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Plans for my bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Zebra, Jul 3, 2005.


  1. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    Ok, so I have mapped out plans for most of the instrument. Some things are still uncertain, but you'll see.
    4 string 35 scale ('cause I like tight string tension) lined fretless
    Body: 1 piece black walnut, assuming I can find a piece the proper size. Rear routed.
    Neck: Maple, perhaps birseye If I can find a nice hard piece. (should I make it a laminated neck? I really don't know)
    Ebony fingerboard.
    Pickups: I don't know. I think I may go with some J variation. I want a singing tone from it for that fretlessness. Nordstrand? Barts? I'm also going to make the bridge pup slanted, and maybe the neck one too. Pan/vol/tone knobs are what I'd prefer.
    Neck pocket is going to be 4-bolt, but other than that I have no details. I plan to model the neck after my Ibanez, but I might change my mind and model it after my P.
    Bridge: I think I might want to get monorail saddles, just to make it easy to do the string spacing right.
    I have some pics of the plans, and one of the prototype headstock (in progress) next to the planned headstock. It's made of bloodwood, but the real one will be made of walnut then slapped on the neck at about a 15 degree angle or so. It's good practice.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    Oh, and I know the work on the headstock looks sloppy, but it'll be nicer and even once it's finished.
    Here's a shot of my crappy workstation
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Baird

    Baird

    Jun 27, 2005
    Nice workstation, that looks exactly like mine....
    only without the soda (man i'm thirsty now) :D

    I like the design, it looks nice and original.
     
  4. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    I was originally going to use a different design, but the first one didn't match the proportions I had set out. I could have easily fixed that, but that didn't occur to me until I switched to this one. I think I'm just as happy with this, though :D
    And that soda is long gone, it will be missed.
     
  5. ArtisFallen

    ArtisFallen

    Jul 21, 2004
    His is cleaner than mine....

    and yeah nice design, i hate to keep seeing all these over-done shapes. i like originality. thank you for this welcome reprive :D
     
  6. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    I think there's a hamster under there. It's probably the cleanest spot in the house.
    I happy to see people like the design. I didn't want to get too out-there, but not too mundane either. In retrospect, it reminds me of a plump jazz bass with a scroll.
     
  7. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    Another thing, I don't know how to tackle the truss rod issue. This sorta goes back to the laminate neck thing. Everyone seems to be doing it. Supposedly it's a lot stronger? Is it a lot harder to do?
     
  8. Groundloop

    Groundloop

    Jun 21, 2005
    Toronto
    The reasoning behind laminate necks (or any laminated wood structure for that matter) is that as the pieces of wood expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, the individual 'warpages' will cancel each other out. The end result will be no change (or very little change) in the overall size/shape of the neck. That's assuming of course that the lamination was done correctly.

    That being said, my main 5 string bass has a 1 piece flat sawn maple neck (with graphite reinforcement bars) that hasn't needed a truss rod adjustment in over 2 years. And I live in Toronto where the summers can be up to 100 degrees and 80% humidity and the winters as cold as 15 or 20 below and 20% humidity.

    As far as the truss rod question goes, check out StewMac Hot Rod

    Good luck.
     
  9. ArtisFallen

    ArtisFallen

    Jul 21, 2004
    P bass maybe. the J is longer looking...

    and i'm sick of them both
     
  10. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    That's pretty cool. What about reinforcement rods? Should I even bother trying those? It seems like they'd be a bear to install.
     
  11. Groundloop

    Groundloop

    Jun 21, 2005
    Toronto
    They're not hard to install. Just rout 2 channels (1 on either side of the truss rod channel) and glue them in. I use 2 part epoxy.

    If this is your first build, I'd recomend you keep it simple. The chances that you'll get a totally comfortable neck shape your first time is pretty slim. If you don't sink a lot of time/worry/money into questions like laminated/un-laminated? - what woods? - how many pieces of each? you can concentrate more on the essentials. Is the neck comfy? Does the bass balance well? Is this my favorite bass to play?

    Since your building a bolt on, you can use this as a test bed. Keep refining the design until your answers to the essential questions is 'Yes!'. Then, if you want, build a 9 piece body, 27 piece neck wonder machine.

    Of course the jury is still out on the question of the sonic qualities of that much glue! :D
     
  12. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    Good advice! I think that's cleared things up for me quite a bit.
    Ok, one thing settled on:
    1 piece maple neck.
    Hmm, I don't know anything about installing the truss rod, but that won't come until later.
     
  13. Groundloop

    Groundloop

    Jun 21, 2005
    Toronto
    Hot Rod instructions

    The instructions are somewhat specific to the StewMac Hot Rods, but the principles are the same for any commercially available rod.