Twelve string Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basvarken, Jan 26, 2022.


  1. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Today I completed the build of a twelve string Thunderbird.
    The Brooks TB-12

    Specifications:
    - Mahogany body wings
    - Nine ply Mahogany/Walnut set neck. Neck through
    - Opaque white (blonde) high gloss finish
    - Abalonoid binding
    - Ebony fretboard
    - Circle position dots
    - Jumbo frets
    - 34" scale
    - Buffalo horn nut
    - Three ply black/white/black pickguard
    - 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: 4.2 kg

    Electronics circuit were done by my good friend Bas Becu (BQ Music)

    tb-12-wh-full-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-body-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-body-back-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-bridge-set-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-outputs-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-full-back-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-body-angle-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-body-back-angle-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-body3-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-full-back2-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-full-vertical-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-head-back2-1500_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-head2-1500_orig.jpg


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

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    It certainly looks cool, but 12 tuners and an oversized headstock on a Thunderbird - My left shoulder hurts just looking at that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
    Aqualung60, Winton, soulstew and 5 others like this.
  3. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Like all builds, it starts with finding the right slabs of wood.

    Mahogany Khaya body wings
    tb-12-wh-body-wings_orig.jpg

    Made a laminated neck blank of Mahogany with Walnut strips
    tb-12-wh-nice-ply-neck_orig.jpg

    Routed a slot for the carbon reinforcement strip in the middle of the neck
    tb-12-wh-routing-channel-for-carbon-strip_orig.jpg

    Glued it in and scraped it flush
    tb-12-wh-carbon-strip_orig.jpg

    Then routed the two truss rod channels
    tb-12-wh-routed-trussrod-channels_orig.jpg

    Chiseled the part where the spoke wheel goes out by hand
    tb-12-wh-truss-rods_orig.jpg
     
    Clark W, Goatrope, BeeTL and 7 others like this.
  4. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Bought a nice pre-radiused fretboard at Holz Faszination in Germany.
    Drilled holes for the position markers.

    tb-12-wh-drilling-for-postion-markers_orig.jpg

    Glued in the position markers that I made out of an aluminium tube and black inlays dots
    tb-12-wh-glueing-position-markers_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-position-markers-glued-in_orig.jpg

    After I sanded the inlays flush to the desired radius, I recut the fretlines to the right width and depth.
    tb-12-wh-sawing-the-fretslots_orig.jpg

    I always file off the top edges with a triangular file to make the fret seat properly
    tb-12-wh-breaking-the-top-of-the-slot_orig.jpg

    Then hammered in the frets
    tb-12-wh-ready-to-fret_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-hammering-in-the-frets_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-frets-hammered-in_orig.jpg

    Also made side position markers
    tb-12-wh-making-the-side-markers_orig.jpg

    Made some filler with ebony sawdust and glue to fill the little gaps on the side of the fretboard
    tb-12-wh-mix-ebony-dust-and-glue_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-filling-gaps-under-frets_orig.jpg

    And cut out the truss rod acces slot
    tb-12-wh-truss-rod-access_orig.jpg
     
    Clark W, BeeTL, icefly and 12 others like this.
  5. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    After I glued the fretboard on (sorry no pix)
    I started shaping the neck

    tb-12-wh-neck-throgh-rough_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-headstock-shape2_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-headstock-shape3_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-headstock-shape_orig.jpg

    Building a bass like this requires some thinking ahead. I drilled holes for the pickup wires in the lower wing, prior to glueing it to the centerpiece
    tb-12-wh-wiring-holes-in-lower-wing_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-glueing-lower-wing_orig.jpg

    Then glued the upper wing
    tb-12-wh-glueing-upper-wing_orig.jpg

    Routed the body shape (again sorry no pix)
    And routed the pickup cavities
    tb-12-wh-routed-pickup-cavities_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-testing-pickup-cavities_orig.jpg

    Then the tricky part of routing the binding profile. The body can't be detached, so I had to come up with a plan.
    I made and extra template with a profile that compensates the raised center piece.
    So the router could route up to the neck.

    tb-12-wh-routing-for-binding2_orig.jpg

    Found out I had drilled the output holes too early. So I temporarily filled them up ;-)
    tb-12-wh-routing-for-binding_orig.jpg

    The glued the abalonoid binding in place
    tb-12-wh-abalonoid-binding_orig.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
    BeeTL, icefly, Rayjay and 10 others like this.
  6. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Carved the belly cut on the back of the body
    tb-12-wh-belly-cut_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-belly-cut3_orig.jpg

    I cut a piece off the giant buffalo horn that I sawed in pieces last summer.
    tb-12-wh-buffalo-horn_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-buffalo-horn-nut_orig.jpg

    And copied the brass template that ETS made for me
    tb-12-wh-buffalo-horn-nut-cutting-grooves_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-buffalo-horn-nut-cutting-grooves2_orig.jpg

    Test fitted all the tuners before I started the pore filling
    tb-12-wh-testing-tuner-holes_orig.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
    Goatrope, BeeTL, ahbradot and 17 others like this.
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wow that's gorgeous!
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  8. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    I used Z-poxy as a porefiller on this one. Works great if the wood does not have to be stained.
    tb-12-wh-porefiller-on-front_orig.jpg

    After I sanded it smooth, I sprayed the white blonde nitrocellulose.
    My goal was to keep the nine ply laminate of the neck visible
    tb-12-wh-white-blonde-back_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-white-blonde-front_orig.jpg

    Then did a very thin coat of pale yellow to make it less white
    tb-12-wh-paleyellow-front-body_orig.jpg

    Scraped the binding clean
    tb-12-wh-scarping-binding-clean-close_orig.jpg

    And I cut a pickguard at the FabLab
    tb-12-wh-white-pickguard_orig.jpg

    After lots of sanding and a few top coats of clear finish, I polished the finish. And mounted the hardware. Bridge set was custom made by ETS Hardware in Germany. It took forever, but it was worth the wait.
    tb-12-wh-hardware-mounted_orig.jpg
    tb-12-wh-hardware-mounted2_orig.jpg

    Stringed her up for the fist time
    tb-12-wh-stringed-head_orig.jpg

    And decided against the white pickguard. Opted for the black one that I also made.
    tb-12-wh-stringed-black-pg_orig.jpg
     
    Goatrope, BeeTL, WillyW and 23 others like this.
  9. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    The bass weighs 4.2 kilograms.
    And the tuners are very lightweight.
    No neck dive!
     
    BeeTL, Winton, mb94952 and 15 others like this.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I always enjoy your build threads. Beautiful bass here. That MOP binding is really sharp. Well done as always.
     
    GodsLove66 and Basvarken like this.
  11. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Very nice! This was a perfect read over morning coffee. :thumbsup:
     
  12. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    Beautiful! When I saw the first picture in your first post I thought: "Okay, It's just another TB-12, just white instead of black." Turns out it's a super intereseting build process with great solutions and detail. I love the stepped binding!
     
    GodsLove66 and Basvarken like this.
  13. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    Yeah, the big difference with the previous TB-12 is that that one had a glued in neck. Whereas this new one is truly neck through (like a proper Thunderbird ;-) )
     
    BeeTL, Dabndug, Gaolee and 2 others like this.
  14. Wow! Congrats! Love the binding, classy.

    Just a pair of quick question. How many FT/LBS of tension do you have with a 12 string as opposed to a 4 string, and does it require a stronger truss Rod, and or other reinforcement for the additional stress. Thanks.
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  15. I would play the sh!t outta that thang................beautiful work sir!
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  16. Gorilla Fingers

    Gorilla Fingers

    Jan 16, 2022
    Texas
    That's... That's just mint, man.
     
    ryan pate likes this.
  17. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    As you can see in the specifications in the opening post and in the build report below, the neck has two truss rods and a carbon reinforcement strip.
     
    BeeTL and instrumentalist like this.
  18. That's beautiful!

    John
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  19. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    I don' t know if that's luck, skill, or denial, but whatever it is, go with it.
     
    Basvarken likes this.
  20. Basvarken

    Basvarken Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2010
    Velp Rockcity
    Amateur Luthier / Gibson Bass Book
    None of the twelve string bass guitars that I have built, suffer neck dive. So it can't be just luck ;-)
     
    ctmullins, BeeTL, GodsLove66 and 4 others like this.
  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.

     
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