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Solid Construction

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bcarll, Jun 23, 2002.


  1. bcarll

    bcarll

    Oct 16, 2001
    Has anyone ever built a guitar / bass solid throughout. I mean no thruneck construction or bolt on neck --just carved out of a solid chunk of wood no joints etc.

    bcarll
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm sure it's been done, but I'm not planning on ever doing one because there's a lot of waste involved, and some of the cuts would be tricky since getting a 13" x 2" x 4' slab on the bandsaw would be a real bitch,
     
  3. Status Graphite makes a couple of basses--the Stealth II series and the Buzzard (RIP Ox)--from a single carbon-epoxy injection molding around a foam core. I think the old Steinberger L-series basses were single-piece as well.

    But, those are composite basses. Like Matt said, getting a piece of lumber big enough to make a bass from a single piece of wood would probably be impossible, and I wouldn't be surprised if it presented structural issues.
     
  4. There was an 8 string Alembic that was a neck thru, where the outer laminates on the neck were one piece with the body wings. It is in the featured custom section on the Alembic website, I believe it was called "8 Strings of Power".

    I agree that it would be difficult, but not impossible to work with. I wouldn't do it, but if you are really good with wood, or if you have a lot of time you are willing to spend, you could definitely do it.

    Geoff
     
  5. Assuming you wanted the fingerboard to be from the same piece of wood as the rest of the bass, you'd have to have the whole thing be quartersawn. I can't imagine finding too many good pieces of quartersawn maple that are 13" wide and 48" long.

    Matt, you'll get me into building yet. I get way too excited over this stuff.
     
  6. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    When Im good enough someday in the future I will do this!

    It just sounds like an exciting challenge.

    Yes it would be a lot of waste wood, but maybe you'll be able to get a few good pieces from the scrap.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Yeah, good luck finding a slab of maple that big. Mahogany, you could probably find. Maybe padauk or one of the other big African trees. But the chances of the important part (the middle, neck part) having quartersawn grain are next to nil.
     
  8. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Yeah Ive realized this.

    Its more of a dream idea, and would probably have to be done with a wood not usually used for bass.

    I think Ive seen absoulutely huge slabs of purpleheart though. Imagine what a pain a bass like that would be. The wood isnt the easiest to work with in the first place, and then its pretty heavy, so doing the one piece thing would be more dificult, and then playing it when its done would definetly cause serious problems.

    Well anyways, I realize that It would not be easy, but that just makes the thought and challenge that much more exciting.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  9. Thinking about this some more...I think you could do it with bubinga. If you flat-sawed centering on the diameter of the tree, and then cut the sides to fit the blank size you want, you'd basically have a quartersawn piece, right?

    God, that'd be heavy, though.
     
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Imagine the sustain and tone though.

    It could be worth it. Though it might not be that much different from a neck through.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  11. Exactly. I sincerely doubt that a few layers of glue really alter the tone all that much.
     
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    The cool vibe of it, can not be matched though.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  13. gyancey

    gyancey

    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Personally I feel a responsibilty when using exotic woods to waste as little as possible, which is why I scarf headstocks, use a heal block, etc.
     
  14. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I understand why, but the scrap pieces can still be used efficiently.

    Look at a few of JT's Conlkins. He uses pieces off wood that could easily have come as the leftover from a bass, and the pieces sawed off from the side of the neck, might be useful as a guitar neck pieces.

    I agree that wood (especially rare wood) shouldnt be wasted; knobs, bridges, and other small parts can be made from scrap wood.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  15. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The center of the log (called the pith) is generally unuseable. The pith is a structural liability. So, you're probably not going to get a quartersawn section that way.

    Nope, the only way is to find a log with a 26"+ diameter and get a whole quartered slab from one side of the log. Some of the larger african trees can yield slabs 4'+ wide, so in theory, it could be done.

    For a wood as stiff as bubinga or wenge, you could get by with flatsawn stuff in a pinch.
     
  16. Many years ago, I remember seeing photos of a Strat-style guitar built of one solid piece of ebony. It was being used as a giveaway for one of the guitar magazines, I think. So, it's been done, but this was maybe 18-20 years ago--I suspect it's even harder to find logs like that now that it was then.

    Mike
     
  17. Chambers

    Chambers

    Apr 9, 2002
    Vancouver, WA
    I saw a bass on ebay that some navy guy carved out of solid mahogany in the 50's. It wasn't very impressive, but it was one solid piece. I though some of the parker fly's are/were a solid peice of basswood with thier cf shell.
     
  18. Lackey

    Lackey

    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Just imagine if you had put alot of time, money and effort into a solid bass,, only to accidentally screw something up,, therefore destroying the whole thing!