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The little Short Scale Torzal 6-String that could - My Dream Bass in the making!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by johndough247, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. After encountering some CTS issues, I decided to look through TB for more comfortable options and came across http://www.littleguitarworks.com. For those who can't click the link, Jerome Little is the only person I've found in the world that makes Torzal necked basses (basses that have a gradual twist in the neck and body, which reduces/eliminates the need to bend your wrists while playing). Sent an email out to him, letting him know of my problems and eventually began discussing the dream bass I've always wanted to commission: a short scale 6 string with massive sound and versatility, that can use long scale strings and is easy on the hands, shoulders and eyes; and one that'll always remind me of home (from the Virgin Islands). I seriously want this bass to be "the one".

    WELL, After after more than a year of over 100 emails to hash out how we're gonna make this possible, we're nearing the final weeks of completion and I have a few pics to share with the community. Now, I'm called to play a variety of genres on a regular basis (gospel, R&B, funk, rock, calypso, reggae, big band jazz and salsa are the more common ones), so my goal with this bass was to make it the most versatile we could get it, while keeping it in the 7 lb. range for surviving long gigs. Jerome has been pretty cool to work with, responds in a timely manner on most days and has been VERY accommodating with my list of demands. Here's the laundry list of specs, hope you enjoy the pics!

    • 31.2" Scale
    • 6 String (That's standard 6: BEADGC)
    • Alder Body with Figured Myrtle top
    • Caribbean Blue Burst finish
    • 5 piece maple neck (wenge stringers)
    • Birdseye Maple Fingerboard
    • 2.125" nut width

    • Nordstrand Dual Coil pickups (with a single/series/parallel switch for each pickup) - 17.5 mm spacing
    • Birdseye Maple pickup covers for Nordy pickups
    • Nordstrand 3 Band Preamp (300 & 800 Hz mid frequencies, 18 Volt Config, Tone Knob, Passive switch)
    • Toone & Townsend Individual Bridges (Chrome)
    • Hipshot Ultralite Tuners (Chrome) - 4+2 Headstock

    Extra Cool Stuff:
    • Roland GK-3B pickup (switch, up/down buttons and LED light installed internally) to connect to a Roland VB-99
    • Humingbird Inlay @ 11-13th Fret
    • Luminlay Side dots (they glow in the dark!)
    • Torzal Twist: Neck twists to +20 degrees at the nut and -15 degrees at the bridge. It should be at 0 degrees at the last few frets.
    • Adjustable wooden ramp made from Myrtle
    • Wooden control knobs
    • Specially designed wrap-around string anchoring system to accommodate long scale strings and to increase tension

    On To The Pics!!

    Getting the neck and body ready:
    Here's that hummingbird inlay:
    First looks at the body and neck together:
    There's the Luminlay dots (you shine a small UV flashlight on them and they glow in the dark for up to 1 hour):

    A little further along now, pickup cavity routed & frets installed. Those two buttons are to control the VB-99 unit. As you can see by the holes, there's a lot of knobs and switches!
    Rear Control Cavity and battery compartment:
    Strings added to test new anchoring system:
    Even though it's a shorty, it can use long scale strings - Best of both worlds i'm hoping!
    I could however use short scale strings if I choose to later on...I think the wraparound looks kinda cool (you can see some of the Torzal twist in this one):
    Here are the unfinished pickup covers:
    and the first (and so far, the only) full picture:

    Painting time!

    PASS #1:
    This is the first pass but it wasn't exactly where we wanted it to be. I told him I wanted the bass to remind me of the beach; the ocean brushing against the sandy shore...close, but not quite there yet. Jerome seemed more than eager to correct it, which required sanding the whole thing down and starting again, I felt so bad for him :bag: But hey, somebody might like this version so I'm putting it up:
    Here's the back, with a faded transition to the neck...we decided the whole thing was just too "blue":

    PASS #2:
    Ahh much better! The colors came out beautifully IMO and really captures the image I'm going for...and I dont know if it was a lighter application of paint, but it seems the myrtle has even more depth to it the 2nd time around. It was looking a little too "yellow" here so I asked for a little more green around the edges, however...
    ...in the outside light it's quite nice!:
    Must have been less paint cause even the grain on the back seems to pop a bit more here (or it could just be the lighting):

    PASS #2.1!

    So we decided to add a little more green to the mix and now it's exactly what I had pictured in my head! One thing I must say is that he's not happy with it until you're happy so he definitely hit the mark for me here:
    I'll outline the controls in a later post, but man that birdseye just kills me every time!:
    and one more for good measure:

    That's all for now...stay tuned for clear coating, electronics installation and ramp design and installation...I'm getting excited! :hyper::hyper::hyper:
  2. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA

    That bass is going to be *incredible*. Just....wow.
  3. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    Wow! Wow! Outstanding! I can't wait for finished pics and some sound samples.

    I envy you.:hyper:
  4. Thanks guys, I'm salivating just waiting to hear "it's been shipped" :bag:
  5. thats beautiful!! I dig it!
  6. Yeah, that's awesome. I don't have any wrist issues, but I'd love to try one of these out.

    Subscribing to see the rest!
  7. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
  8. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011

    That is beautiful!!
  9. Turkeypills


    Nov 8, 2012
    St. Louis
    This thing is awesome.
  10. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    This is a totally new concept to me!! But then I thought "CTS issues", meant you were having trouble with your potentiometers. :rolleyes:

    That is absolutely gorgeous!! I would also love to give it a try!!
  11. Stunning.

    I have a 32" scale 7 string. Instead of the string anchor, I'm getting custom strings from Curt Mangan.
  12. Thanks guys! At times I kept wondering if I went too far, but I really wanted a bass that ticked all the boxes and I'm sure this won't disappoint.

    LOL :D

    Nice! I'm using Circle K on mine for now but I really like to try different strings and I haven't gotten to all the different long scale sets yet, much less the smaller pickings in the short scale market.
  13. As mentioned earlier, Jerome's making some custom wooden knobs; most likely birdseye maple as well to keep the island theme going.

    We haven't talked about the exact layout of where each knob will be, but if I had to take a guess based on the positioning of everything:


    It's quite a bit, but combine the flexibility of the Dual Coils with the VB-99's bass models and synths/instruments and there's nothing this beast can't handle (except umm fretless...but besides that, nothing! :bag: )
  14. Tankdave


    Dec 2, 2009
    Wilts, UK
    You a lucky guy, that is so nice
  15. I'm married to the Mangan strings because he was the only company willing to make a shorter scale B and E string and could make me a wound high E string. String makers have caught up with 6 string bass. 7 string has a ways to go.
  16. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    That's gorgeous. Jerome has built two basses for me now; he is a pleasure to work with. Looking forward to seeing the end result! :hyper:
  17. Wow! That's pretty!
  18. Agreed for the most part on the 6 strings (If Sadowsky would only make 6 strings versions of the blue nickels I'd be in heaven, but that's a long shot at best).

    Have you used Curt Mangan's on a regular scale bass? how would you rate them, tonally compared to others? (There's probably a thread about this somewhere :meh:)

    Man, I'd love to see those 2 if you don't mind. You could post them here or PM me. Both Torzal?
  19. Well folks, after 1 year of planning and preparing, quite probably the greatest/craziest 6 string ever made (IMO of course) has finally been completed. Jerome just sent the pics over and I can't stop smiling...see for yourself...BEHOLD!!!


    Needless to say, I've spent the last hour like this: :hyper::hyper::hyper::hyper::hyper:

    He just needs to tweak one or two more things and we're good for shipping! I am a very happy man tonight.
  20. Those last pics are pretty much the end result! The only thing I asked for is to put a dot or line on the knobs for reference...and yes he's very great to work with!

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