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Spruce or other lightweight woods?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bass Kahuna, Jul 25, 2003.


  1. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey All,

    I saw this Nordstrand on Bunnybass.com and it realy intrigues me!

    http://www.bunnybass.com/basses/nord_sc5FL_spruce/nord_sc5FL_spruce.shtml

    Wouldn't it be possible to build a spruce neck bass and use either graphite rods in the neck or maybe make a laminated neck with maybe something like wenge or ebony to add some stiffness? I might glue up a neck blank and see how it goes....

    Has anyone here tried using lightweight softwoods like this before?

    :^)~
     
  2. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Have not...yet!
    Spruce has the best stiffnes per weight ratio of all species. And is probably the easiest to find extremely straight grained lumber from.
    However, the stiffness is not all that high, in absolut numbers, wherefore few have attempted to use it for necks.
    But, wrapped in GRP, it is enourmously stiff! And just one layer is enough!

    Nordstrand also used pine and spruce for the body. This works but needs old wood. The resin must dry out, which takes a while...

    Old, slowgrown (Alaskan?) spruce and pine will do nicely. But the neck will probably rely rather a lot on the truss rod.

    Hm, I feel inspired...:meh:
     
  3. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Okay, what's GRP, some type of composite / resin? (Graphite Resin Product?)

    :^)~
     
  4. schuyler

    schuyler

    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    different rates of expansion and contraction might make for lots of stress built up in the neck. but the only way to be sure is to try!
     
  5. jaggedsphere

    jaggedsphere

    Jul 15, 2002
    Ottawa
    lol that bass is on my desktop right now.....(the pic not the bass :bawl:
     
  6. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Glass (fibre) Reinforced Polyester.

    Best to use a light, wowen mat, turned 45 degrees to the neck. That will yield the best compromise for bend and twist stiffness.
     
  7. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Didn't Parker use something like that on the first Fly guitars? I'm pretty sure I remember reading an article about them when they first came out a few years back, and they were talking about their use of lightweight woods like spruce and pine and an overlay of some type of composite...

    :^)~
     
  8. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I think Modulus did something like that too. I remember a review in BP about it. They really liked the bass.
    The neck on my bass really relies on the truss rod, but it's a very beefy rod, so I'm not worried. Also being a singlecut it has less length to support. Jon at Bunnybass has only had to adjust the rod once in a month and Hawaii is notorious for humidity issues.
    The next spruce necked bass will definitely have laminates. I want to see how it affects the tone. Maybe 2 pieces of wenge with 3 spruce...
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Correct. Though I think they used basswood...IIRC, which is not always the case...
     
  10. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Would pine work as a tonewood?
     
  11. Was it an issue with how old the wood was? How old was it? :D
     
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Since Suburban and JP haven't said it yet...

    Why not try one with horizontal laminations? Stiff wood fingerboard (wenge, purpleheart, various other tropicals... hey how about hickory?) and "back" layers, with a lightweight inner core, will give the majority of the strength of an all-high
    -stiffness-wood neck.
     
  13. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Hambone,
    The wood wasn't particularly old as far as I know. I got it from a place called Aircraft Spruce and they sell structural spruce for DIY airplane builders. I got two 4' x 12" x 3" bundles of miscellaneous scrap for $15 each. Pretty amazing deal, and the bulk of the stuff I intend to use as acoustic guitar bracing... someday.

    pilotjones,
    Actually that bass had a laminate between the fingerboard and the spruce, but it was just a decorative piece of black veneer. Maybe something thicker would be a good idea. I'd really like to try laminates in both directions. Ahh, if only I had the time.
     
  14. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Yeah, how come we waited for the pilot??????? :D

    And hickory is an interesting alternative. I like local wood - why cross wide waters to get something exotic, when good stuff is found next door?
     
  15. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Before I bought this big slab of African Mahogany, I looked pretty hard around the area for lumber mills or suppliers, but the nearest thing is 2 hours away! Lowes had poplar, but it wasn't thick enough, it was too expensive for a big enough piece, and I didn't know how or where to get it the pieces joined togethers for thickness.