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The Jazzwick

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HamOnTheCob, Feb 15, 2005.


  1. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Hey all. I'm starting this thread to document a new project that I've gotten rolling with Hambone. It will be a fretless 5. Read on...

    I had been in the market for a fretless for quite some time, and after a Fender MIM Jazz fretless didn't at all live up to what I was looking for, I found a 5-string Warwick neck on eBay that would supposedly bolt up to my Streamer LX5. The neck was defretted and didn't cost much, so I bought it. It had no tuners or trussrod cover, but it did have a brass Warwick nut (missing all 5 adjustment screws).

    When I received it, I was disappointed by the poor job someone had done pulling the frets and the ridiculous job they did of filling the fret slots. There was also a decent amount of grooving in the fingerboard. Oh well, it was worth a shot. I bought some tuners from a fellow TBer and Warwick sent me adjustment screws for the nut free of charge.

    I took the strings off my LX and then unbolted the neck. I set the defretted neck in place, eyed up the look of it, then flipped it over to bolt it up. Problem! The bolt holes weren't in the right place to bolt up to my body! The eBay auction had guaranteed a fit to an LX. Oh the grief!

    But not to worry! I decided to see about the possibility of just having a body built to fit my neck. I had talked to Hambone before about his work, and had been interested in one of his Fairlanes. I asked him if he'd be interested in the project, and he said he would be.

    He didn't want to do a Fairlane body, so we agreed on a Jazz body. Allan (Hambone) then dubbed the project the "Jazzwick." We discussed prices and such for various options and agreed on a 2-piece walnut body. He was in charge of finding the wood, and I went about ordering a bridge from Custom Shop Parts, a set of EMG Js, and some dome knobs from StewMac. I also bought some Schaller straplocks for the project.

    After some measuring and such, Allan realized that a jazz body wouldn't work because the 24-fret neck would have to go half way into the body to be the right scale length. So he came up with a design concept for the body:

    [​IMG]

    I wasn't a huge fan of the pointy lines, so I edited the concept a bit and came up with this:

    [​IMG]

    Allan liked the general shape, and refined it a little to what the concept is currently:

    [​IMG]

    Allan suggested that I buy some ferrules and go with a string-thru design. I found a great deal on string ferrules at Guitar Parts USA. This will be my first string-thru.

    The neck needs planed and the fret slots need refilled. The body wood is being measured and cut, and the placement of the pickups is being discussed and worked out in this phase of the project.

    Pics of the neck, body wood, and progress will follow shortly, so stay tuned. I'm excited about this project. It will be the first fretless I've ever owned for any length of time and my first [semi] custom instrument.

    Thanks for everything Allan!

    Jake
     
  2. Nice! I like it so far. I think the first design would make a good body shape too. I've always wanted to design and make my own bass. I'm really interested to hear how this one goes. What electronics are you having installed? 2 band eq? or 2 volume and tone control? Keep us posted!
     
  3. Do you have any shots of the neck? I'd like to examine the carnage.

    I dig the body.
     
  4. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Here is the headstock... the W inlay will be taken out and replaced with an inlay of the Greek symbol "Phi" (shown) which is the adopted symbol of Philosophy (I'll be getting my degree in Philosophy from Wheeling Jesuit University in May of '05).
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The back of the neck... flamed maple with (I believe) ovankol stringers:
    [​IMG]

    Here is the fingerboard in the rough condition I received it in:
    [​IMG]

    And after Allan removed the fretlines and planed out the grooves:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The fretlines will be filled with maple veneer. Here are pics of the Walnut blanks that will be used in the body, with a flamed maple center stripe:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    More progress pics to follow as I get them from Allan!

    Jake
     
  5. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    They're just an active EMG J-set with Volume/Volume/Tone controls. If for some reason I don't like the tone, I might add a 2- or 3-band pre later on. But the last bass I had with this setup knocked my socks off in tone, so I have confidence in the J-set on its own. :)
     
  6. WOW! That fingerboard was pretty wrecked. Hambone (Allan) did an AWESOME job restoring it. I can't wait to see it in it's glory with the maple fretlines.

    The body wood is KILLER! I LOVE Walnut..and the flame maple accent will be a great contrast.

    You are gonna have one sweet bass.

    What's the deal with the nut? I've never seen one like that (or noticed, anyway). It's adjustable? You mentioned something about screws that go in it. Do these have grooves in them?

    CONGRATS! Keep us posted. A most interesting project.
     
  7. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Thanks! Yeah, he did a great job. And he also can be credited for picking out the wood. I specified Walnut, then he went and found some. :) I like dark woods, like the ovankol on my Thumb 6 BO. The nut is adjustable for string height on each individual string. Warwick used to offer them as a standard feature, but now they use a composite nut. The adjustment screws have a little groove that the string rests in. Here is a pic of the nuts from a couple of my Warwicks, so you get a better idea:

    [​IMG]

    Jake
     
  8. wow!

    out of all the body shapes you guys both came up with, i like the final one (the one you are getting) that is really cool!

    and hambone, nice job so far! that looks like grade A work!

    i bet that bass is going to sound as good as it is going to look!
     
  9. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Looks great! :)

    Not a surprise, Hammy is going to be a force in small builder-land.

    One observation, based on past experience: Have the fingerboard finished in some way (epoxy probably is best), as wenge has a tendency to not deal with fretless well. The open grain of the wood can start to split and splinter if untreated. Makes a great fretted wood unfinished, but when the strings start contacting the wood itself it can get a bit frayed. As a coated board, it works wonderfully.
     
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've been meaning to get back over to Hammy's place. I'll certainly have to go and check out this project bass. :-D The pics look great! :hyper:

    I've been toying with doing something with my 6 string purpleheart Curbow neck that I have in the corner. I think Alan and I will have to get something going soon. Hmmmm....
     
  11. Actually, I quite like that design... makes me wanna go buy some wood to shape up kinda like that and build a bass from scratch, minus the neck of course... Im not THAT talented...

    Still, the concept that you're going with seems pretty sweet too. keep us posted on pickies :)
     
  12. truckin88

    truckin88

    Oct 18, 2001
    Newburgh, NY
    that looks hot, good material, just wondering do you know what the project will cost you when complete? this looks cool I am thinking about a Nino Brown myself. oh man a wheeling boy huh, my boy from home C.Money Monohan goes there I think he is a history major, sick guitarist too.
     
  13. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Looks like it'll be a winner!

    One thing I would like to point out. Its been my experience (and yes, I've actually done an A/B of this) that stringing through the body has no tonal advantages to simply anchoring at the bridge. Its your project though, and if that's how you want to do it, than more power to you!
     
  14. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    About the wenge needing a coating of some sort, I know what you're saying about the grain being how it is. I don't know if Allan has any plans of coating it. I'll talk to him about it.

    About the final price, it's somewhere between a Rogue and a Fodera. :)

    truckin88: Your friend goes to Wheeling Jesuit? I'm a 5th year senior, so if he's any younger than about 22 I probably don't know him at all, though it's a small campus and it's nearly impossible to go without ever seeing someone around campus. You got a pic of this kid?

    About the string-thru, that was Allan's idea, to make the project a little more unique I guess. It really didn't matter to me one way or the other, but I like the idea nonetheless. I assume it would have to change the break angle over the bridge saddles, affecting the sustain in some way though, even if it doesn't affect the tone at all.

    Jake
     
  15. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    :D The best answer ever!

    Good luck to both you and Hambone on the project and thanks for keeping a running commentary as it moves along ...
     
  16. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Well, the reason I brought it up was that a couple months ago I did the A/B comparison using a Gotoh 206 which allows anchoring in either location. Ultimately I decided that there was literally no difference. I left that bass strung through the body simply for the fact there were holes in the back and I wanted them to do SOMETHING. Whatever works for you though, and good luck on the rest of the project.

    Oh, and the Rogue/Fodera thing.... brilliant :bassist:
     
  17. truckin88

    truckin88

    Oct 18, 2001
    Newburgh, NY
    ok yeah the price answer was good, i was just curious because I am thinking about jumping on this custom built band wagon once my rig is all set up.

    about my boy at WJ, there are some picks from one of his bands, he is a real decent guitarist, good lyric writer, has hook ups in the punk/emo scene. he is good guy always looking for a side project.
    http://www.purevolume.com/thisscriptcalledforliars/photos
     
  18. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Looks promising!

    The maple neck looks quite nice. The body is like a cross between a Jazz and a Tobias shape, but it looks cool.
    Post more pics when it's finally ready!
     
  19. I tend to agree with you about the string-through vs. bridge anchored strings thing. From a physics perspective, your string stops vibrating at the saddle regardless and since you have the same moving mass, it makes no difference.

    However, one advantage of string-through is that you place very little (if any) stress on your bridge plate screws.