1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

NBD Grove Guitars 51 P Crate Face Custom build w/ history

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zoomie, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Good morning everyone. I have been hammered by questions regarding this build and thought I should post up how this project came together. I made some interesting choices.

    A number of months ago I stumbled across Grove Guitars (www.groveguitars.com) and the work that Scott was doing there. Basically I fell in love with his work. To me he captures a cross between Americana in its purest form, and a functioning piece of art.

    I decided that I wanted to get something special and unique for my 50th birthday. Something with a ton a mojo right out of the gate.

    I ran Scott down explaining that I would like to do a 51 P Crate Face build. The following issues were important to me:

    I wanted a full swamp ash slab for the body.

    It couldn't weigh a ton.

    I wanted all that 51 P goodness without noise associated with single coils.

    I wanted a reverse tele neck.

    I wanted the neck to be extremely stable.

    It had to be affordable.

    During the course of the conversation, Scott was telling me which crates he had in stock. At that time, he mentioned an embalming crate, but then said that he was going to have to scrap it as the advertising logo was crap on it.

    Many years ago, I used to collect anitque poison bottles. I left collecting, most notably because my collection was so extensive that I really couldnt afford to add to it due to rarity and availability. While I sold off most of it over the years, I did recall that I had a couple of crates in storage. I had been hauling the crate around for over 20 years.

    Scott asked me to take a couple of pics and send to him. There were three, but one jumped out at me immediately. I took pics and measurements and sent them off.

    Scott fell in love the crate and told me to send it immediately!

    1920s-30's American Fluid Company embalming fluid crate.



    Full 8 4 slab of swamp ash. Rough exterior hides the goodness beneath.


    Rough plane. So sad that this is the back of the bass. I should have set this aside for a different build. Still, the back is stunning !


    Some chambering to ensure that the bass is not a 12 pound boat anchor.


    Rough layout on the face of the bass. Scott said that it took him far too long to get the layout right so it popped.


    All glued up.


    Edge routed and final layout measurements.


    Just a hint of stain for shade, while protecting the vibrance of the stamped advertising. My heart beat faster when Scott sent me this pic.


    Pic of one of the hambers to show crate face thickness.


    Oh my ! I couldn't ask for better results.


    Just prior to final set up.

    BrentSimons, vandoorn and blindrabbit like this.
  2. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Here's the pic that I received from Scott just prior to shipment. I cracked up at the location.


    The bass arrived yesterday, just in time to take to rehearsal and put it through the paces. Thankfully, the band tolerates me bringing gear in to rehearsals and testing stuff.

    Crappy cell pics and lighting


    The back is amazing. One of the pretiest pieces of ash that I have ever seen.



    In situ with rig of DOOM.


    Me last night commiting two bass felonies. Having a beard and wearing a hat !


    The bass is everything I had hoped. Visually, the bass just kills. I have never had a bass that generated so much interest, even those outside of music. Should be a conversation piece for any gig.

    I will confess to stressing about tone prior to it's arrival. Specifically, would the chambering totally kill the 51 P vibe tone. After three hours on the bass last night, it is clear to me that I worried for nothing. The 51 p thump is there in spades. The Fralin split coil single is an absolute tonal monster for me. Great cut in the mix, barks hard when you dig in. Attack dynamics for days. Sounded great in a multitude of genres. I was only able to identify 2 songs that I would prefer to play either either the Super J Dingwall, or the 63 NAV P.
    BrentSimons, kkaarrll and blindrabbit like this.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    What an amazing bass! Thanks for the pics and the back story.
  4. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    WOW!!! that is too cool...congrats. It is one of the sweetest basses I have ever seen on TB or most anywhere for that matter. The reverse tele headstock seals the deal for me.
  5. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Michael Savage plays bass?! :D It's the hat & beard that give the resemblance...

    Cool bass! Very unique choice of collectibles. I've never heard of collecting poison bottles. I'm in complete agreement in assigning "tone-monster" status to the Fralin split-coil SCPB pickup. :bassist:
  6. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Thanks !

    I specfically wanted a reverse tele neck. I think that it is something that every bassist should own once in their life.

    The neck is a Warmouth. I specifically specced an after market neck of the highest caliber that I could afford. I was watching my build costs and this saved scott untold hours.

    5 piece quarter sawn maple with dual carbon rods and black MOP dots. It was regularly 780.00 or something insane. Caught it on one of those quick fire sales and 335.00 or so.

    It was a great opportunity to take a very personal item that I had schlepped around for 23 years and include in something that I do regularly. One of the coolest repurposes ever. Grateful to Scott for his skills in being able to take a very expensive antique, gently pull it apart without damaging the dovetails, then reassemble in to what I consider a work of art.

    He went through heck. It's apprently a little more difficult than just thinning a body, then slapping down some wood glue ! :D

    Finally, I didn't do this for the morbid aspect of the crate. The crate could have been any other form of advertising. I liked it better than any other crate I had ever seen because of the bold two tone graphics. It is stoner/doom by coincidence. :bassist:
  7. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Hahahaha !

    Poison bottles made between the 1850's and 1920's are amazing. Because so many people were unschooled, and because so many household and food products came in glass bottles, manufacturers had to come up with unique ways to identify their product as poisonous. Green and blue were very popular glass colors. Brown lesser so.

    Blown molds which put spikes, hobnails and skull and cross bones on the bottle let those unable to read or read English understand that the product was not ingestible. It also helped to avoid chugging something you shouldn't when you reached for the bottle of antacid in the dark. The points and hobnails let you know that you might want to light a candle to see exactly what you were about to chug.

    Look them up. Many sell for in excess of a 1000.00 each.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  8. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    Awesome! Turned out great, congrats.
  9. hennessybass

    hennessybass Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2008
    Houston, TX
    Great looking bass + that cool cab. You win!
  10. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    I don't know if I win. I am blessed with being at a point in my life where I can play whatever I want, short of the insanely priced basses.

    The BNA Audio Greenboy Dually, in conjunction with with JGR's (Reiner Amplification) 6SL7 Pre, is an amazing rig and my personal dream tone. It just magnifies the goodness of any bass that I play.
  11. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    I saw your build over at Scott's site. Turned out awesome. Mine's the "Teleblaster" Dunlop explosive crate top. Scott does amazing work. Enjoy!
  12. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Actually, the Teleblaster is one of the projects that got me hooked on Scott in the first place.

    Nice ride, sir !
  13. cavix


    Aug 6, 2010
    It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! :hyper:
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Very original, a great idea and the bass fits you so well.
    Awesome project, thanks for sharing.
  15. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Definitely! I mean, not many things are more attention-grabbing than EMBALMING FLUID.
  16. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Gives the phrase "This bass kills!" a whole new meaning! :eek:

    Good on ya Zoomie, this one is off the charts for cool! The fact that it is a player too, well, guess that means it really does kill!!

    Thanks for sharing.
  17. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    I think it's great. My only concern is that the top is probably a soft wood and you'll mojo it up faster than expected, especially making a "thumb groove" just north of the E string. Maybe a clear thumb rest?

    I dunno. I hope I'm wrong. Enjoy it anyway, I really like the look.
  18. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    This is so cool! I love the reverse headstock.
    110% BADASS!!!
  19. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Great point to bring up.

    While I am certain that the wood density is nowhere near that of swamp ash, their crap wood back then is far superior to our good stuff today. Heck people here pay farmers 5-10K to rip down old houses and barns because they are reselling the wood. The termites dont even mess with the stuff.

    That said, I am certain that my thumb will wear the design away right near the PU. I have enough basses that it won't see 24/7 playing.

    Finally, I will have to add a thumb rest. My thumb rests right on the windings of the PU and that concerns me. Over time, I see that causing problems. I have placed a small piece of pick up foam right there to protect the windings and rest my thumb there. Need to figure out exactly where I want a thumb rest, as well as, review what I want to use as a rest.
  20. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks, bro! You didn't do that bad yourself! :bassist:

Share This Page