Practice build: 5-string multi-scale, HD woods

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pilotjones, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    And so it begins.

    This will be a leisurely first build, using what time and money I can find to put into it. I expect to run into all kinds of problems, and work through them. I'm using the best wood Home Depot has to offer, plus one board from Woodcraft, bought from a gift card. If this one goes well enough I'll try a second one with nice woods, otherwise that could wait for a third.

    The design is something that developed over quite a long time, as I've been on this TB since before there was a Luthiers' Corner. That being said, there are plenty of areas that are still up in the air. Some of them are that way because I still don't know what tools I'll have by the end of this. Right now I'm finding I'm reconditioning old tools to work properly, more than I'm using them to work wood. But as they fall in line, I hope that ratio will reverse.

    Here are the specs so far:

    • 5-string, multiscale fretted, BEADG. Scale lengths 33 or 33.5 to 35.5 or 36. Perpendicular fret at 1/3 point (7th fret). 24 frets.
    • Graduated string spacing, roughly 3/8 "at nut" to a little narrower than the Fender 3/4 at the bridges
    • Headed, most likely zero fret and tiltback headstock. I hope to do a proper compound angle tilt, once I figure how to jig it for the cuts. And gluing should be interesting, too.
    • Flat fretboard, which is something I've wanted to try out, and which is one area where I will be saving myself a little work (unlike some of the other things here)
    • Probably a fairly elliptical neck profile, like on a Dingwall
    • Neck connection TBD. I believe I'll be able to do it without tilting the neck back.
    • Padauk fretboard, curly maple and padauk neck, in an unusual configuration if I am able to get my bandsaw working reliably
    • I've got some multicolor poplar and some mild ripples-and-birdseyes maple for the body, plus I have some veneer around that may go in there. I also found a lumber store that has some sapele, so that might make an appearance in body or neck.
    • Tuners TBD. Definitely not cloverleafs.
    • Bridges of original design, at least part of which I haven't seen done before
    • Straight double-action trussrod. Adjustment end and vendor TBD.
    • Two pickups, JP by Aaron Armstrong sidewinders
    • Kent Armstrong 3-band preamp
    • Pups in traditional J and P positions

    Next up: template pics.
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Looking forward to it PJ
  3. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Today I started making a template for the body. You can see that all the details are not worked out, but I wanted to move what I had from CAD to real world, to see whether the body shape works ergonomically, and and get a slightly better idea if it works aesthetically, at least as far as size.

    Printouts pasted up on MDF:

    I band sawed that out, very close to the line. I then used a disk sander to shape it full to the line, in all the areas where that's possible. I made some sanding sticks to get in the deep contours, but I'm not really satisfied with the evenness and perpendicularity I'm getting that way, so tomorrow I'm going to see whether HD has some drum sander I can mount on my Shopsmith. Here's how it is right now:

    Finally, I took this and laid it down on my bass, to get an idea of the body size, shape, strap points, etc. It compares favorably to the fairly conventional and well-balanced Lakland body.

    That's all for now. I'll get the TB-requisite wood shots some time this weekend.
  4. Subbed.... it fascinates me to watch a build come together. You don't like Ric's do you? ;)
  5. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    One more: an old render from before I figured out the bridges.
  6. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Cool. I'll need plenty of help from people like you who know what they're doing.
  7. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Yes, I'm a Ric fan. This is partially an attempt to take what I like in a Ric, and improve what I don't. tZer also has a great design that strikes me that way.

    It also has some other influences in there.
  8. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    No drum sanders at HD. So, I improvised:

    Template is done for for now. When I figure more out, it will get registration holes and probably pup cutouts. Also position holes for the bridge drilling, neck bolt holes (if I go that way), etc. It's really fun and easy to work the MDF.

    I can see how it's difficult to do a neck-thru, at the areas inside the horns. I put some intentional gouges in the template "neck" here, trying to get the drum in more deeply to the body curves to reduce hand shaping.
    Vincent Stroup likes this.
  9. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº
    Pilot... first build? I read LOTS of your posts over a few years now and I thought that you were an accomplished builder.

    Ill be looking at your build! Im really interested in what you come with for the compound angle.
  10. bassmanhamilton

    bassmanhamilton Commercial User

    Nov 21, 2007
    Owner, J. Hamilton Guitars
    +1 Looking forward to the project!
  11. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    Looking forward to this one. I'll be watching.
  12. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
  13. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Subbed. I love the shape already. :D
  14. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
  15. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Here are the wood shots.

    First the four boards together:

    The long, narrower maple board, dry:

    Same board, wetted with water:

    The shorter, wider maple board, wet:

    The padauk board, which is planned to be the fretboard, wet. The white bits are from rubbing it the wrong way with a wet paper towel :rollno::
    That one is from Woodcraft, the rest are from Home Depot.

    The poplar board, wet (sorry, a little out of focus):

    The veneers are pretty ordinary and don't look like much dry, and I don't want to wet them and warp them up.
  16. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I believe the Pilot has completed his flight plan and is preparing for systems check and and taxiing for take off. ;-0
  17. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Politely, your paranomastic proclivity for provenient provocative purlicue puns pleases properly Poindexterish pacable people and pacificates purulent pricks while promoting proper pyrexic punctiliousness plus psychomachy amongst... ah screw it, your puns piss me off!
  18. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Better be a long runway.
  19. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    We have clearance, Clarence.

    Roger, Roger.

    What's our vector, victor?
    Vincent Stroup likes this.
  20. need4mospd


    Dec 22, 2005
    If you hadn't misspelled paronomastic, I would have said that's one of the coolest things I've ever seen on talkbass.