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One I just finished

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bimmer, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. bimmer


    Nov 14, 2005
    Sorry, no pictures of my workshop knee deep in dust and shavings, just the finished article. I'll try harder next time.

    This is my new fretless four, maple/ sapele five piece neck and maple wings. Times is hard so I ended up with a sapele fingerboard too, which will suffice until a nice piece of ebony comes my way. To bolster the fingerboard against the ravages of Mr. Rotosound's finest, it's been given six coats of Rustins Plastic coating, burnished up to a high gloss.



    The birch ply control cover is a place holder whilst a friend makes one in stainless steel for it. The white spots are buffing compound that I havent cleaned off yet - I didn't fill the grain of the sapele stringers, I thought the texture would be interesting. The strap buttons have their bases recessed, I hate the look of stuck-on buttons.


    As for the rest, here's the list of parts, mostly spares that I had hanging around:

    Bridge - Chinese thing from the same people who make the Wilkinson parts. Surprisingly well made and very solid.

    Tuners, knobs - From an Ibby BTB200 that got itself hotrodded. Chrome replacements from Gotoh on the way. The Ibby rejects will do for now.

    Nut - bone, cut from a blank and polished.

    Pickups - DiMarzio Model P/ J.

    Electronics - Again from that BTB, master volume, blend and Phat II bass eq. May swap it out for a 3 band eq at some point.

    Finish - Tamiya model acrylics, thinned with lacquer thinner and airbrushed. The gloss coat is automotive cellulose lacqeur.

    Soundwise, I'm pleased. Good sustain, nice round ballsy tone and stacks of mwah. Doesn't have the punch of a bolt on, but I'd not expected it to. Going to try it through my Trace later; now, where did I put my chorus and octaver?

    Thanks for looking.
  2. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    oooh, i like that. very well done
  3. Very, very nice. Clean your shop and post some pics. Start another project.
  4. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    nice looking project overall

    is it just the photo, or are your strings incredibly high above the body? I see what appears to be an unusually thick fingerboard and accompanying high string height - but maybe it's just the camera angle playing tricks.

    curious ... how do you plan to easily replace your fingerboard when you can acquire an Ebony replacement?

    all the best,

  5. bimmer


    Nov 14, 2005
    Thanks. Clean my shop? Never. Tools get unhappy and die in tidy shops. The strings are, deliberately, a long way above the body. One of those things that looks like it shouldn't work I guess. Stops me from feeling cramped up against the body. I just designed it that way, all these things cost me is my time as the wood is usually throw-outs from the joiners' shop I work in so I can experiment with stuff like that. The fingerboard is 8mm thick at the crown, 17" radius - I have this arcane belief that a fretless board should be that little bit thicker than a fretted one. The action is, without rushing for my feelers, around 2mm treble side/ 2.5mm bass side - about ballpark.

    When the time comes to replace the fingerboard, I'll cramp the body down onto the bench, pack under the neck with radiused cork cauls and break out my Stanley No.7 and shoot it off. Easy enough if you're ok with bench planes and tuning them nicely. You just get to within a hair of the neck wood and finish with a cabinet scraper. Done that a couple of times now and it worked out.

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