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My first multiscale

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ctmullins, Mar 31, 2019.


  1. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    As you know, I have a building addiction, and there just ain’t no cure....

    I’ve been intrigued with multiscale instruments for a while. I’ve read all about their advantages and disadvantages, but the only way to know for sure is to just try one, right?

    But I’m not really the kind of guy who just trots down to the local music store, and even if I did, the chance of them actually having a multi in stock is astoundingly small. And, since I have a building addiction, well, let’s just build one!

    I have a bunch of scrap maple cutoffs from the EUV lying around, and waste not want not, right?

    I have always bought fingerboard blanks from www.lmii.com, and paid the $9 to let them do the slotting. But they don’t do multiscale (or if they do, it’s not orderable on their website). So, knowing this day would come, I bought one of their fret slotting saws. And thanks to the good folk at ekips.org - home, I can sit at my computer, type in all of my parameters, and print out a full-sized PDF, then stick it onto my fingerboard blank and saw along the lines. What could be easier?

    Because I have somewhat small hands, I’ve been favoring medium scales lately, mostly 33”, so I thought I would start with a relatively conservative multi, from 34” to 32”.

    A few years back StewMac had Macassar ebony fingerboard blanks on closeout, so I bought a few. They’re nice and thick, and some even have nice striping. Here we are with the fret template glued on, and setting up some guide boards for the slotting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    For the rest of the woods, it’ll be maple, maple, and more maple.

    Some of my scraps were long enough to do neck-thru, but not quite thick enough. So, after a week of jointing, gluing, and planing, I have a nice long five-piece neck-thru blank that is 3/4” thick, and a separate two-piece backing that’s also 3/4 thick, for the body section.

    The larger sections in my neck-thru blank have some really nice flame in them. The smaller sections I tapered down to zero at the headstock end, just cause that looks kinda cool.

    [​IMG]

    For the body wings I’m using some (what I believe is) Western red leaf maple, picked up cheap a number of years ago. It has some fairly crazy quilting in it too, along with a tiny bit of spalting that I’m not too keen on. Here’s a group shot.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    Love it!
     
  4. Looking forward to seeing this one come together. I love my BassVI that's fanned. I only have 1.5" difference in scale on that one
     
    craigie and ctmullins like this.
  5. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Looks like a cool project, any plans for body shape or pickups/preamp? Might be cool to do a classic shape with the multiscale neck. 50s P? Non-reverse t-bird?
     
    craigie likes this.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Thanks! I’m specifically looking for a couple of things - the ergonomic benefits (hand and wrist angle), and tonal benefits of having a longer B string and a shorter G string. If it works out, I’ll try another, going longer, like maybe 36” to 33”. I don’t know how long of a scale my little fingers can handle (says the guy who just built a 41” fretless :roflmao: ).
     
  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
    I’m thinking two pickups, and definitely a classic shape of some sort. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. Actually my original idea for the Mash-Up was a multiscale violin bass... :cool:
     
    wraub, NKBassman, Beej and 1 other person like this.
  8. craigie

    craigie

    Nov 11, 2015
    calgary
    Now there’s an idea! Any trouble sourcing a string set?
     
  9. No, I just ordered a standard D'addario BassVI set, they worked fine. My BassVI is 30.5-32" scale.
     
  10. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nothing better than vicarious, risk free bass build voyeurism. On this like a deer tick. I have yet to try fret slot cutting of any variety, curious to see how it goes, and heartened to see it doesnt require an elaborate jig.
     
    Beej and ctmullins like this.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Well, we won’t know for sure until the whole thing is finished, and we string it up and intonate it.... :laugh:

    Another reason for using scraps for V1.0...
     
    nice_hat, Gilmourisgod and Beej like this.
  12. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    It seems scary because it's one thing that requires some precision, but it's just a bunch of straight vertical cuts. :) If my jig is buried, I've been known to just clamp a 1" block on the fret line using a template and saw against it with my fretsaw. Even by hand like that, errors are few if you go slow, and the whole board takes less than a half hour. :D
     
    wraub, Gilmourisgod and ctmullins like this.
  13. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Following.
     
  14. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I think you are really going to like the fanned fret. The scale length you picked is like the Dingwall Super series. Nothing like a 32” G string for punch.

    Payson Clark makes a nice bridge for fanned fret basses.

    Looking forward to the results.
     
    NKBassman and ctmullins like this.
  15. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    What does the 32” scale do for G string, less tension? Is the primary advantage of fanned more even string tension, or just the way it mimics natural finger splay? I have yet to see one in a store, because I live on a giant sandbar called Cape Cod. Clams we got, Dingwall? Nope.
     
  16. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    In my experience with Dingwalls, more even volume and quality of tone across the board. And even tension as well. The clarity of notes on the longscale Dingwalls is amazing.

    On my 35” Cirrus, I’ll play things up the neck on the E & A strings to get a fatter tone, while on the Super P, I’ll play across the neck.

    I actually forget about the fanned frets, there’s very little adjustment. The ergonomics of a Dingwall have much more to do with Sheldon’s many refinements.

    The bridge is much further out to the end of the body, and innovative strap locks allow the bass to sit further right, making the nut easier to reach. Belly cuts, arm contour, and scalloping away the back of the lower horn...great balance. These and a number of improvements make for a very comfortable bass.

    My Cirrus is a longer reach than the 37” scale of an AB or Z series.
    The Cirrus is the first “straight” bass I’ve owned in ten years. It’s been all Dingwall since the first blind leap back around 2008.

    You might try the Dingwall owners thread and see if there’s somebody in your neck of the woods.

    And now, back to our build thread.
     
    wraub and ctmullins like this.
  17. 5tring

    5tring

    Sep 16, 2018
    UK
    Looking forward to this one! Where did you put the vertical fret?
     
  18. 5tring

    5tring

    Sep 16, 2018
    UK
    And will you radius the board?
     
  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
    9 ish. Fretfind2d does a specified fraction of the total scale length. Fortunately they also provide a reference table, and fret 9 was very close to 0.4, so I went with that.

    Absolument! I really like a flattish board, so I’ve done a 20” radius on every build so far.
     
    5tring likes this.
  20. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Truss rod routed and installed. I’m doing this one as a heel adjust, which makes absolutely no sense on a neck-thru. Good thing I’m planning on putting a pickup right up against the fingerboard! Going for Rickenbacker-ish pickup spacing on this.

    [​IMG]
     
    Dadagoboi, wraub, TonH and 4 others like this.

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