NBD..... It takes a village...... (many pix)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jbybj, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    This custom project was prompted by some really cool looking Aromatic Cedar Wishbasses on Ebay last fall. I loved the wood, but didn't want another fretless. When Steve Wishnevsky agreed to build me an unfinished neck and body, I saw this as an opportunity to get myself involved with making some sawdust.

    The Wishenbacker: 4 string, 34" scale, fretted.
    1 5/8" nut, 3/4" string spacing at the Badass II bridge
    Neck through traditional Wishbass open headstock, maple and purpleheart neck, Cocobolo fingerboard from LMI, aromatic Cedar body wings, harvested locally in North Carolina.
    Grover chrome tuners, Dunlop straplocks, and an Alembic P Bass activator with East/West electronics, (Alembic filter and active Bass/Treble).
    Topped with a light Cherryburst Poly finish from Pat Wilkins.
    file-66. file-70.

    At my request, Steve made me this. That stripe, the length of the body, on the lower bout, next to the neck, is a bark incursion. Thanks Steve :) In later photos you can see how, after removing the soft bark, I filled it in with epoxy, mixed with a purpleheart/maple sawdust blend.

    I started acquiring more tools, and set about shaping, smoothing, routing, rounding, and drilling. I made many errors, some near fatal (for the bass, not me) but managed to rebound from all of them. The only obvious mess that's left in the final product is the route for the pup. It was my first time using a template, that template gave it's life for the cause.
    I installed a Stewmac dual action "hotrod" truss rod. I am one who embraces the Wishbass philosophy of no truss rod needed, but that only works when you build a nice beefy neck, as is Wish's tendency. I expected that this build would end up with a more traditional neck profile, subject to the pull of the strings, so I opted for a truss rod.
    Then had LMI apply a 12" radius, and fret slots to a Cocobolo fretboard, which I attached,

    Then I made lots of sawdust, routed the cavities, drilled the tuner holes, recessed the bridge, tapered and shaped the neck, arm relief, round edges, all the while suffering the intoxication of the aromatic Cedar. Cedar is one of those intense childhood smells for me.

    Next to Fren Asken of askenguitars.com for frets and a bone nut.

    When it came back form Fren, I put it together and played it for about a week, and decided to slim down the neck profile even further.

    Finally, after many recommendations, I left the bass with Mr. Pat Wilkins. I have had great success with hand rubbed Tung and Tru oil finishes. They look great, but do not offer much protection from dings. Working with the Cedar revealed how soft it was and I wanted the longer term protection that a Polyester coat would provide. Pat is a spectacular guy, and I'm more than pleased with the results.

    I am so grateful to Steve Wishnevsky for agreeing to make me an unfinished block of a bass for me to have my way with;

    To Fren Asken, who has made many of my instruments far superior under his touch;

    To Pat Wilkins, my first interaction with him, and I would not hesitate to go back;

    And to the awesome folks at Alembic. They repaired, upgraded, and tweaked my used electronics. They have repeatedly been helpful and nice, above and beyond the call, and always with respect to my used, third party acquisitions. Alembic tone rocks my world.

  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    That looks great
  3. Your bass is way nicer than any Wishbass I have seen! Great job!
  4. mc_muench


    Sep 28, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    hot hot hot...
  5. That really is lovely
  6. simplebass


    Mar 20, 2011
    Jim Falls WI
    Well done beautiful bass.
  7. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
  8. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    My wife has asked me to "turn it down" about 5 times tonight. I can't stop playing it, and I keep turning it back up. Next jam is next Saturday, I can't wait to cut her loose.
  9. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Uhhhh. wow.

    That is one of the most intriguing looking Wish's EVER. With Alembic electronics, no less.

  10. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    It's my second Wish/Alembic combo. His necks seem to serve the Alembic sound very nicely.
  11. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    great pickups. Good sweet spot for it as the activators are very trebley... bet it sounds great.
  12. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    OMG, the range of tone with the East/West electronics is astounding. When I roll off the treble and the filter all the way, and boost the bass all the way, it is the most profound boom I ever heard from an instrument, AND STILL BE ABLE TO DIFFERENTIATE THE NOTES.

    I think the neighbors are starting to circle their wagons...........
  13. nagarjuna


    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Fantastically cool bass! Great job!
  14. markob


    Mar 2, 2010
    North Cali
    Stunning! Love the slotted headstock.
  15. bump


    Jan 13, 2003
    Auburn, CA
    Christ on a cracker dude! That is beautiful!

    The shaping of the neck and especially where the back of the neck hits the body
    gave me a boner. (don't worry, I took care of it) I wouldn't be surprised if you
    raised some wet spots too.

    I love the comments on the "epoxy, mixed with a purpleheart/maple sawdust blend".
    Am I right in assuming that Steve did his usual impeccable job joining the neck thru with the wings and
    left a stripe of weak bark in one of the joints? If I remember the bark on a tree is softer than the
    heart wood? (Just yankin' ya Steve. I've seen all of the work you've done for Jim and it is splendid.)
    At first blush this made me kinda tip over but knowing Steve's work I'm thinkin' it was a design detail he
    threw in to add to the Wishness factor and it probably furthered the overallness of fortitude of the design.
    All of Steve's designs have me scratching my head in one way or another but they sure and play like
    nobody's biniss.; A True Arteest.

    From lookin' at this latest I think yer catchin' up to him, Jim. (wait a minnit whilst I pull my nose out of yer
    bunghole, but this new beast of yours is worthy of some exaltation.)

    The Cocobolo fingerboard is perhaps the most beautiful piece of wood I've ever seen.

    Such nice work, man. I'm probably not the first to mention that you could start doing this as a business
    but knowing you, I can't see you letting go of anything so gorgeous the you had sweat over.
    At least until you run out of closet space, capacity in your living quarters and the bed is stacked to the ceiling.
    (If I recall you're almost there.)

    Sheesh, the concept, design work, coordination and craftsmanship is just outstanding. I'll have to
    plan a trip up there under the guise of seeing what's-his-name across the street to see and hear
    (not necessarily in that order) the latest in a very impressive body (no pun) of work.
    Say Hi to Liz, Audrey Rose and, if you get around to it, that clan across the street.