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my carl thompson

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by toonman, May 18, 2005.

  1. I always wanted one and never had $3000-$6000 laying around or 2+ years of patience to order a carl thompson. So i decided to make My own 6 string fretless with a 37 inch scale. I have most of the neck done and the body cut out and started shaping it. here are some pics. The woods I used are bocote, curly maple (neck), maple, padauk, cardnal wood, walnut, ebony, bloodwood, and rosewood.
  2. And a couple more of the body.
  3. here is the neck with the different woods for the fret markers. maple as the blank frets, padauk as the dotted frets, and ebony as the 12th and 24th fret. And also a side shot of the neck with the bocote trim and padauk under the rosewood fingerboard.
  4. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    Looks like it's coming along well. Definately keep us updated.
  5. Real nice. love it.

    wanna make me one? hehe
  6. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Lookin' very nice, indeed. I love bocote, and the scroll design. One quick question, how did you get the headstock rounded over so precisely like that? Did you use a router/roundover bit or did you just file/carve it by hand?
  7. I just carved it all by hand with a rounded metal file. They seem to be more precise than a wood file.
  8. I'm thinking about taking orders. I need to set up a better place to do all my woodwork though. I do have a guitar to build after this one. It's just going to be a custom tele for my dad.
  9. you should have a PM...
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Nice project. I have some bocote laying around I guess I need to pull it out. What is the fingerboard made out of? Is it just my computer or are the photos a little dark?
  11. I took the pics with my picture phone, It's all I have at the moment so they are a little dark. The finger board is made of rosewood.
  12. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Wow. That's absolutely beautiful.

    A few questions (my apologies for the impersonal nature, of this reply):

    1. May I have your dimensions for that bass? I too am making a long-scale bass (actually, it's a 38" scale fretless, but I think knowing the nut-end neck width will help a lot), and any dimensions I can get are helpful.

    2. I know Carl had a special way of installing truss rods. How did you do it? If it's the same way as Carl, could you explain, hopefully using dimensions and numbers?

    3. How are you doing the neck pocket?

    And finally, that headstock joint - how? That's the part that's been confusing me more than the truss rod, which is the other most confusing element.
  13. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    That's sick stuff man. I dig it!

    I like the fretlines a lot: I'm working on my fingerboard right now (ebony), and am using purpleheart strips for frets 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21, and 24. The others will be the black (dyed) purfling from StewMac. They have just enough contrast with the ebony to be seen, but are still subtle.

    Keep posting your updates!
  14. thanks for all the replies, I'll keep posting updated pics.
    As for your questions, It is basically all your preference. I wanted a narrow string spacing so I made the nut 1 15/16". I choose to do a 37" scale because you will have to order special strings for a 38". I'm thinking about making a special tail piece close enough to the bridge to allow super long scale strings to fit.

    I have no idea how carl installs the truss rods, This is my first time building a bass guitar so I just did a regular install.

    For the neck pocket I was going to have a pro luthier do it for me, but I'm thinking about making a template out of 1/4" plywood and practice making a cut on a 2X6 until I achieve the results I want. You need to know the height of the bridge before cutting the pocket and need to put a 1 - 2 degree back angle on the neck. It all depends on the height of the bridge. I also added a 1/2" piece of walnut to the neck to get more glueing surface at the heel and also to make my neck angle.

    The headstock.....phew, This was tough, and even tougher to explain. first I cut the neck at a 10-13 degree angle to make a scarf joint. flipped the piece around and glued it on for the headstock. this was the first cut I made on the neck wood. Next was the cutout for the truss rod. after that I went ahead and cut out the neck with my desired deminsions for the nut and bottom of the fingerboard keeping the cut straight through the headstock. I planed and glued sides (wings) on the headstock to the desired width and sanded it to the desired thickness with a large belt sander. A planer would work better, but I dont have one. The top wood (bocote) was easy, but to get the back like that you have to sand the back of the headstock and down the the neck a few inches to get a larger angle. then you get your vaneer thin enough to bend it in place with the clamps. then just start sanding and filing it down. It was totally guess work for me and turned out beautifully.

    I hope this helps. The headstock was always one of my biggest questions too.
    good luck.
  15. Theshortlist_to


    Apr 20, 2005
    that looks fantastic. I like the shape of the body and the wood on the headstock is amazing, what is it?
  16. bocote on the front, canary on the back, curly maple in the middle.
  17. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    That's a great looking bass so far! I'm completely new here to this forum so bear with me.
    I would like to ask if you have seen an actual Carl Thompson bass in person? I like alot of his building methods but I am really curious as to what thickness he uses for the bodies of his basses. I have seen several pics. on the net and it looks as though his basses are only maybe 1 1/4" to 1 3/8" thick rather than the standard 1 1/2" to 1 3/4". It's really hard to tell just by the pics. I've viewed.
  18. I have seen one in person but only while claypool was playing it. I couldn't tell much about the thickness. I think they very in thickness. mine is probably a little thicker than his.
  19. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    bocote smells like mustard.

    I cut some tulipwood today and it smelled like perfume. Weird.

    This poplar I have smells like poop when you cut it.

    quite the array of olfactory sensations, wood is...

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