Manton Customs Multi Build! Three Echo MK II 32” Scale Tele meets Stingray Basses

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Manton Customs, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    Thought I’d share these few here, I started on them a few weeks ago and they are now going into finishing. The body shape has been in our range for a while in guitar form, it’s inspired by a Tele but with a bit more aggression and curves. The specs for all three are very similar; same body shape and mostly the same woods, they will differ in colour and hardware. There is one pickup in the Stingray sweet spot which has been custom made by Armstrong pickups, the goal was to have a sound similar to a Ray but fully passive (most Ray pickups require a preamp to sound their best). There is also a push pull to offer two very different tones from one pickup.

    Specs are-

    All are

    32” scale,

    20 Fret

    Ash Body

    Ash Neck

    Custom handwound Aaron Armstrong MM pickup

    Gotoh Hardware

    Passive, CTS pots with push/pull

    Contrasting black grainfill (Ceruse style)

    Differences will be colour schemes:

    1) Will look like a Hornet – Yellow and black! Transparent Yellow, Ebony fretboard, black hardware.

    2) Modern - Transparent charcoal, Ebony fretboard, chrome hardware

    3) Traditional - Natural, Rosewood fretboard, black hardware

    Let’s get started.


    Here's the set of templates. As the design has it's control cavity on the front, all routing (pickup, neck, controls) can be done with the template at the same time as cutting the body. The template also features indexing holes for the control plate.


    Lets look at some of the woods, these are the fingerboards I'll be using. The Rosewood will be for the nautral variant, an Ebony for the Yellow and one for the Grey/Black. All are AAA grade and look great in person. They currently have too many frets (24 instead of 20) so these will be trimmed off.


    The body blanks. All three are single piece English Ash blanks.


    This will be the one used for the black/grey bass, it's the least pourous and slightly more subdued than the other two.


    This is for the yellow bass. Luckily that knot was avoidable. You can see I drilled through it from the other side to make sure neither side of the body would contain any knot! I wouldn't have used the blank if the knot was unavoidable, which would have been a shame.


    Finally the blank for the natural bass. I chose this one for the natural as it features some interesting colour and burr like figuring.


    The neck blanks. I intended the blank on the bottom for the natural bass, but in end it was not suitable, so was scrapped and replaced.

    More coming soon, thanks for checking out this thread :).
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  2. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice. Looking forward to seeing the Hornet especially.

    A bit of Audiovox in there too, what with the treble horn being longer than the bass shoulder.
    Gilmourisgod and Manton Customs like this.
  3. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Moving along. Truss rods have been routed for.


    Neck taper cut using a router jig, these necks are quite slim at approx 20 mm at the nut for the two Ebony boards and a little thicker for the natural.


    Headstock thickness reduced. I won't shape the scoop/transition until the fingerboards are glued and I'm carving the rest of the neck. So they stay rough until then.


    Glue up time, using a large Walnut caul (under the neck). The fingerboard is held in place via 1 mm tacks through two of the fret slots


    Next up is radiusing using the jig seen here.


    Here the fingerboards have had their radius cut and have been flush trimmed.

    More soon, thanks for watching.
    Will_White likes this.
  4. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Next the frets go in.


    Here the the frets have been leveled, beveled, crowned and polished.


    Gratuitous fret shine shot


    Then I start shaping the transition. Starting with chisels, the masking tape holds down a veneer to protect against tool slips!


    Here the scoop has been roughly shaped. Next the rest of the neck is carved.
  5. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Some drawknife action. This is used to remove most of the "meat" before progressing to rasps, scrapers, sanding etc. If used carefully you can take fine shavings with the drawknife, I get it pretty close with this before moving onto other tools.


    One of the necks now shaped


    The heel carve. I keep the flat heel section to a minimum so there is no bulky joint like on certain basses. You can also see I've fitted the side dots.


    The headstock shape after a bit of refining.


    A nice sharp looking volute


    Test fitting tuners. I like to install every piece of hardware before I start spraying finish.

    Thanks for checking out this thread.
  6. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Moving onto the bodies. They need a little planing to make them truly flat and remove the original rough planing from the supplier. So a few minutes with a couple of planes and we are ready to go.


    Here we are getting there. As an added bonus, a handplaned surface will shine beautifully.


    Next I cut out the bodies, this is the one which will end up yellow.


    A shot of all three bodies after being cut out.


    Then I rout the cavities...a breeze when they are all on the front!


    The router won't reach the corners of the pocket and as I'm using necks with square heels these corners need removing, so here I'm using a chisel to create nice tight corners.

    That's all for now, thanks for watching.
  7. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Now I can test fit the neck...nice and tight, in fact too tight at present as it probably wouldn't allow for finish thickness.


    A shot of all three bodies nearing completion. Just the roundover and sanding remaining really.



    A quick mock up. Thanks for watching!
    smithcreek likes this.
  8. Nice! subscribing!
  9. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Love the hand tools Manton bad arse. Nice fretwork too.
    Manton Customs likes this.
  10. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    Nice work! That is dandy of a draw knife!
    Manton Customs likes this.
  11. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    Thank you, hand tools such as planes and draw knives will always have a place in my shop! Its the way I learnt and have stuck with them for certain tasks even since gaining bigger power tools.

    Thanks, yep it's a beast! Made by Robert Sorby, who was one of the top makers of the period, but they are reasonably priced nowadays. The smoothing plane iron (pictured above) was also made by them.
    PDX Rich likes this.
  12. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs

    Next up I cut the roundover, I've gone for a fairly large roundover compared to Tele guitars.


    As I've said before I'm not really a fan of neck plates, so I'm using ferrules as I usually do... And why have four when you can have six! Seriously though, it's six as the bass has a fairly long pocket. This long pocket helps with balance.


    The back after all woodwork has taken place.


    I like to pre assemble any build I do, this ensures there are no holes to be drilled through lacquer for various hardware parts and if any alterations are necessary they can be easily made.

    Thanks for watching :)
    franksidebottom and smithcreek like this.
  13. That design is growing on me. I like lots of neck screws too. A few of my mates have told me the amount I've used is overkill, but I do really think it helps with stability and tone (not sustain, we all have enough of that). You can get all advantages of a neck through, without the weight and bother. ;)
    Manton Customs likes this.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    like so many non-builders: always amazed! those are really nice as they are shaping up. i'm looking forward to more pics of the progress.

    thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:
    Manton Customs likes this.
  15. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    Thanks both :)
    reverendrally likes this.
  16. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    A bit of a gap in updates but here we are with pictures of the finished natural version. The yellow bass is also finished, I just need to take some pictures. The black bass was lacquered a bit later at the same time as a different guitar, so that one will be a bit later.






  17. Christopher DBG

    Christopher DBG Commercial User

    May 18, 2015
    Westerly, RI
    Luthier/Owner, Christopher Bass Guitar
    Manton Customs likes this.
  18. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Very nice looking bass, well done.
    Manton Customs likes this.
  19. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    Annnnd here's the yellow bass








    That's it for a while, the black one will eventually follow, just waiting for the lacquer to cure and to find time in between customer work! Thanks for watching :)
    wraub and Stefan Verbeeck like this.
  20. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    Wow, nice! That ash is quite lovely. I really dig your take on the Tele-ish design. Very striking.