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Thunderbird Shape.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by popinfresh, Apr 17, 2005.


  1. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hey guys, i'm finally building my first bass, which i'll be doing in woodwork this year.

    Just wondering, for a first bass, would the Thunderbird be too hard? Or would it be simple enough? Any help on getting the shape right would be appreciated.

    Also, with the neck through, does it really matter if I don't make the neck as wide as Gibson does, also in the body. I like a slimer neck (Play a Sterling) for starters, but as the core of the body the block is fairly wide, would it matter if It was thinner there, or is best to leave it as wide as the 'buckers? (Any help on how wide that actually is would be appreciated).

    So yeah, any dimensions for the body of the bass would be handy (Although i'm not necceserally trying to make it a straight copy) and any other tips with this bass would be appreciated. I've read most of Hitchcocks book, i'm sort of starting to grasp the concept of making one.

    Thanks guys.

    P.S. Sorry if it's a bit random or bad wording, i've just got off a 5 hour flight and feeling pretty tired, if you wanna ask me something go ahead.
     
  2. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    By the way.. I've made this production plan for the bass.. I was just wondering if you guys could look it over and see if the times are accurate, as i have no idea how long each step will take roughly.

    It was in a table in word, but i had to save a .txt copy to upload it, so it's just in groups. The first line is the step, the second is equipment needed, third is safety issues and the fourth is the time it will take for the step (I spaced time out from the others). Sorry about that, but thanks to anyone who checks it..
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Tdog

    Tdog

    May 18, 2004
    p-fresh.....For starters, being your first build, I'd throw away any time estimates....You are probably going to do a lot more head scratching than building!.....Seriously, estimates get tossed out when little problems arise.....sometimes even setting up your tooling takes much longer than expected. But, this does show that you have the build "in your head" and have a plan....It sounds like you are off to a good start.

    I'm glad to see that you are taking safety into concern. Time constraints can compromise safety. My motto is "work smarter, not harder."

    As for theT-bird design......My brother has an old one and as I remember, it had a very slim neck....Slimmer than a J-Bass. The big problem with a T-bird is the dreaded neck dive. The headstock and long neck make for a poorly balanced bass....It was quite tiring to play on long gigs. We took care of this problem by putting the strap buttons on the back of the body(like an Gibson SG) rather than on the side of the bass (like a Tele).
     
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  5. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004
    That is one of the first non-reverse T-birds I have liked the shape of, very cool!
    If you don't mind, can I play a bit with the shape of it? Perhaps come up with something of my own off of that?
     
  6. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Here's a T-bird shaped bass I built with an owner supplied five string bolt-on neck. The body was widened 1.05%. The four string body looked to skinny, at least on paper. This thing is like triple thunder. A T-bird shape wouldn't be any harder to build than any other bass.

    http://www.lecomptebass.com/specials/dowfbird/
     
  7. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004

    Pics are broken.
     
  8. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    :meh: Not from where I'm sitting.
     
  9. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004

    Hrrm... Are they cached?
     
  10. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I just hit refresh 167 times and they work fine for me. I don't know what's up.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Worked fine for me.

    Bud, you've got a GREAT headstock shape.
     
  12. purplelinny

    purplelinny

    May 27, 2001
    Nah - his Webmistress was upto no good.

    Should all work now :D
     
  13. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Thanks. Some like it, some don't. That, to me, was the hardest part to design. I can draw body shapes all day, but headstocks... :rollno:
     
  14. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    No problem have fun. Use the lightest tuners you can find, those were pretty heavy, and be careful about your positioning of the strap buttons and you should be fine...t
     
  15. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hey, thanks heaps for the respsones. I actually have to do a rough estimate time and put them onto a timeline thing, as it's a requirement for the subject. I realise that all the steps would probably take longer than that, but it's not like i'm going to stick to the plan anyway.

    Budman: Would you have any dimensions for your neck and rough dimensions for the body. I seem to be able to draw the T-Bird shape allright... it's just drawing it to scale with the right size that's bugging me.

    Also, I was thinking of making a smaller 3-1 Musicman style headstock, would that help at all with neck dive, or would that little difference not do much?
     
  16. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hmmm, if bud or anyone could give me sort of dimensions on the body and neck, that'd be great. Just like how high and long the body is, how long the neck is etc. I'm having a real hard time drawing a T-Bird to scale...

    I'm using the size of my sterling for a rough guide, mainly because I like the size of that body. Going bigger isn't really a problem, i'm just using it for a guide to scale everything.
    So now i've drawn up the neck, the bridge, pup and end of the body and just sat there thinking.. Because if this bass is a 34" scale, and so is the thunderbird. How come the thunderbird has so much room to fit two pups? It's not like a can just make the body bigger and bring the bridge back, because then it wouldn't be 34" scale right?

    I'm kinda lost here. How can the T-Bird have so much more room? I'm just dividing the sterling measurements by 4 so I can fit it on paper, btw.

    EDIT: Actually, i think i've kinda gotten it. By the time I make the body a little longer due to the top back part and the need to also stretch it a bit to fit the bridge in, it seems to be allright. If I post a sketch up, can I get some opinions? Also, do you think the thunderbirds body been the size of a sterling's will be too small?
     
  17. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    A four string T-bird is somewhere close to 13.75" wide x 18.40" long. The one I build was 14.40" wide.
     
  18. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hey budman, I take it that's from the farthest points? (ie, top back of the body to the end of the bottom horn.. in a straight line of course)

    Thanks :)

    Now all I gotta do is figure out pickup placement.
     
  19. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Allright. I'm pretty much set guys. I just need to know, what would be the best mahogany to use on the body? And i'm going to make it fretless, tone wise, I want a real nice warm growl.. What'd be good pickups/preamp (Or passive) for this? I've made the neck to sterling specs, if that counts. And neck woods, i'm thinking either mahogany/walnut like Gibson does, or something like Wenge. What do you guys think?

    P.S The only reason i'm kinda late getting the woods is that i'm kind of having trouble finding the stuff over here in Australia. Anyone know a good place to get wood over here, or a place where someone will ship to me?
     
  20. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    IMO, african mahogany with MM-style humbuckers.