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New Hambone Custom design

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hambone, Jul 28, 2002.

  1. This is uncharacteristic of me but I'm getting pretty excited over a new design I've come up with. Usually I don't like to unveil any aspect of anything I design until it's built so that the best impression can be made but this one can't wait.

    For some time now I've wanted to design my own bass from scratch. My building until now has centered around the Jazz since it is the instrument that has most "fit" me and my physique. But with all of the beautiful work coming out of so many builders, I've been prodded into coming up with a design that is unique (to a point) but stands the greatest chance of being a keeper by concept. That is, this form will likely fit me as it is on paper without much tweaking required. Everything I design is done so with the idea in mind that it will be player in my own harem. Well here it is:


    It's just a line drawing so that details can be worked on without distraction. You will see a lot of influences in the shape. That's intentional because I know how it will feel before it's built. Besides whatever shape you recognize likely comes from a bass that I like. The actual woods used aren't as important as making sure everything works together. The simple details are this - 35" scale, neck-thru, active. The illustration doesn't show strings for clarity. The three unique features are the headstock design, the stringing method and the tail detail on the body.

    The headstock is pretty forthright. It took a long time to get it right and if I see it on any other bass before I build this one, I will hunt you down ;)

    The bridge shown is just a generic floating type. The strings will pass over the bridge and anchor in slots and ferrules mounted in the tail of the body. Not string-thru but not stop tail either - sort of a combination.

    The flared tail on the body is just that. It will be the same wood that is used thru the neck and will flare as shown. The wings of the body will be cut to fit into these recesses. This is easy for me since the cutting will likely be done on a CNC router. Those familiar with my CAD-CAM bass know about the capabilities of this machine. The file that created this drawing will be the same file that is used to drive the router. Ain't technology grand?! I'll likely build a bolt on with the same body style first to experiment with some assembly techniques.

    Well, there it is for all to see. Comments are welcome. Piracy will be prosecuted!!
  2. Love the headstock! I'm indifferent to the body and tail idea.

    One comment, if you want it to sound like a jazz *you said the jazz fits you well*, why not but the pups in the traditional jazz location?
  3. dhuffguitars

    dhuffguitars Luthier/Bass Wanker depending on your opinion

    Sep 18, 2001
    looks great!

    If you slap at all I would move the neck pickup back a little though.

    And for better balance while playing with a strap make sure that upper horn is up around the 12th fret.

    I am excited to see the end results!

  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    The headstock is really classy, it should work well in a 5 string configuration as well.

    The body... IMHO it is a bit long, looks a bit heavy below the bridge so to speak. It's difficult to judge from a line drawing though.
  5. I guess I wasn't too clear about the fit thing. I'm 6'0" tall and weigh...well, let's just say in excess of 300 lbs. The Fender style basses seem to "fit" my physique in a very comfortable way. There have been others that felt comfortable but usually those designs have other drawbacks as far as my tastes are concerned. For instance I loved the Cort Curbow 4 I owned a couple of years ago but it's "petite" body style didn't work with my robust body. Even the Fender Precision Deluxe Plus with it's slightly scaled down P body didn't do it for me either.

    As far as one particular sound over another...I really don't have many hard and fast rules. As a matter of fact, the illustrated pups in the basic design are only for illustration purposes. I like active basses so that's a definite and I would likely stay away from use of a P split humbucker because I've never really liked the design but beyond that it's wide open. I don't have enough experience yet to be able to, with any precision, make material/electronic decisions for a particular sound. This is sort of my own way with basses. I like different basses for different things. I don't have a particular "sound" in mind. I just adjust a particular bass to get a couple of characteristics I like then let the inherent personality of the instrument provide the rest. That's what makes having multiple instruments so much fun.
  6. Thanks Darrin, from a "real" builder that means a lot.

    Anders, after reading Darrins critique about the location of the upper horn, your observation pretty much reinforces his. It looks like I'll be sinking the neck a little further into the body to balance it better. This would have the effect of moving the bridge back a little and that should make the difference. Good observation on the headstock. The original design WAS for a 5'er but, once again, I talked myself out of it since I don't play 5's. If all works out right, I might make one later just to say I did.

    As for balance in design there is something about the flare that I want to clarify. The rate and extent of flare IS different on each side of the centerline. This is really apparent when the line drawing is viewed vertically. When the illustration is oriented to a playing position, the flare appears symmetrical. This is on purpose and has to do with the visual relationship of the smaller lower bout and the location of the controls.

    Thanx for your comments
  7. Is that inlays from neck through the pup's?

    Or is the neck and tailpiece all one piece and again with overlays/inlays between pup's?
  8. Curtis, the lines shown represent a laminated neck construction. The actual width and number of pieces is still up in the air. Usually it will depend on what I have on hand or just finally making the decision to stop changing my mind :)

    These pieces will pass thru the pup area. In other words the bass will have the same look on the back as the front. I pondered doing it so that the top was different from the back but simplicity in construction usually will win out with me. Of course, I didn't take that advice when I came up with the flare on the tail. :rolleyes:
  9. i am also in the process of designing a bass and one of the major drawbacks is that i can't put my ideas onto paper 'cos i suck at drawing.

    so could you please tell me what this program is and where you can get it (oh and how much).

    or is there a similar program you can download that does the job, or do you have any tips on how to draw designs accuratly. any help welcome :)



    P.S. i absolutely LOVE the headstock design and the body is great too, although i would have the horns slightly longer, but hey, everybody has different tastes
  10. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    great looking bass Hambone!!

    let us know how you'll proceed!
  11. All my work starts in Corel 9 or 10. That's what I've got at home and work but earlier versions will work well also. Corel is nice because it is really a hybrid CAD/illustration program. I can design the shapes easily and then render them with textures and colors for an even more detailed illustration.

    The key to working in Corel is learning how to manipulate bezier curves. Corel provides very easy and precise bezier tools so that smooth curves are possible. There are only about 10 or 12 nodes the curves that define the body itself. You technically don't "draw" a bezier. You establish it's beginning and end points then using those two nodes, you can curve that line in any way you can imagine. Believe me when I say it's harder to describe the action than it is to do it.

    From the Corel file an .eps file is exported to a program called CasMate. This is a professional level CAD/CAM program used in the sign industry. The resulting CasMate file is directly importable into yet another program called EnRoute. This is the router control program and is the last stop before the cutting.

    There are other programs that are available but none offers the control and power of Corel when designing for production. AutoCad is very powerful but has no real illustration features. Adobe Illustrator is a fully featured illustration program, but lacks the tools necessary for precise design geared to manufacturing. Beyond that there are scores of CAD-CAM programs - each with their own proprietary tools and file export filters. I've been a Corel user since 1989 and even a Corel instructor so it's the quickest and easiest for me to use.
  12. RedV


    Mar 19, 2002
    Eustis, FL
    Not to burst your bubble, but I'm pretty sure someone else already does that headstock design(or at least really, really close:)) Check out Hanweinkel Basses

    Almost exactly the same with the top 'curve' going the other way. Not that that's a bad thing, just thought I'd point it out.

    Now, to the point. I like that design A LOT. I'm kinda a big guy too and my jazz is probably the best fitting bass I've ever played. Your design just kinda expands on that.

    For the bottom part of the body, are you gonna just have the neck wood splayed out, or are you gonna cut the top wood and have that part of the neck just recessed? Either way, I really like your design.

    Again, not a flame on the headstock, just thought you might wanna know of something really similar.:) Good luck.

  13. Red, No offense taken. I took your advice and checked out Hanewinckel. Aside from your site, I looked at other individual basses like the Grippon, Vektor, and Custom 7's. I couldn't disagree with you comparison more. Those headstocks are quite different from mine. If you will excuse the language, I find them to be a bit "lazy". It's as if they only were concerned with the shape where the tuners went and after that said "Quittin' time". The shape is just a rounded, off center curve coming back to the other side. Don't get me wrong, I've seen the same thing from other makers also - DeArmond, Kramer, Ibanez, and other's. This might be why the topic of headstocks is a common one - there aren't that many decent ones out there. My curves are specially laid to compliment those of the horns. There is only one headstock that has a similiar suggestion as mine (that I know of) and that, believe it or not, is the Brice 5 string basses from Rondo Music. Though not as crisp or detailed, it has some similiarities.

    I don't quite grasp the question about the recessing. I did consider sloping the center section down and away from the bridge leaving the contrasting wings at the higher level but in my mind couldn't figure out how to make the transition between the two pieces. In the end the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principal finally won out.

    And thanx for the compliments!!
  14. Very nice design, it has that familar look to it as well, a hybrid of a jazz body influenced by gibson.
    I actually thought the headstock looked identical to an old ovation magnum bass I had in the 80's. If you move one of the 3 tuning keys on the left to the right side it would be pretty darn close.
    Either way its looks great, and if you can incorporate the others ideas this would be pretty cool to see it as a reality.
    Now you need to come up w/ a kewl name for the bass...

  15. punkfunkfreak


    Dec 16, 2001
    i love the headstock, and the tail off of the neck wood is very sweet. Not so sure on the curly horns tho.....but thats just IMHO. :)

    Good luck with it man, looks great.
  16. I don't mind at all telling where the inspiration came from for the different design elements.
    Horns - Schecter/Rickenbacker/Fender
    Offset waist - Fender Jazz
    Round tail - Music Man
    String mounting - Eshenbaugh
    Bridge - Alembic
    Headstock - Fender/Brice/Sadowsky

    I've seen the Ovation Magnums. Of course they were all 4 stringers in a 2 x 2 arrangement but yes, you can see a little of that in there. I'm still debating whether the headstock will tilt back but I'm leaning in that direction. For some reason I can't explain it seems natural for shapes other than a 4-on-a-side to tilt back. At least that's how I see 'em.

    Other possible aspects that are being debated are carving an arched top (I'd really like to try this), an ultra-thin body - something like 1 1/8", no dot markers, ebony fretboard, and wood pup covers. All in due time...

    Thanx everybody for your own show of enthusiasm.
  17. dhuffguitars

    dhuffguitars Luthier/Bass Wanker depending on your opinion

    Sep 18, 2001
    If you are doing an 1 1/8" body, have your electronics planned out ahead of time. Alot of the active setups require a deeper cavity than a 1 1/8" body will allow. I would suggest staying around 1 3/8".

  18. Hambone, I love the design!

    The headstock looks great, as well as the tail design. You must get a photo album of your work when you start the production!

    Good Luck!
  19. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I like it! Really like the headstock. Hope you make it happen.
  20. RedV


    Mar 19, 2002
    Eustis, FL

    Maybe I wasn't articulate enough in my original post. I like your headstock BETTER than the Hanewinkel, and for the reasons you mentioned. Yours has a sharper 'feel' to it that I like where as the Hanewinkel kinda leaves ya wanting.:) Again, not a knock on your headstock; I like that VERY much.

    As far as the recessing...

    Say you had the top covering the whole bass, but then cut out the splayed part on the bottom to show the neck wood. Does that make more sense? Since you didn't get it the first time around I'll assume that's NOT how you plan to do it:) Just a different approach that I'm really not sure would work.

    So you're planning on building this yourself? By hand mostly or with a machine? You'll DEFINITELY have to keep us posted if you built this...I like it a lot.

    Good luck


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