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Matching multi-scale guitar and bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by lbridenstine, Apr 8, 2019.


  1. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    I'm starting up a couple of new builds for a friend. It's going to be an 8 string guitar and a 5 string bass. Both are multi-scale and they will match each other visually.

    Multi-scale is new for me, so I asked Shawn May (May Custom Basses) if he could cut the fret slots for me. I took a trip to his workshop over the weekend and picked these up from him. He did an awesome job and had these great pieces of Macassar Ebony.

    [​IMG]

    I got this massive piece of curly maple from curlymaplewoods.com It's enough for both necks (and they're both neck thru).

    [​IMG]

    This is surprisingly the first time I've used swamp ash in a build.

    [​IMG]

    Also the first time I've done curly maple tops.

    [​IMG]

    Aside from them being extended range and multi-scale, they're going to have resin/powder inlays of my friend's band logo on the body and I'm delving into trans-color finishes with these.

    The woods are all white except the Macassar, so I think it's going to be pretty interesting to see the color come to life right at the end.



    To start out, I ripped the big maple board for the necks, flipped them, planed the gluing edge, scuff sanded because it looked a little too polished straight off the planer, and glued up the necks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is straight off the planer:

    [​IMG]

    Definitely the easiest neck glue-ups I've done!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Nice! If it’s going to be an 8 string guitar the bass should be 9 string, you know, just to stay ahead.:laugh::D
     
    Gopherbassist and lbridenstine like this.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Those are some absolutely gorgeous woods! I looooove figured maple and Mac ebony. :thumbsup:

    What scale lengths are you doing?
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  4. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    That maple 'n mac look amazing together... :drool::thumbsup:
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  5. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    Guitar: 25.5 - 28.2"
    Bass: 34 - 36"
     
    Beej likes this.
  6. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Right from the very first photo, it's obvious that you're not kitten around on this project.
     
    lbridenstine and Freekmagnet like this.
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Yep - I’ve got a feline this is going to be great!
     
    lbridenstine and Freekmagnet like this.
  8. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Your friend is going to be a very happy meowsician when he receives these special instruments!
     
    lbridenstine and ctmullins like this.
  9. feline inspector on the job
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  10. JKos

    JKos

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    Purrrrrdy!

    - John
     
    lbridenstine and ctmullins like this.
  11. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    I've been doing a bunch of cutting, re-sawing, and planing. Nothing super exciting yet.

    [​IMG]


    Jointer questions:
    I got my jointer setup yesterday. I finally figured out why I couldn't get the infeed table level, I ended up just having to completely unscrew it and put it back together. So, it's level now and I started jointing one side of the guitar neck and it did a good job of squaring it, but it's not really level along the length. Anyone have any handy videos or advice on jointing? Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

    Also, the infeed table feels sticky when moving wood over it, not actually sticky, but just the wood doesn't slide over it like it should. Is there something I should put on it? Paste wax, maybe?
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  12. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    Also, I couldn't help but notice that my dog's fur matches the curly maple.
    Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 8.41.08 AM.png
     
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Looks great so far!

    Keim is my go-to wood source, too. It's over 3 hours round trip for me, but they have a breathtaking selection of woods, so it's worth it.
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  14. BishopJP

    BishopJP

    Apr 5, 2019
    North Carolina
    I would definitely recommend paste wax on the infeed and outfeed table. Makes a world of difference, IMO.
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  15. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    Thanks. This is the first time I've bought from them. They had good prices on swamp ash compared to the others I looked at. It looks like they have a lot of other great stuff too.

    I actually did a couple days ago and yeah, it definitely made a big difference!
     
    BishopJP likes this.
  16. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    lbridenstine likes this.
  17. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    Okay, so, I had to setup the jointer AGAIN, but it seems good now. I was able to get the neck blank perfectly flat, the bass neck is way longer than what is supposed to be doable with my size jointer, but it still was able to get it really really close. I was able to run the opposite sides through the planer and they're good to go.

    Anyway, this update is several days' worth of slow work. Some of it is from before my previous posts and I just didn't post the pictures yet.

    A spread of body parts:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Trimmed up the ends of the fretboards, which I was able to just do with the miter saw this time.

    [​IMG]

    I tried using my miter saw jig for cutting the scarf joints, but ran into some issues because of the sizes of everything. The bass neck was too long & heavy and wouldn't balance and stay exactly where I needed it. The guitar neck came out fine. The headstock woods were too tall for the miter saw, which I didn't realize until I was like 80% through a cut and couldn't figure out why the blade wouldn't go any further (you'll see some saw burn marks on one of the headstocks).

    I ended up cleaning up all the scarfs with my bandsaw and just 220 grit paper taped on the back of a board, which worked well.

    Laying out the necks and headstocks... Here's the bass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Guitar:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There's a bit of a bummer with the guitar bridges. The bass ones have the option of top loading or string thru, so I kind of thought the matching guitar bridges would be the same and didn't look into that part before buying them.

    Looks like they need string thru unless I'm missing something. I wasn't really planning on drilling string thru holes for a multi-scale 8 string...

    20190511_130115.jpg

    20190511_130102.jpg

    These bridges also have extremely low action... Like really really low. This is against the fretboard with no frets yet.

    20190511_130336.jpg

    I cut the tapers, changed the blade on the bandsaw, and cut out the headstocks. I was going to try to get the tuner holes drilled and glue the headstocks on, but I had band practice, so I'll have to come back to that.

    [​IMG]

    The bass has a new feature: double scarf.

    20190517_155131.jpg

    When I cut the taper, this bark pocket showed up. Ugh. Luckily the neck blank is thick enough to flip it over and use the other side. That bark pocket should get completely cut away when I cut off the excess material from the back of the neck (fingers crossed that it doesn't take a weird turn further in).

    Flame shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Nice work and nice save. It almost seems like that second slot on the guitar bridge is a keyhole where, if you routed under the bridge a little, the ball end of the string could slide in and pull forward to lock in the smaller part but I don’t see how the string would go through the saddle that way.
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Gorgeous flame!

    Yep, looks like a keyhole to me too. I was going to suggest installing a keyhole plate under the bridges, but it’s already there. Hipshot’s description mentions it too. Solo™ - Single String Guitar Bridge. Seems to me you would move the saddle back some (or lift it some), enough to slip the ball end into the keyhole, then thread the string up through the center of the saddle.
     
    lbridenstine likes this.
  20. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Great save, these are both looking really nice.

    The guitar bridge...could you have a little hole in the body below the bridge so that the ball would clear, and you could hook it into that little keyhole?

    I hope that makes sense. :D

    Edit: I see we all posted the same idea together... lol
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
    lbridenstine likes this.

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