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Second Build, first Bass, advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Spambusta, Jan 13, 2012.


  1. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    First off, hello everyone! I came across this forum googling different aspects of the build i'm starting soon, and decided to register as people here really seem to know their stuff.

    My first instrument i built is a solid body electric guitar, mahogany body, with DiMarzio pickups. The Bolt-on maple neck i ordered from Warmoth. I dont have any pics of it at the moment but if anyone wants to see it i'll take some.

    On to my next quest, 4 years later. I originally wanted to buy a six string bass, and was looking at the Warmoth Gecko 6 bodies/necks as well as the Carvin Icon, and a few Ibanez and schecter basses at guitar center and a local shop. I tried out the ibanez, and it just didnt feel right to me. I'd initially decided i was going to custom order a Carvin, but from throwing the idea around to my mom, she told me she'd buy a band saw if i decided to make my own, and she was all for the idea.

    This time around, i want to make the neck myself, and do a neck-through design. Which brings me to my first set of questions for you guys here.

    Wenge Exotic Wood | 7/8" x 9-3/16" x 34" | Hand-picked #8437
    I found that piece of wenge online, that's enough wood to make two six string necks i think, its going to be around 2.3" at the nut and 3.3" at the 24th fret, so if i royally &$%# it up, i have enough wood to give it another go, but i'm not sure if that is flat-sawn, and i was going to rip it on the band saw, then stand those pieces up and glue them together that was to get the neck blank. If its not flat sawn, how would i go about getting a blank out of that? alternatively, does anyone know where to get 6 string size neck blanks? The same for the fretboard, i found a piece of zebrawood close to the right size, and i think that would look good with it.

    Carvin.com :: SBB
    That's the body blank i found for the wings, and i dont think im gonna find a better choice than that.

    For the headstock, ive got various exotic wood scrap pieces and ive got a solid chunk of walnut, and a nice red wood that i'm not sure what it is. The plan is to rip those pieces, and glue them together in stripes, i.e. dark brown and red striped headstock, and i'm thinking the same for in between the two wings, because i want the wenge to stop at the bridge, and fill the rest in with the striped setup.

    Electronics i'm looking at are 2 EMG 45's, the active model, and the EMG BQC(i think) preamp, with 3 band EQ, volume, blend(pickup blend?) and another mid control deal, all powered by 2 9v batteries.

    I think ive covered all my main points here, and the main question i have about neck blanks. I'm sorry if anythings unclear, any questions or suggestions let me know! i'm beyond stoked to start working on this bass!
     
  2. I have a couple questions/comments:

    I am not sure about this, but isn't wenge pretty darn dense and heavy? I think making the entire neck blank from that might make for a very heavy bass - especially a 6'er.

    Re: Headstock - it sounds like you are planning to make the headstock out of different woods than your neck, is that right? Are you planning to do an angled headstock with a scarf joint out of different wood than your neck or are you talking about using your "various exotic wood scrap pieces" as a veneer or something.
     
  3. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    Sounds like you have a fun little project on your hands.
    One thing of note: You'll need more than 34" for a neckthru bass. 48" is the shortest blanks I get for a neckthru. A little extra length never hurts, as you can sometimes get slight cracks at the ends.
     
  4. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    TZer: That's something i realized after i posted this, if anything its going to be a veneer, also on the weight i thought about that too but i really want to get a good dark tone outta this bass, do i have any other options short of maple?

    Gbarcus: Where can i get 48" neck blanks? even on Warmoth their neck blanks are 34" at the longest

    Glad to see interest here also, I'm figuring out the money and its looking like Thursday when i get paid I'm gonna order the wood!
     
  5. Sure, you have all kinds of options. Why rule out maple?

    But yes - you can use all kinds of species and you'll find a host of opinions on 'what sounds like what' - so if you are opposed to maple there are still many other types that can be used. I would ask some of the more experiences builders about an 'all wenge' neck and weight issues. My experience with wenge is only picking it up in a wood store and going, "Damn... that's some heavy wood!" - Fingerboards - sure - entire neck-thru? Not so sure...
     
  6. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    I usually get mine at local lumber yards, but I've occationaly got some stuff from this guy.
    http://www.exoticwoodsoftheworld.com/category/35/wenge
    There are also many others that are reasonably priced.
    Personally I like wenge, but it is a kind of pain to use...very splintery.
    Here is one that I did with a wenge fingerboard. It turned out nice.
    IMG_2574.
     
  7. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Well i haven't exactly ruled out maple, i just want to use a denser wood that won't be as bright sounding, my Fender P has a maple neck and i'm pretty sure a maple body and even fiddling with the EQ on my amp, with flatwounds there's always that high end that i cant quite cut out without making it sound totally low, would a maple neck with the walnut body give me a darker tone? I'm definitely having second thoughts about the all wenge neck due to weight, even my bass feels heavy after long jam sessions, and the splintery-ness doesn't sound like something i want to deal with on my first neck build.

    Side note- I don't think nice quite does that bass justice, that bass is amazing! I'll definately take a look at that site, the prices seem well within my budget for this, if not better than what i've found! Thanks so much for the help! I've got another little project i'm doing now that i'm gonna start up another thread for, giving new life to a VERY warped p-bass ebay knock off that i had lying around, should be fun.
     
  8. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Okay, gbarcus you are literally my hero, i was going to spend probably $200 for one body blank and a neck blank, and for just over 1/4 of that price i'll be getting enough wood to maybe make 2 basses! Just from the little bit of time i put into my side project, and of course my guitar i made, this is something that i can't get enough of. Stay tuned!
     
  9. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    So i've been re-thinking my woods, how is bubinga for a neck wood? And if i get a 2" thick board is that thick enough for the neck? or should i just get a 1" board and cut three strips out of it?
     
  10. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    little update of sorts, I'm going to be doing the body wings with caribbean walnut, and the neck bubinga.

    heres a cross section i drew of the neck at the nut
    Cruise2projects003.
    the drawing shows the truss rod down the center, and 2 carbon rods on either side

    Cruise2projects005.
    and heres a rough sketch of what i'm leaning towards for the body, pardon the wonky strings :p

    Nothing too fancy, keeping it relatively simple for my first bass
     
  11. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Cruise2projects001-2.
    Came home last night to this! I decided on Limba for the neck and Peruvian Walnut for the body wings, so it begins!
     
  12. dlvalure

    dlvalure

    Oct 26, 2009
    looks good keep us posted!!! im thinking about building me a bass could you give me some advice on where to start
     
  13. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Well I'm certainly no expert but for me the build started with me wanting an extended range bass, but I couldn't find any JUST the way i wanted so....here we are. A good starting point would be thinking about WHAT you want, 4,5,6+ strings? Passive/active electronics? Dark/bright tone? Hope that helps!
     
  14. Ibanez uses wenge and bubinga for the necks in their Prestige basses. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for anyone IMO.

    this bass has a 5-piece wenge/bubinga neck with a mahogany body and wenge top.
     
  15. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    That's a pretty cool looking bass in that vid, good playing too haha. I decided on putting wenge off for future builds, not sure how limba is but apparently wenge is quite splintery. Depending on what the walnut grain looks like (it's VERY rough cut) after i run it through the planer, I'm gonna make the call on doing a top veneer or not.

    I'm also still planning my electronics, I'm Leaning heavily towards an EMG 45DC bridge, EMG 45CS neck, and EMG BQC preamp system running off 2 9v batteries, anyone have experience with any of these?
     
  16. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    We're makin sawdust!

    6string004.

    6string003.

    6string002.



    I do like the grain in the walnut so I'm gonna skip the top veneer, the pieces are wet with mineral spirits in some spots can't see it too well though.

    6string005.

    6string006.

    Tru-oil/mineral spirits on the ends to show more grain. Gonna hopefully glue up a neck blank tomorrow!
     
  17. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Well so much for a neck blank the day after my last post...a few things came up. First off, Walmart only had Gorilla Wood glue, and i read some bad stuff about it so i didn't wanna risk anything, and ordered some Titebond III.

    Second, instead of using my 9" band saw to cut the pieces to glue up for the neck, i got this!
    002.

    a 1946 Craftsman 10" table saw, it belonged to my great-grandfather, then my grandfather, then my great uncle who gave it to me because he never used it :D This things a beast, still runs great and is built like a tank, just had to give it a bit of TLC...and wd-40

    001-1.

    The neck blank, just shy of 4 inches wide


    annnnndddd
    003.
    Pau Ferro fretboard blank, and a bonus 42 pairs of ear plugs i picked up:hyper:
     
  18. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    Looking good! I've got a bandsaw from my grandpa, but it's no where as cool as that table saw.
     
  19. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    Thanks! I love the table saw haha alotta character, my router is also from my grandpa haha, 6 stringer - grandpa's tools edition! I'm so pumped to finally start this, just waiting on one more pay check and my tax return to be able to really get into it (probably good to space it out as far as my college education is concerned). Tomorrow i'm gonna be making the blanks for the wings and cleaning up the neck blank.
     
  20. Spambusta

    Spambusta

    Jan 11, 2012
    002-1.

    Neck blank glue joints came out alright!

    001-2.

    I made a mistake here, didn't pay attention to end grain orientation :bawl:

    003-1.

    Body blank is glued up, gonna clean it up tomorrow.

    Unfortunately, that's probably it for a little bit, I need to order the right size router bit for the truss rod, and v-day is gonna push router bits back to payday, when i'll also be getting a bridge and string nut, woo!
     

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