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Quick design question...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kibuddy, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    I've recently come up with an idea for a future bass that I would like to build, but I have a few questions about my design. (Note that this is not quite to scale, as I'm not too great with Flash. The headstock is clearly way out of proportion.)


    Would such a long neck be structurally sound?

    If a neck this size is possible, would I need a super-long truss rod for it?

    My plans for this bass:

    -6 string fretless

    -Maple/Purpleheart/Maple/Purpleheart/Maple neck (not shown in design)

    -Purpleheart fingerboard (I'm hoping this will be suitable as a fretless fingerboard. If not, I suppose I can use ebony, though I'd have to downsize the fingerboard considerably)

    -36 (?) frets

    -Ash body

    -Curly Redwood top

    -Electronics: To be determined.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Purpleheart works as a fingerboard.

    I don't see why your neck would not work. Since it's a SC, the "top horn" should help with stability, though not everyone agrees on this. Some Zons have really long necks, so I don't think that's a problem.

    The rest seems fine. Good luck.:D
  3. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    Yeah, I'm aware that Zon has some fairly long necks, but aren't they made of graphite? I'd think that would be quite a bit more stable than wood.
  4. I think the most important thing to do first is to make a scale drawing...

    note that from the nut to the saddle should be 34" and the body should stop somewhere around the 12th fret (17" in from either side)

    now, I wouldnt see a problem with this bass if its a neck thru... well... now that i look at it i kinda could...

    Im not quite sure if all necks have this or any of them do...... but you could allways put graphite rods down the neck.. i mean, i just remembered that warmoth five string necks have 2 "stiffening rods" on either side of the truss...

    the other thing your going to have to think about is neck dive... with less bass under the neck, that means theres less bass in general on that side... meaning that the neck will/could ride lower due to balance... (the farther twards the nut you have your strap button the better balance will be... )

    so yeah... scale drawings are really important....

    also.. about your 36? frets... it would be cool to make the fingerboard end in an angle... then have your pickups in that angle (just an idea.. ive seen it done before, so its not completely origonal or anything...)
  5. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Yeah, I was planning on the upper "horn" ending around the 12th fret. I'm hoping that will take care of any balance issues I might have.

    I definitely plan on putting some graphite rods in this thing. I was thinking 2 truss rods and 3 graphite support rods.

    Yeah, balance could be an issue with this deisgn, I suppose. But, that's why I'm going to have such a large upper "horn". I'm going to shoot for a smaller headstock, too. Hopefully that will reduce some of the weight up top.

    That's my next step. :)

    That's something to look into, but if I were to do that, I'd have to make the body a bit longer to accomadate for the extra room the pickups would take up.

    Thanks a bunch for the help!
  6. think about it.. longer body= more balance... i mean, it doesnt have to be a huge angle or anything... but then you could make the back of thebass curve at that angle... giving it more of a "jazz bass" bottom... thus making the guitar longer, and adding more balance...

    just a thought..

    those basses are just sick..^

    ps. i really like the design actually... and i hope it comes out lookin good
  7. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    That's a good point... Right now I'm really just banking on the strap button being high enough to counteract the lack of body on the bottom, but I guess I can't really tell what it will need until I do the full scale drawing.

    Unfortunately, I won't be able to start construction on this until late this Summer. I need to raise the funds for the parts and wood first. Luckily for me, I have access to all of the tools I'll need.

    Can anyone give any more insight to the truss rod situation? I'm thinking I'll have to make one myself that will be long enough.
  8. yeah... or you could double truss it... dont know if that would even work... but its an idea...

    Im pretty sure if you cant make a truss that long, you could ask someone else here to for you... might cost a bit though...
  9. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Just did a scale drawing of the bass. Sorry about the picture quality, but it's the best I could do.




    My only real concern is the headstock. I'm not sure if I've grouped the machine heads too close together or not. I suppose I won't know until I decide on what tuners to use, though.

    Other than that, I just have to decide on a bridge and the pickups I'll be using, then I can finish up the drawing. I'm planning on making a wooden bridge akin to the saddle portion of a two-piece bridge.
  10. damn... I just meant on some graph paper... lol... but, looks like your doing fine...

    the headstock is concerning... I serously wouldnt know what to do with so many strings...

    word of advice: make sure that you take time to shape the body exactly how you want it in your scale drawings and templates... the good ol "measure twice, cut once" method...
  11. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    Haha, don't worry. I had been planning on doing a full scale drawing anyways, so I could see how it was going too look in full size.

    The headstock has me worried, too. I have to make sure the tuners aren't so close that they're getting in eachother's way, but I want to try to make that headstock as compact as I can. I also have to make sure it's going to be strong enough to support six bass strings.

    I think I've got the body pretty much how I want it. I may play around a bit with the treble side, but it looks okay to me.
  12. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    It has a lot of similarities to Eric's Thunder Bee


    ... but the lower cutaway reminds me of a Wishnevsky design.

    all the best,

  13. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    Ow... My pride... :p

    In all seriousness, though, the original sketches looked very similar to a Marchelewsky I saw on here a while ago. Then it slowly evolved into this.

    I'm not entirely sold on the lower cutaway, though. I'm going to play around with it a bit more.
  14. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    If you're worried about the truss rod length, you can get LMII to make truss rods to custom lengths. IIRC, they aren't much more expensive than their standard lengths. You can also make one yourself if you have access to the right tools, they aren't very complicated.
  15. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Then I recommend you do so.
    This design would balance very badly on your lap.
    Do you need accessability that much? How much cutaway is there on DBs? Right.
  16. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    The idea for such an extended range bass wasn't one I just had on a whim. I'd given it a lot of thought, and I've decided that I want to build a bass that I won't be buying from someone else any time soon.

    Since there's very little chance of my getting a 6 string Zon Hyperbass (they don't even make them, do they?) or a Jerzy Drozd, I thought "Why not build a 6 string bass with a three octave fingerboard?"

    So, do I need three octaves? No. But on the same token, I don't need 6 strings. I don't need to even build a bass on my own.

    But I want to, so that's how it's going to be. Okay?

    As for the lower bout, I'm going to make a plywood representation of the body later today to see how it feels. If I don't like it, I'll change it. Granted, it won't be an accurate representation without a neck and all of the hardware, but it's better than nothing.
  17. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    I cut the design out of some 1/4" plywood and attatched a piece of scrap wood the size of the neck to the bass to make a full-scale model.

    The whole body needs some re-desgning. The bass side is far too big, the body isn't long enough, and the lower bout needs to be extended.

    I plan on keeping the same shape of the bass side, just thinning it down. I'll have to draw up some new ideas for the treble side.
  18. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Well, I thought I was clear enough, but it seems, I wasn't.

    Look here. I was not contesting the three-octave neck. I was telling you to rethink the lower cutaway. Even the 3-octave Drozds, Hyperbass or Wals don't have that much cutaway. Also, the horn is extended, to make it balance better on your lap, unlike your design, which just screams that it needs a strap to be playable.
    Now that you did the plywood mockup, you see my point, too, right? :rolleyes:
  19. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    I apologize. I read this:

    as an arguement against the three octave fingerboard.

    That makes all of this, however:

    pretty much a moot point. I never said I was married to the lower bout, and I even said before you posted that I was throwing around some other ideas.

    And I'd appreciate your not rolling your eyes at me next time, thanks.


    I don't mean to antagonize you. It's not your criticism that bothered me, as I'm using it to redesign my body. It was a simple misunderstanding.

    So, again, I apologize for getting angry at you. Hopefully we can try to look past this.

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