a bass which looked as if it had been forgotten and then found. Like a treasury chest dug out after years. That was the theme. We called it: The Oblivion. Here's is its story.

    The bass was to be a lined fretless six stringer with a 26 position board and a ramp.

    The crown jewel was a rather unique Myrtlewood top the owner picked among the tops I had at the time. I still think it took an uncommon flair for beauty to make that choice.

    I mean, look at this thing and tell me what sound your jaw makes when it hits the keyboard.
    And yet, it's unique to the point of being intimidating. That is, unless you can picture the finished product in your mind.

    I used to - still try... er... - to sketch the bass before starting the build. I like drawings. They capture the soul of a project. Others prefer 3d renderings or photoshop. That's fine too I guess. But for me, well, I like drawings.


    For the body we chose an Asian wood called Semangkok. It's kinda like Swamp Ash, very similar cathedral-like grain just a bit more brownish and with a lovely sheen.

    The neck is a seven piece Maple and Bastogne Walnut. The board is Gabon Ebony lined with tobacco colored Maple veneer.

    Hardware is made for me by ETS in Germany. Bridge and tuners are their design. String anchors are my design.


    P-ups are Bartolini 6x Split Coil. Audere preamp. A killer combo.

    Quick digression: The main reasons behind this Headless-Hybrid design is balance and overall weight distribution. I like the look of a bass with headstock. But I hate the fact the a bass traditionally either suffers from neck dive. Or it sits at a specific angle which it tends to go back to all the time. I also hate the fact that, many basses counter neck dive with either a heavy body. Some basses weigh like a house. Or they lengthen the upper horn which in turn screws all my memory muscles when i switch to a more classic bass.

    I can't remember exactly the weight of this bass. But it should be around 8lbs+ which for a six stringer...
    and it stays wherever you want it to. It has no memory of an angle to go back to.

    I like to strap my bass at angles that changes with playing technique and even mood, so a neutral balance is important to me and every MüB is built with that in mind.

    End of the digression.

    Back to this build.

    I'm tempted to show you the final product.

    Should I?


    Actually it can be seen (and heard) on the website and on the FB page.

    Might as well.


    Next time I'll take you through the build and the creative process behind it.

    Thank you for reading this far.

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Hey @miziomix , good to see you around man. Looking forward to the build.
    Funky Ghost likes this.
  3. TheJoshinator


    Sep 23, 2012
    Oooh, this is gonna be good! I've missed seeing your builds around here...
  4. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Nice, very nice.
  5. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Definitely have missed the usual build threads, Maurizio. ;) Keep 'em coming!
    reverendrally likes this.
  6. Five String

    Five String Supporting Member

    Gorgeous. Bass porn at its finest.
  7. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Sub'd - huge fan!
  8. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you @Hopkins ! Glad to be back and find you here.
  9. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    You are all so very nice and I am really glad to find you still here. I hope you will like this thread.
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Yup, subbed. These are always interesting!

    Looks like you're doing you're string pass-through holes in the headstock differently now. I don't remember them being slotted.
  11. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.

    As you can see from the final pictures most details of the build were planned at sketch stage.
    A few came to us only during the process though. But the part that really brings the Oblivion theme to life is at the back. We'll get to it shortly.

    Here's the top being glued. I still use this method which I found best among the few I have tried over time. In fact it's a combination of two of those methods.
    Once one learns how to duck the backlash of an over stretched rubber the rest is a walk in the park.

    What's your favorite way to glue a top?


    This is the Semangkok body being glued. You can see how the grain closely resembles that of an ash board. The colour is not as bone white and it takes a slightly more brownish hue once lacquered.
    The grain is interlocked and not easy on tools. But it is still workable and it's probably the reason for a lovely silky sheen visible especially when sanded. It's not heavy, somewhere between an average swamp ash and an average white ash.

    We went through a few options for the neck laminate. We knew the neck had to be very stiff. You won't stand a chance in the Canadian winter if you are not.
    At some point I suggested a maple/mirtlewood combo with ebony stringers. To tie in with the top.


    The future owner had a better idea when he saw a Bastogne Walnut blank I tried to hide at the bottom of the list of available woods. Nice try, Maurizio.

    So, two BW lams to go with maple and ebony.

    I changed the arrangement for aesthetic reasons and to complement the two carbon fiber reinforcement spars which we wanted to add to the combo. There you go.


    And here's the neck blank routed for truss rod and CF spars.


    I can't remember exactly the neck width at the heel. But I do remember the nut width being 53mm or 2.866"
    It's a bit wider than my standard 6 stringer but still quite comfortable. I have recently completed a six stringer with 45mm nut width... That's the standard size for a fiver! Also comfortable. I guess I adapt easily.

    The neck blank is slightly thinner than usual at 18mm or .7087. I always plan wide necks this way. It's my humble opinion that a six stringer neck has already enough width to counter the sting pull without having to add thickness.

    At this point I usually work on the board.

    This is a very nice piece of Gabon ebony. It's not jet black. Instead, a gray grain can be seen across the entire length. I will never understand why this kind of ebony is considered inferior to the jet black variant. It's exactly the same quality. Besides, we all look for the nicer grain and when it comes to ebony we don't like grain anymore? It's OK. I like it and use it. If that also helps stopping the ebony carnage all the better.

    16" radius. That s when your favorite playlist shows its worth. Use a mask. Ebony dust is a pain.


    See the grain? Am I right or am I right? ;) WP_20141008_003.

    Tobacco colored maple veneer. 26 positions cuz we are a masochist bunch. WP_20141009_001.


    Super-glued and awaiting trimming and final sanding. With this kind of ebony board I usually go all the way to a very high grit. Sometimes up to 12,000 grit. The look is really charming. Not in this picture obviously. I'll show you later on.


    Thank you!
    seang15 and Sacha Lévesque like this.
  12. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Hey PJ, nice to find still you here. Glad you'll be following this thread.

    You're right, my first string anchor was different. Here's a picture.
    Nothing wrong with that and I did like the reference to the look of a traditional machine head. Reason for the change has to do with my desire to reduce parts to the bare minimum and thus a string anchor made of one piece eventually seemed better than one made of two. Nut and cavity cover screws went the same way.
    I also try and use as much as I can wood carving to solve design challenges. It shows in the shape of the hole where the string enters the headstock. But that is a modification subsequent even to the build in this thread. I'll show you a comparison later on if you are keen.

    Thank you PJ.
    pilotjones and PDX Rich like this.
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Yes, I'd like to see the details on the new headstock. I too prefer to carve something, and use fewer parts. I had a headstock design at one point where the machining would be too complex for me to pull off, maybe I'll revisit it some day.
  14. This is a thread that you do not want to miss! Maurizio and i have spent countless days (and nights) talking about this instrument, making sure that every little detail was covered!

    I can attest that it sounds as good as it looks :)
    emjazz likes this.
  15. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Sacha, it was a pleasure working with you. Indeed we had so much fun and the result is really something I am proud of. Oh and thanks for pointing out the mistakes in the opening post. I have amended that. Guys, for the records the board is 26 positions and not 28; the neck is seven lams and not five.

    Thank you Sacha. It is working with people like you that makes me love what I do. I'm a lucky guy.
  16. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    PJ, here are a few pictures of the headstock anchoring system and its design evolution.

    The one in my previous reply is the very first design. The one on the bass in this thread is the first modification.

    This one is the next evolution where holes have taken the shape of tears to minimize contact between string and edges of the wood. This specific bass still sports a nut.
    The anchor layout differs depending on number of strings. I have also moved the holes closer to the nut and shortened the headstock further.


    Next, the nut is integrated with the end of the board.


    I have tweaked this design a tiny bit recently, lengthening some of the tears to further reduce contact with strings. This one is the latest and probably (maybe) the final one.

    seang15 and reverendrally like this.
  17. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice. Very elegant. It looks like the nut is part of the headstock face plate, built up with another lamination, yes?

    I'm guessing you're still using some sort of metallic insert at the back side to anchor the string ball.
  18. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Nice to see another thread here, Maurizio!
  19. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Of course we'll like this thread.
    Well, I will for sure, not speaking for others. Always appreciate your work.
  20. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Geoff, Wraub,
    Thank you very much. you guys are too kind.

    Yes the nut is made from another piece (in this case ebony) glued between the end of the board and the headstock plate. The string is anchored to a metal part.

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