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planing for first build. indecisive

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jordan_frerichs, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    ok, good chance i will start next week, in my highschool shop class.

    going to build it of black walnut, with a figured walnut bookmatch on top. i am going with black walnut because school has a lot of it, and the school sells cheap to students. would a strip of purple heart at the center make it look wierd?
    k, i know the shape. fender precision upper horn, ibanez atk lower horn, ibanez atk arm contour, fender jazz leg contour. it will possibly be a 5 string bass (unsure right now). will the whole body need to be larger, or just the neck pocket?

    neck will be bought pre made, don't know exactly what kind i want. will be 34" scale, unless i go with a 5, and the 34" comprimises the low b. maple fretboard

    string number:
    thinking about making it a five string, because i am getting more into ska music, and a good deal of ska bassists use 5 string basses. on the other hand, people have been complaining about Sh**y lowb strings, and if major companies have trouble with 5 string construction, and this is my first build why should mine be any better? is this right? is it all in the neck, if i get a good five string neck, will i not have to worry about the string tension, as long as the bridge is placed right? should i just do a 4, and 5 the 5 for another day? the 4 string would be easier to get parts and things like that.

    unsure of pickup type, and other electronics. was told i would want a pre amp or eq or something in there if i wanted it to be good for slap. don't know exactly what those are, or look like. i want the bass back routered. should i skip that and go for top routered? are there any pickup types that have more difficult/simpler electronics than others? don't want a p. maybe a special p. i am thinking either jazz, or mm. would it be too much of a stretch to add a j pup, or moved back p pup with a mm?
  2. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    anyone? there are a lot of Q's because i want to go over all angles. i have to finish a small coat rack before i can start. shouldn't take longer than a week. was sick from school today, so no progress:scowl:

    hey heres a thought: mm in the sweet spot, a jazz pup, then a tele p pickup. yes? no?
  3. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
    The purpleheart might work. Such design decisions are obviously subjective. Some would like it and some might not. But the question is would you like it? Personally I would probably add a contrasting veneer between the walnut and the purpleheart, maybe maple.

    The body size does not necessarily need be bigger for a 5 string. But obviously you have to consider the implications of a larger bridge and such. Do a template before you cut wood to check that the design works both in terms of visually and practically.

    I'm no expert on this topic but I guess to get a tighter B you need to ensure rigidity in the neck. Maybe by using multiple lams and using quatersawn wood.
    btw, the reason why major companies can't achieve nice B's might be related to economics. They aim to keep costs down and reuse parts / techniques accross 4 and 5 strings

    If you are not sure what active electronics are you probably need to do more research. In terms of simplicity I can recommend EMG. The active EMG's come with the preamps built into the pups and most of the wiring done for you.

    If you're after a slap tone (IMO) you can't go wrong with a P. I've been impressed with the EMG 35P I used in my recent build.

    What kind of tone do you like? Listen to lots of bassists and try to pick out what you like. Then find out what pup's they use...
  4. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    To increase tension on a string while maintaining the same vibrational frequency, you must either increase it's scale length or it's diameter... it's just the basic physics of it.

    The longer the scale length, the more tension you have for any given string tuned to a specific note. I'm guessing that's why Carl Thompson has been favoring 38" scale instruments of late, and I know for a fact that's the driving principle behind fanned frets - maintaining roughly equal string tension across the neck.
  5. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    ah, think i will just go with the bookmatch, then. i know what active pickups are, just not as familiar with their electronics systems. i want passive pickups. i have heard that passive pickups can easily be pair with active electronics. do i want active electronics? the neck will pre bought pre masid. possibly e bay. if not warmoth. how much would a 5 string maple fretboard, maple neck neck cost on warmoth? what kinds of things can i do to ensure a good b string?

    i have not in fact played a 5 string with good strings. a 4 string would be easier for parts and all that. should i stick with what i know, and actually own/get familiar with a 5 string before i attemp a build at one??
    this is always my problem. going back and forth on what to do everyother hour:confused:
  6. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    ok, i found a thick piece of black walnut, without many defects. just need to plain, saw, laminate, plain. then some people i know are making a coffe table out of black walnut. looked over there peices, and there is some nice figuring. i will try to get them to give me the figured chunks. they fall a few inches short legth wise, so i think i laminate the figurings, to get the right length, the bookmatch that for a nice top. if the bookmatch is a little off, i wll throw in some purple heart of maple or something, so it isn't noticable.

    pics when i can get them
  7. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    K, still a few this and that to take care of, but i think i know what i want

    blackwalnut with figured black walnut top bookmatched at top
    shape is a fender/Ibanez hybrid with a few modifications
    back routed

    maple neck
    birdseye maple fretboard with cocobolo block inlays
    32 to 33 inch scale. fingers want just a little less length
    as thin a fretboard as i can get
    (anyone have an estimate of how much warmoth would charge?)


    mm pickup in the sweet spot, neck jazz pickup in usual fender position
    volume and tone knob pair for the mm
    volume and tone knob pair for jazz
    (too many knobs? what would you suggest?)
    series/paralel curcuit switch
    (how easy is this done?)
    some sort of pre amp
    (how does it look, how do i put it in, how do i use it)
    badass II bridge

    opinions? tips?
  8. Sounds like a cool bass! Curious though, what's the point of a thin-as-possible fretboard? Your truss rod will act against it, I'd be afraid of having one too thin, for fear of cracking it.

    Other than that, plan,plan,plan! All the things that have gone right with my almost-complete first build have been because of planning, and all the f***ups have come from winging it. Build it in your head and on paper repeatedly before you ever pick up a tool, and you should have good results.

    Good luck!
  9. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    like something like a jazz neck or a little thinner like an ibanez if i can get away with it. i have been planing this since summer. i will complete one step, find out everything i can about the neck part in depth, then do that step. i think the neck will look very cool with the cocobolo blocks. saw someones nordy with a neck like that. was awsome
  10. allenhumble


    Oct 22, 2004
    Acworth GA.
    I don't think blocks are that easy to do with out the right equipment and/or experience. Find out exactly what pickups you want(barts, nordstrands, ect...), Draw out the dimensions, price out everything. Sit on it for a couple of days and see if you have changed your mind about anything. Make sure of what you want.

    edit: you might want to look at Warmoth body blanks if you are planning on buying a warmoth neck. Sure fit. Also, might want to look at USACG.com
  11. farfadet


    Jan 26, 2008
    Paris, FRANCE
    If you want to go with a pre made Warmoth neck, i don't think they will do either the medium scale or the cocobolo inlay. You would have to go with 34 scale with black or white blocks.
    Maybe you should give a try to luthier who do parts like Zolla, they might be able to make you a custom neck (don't know if they are still in buisiness though).
  12. pjwalsh


    May 3, 2006
    Elkton, Md
    Check out the Carvin necks - they have very nice quality and are available in either bolt on or neck through configurations. Hard maple and ebony board and they have carbon fiber reinforcement and a double acting truss rod.
  13. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    warmoth bodys are like $200 plus more for laminate. they make there neck pockets fender compatible as a standard. i just need to do the same. using a computer run mill.
    looked at the tone charts for cocobolo and maple. maple is bright. coco is more on the warm side. don't sound good.
    what are some cool looking inlay wood options? dark to complement the maple, bright sounding, and even if u looked at it from a short distance, u could tell it is a wood block, not your average black or white block. was thinking purple heart, but might be too wierd. what do you think? was also thinking massacar ebony. well there is a luthier 40 minutes away. could talk with him, and see if he will help. could someone photoshop some of these neck ideas?

    i want a sound good for punk, ska, and hardcore stuff like that, also be great for funk/slap and pop. a few bassists/bands with sound i want are joe princepe, flea, reel big fish, streetlight manifesto, entwistle.

    i was thinking a nordstrand mm, then a warm, good for slap, neck jazz, to complement the sound of the mm. not sure of the brand for the j.
  14. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    k, inlay options:
    Macassar Ebony
    Padouk, African
    Pau Ferro
    Satine/blood wood

    well free to add/shoot down the woods. my favorate so far is the blood wood. would that work?
  15. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº
    I would think about using some light or reddish colored veneer between the body and the top just for contrast. Other than that looks good.
  16. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    awsome news. out of nowhere got a call from a local hobyist luthier. going to meet up with him wed., and learn a thing or 2. then there is a proffesionalluthier a short drive away, that i still need to talk with as well. he runs a guitar shop, and luthiers instruments to sell in the shop, along with the company brand stuff.
    also ordered from ebay, Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock. should be here in a couple days

    what are the pros, cons, and difficulty of making the neck attached to the body, as opposed to a bolt on?
  17. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    well i talked with that guy and learned a thing or 2. i have decided to do a zero fret, 34" scale maple fingerboard with purple heart dot inlays.
    he showed me some fretboard radius blocks, special fret saws, fretbenders, fret rulers that showed where the frets need to go on the bass, and a few tips and tricks.

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