Unveiling IX: The Sienna Projekt (Special Edition Build-Off)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Malak the Mad, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Greetings and salutations, all you lovely people!

    I will admit to being a bit nervous about this particular unveiling, or at least, more so than usual. Despite the number of Projekts I've submitted for general scrutiny and, hopefully, approval, this is the first time I've taken part in a Build-Off…so, no pressure, right? But rather than wallowing in self-doubt, it's time to "bite the bullet", "cut to the chase" and "show my hand". (Too much American slang? I can never tell! :bookworm: :rolleyes:)

    Before I get started, I'd like to give a big shout-out to @Johnny Znuff for supplying the body and by extension, a lot of the inspiration for this newest creation o' mine! :thumbsup:


    The other cornerstone of this Projekt was a neck I harvested from a brand-new, 2019 Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jazz bass. It was, in fact, the first of the second generation CV's to arrive at my local Guitar Center. One look at that neck and I knew it had to be mine! :drool:


    The rest was a combination of ingredients that I've come to trust with time and experience, as well as some elements I'd been thinking about exploring for a while. So, without further ado, I submit for your enjoyment and discussion "The Sienna Projekt"!


    I'll get to the nuts-and-bolts portion in my follow-up posts, but for now, some pics with somewhat "less formal attire". :cool:


    As always, all questions, comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Many thanks for taking the time to look over my work.

    dlakWFh.gif 4MD1ucd.gif
  2. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Cool! That first pickguard is... Interesting.

    What kinda pickups are those? Logo is odd otherwise I'd say Nordstrands.
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  3. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc

    Thanks for this entry

    Could you please format you submission per request in the the following
    Special Edition Build off - Build em if ya got em

    If you can do this by the deadline, great!
    Otherwise without much information to go on here, I'm a bit reluctant to let it in for voting
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Okie-dokie…time for a detailed list of "ingredients", ja? ;)
    1. Alder Fender MIM Jazz bass body with a quilted top and a Siennaburst finish.
    2. Squier Classic Vibe (2nd generation) '70s Jazz neck
    3. Bartolini B-Axis J44J hum-cancelling pickups
    4. CTS 250k pots & .047 Orange Drop capacitor wired for parallel & series modes
    5. Fender American Standard bridge
    6. Hipshot Licensed Ultralite tuners & Drop-D tuner
    7. Custom-cut LP pickguard courtesy of Goshen Guitar Works
    8. (Also pictured…) Black/Cream/Black WD Music MIM Fender Standard pickguard
    9. D'Addario/Planet Waves elliptical end pins
    10. Total weight: 8lb., 15oz.
    For the time being, she's wearing a set of Ernie Ball Group III (.100 to .045-gauge) flatwound strings, but eventually I'll be switching over to a similarly-sized set of D'Addario XT coated roundwounds. The XT's yielded great results when matched up with Fender Custom Shop '60s pickups, so I want to see how the B-Axis pups stack up in comparison.

    My decision to go with the B-Axis pickups was three-fold. My first, hands-on experience with Bartolini pickups was a positive one. I'd installed one of their Classic BB soapbars in an earlier Projekt and it sounded great. Also, they came to my attention during a discussion on the Fender Jazz Bass Club thread. At that time, @RumbleMan3 was looking for a five-string equivalent to Fender's CS60's, so there is a bit of "research" involved in this build. (I'll be sure to pass on my findings to you, mate! :thumbsup:) And lastly, I must admit to being intrigued by the look of their staggered poles. As a former art-student, "Aesthetics" are an important part of my buying and building choices.

    Speaking of "Aesthetics"…oh my golly-goshness, that pickguard! :smug:

    Since this was going to be submitted to my first-ever Build-Off, I wanted to crank up the looks up to eleven. The original was a Black/Cream/Black guard for me by the fine people at WD Music and it looks perfectly fine. But for this Projekt, "perfectly fine" wasn't good enough, so I decided to run with an idea I've had kicking around my noggin for a year or two.

    I did some browsing and found Adam from Goshen Guitar Works, a guy who has experience turning vinyl LP's into custom cut pickguards. I reached out to him, batted around some emails and texts, got a quote, hashed out some details and sent him a record I had tucked away for just such a purpose.

    "Which LP?", you might ask. I wanted it to be something special and meaningful, so I used David Bowie's "Blackstar" as a tribute to one of the most talented and iconic rockstars that will ever walk the Earth…let alone orbit the sun!

    As for the rest, it has a number of my long-time favorite appointments. The smooth, sloping backplate and the handy threaded saddles of the Fender American Standard/Professional basses are a fantastic balance between "form" and "function".


    The same, too, goes to the Planet Waves elliptical end pins…visually pleasing, but with a purpose built into it's aesthetic. Then, of course, there are the oh-so-important tuners…


    I've become a very big fan of Hipshot Licensed (re: non-reversible) Ultralite tuners. As far as I'm concerned, they work just as well as their American-made counterparts. And no build of mine is complete without some kind of Drop-D tuner. What can I say, other than I love 'em to pieces?

    There's one last, but very significant thing about this Projekt o' mine…the wiring. Having a push-pull pot for the first volume control to allow for switching between Series and Parallel modes isn't particularly special. Great sound and tonal flexibility for sure, but no big deal, right? The big deal for me is it's my first, successful attempt at wiring a harness on my own!

    I started assembling this Jazz bass around late-March, the same time everything started locking down. That means no access to the guitar tech I would usually hand such jobs off to. Well, having plenty of time on my hands, I decided to try said idle hand at the first wiring job I'd performed in literally thirty years! Seriously, the last time I'd wielded a soldering gun to build something was back in my high school electronics class! And yet despite such a ridiculous gap of time, somehow I managed to pull it off…go fig! :wideyed: :jawdrop: o_O

    So, there you have it, True-Believers…my newest Projekt in all it's warm, honey-toned, Jazzy glory! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did assembling, photographing and documenting it!

    Stay healthy and safe, Y'all! ;)
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  5. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    On it! :thumbsup:
  6. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
  7. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    Got it.

    Malak the Mad likes this.
  8. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Wow Bartolini copied Nordstrand's twisted poles eh? Not sure how I feel about that. Actually, I dont really care, hehe.
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  9. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Looks good to me, and I'm not even a burst fan!
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  10. GoshenGuitars


    Jun 21, 2020
    It was my pleasure to be a part of this build! That bass Is most certainly a stunner!
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  11. Herbie Chesnutt

    Herbie Chesnutt Guest

    Mar 19, 2010
    Wake Forest, NC
    Super beautimus bass, congrats! Love the Bowie pickguard so much.

    I got the same model neck off the boards here as a temporary for my pj build while I saved up for a Warmoth. It is a great neck and the tuners are suprisingly good. I'm keeping the Squier and putting that money to other things.
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  12. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    thats real nice!...I like the old LP pickguard idea...and you could get picture disks LP's, that have color or pictures depending....sienna burst is nice color, instead of the typical sunburst....nice choice on the pickups too....I have Barts in my PJ...love them.......good build m8!
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  14. The burst on that bass is gorgeous!!!
  15. onamission

    onamission Supporting Member

    Who shot the burst? What a beautiful job.
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  16. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Awww…not even a little bit? :crying:

    To be honest, I have no idea who came up with that design first, but I'm pretty sure I spotted the Bartolini's first. That, combined with my previous positive experience with their brand led me in that direction. There might have been a couple of clearance sales at BestBassGear involved somewhere in the curating process, but I'll never tell. :whistle:

    Seriously though, are they here on TalkBass? If so, I'd like to thank them as well for contributing to this build! :woot:
    wmhill likes this.
  17. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Coming from you, JD, that's some mighty high praise! Thanks bunches! ;)

    Quick aside…now that things are starting to open up in the Garden State, I'll be getting back to work at my clinic out in your general stompin' grounds. Lots of additional safety protocols to observe, of course, but hopefully the extra effort will work out for all parties involved. :thumbsup:
    jd56hawk likes this.
  18. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Thanks again, Adam! I wanted this build to be special on many levels and you really brought it home for me. Bravo, good sir! :woot:

    P.S.: I'll be sure to send you the pics I took sometime soon. The question is do you want the raw, pre-Photoshop versions or the cropped and filtered, post-Photoshop ones?
  19. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    I think it looks okay with the LPickguard ;) but it looks amazing with the black one.
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  20. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Thanks, Herbie! The world feels a little bit emptier without The Thin White Duke/Goblin King/Ziggy in it, so I wanted to do something special as a fitting tribute to him. So far, most seem to approve.

    Now, if I wanted to dig even deeper, I could get another guard cut from a Tin Machine LP! Screw the critics and naysayers, those albums just flat-out rocked! sw2R0gH.gif

    Oh? Do tell. What'cha got in mind?