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What am I forgetting?!?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by taviswardlaw, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Okay, very soon I'm gonna start making my first bass... A six string (fretted) Single cutaway (neck thru), kinda like the nordstrand SC model (www.nordstrand.com) and I'm wondering what I've forgotten.
    Im looking for a fat tone and don't really mind if it's a little heavy. So I'm using a mahogany body with a birdseye maple/ wenge neck, ebony fingerboard and myrtle top (i'm not 100% on the back but probably a nice spalted maple or maple burl).
    I'm buying the hardware first, then making the neck and fingerboard to make sure I've got my scale absolutely right and then buying the body woods.
    What am I forgetting?
  2. Oh yeah.. I'm thinking bartollini pup's to get that growl i'm searching for... maybe EMG's though...
  3. Tavis, IMO you might be missing a little tone from that neck combination. All three are woods are pretty dense and I think you could gain a bit by maybe softening up that fretboard a little. With proper construction you shouldn't have a problem with neck bow so don't let stiffness be your only guide.

    Also, lMO, you don't get all of the effect of a warmer wood like the mahogany when you sandwich it with plates of maple. Leave the back off and just go with the top.

    But be forewarned, Tone is not a commodity that can be accurately and consistently defined and then assembled from an aggregate of parts. The initial design, construction techniques, and the harmony of the electronic package with the wood package will all have more effect on the overall tone than just the wood selections alone.

    I find it a lot easier in the planning and more fun in the construction if I use the known wood tonal characterisitics as a very, very loose guideline in my design. I know that just about ANY combination will have a pleasing tone and I prefer to allow the instrument to tell me what it will to sound like rather than me try to dictate what I want it to sound like only to have it differ for reasons I wouldn't understand anyway. To me it's much more fun to get to the end of a build and plug in the instrument for the first time and hear it. And what I've heard has nearly always justified my choices along the way and that's how I've learned. YMMV
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Well said 'bone. I really like getting them assembled for the first time and sitting in a quiet room and playing it without plugging in for a bit