Twelve string Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basvarken, Jul 24, 2021.


  1. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    I have just completed the build of a twelve string Thunderbird.

    - Mahogany body
    - Bookmatched Quilted Maple top
    - Nine ply Mahogany/Walnut set neck. Glued in
    - Transparent black stain
    - High gloss transparent acrylic finish
    - White binding
    - Ebony fretboard
    - Mother of pearl position dots
    - Jumbo frets
    - 34" scale
    - Buffalo horn nut ?
    - ETS twelve string brass bridge set
    - Two spokewheel double action trussrods
    - Carbon reinforcement strip in the neck
    - Lace Alumitone Bass Bar in the neck position
    - Lace Alumitone DeathBar in the bridge position
    - Allparts stacked pots (volume/tone volume/tone)
    - Mullard capacitors
    - MEC on-on switch for coil split (humbucker-single coil)
    - Gotoh GB 350 lightweight bass tuners
    - Gotoh Stealth ST 31 guitar tuners
    - 2 xPure Tone Multi Contact jack output
    - d'Addario EXL 170 - 12 strings
    - Weight: 4.25 kg

    Electronics circuit were done by my good friend Bas Becu.

    Serialnumber: 2021003


    tb-12-2p-full-front-2-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-body-angle-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-headstock-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-flame-logo-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-knobs-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-jack-outputs-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-headstock-back-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-full-back-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-full-front-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-in-chair-1500_orig.jpg

    I'll post pics of the build process in the posts below.
     
  2. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Bought a nice bookmatched quilted maple set at Holz Faszination in Germany
    tb-12-2p-bookmatched-set_orig.jpg

    And a two piece mahogany blank for the body at Masave in The Netherlands
    tb-12-2p-body-blank_orig.jpg

    Drilled holes for the control cavity. And then routed the cavity shape
    tb-12-2p-drilling-control-cavity_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-control-cavity_orig.jpg

    Made an MDF template for the body shape
    tb-12-2p-new-template_orig.jpg

    Glued the quilted maple top on
    tb-12-2p-glueing-the-top-set-onto-the-body_orig.jpg

    Routed the body shape along the template
    tb-12-2p-body-routed_orig.jpg

    Rounded off the edges and routed the profile for the controls cover
    tb-12-2p-routed-profile-for-cover_orig.jpg
     
    Ewo, carsbybigd, Dynacord and 6 others like this.
  3. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Made a nine ply neck blank of a piece of mahogany and strips of walnut
    tb-12-2p-nine-ply-neck-close-up_orig.jpg

    Bough a nice piece of ebony for the fretboard at Holz Faszination.
    Drilled holes for the position markers
    tb-12-2p-drilling-position-dot-holes_orig.jpg

    Special attention for the 12th position marker. Sawed off a ring off an aluminum tube. And put a black dot inside.
    tb-12-2p-ring-and-dot_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-12th-position-ring_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-making-inlays_orig.jpg

    Glued in all the dots
    tb-12-2p-glueing-in-the-dots_orig.jpg

    Sanded flush in the correct radius. And pre-cut the frets
    tb-12-2p-frets-cut_orig.jpg

    Hammered in the frets
    tb-12-2p-hammering-frets-in-half-way-there_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-frets-hammered-in_orig.jpg

    And cut the excess ends off
    tb-12-2p-fretboard-fretted_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-frets-in-place_orig.jpg

    Cut out the opening for the truss rod access
    tb-12-2p-cutting-truss-rod-access-slot.jpg

    Made side markers
    tb-12-2p-side-dots_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-making-side-dots_orig.jpg

    And a special one at the 12th position again
    tb-12-2p-side-dot-12th-position_orig.jpg
     
  4. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Routed a slot for a carbon reinforcement strip in the neck blank. Glued it in and sanded it flush
    tb-12-2p-carbon-strip-in-place_orig.jpg

    Routed the slots for the two truss rods
    tb-12-2p-routing-truss-rod-slots_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-making-trussrod-slots-fit_orig.jpg

    Sawed the headstock angle
    tb-12-2p-headstock-angle_orig.jpg

    Roughly shaped the neck prior to glueing the fretboard on
    tb-12-2p-rough-shape-neck_orig.jpg

    Glued the fretboard on. Using inner bicycle tubes for very even pressure clamping
    tb-12-2p-gluwing-the-fretboard_orig.jpg

    tb-12-2p-fretboard-glued-to-the-neck_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-truss-rod-access_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-rough-shape-neck-side_orig.jpg

    Sawed the headstock shape
    tb-12-2p-head-back_orig.jpg
     
  5. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Back to the body. Routed the binding profile
    tb-12-2p-routing-binding-profile2_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-routing-binding-profile_orig.jpg

    Glued in the binding, using acetone
    tb-12-2p-glueing-the-binding_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-binding-taped-up_orig.jpg

    Drilled the two output holes
    tb-12-2p-2-output-holes_orig.jpg

    Drilled the holes for the 12 tuners. First tiny pilot holes. Then the actual size.
    tb-12-2p-drilling-pilot-holes_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-drilling-12-tuner-holes_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-12-holes-drilled_orig.jpg
     
  6. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Made a tummy cut
    tb-12-2p-belly-cut3_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-belly-cut_orig.jpg

    Routed the neck pocket
    tb-12-2p-neck-pocket_orig.jpg

    Shaped the neck heel. Always a bit a a challenge. Like a 3-D puzzle. Requires lots of fine tuning
    tb-12-2p-shaping-neck-heel_orig.jpg

    When I go the custom bridge set in from ETS Germany I could determine the exact neck angle
    tb-12-2p-bridge-set_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-checking-neck-angle_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-lining-neck_orig.jpg

    Routed the pickup cavities
    tb-12-2p-routing-pickup-cavities_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-pickups-in-place_orig.jpg

    Then glued the neck into the pocket
    tb-12-2p-clamping-the-neck-joint_orig.jpg
     
  7. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Had to find a case for this bass. Regular Thunderbird case doesn't fit, because the headstock is a bit longer.
    Bought a Rockcase by Warwick. Had to modify it a bit to make the neck fit snuggly and safe.

    Before
    tb-12-2p-bass-in-case_orig.jpg

    After
    tb-12-2p-bass-in-modified-case_orig.jpg


    Then it was staining time.
    Transparent black
    tb-12-2p-stained-back_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-stained-neck_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-stained-2_orig.jpg

    After a few coats of clear
    tb-12-2p-stained_orig.jpg

    And after lots of coats of clear I applied the decals
    tb-12-2p-decal-made-velp_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-brooks-name_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-brooks-logo_orig.jpg

    After I shot some more clear to "bury" the decals, I snaded with 2000 grit and then polished it.
    tb-12-2p-polished-ready-for-hardware-2_orig.jpg

    Then mounted the twelve tuners
    tb-12-2p-tuners-installed_orig.jpg

    Cut a top nut from a big chunk of buffalo horn. I used the brass nut from ETS as a template.
    tb-12-2p-buffalo-horn_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-top-nut2_orig.jpg
    tb-12-2p-top-nut_orig.jpg

    Mounted the rest of the hardware. And put the strings on. Almost ready.
    tb-12-2p-almost-ready_orig.jpg
     
  8. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Absolutely amazing work!
     
  9. ronknor

    ronknor

    Mar 18, 2021
    Simply gorgeous. Thank you for sharing the great pictures of each step!
     
    Orangeclawhammr and Basvarken like this.
  10. ficelles

    ficelles

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    That is just awesome! A beautiful piece of work and a unique bass. G*bson should be coming to you for ideas :)
     
  11. ceetee

    ceetee

    Apr 1, 2021
    Amazing piece of work! Thanks for sharing!

    I'd love to hear you play that beast
     
    Low Down Brown and Basvarken like this.
  12. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Extremely clean, precise work! I'll bet that sounds epic. Im curious, did you draw everything out ahead of time using a drawing program, or hand draw it? I "wing it" very rarely, I have to draw it to see it,so to speak.
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  13. Stunning! I'd love to hear a clip of that bad-boy.
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  14. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Wow! That is a stunner. Well done!
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  15. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    I always make a couple of drawings first. In Adobe Illustrator.
    Then select the final one and go ahead from there on.
    This was the winning design for the TB-12-Q ;-)

    brooks-tb-12-2p-v2_orig.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  16. HCF

    HCF Of course, YMMV

    Nov 30, 2008
    Amsterdam
    :drool::drool::drool:
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  17. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Made a quick video

     
    postalflunkie, Ewo, BadJazz and 33 others like this.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    that's a big instrument! amazing that there's no neck dive.

    it's beautiful! it sounds fantastic! great job! :thumbsup:
     
    DJ Bebop and Basvarken like this.
  19. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I love everything about this. All the material choices are spot on, and the build oozes quality. Thank you!
     
    VoodooJazz and Basvarken like this.
  20. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    What's the tuning on the extra strings?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Sep 20, 2021

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