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Update: New body design

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kibuddy, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Hello all,

    First off, I'd like to apologize to Frank Martin from my first thread here. I was a bit touchy with some of his criticism. Looking back on it, I was out of line.

    However, I took his criticism and applied it to designing a new body. I've made it a bit skinnier and made the lower bout quite a bit longer. I then proceeded to make a full-scale plywood mock-up (sans the headstock... I can't seem up to come up with one :rollno: ). It balances nicely on my lap, and I'm quite fond of the way it looks.

    So- my new design (I apologize for the picture quality):


    Note that the "neck" is the only thing that isn't full size. It's not wide enough, and it doesn't show where the fingerbord will actually end.

    I've since drawn in where all of the hardware and the pickup will be located, but the pencil won't quite show up with my camera.

    The little "fishtail" on the bottom is the one thing that I'm not sure how to go about constructing. I'm going to do a bit more research, but I think I have a good idea about how to do it.

    Questions, criticism (I promise to take it well this time :ninja: )?

    Thanks for looking.

    And tomorrow- I go wood shopping. :D
  2. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    While I don't particularly enjoy the shape, I won't tell you how I think it should look. The only thing I think is that it will be HEAVY.
  3. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    Hehe, I've had quite a few people say they don't like the design either. I like it, though, so I'm happy.

    As for the weight, I don't think it will actually be all that bad. You can't tell from the picture, but it's no bigger than my Jazz bass. I'm making the body wings out of swamp ash, as well, so that should help to keep the weight reasonable.
  4. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    I like the design. Nice job.

    One thing I will say is that the lower bout (where it joins the neck) will be a bear to sand.
  5. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Yeah, I'm not looking forward to that. If I must, I'll round it out a bit and get a drum sander in there.
  6. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    No prob. ;)

    Ready for a new round of criticism? Ok, you asked for it! :smug:

    That fishtail... is a bit ... erm.. strange.
    It breaks the flow of the curves and the shape of the entire bass. It look quite out-of-place. (Or, if we look at it differently, the body looks a bit like a lyra.)
    But that's just aesthetics. From a building POV, it will be a PITA to cut, route and sand.
    If you really want a fishtail, the Ken Lawrance/Carl Thompson/etc-style "traditional" shape would be both easier to make and might fit better with the shape.

    Is it just me, or is this bass as wide as it looks? How wide is it actually? I'd shave off a bit of the entire upper side, from upper horn to upper butt. Depending on the woods you will be using, this might save some weight.

    That's about it.
  7. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    I'd really like to keep the fishtail, if possible. I have no problem with modifying it, though. I'll play around with some of the old sketches I've got and see what I can come up with. I really should make it curve a bit more, as the angles where it joins the body are pretty scary looking, in retrospect.

    Like I said earlier, though you can't tell from the picture, it's no bigger than a Jazz bass- roughly 13 inches wide at the widest parts. It's a pretty pitiful picture though, I'll try to come up with something better.
  8. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Alright- here we go:



    That should give you a better idea of the actual size.

    The pencil marks showed up on this one, too.
  9. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Overall I like it. It could use some tweaking I think. As others have pointed out I think that the fishtail needs some adjustment. If it actually blended into the body with a curve rather than the hard corner I think it would look better. I'd also put hard corners at the very end off the fishtail.

    The same thing goes for the lower horn. I think that the way it hits the body by the neck is too abrupt. Some curving in there would make a big difference, IMO.

    Something like this:

  10. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    That's actually much nicer looking. The lower horn definitely had to change. There was no way I could find a way to sand such a hard corner. Same for where the fishtail joins the body.

    In other news, I got some of the wood today. Birdseye maple for the top wood ($20!) and a huge piece of cocobolo (will be a neck laminate) for $35. I'd post pictures, but my camera makes the wood look like crap.
  11. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    i am not fond of the tails in general and i dont think i will ever buy a bass with a tail ... or make one

    as for corners and hard edges, its best to avoid all hard edges. they are nasty to cut, sand and finish. also not very comfortable in playing. they can get caught up in gigbags and hard cases. they are more prone to breaking when bumped into anything or just wear out.

    also curves can cover up imperfections in your building.

    one last comment:
    the left win (single cut) needs to be adjusted a little. the part where your tummy cut should be from behind needs to be steeper with a smaller radius. also the lower part of the same wing, its curves need to be more sleek to give a feel that the body is not so big.

    ok, one more final comment ... more like a question. is the distance from the middle of the neck to the farthest point in both wings equal? it seems not to me from the pics. i could be wrong. if it is not, i think it better be because it will give a better feel of the body size and design.
  12. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    I quite like tails, myself. To each his own.

    Yeah, I'm going to get rid of all of those hard corners when it comes time to cut out the body wings. The cutaway on the right side (where the body joins the neck) will be rounded out considerably, and I'm working on a more rounded tail.

    I like that. :D

    I've been toying around with the idea of re-drawing that portion, but I'm not 100% sure I really want to. I'll do a few sketches with that part shrunken down a bit and see if I can come up with anything that really speaks to me. If not, though, then it stays the way it is.

    I just measured that out- there's a difference of about 1/4". I'll play around with it to see if I can balance out the body a bit more.

    Guys, this is all really helpful, thanks so much! I'm really glad you're all helping me refine this now, rather than running into any pitfalls while I'm actually cutting.
  13. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005
    Got the neck laminates cut up, I'll start gluing them in a bit. Progress thread coming soon.
  14. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    if i were you, i would post the neck template and ask for help in making the neck more than the body.

    the neck is a lot more difficult and needs more experience than bodies. good luck
  15. Kibuddy


    Apr 30, 2005

    Don't worry, I know how to build the neck. That's the part that I've done the most research on.

    The only reason I've been asking for help with the body is because my first design would have been woefully unbalanced, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't running into the same thing here.

    And I can assure you, I've had this kind of body stewing around in the recesses of my mind long before I saw that graphic. ;)

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