New here, looking to build my first bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Digory, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Chris_Toot


    Jun 29, 2016
    Hey @Digory i was thinking about this conversation regarding flatwounds the other day and remembered that ernie ball has a their new slinky flats out now. So, i decided to buy a set and check them out. They are awesome!! They have the feel of flats with the sound of roundwounds. Except they dont give off that classic sound of your fingers sliding across the strings. Very smooth feel with plenty of growl and attack. I highly recommend trying a set sometime!
  2. Thanks for the suggestion @Chris_Toot ! If I decide to go for a roundwound sound at some point, I'll certainly have to check them out. I'm sure it would be a bit easier on the fingerboard (and fingers), too.
  3. Update! I got stuffs...

    Here is what I got:


    Aaaannnd, the golds don't match right. Ugh... :crying:

    I couldn't find nice knurled screws that I liked, and I came across this tuner/bridge combo on a closeout sale, so I thought I might as well try it out. I figured I could swipe the bridge saddles off the base plate and maybe make an angled one out of wood? Hopefully that will work. But.... I'm not sure what to do about the colors being off. :(

    Since the tuner will be on the back, I don't think it will be that bad, but what do you guys think of the bridge? Do the colors look close enough? Hopefully, because I'll probably run with what I've got. Ugh...

    As for the strings, I decided to go with the La Bella Black Nylon Tapewounds. I bought the Extra Long scale 6 string set. I think the black strings with the gold should look good (and I like the deeper/darker tone). I was also thinking I should go for gold frets to keep everything uniform. I'm kind of afraid of more color matching problems now, though. :confused: Why can't gold just be gold? :crying:

    I've also figured out a solution to the problem of having a nut that is too short... I won't use one! :D My bass is basically a headless with an ornamental headstock, so I've decided I will go with a zero fret and possibly use the ferrules to line up the strings. :thumbsup: I was thinking of using a Floyd Rose locking nut on the back of the headstock... just to hold the strings (I'd think they would need more than just a screw to lock them down, since they have the nylon wrapping). Do you think that would work? I can get it in gold, too. Or is it gold? *cringe* please match
  4. JLW


    Dec 5, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't see a solution to matching the golds. Keep in mind, they won't be right next to each other, so it won't be as evident.
  5. Sorry if this thread is boring. I tend to take forever in planning things out. (If you haven't figured that out yet, I guess that's your warning, haha). :yawn: Perfectionism (or cluelessness... or both) sometimes sucks. =P

    Yeah, that's what I was kind of thinking @JLW . I have another idea, though. I was thinking of making a wooden archway over the saddle pieces. That would minimize the gold mismatch clash even more. I was also thinking that if I wanted an emblem or decal, I could put it on that arch (might look kind of classy :thumbsup:).

    In other news, here is the current idea on the pickups: (don't mind the Ohm reading on the sidewinder... it was just to emphasize that I mean the old ones, like in the EB-2 ... which was 30kOhms).

    Giraffe Bass Pickups.jpg

    The idea is to get as many different sounds out of it as possible. I was recently tossing the idea of throwing a piezo at the bridge and having a control setup as follows:

    Neck/mid blend (I'll call this "Top")
    Bridge/piezo blend (I'll call this "Bottom")
    "Top"/"Bottom" blend
    Master tone
    Master volume

    Maybe have an off switch for each pickup too?... just for quick switching? The double jazz obviously needs a coil splitting switch.

    I'm not sure if I'll pull the trigger on the piezo idea, but I like the intuitive controls it produces with the blends. Hmmm...
  6. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    With three or more pickups blending gets really hard and loads down the pickups alot or gets expensive fast. If it was me I would do three push/pull volumes, and have it pull up to switch that pickup off and put that into one side of an active blend with the piezo on the other so your blending all the magnetics with the piezos. This way you only need 1 active blend vs 2 with it blending top 2 and bottom 2 then top with bottom and you only have 1 switch, bridge splitter, instead of 4
  7. Oooo, thanks for the word of advice @Will_White ! I'm glad you warned me. I didn't realize that piezos are active, either... whoops! I have a question, then. If I do a push pull on the piezo blend, can I make it a push/pull, where pulling it out drops the piezo entirely and makes it passive... basically turning it into a master volume? Also, will adding a tone pot be too much for the pickups?
  8. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Peizos by themselves are passive devices, same as magnetic pickups, but they don't passively mix with magnetic pickups very well, that's why you need a buffered (active) blend. Active and passive signals also don't mix very well which is why you would need a second buffered blend if you wanted a second and third blend knob. Additionally peizos usually benefit from onboard buffering because they need to see a very high input impedance.

    Yeah you could put in an active/passive switch, I don't know of any buffered blends that include a push/pull switch, you would just put it ahead of the blend and it would cut the piezo and anything after the blend control out and the piezo/mag blend knob (and anything after it like a master volume, which you wouldn't necessarily need in order to mute, pull all the magnetic volumes up and turn the blend to mag only) would just do nothing.

    I left out tone control because it's very much personal preference and it complicates somethings. The simplest way to do it would be to put it before the blend control, it works in both active and passive modes, but it doesn't effect the piezo at all so all the string noise, fretting noise, pick scratches, harsh treble that can be problematic for piezo loaded basses can't be remidied on bass. For this I would use a No Load or TBX tone pot to reduce loading.

    Another option is to have a passive tone after the active blend, this has the advantage of effecting the overall tone, not just the magnetics, so you can reduce the issues associated with Peizos, but it doesn't effect the passive tone. It also doesn't load down the pickups.

    The third option and most versatile is to have the passive tone before the blend and a 2 or 3 band active preamp after the blend. This doesn't really have any technical disadvantage (negligibly higher noise floor possibly) but you're looking at 8 or 9 knobs.
  9. Hmmm... thanks for the explanation and suggestions. Interestingly, I accidentally ordered eight gold cupcake knobs. I thought they were individually sold, but they came in pairs. Is it coincidence or destiny? =P

    I'm not sure what to do about my bridge saddle situation, though. I don't know if my plan on building a wood base for the gold saddles will work with the piezo idea, or if it will work at all. It has roller saddles on it. I'm trying to take up as little real estate as possible. I looked into stuff like the Hipshot single string bridges, but they are still pretty long. It makes it tricky since it's a multi scale and six stringer, too.

    What did I get myself into? :facepalm: I'm not giving up, don't worry. It's fun to be creatively challenged... it just might take awhile to figure everything out. =P You guy's have been a huge help, too!
  10. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Is it going to be fretted or fretless? I quickly looked back through the thread but I didn't see any mention of that.
  11. It will be fretted... I figured it would be better for me, since I've never played before. I was looking at some gold frets from Warmoth.
  12. Ahh... ;) I think I caught your wavelength... Make some saddles from the fret wire, perhaps? I forgot about that option. I like the elegance of that option, but I'm a little nervous about not being able to adjust the intonation or string action, since this is my first time. Maybe I should just go for it, anyway.

    Did I pick up on what you were thinking? What's your thought on that?
  13. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    A hofner style bridge is functional, what I was going to suggest was a simple wooden bridge if it was fretless. I probably wouldn't use it on fretted, the lack of individual string intonation can be an issue. Something that could work is if you get a set of the inexpensive single string bridges on like Amazon, and you cut the string retainer part off so your left with just the channel and the bridge piece.
  14. Oh, gotcha. I didn't realize Hofner bridges were like that. Huh. Now some wheels are turning in my head. I've been looking at Asian zither instruments, the Chinese guzheng and Korean gayageum to be exact, and watching people do covers of popular Western songs on them. Like Hofners, they have movable bridges that are only held down by string pressure, but... each string has it's own bridge. I wonder... It would be unique!
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