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Roughing a Body design - Single cut Jazz 4/5

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by chinjazz, Jun 20, 2017.


  1. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hi All,

    I'm at the "drafting table" taking a Jazz body shape, making it more modern and single cut.
    right now I've got it roughly dialed into a 70's spacing 4 string. After I'm done with making
    this bass can I utilize at least the outer body shape without altering it to a accommodate a 5 string, 34.5"scale? I realize this might be an obvious (noob) question.

    At the moment I really like the shape.

    SingleCutJazz2.JPG

    SingleCutJazz.JPG

    I think the combination of the 70's spacing and single cut would bring a very articulate instrument.

    I was inspired by Martin Keith's MK Leo - Wow, he really nailed the Jazz sound I dig:



    I'm a fan of his work! Now if I can only make one of my own, I'll be one happy guy!

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
    Dark Horse likes this.
  2. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Hey man,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Yes, you will be able to use your shape for a 34.5" scale 5-string. If you leave the bridge in the same spot, then the nut
    will just be 1/2" further away from the body. This will likely mean that the neck/body joint will happen one fret higher
    (i.e. body meeting neck at 14th instead of 13th) but that's no big deal. Probably also means a 22 fret neck instead of 21,
    but that's probably more appropriate for a modern-style 5-string anyway.

    Two small suggestions - first, i think you may want to make the neck go a bit deeper into the body on the treble side of the pocket.
    In the drawing above, it looks like there's very little body around the treble side corner of the heel - this can look and feel a bit strange,
    and can sometimes harm neck joint stability.

    Second, consider including a little bit of "recurve" in your upper horn area. I made several early singlecut basses with upper bout
    shapes that came into the neck at a near-right angle (like yours), and they all had the same problem - when held in the playing position,
    the strap wants to pull off the strap pin. I compensated with Straploks, but it was annoying. For a neck-thru or set-neck, having the recurve
    can be a big hassle since sanding/finishing the inside corner is a drag - but for a bolt-on neck, it's no issue and it does improve the functionality
    when playing standing up. Just my two cents. If you mostly play seated, or with the neck more parallel to the floor, it won't be an issue for you.

    Cheers,
    Martin
     
    Dark Horse likes this.
  3. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL

    Hey Martin,

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights (wisdom)! The first time I saw your basses show up here
    on TalkBass, I thought wow those basses look great, and with impeccable detail.

    I'm definitely one for fusing different designs based on what I personally like.
    For this new one I took the J design then tacked on the lower horn from the last bass body I made.
    I basically just eye balled the body shape, and sketched it on MDF, and when shaping the body, I let my imagination and
    feel take it where it ended up. Not exactly a scientific way of making a bass body :). I made so many mistakes, it was kinda
    frustrating at times, but I learned a bunch.

    Here's that body:

    CurrentBodyPrototype.

    I'm now tooled a bit better to make a better bass, but never intend to sell one :) Just make awesome basses for me to use
    because I can't afford high end basses any longer.

    I totally agree that my drawing and resulting bass needs to go deeper into the body, I'll do additional sketching to
    make it work (perhaps somewhat like my last bass). Would be kind of nice to hide that space under a figured top, and
    maybe do the truss rod adjustments at the peg head...

    I'm definitely going to do as you mention to accommodate Scale length for 34.5. I'm kinda sold on 34.5, instead of
    35"scale for a 5 string. Just giving that little bit extra tension for added clarity. I'll also look into "recurve" for the
    upper horn - :)

    Once again, thanks so much!