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New build - need opinions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mahrous, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    Hi all,

    I am usually a lurker here and going by my own business etc.

    But for this instrument, I am suck at selecting my wood combo. I have been building instruments for close to 8 years now - mostly basses. I haven't built a 6 strings bass yet but now is the time and it will be my own personal instrument.

    My current full time bass is a 4strings fretless I built 2 years ago. Mahoganny core, walnut lams and zebrawood tops and backs. Full 3pc Wenge neck with an ebony fingerboard epoxied.
    Seymour Duncan Quarterpound pups with it's 3band MM preamp 9V from SD again. The pups placement is a bit unorthodox but they give me a really fat sound on the fretless that is a bit similar to Upright tone
    I am also an EUB player (a Stagg that's not too fancy but is alright)

    My music is basically gospel/church music. And since I am from Egypt, our church music is not really what you would think of like in the US. We do more classical stuff (hence the EUB and soon arco) etc.

    Why all the info? I am looking for a really REALLY mellow sound, the attack needs to be smooth and linear. Equal tone throughout and nothing too punchy. Sure a little punch is nice when only put under my control.

    New bass build - here is what I have thought out/purchased:
    Hipshot tuners
    Hipshot Type A bridge
    Delano SBC6 HE/4 (quad coil buckers that I am interested in tapping (sic?) into it's full potential)
    Aguilar OBP3 preamp - again, still trying to sort out my circuit to go passive/active and midrange selector knob
    Single cut carved (like Ritter's R8)

    These are what I have 100% set and purchased.

    Options for woods available in my stock:
    Maple, Mahoganny, Walnut, Padauk, Palisander, Wenge, Ebony, Swamp Ash, Cherry, Bubinga, Zebra and may be that's it.

    I am considering going for a 5piece neck Wenge + maple strips (I have REALLY grown to like the playability of Wenge)
    Ebony or Palisander fretboard 35" 24 frets

    Body: I want my palisander to be the top. It's not the fanciest but has a nice hint of cocobolo to it and I think it will look nice with all the carving and 3D texture into it. Mahoganny body with maple accent lines.
    Will this suit the tone description I am looking for? Will it accent my electronics?

    I read somewhere on here that the Delano and Aguilar preamp are very transparent and very hi-fi ... so I am really looking to nail the body combo right.

    Input please?
  2. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    To me it sounds like you could get a long way with flatwound strings a good EQ and a mute of some sort (Piece of foam that push against the strings)

    I don't have any experience with the sound you are looking for, though.

    Out of curiosity, what is the difference between wenge and palisander? In Norwegian Wenge translates to palisander, which seems a bit weird.
  3. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    Wenge is wenge ... the wood we all know.

    Palisander I have here has a hint of cocobolo, pau ferro/morado and brazilian rosewood. But it's simply palisander rosewood - a dalbergia i presume.
  4. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    It's not just woods and construction tecnique. It's the whole package. Nothing gets smoother than a P-bass with flats.

    Remember that Leo Fender went from the original single-pole-per-string '51 P-bass pickup to pair-of-poles-per-string on the split P pickup and J pickup for this very reason, and the first bridge covers had foam under them so they would damp down the strings to emulate double bass articulation.

    Alder body for neutral tone, maple neck for strength and clarity, rosewood fingerboard for cosmetics, tone and longetivity. What you're describing in your original post is a P-bass with flats and the foam block under the bridge cover.

    I'm thinking that instead of spending massive $$ on a custom bass, a USA standard P-Bass or P-J (since you say you occasionally do dial in some punch) with flats and a foam block on the bridge cover will do just fine.
  5. Markpotato


    Jul 19, 2012
    Eureka Springs, AR
    Luthier, Sorrentino Guitars
    Flatwounds on fretless. Just turn the tone knob down. Choose wood you think will look nice.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Awesome advice, except that - unless I read it wrong - he's looking to build a six-string. But there's no reason he can't build a six-string version of a P bass. Heck, he could even use three halves of a P pickup!
  7. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I have my fretless with Bartolini pickups and passive electronics strung with DR Legend flatwound strings, and I get what I would describe as a mellow, bassy sound. The fingerboard is ebony and the neck is wenge. I have the tone knob rolled off, and the two narrow humbuckers set evenly. I have the mids and highs attenuated on the amp, and the bass boosted just enough to make me feel it in my toes.

    The body is solid maple. Everyone told me it was going to be the brightest sounding fretless ever because of the maple. They were wrong.

    It has a very smooth, warm, mellow, round, and fat sound.

    Point is...passive electronics, flatwound strings, EQ settings, and ebony fingerboards with a light touch.