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Yet another build thread, questions and ideas inside.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Zetora, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Yes another build thread, yet this is the forum topic as sorts.

    Never built an instrument before, yet as my dad is a joiner/builder/woodworker by trade I have enough equipment and basic woodwork experience on hand.

    I am considering wood types so far, this is to but a 6 string bass guitar, bolt-on, 34" scale. One thing I would like a little advice on is wood types, now before you stop reading here I'm not asking for best wood type or wood type to obtain [insert tone description here], its a practical would it likely be strong enough or would you strongly recomend against it strongly.

    Also I have done my research on these borads so please no flaming.

    I am considering a 7 peice bolt-on neck, 1/2"Walnut-1/4"Plain Maple-1/2"Walnut-1"Flamed Maple-1/2"Walnut-1/4"Plain Maple-1/2"Walnut, centred two way truss rod with two metal supports (unsure as to what I can get my hands on as of yet, carbon fibre maybe but unsure). This with a Flamed Maple fingerboard, 5 or 7 bolts to body depending on fret number, tempted on 26-30 frets. Walnut body with a Burl Maple top, angled headstock.

    Anyone see anything which may be a problem within that?

    Also the string spacing likely to be about 16.5mm, if I can get my hands on a 2 peice warwick bridge, but can't seem to get my hands on it so far over here in England (if anyone can help me on that, that would be much appreciated)

    Would that be a strong enough neck for the 6 string?

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the help :)

  2. justateenpoet

    justateenpoet Have you...killed the Venture brothers!?!?

    May 14, 2005
    I don't see a problem with strength in your neck, but here's two things to consider:

    1. If you can find quartersawn maple, use that instead of the two strips of plain. Quartersawn is much more rigid, so you'll have less chances of warping or twisting.

    2. Walnut...walnut is HEAVY, and you've got a lot of it in there. Walnut is also apparently infamous for having a rather dark, muddy tone when used as a body wood. Considering you're building a sixer, I'd say to try and avoid using over an inch thickness of it in the body. You've already got a lot of it in the neck, so just tread carefully with your selection.

    Carbon fiber (or fibre, since you're british :p ) can be obtained here:

  3. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Thank you for the very quick reply on that one, I was wondering about weight, though unsure of a compramise there, I like the neck configuration, also the body I can only get an 1" walnut or go for two 3/8" blocks from the supplier I'm getting them from. I don't want a body of 11/8" thick body, I was considering making it a total of 1" thick and salvaging ~3/8" walnut for a second project through for another time. I was considering maple back, walnut centre then a burl maple top but I want the walnut on view more than the centre.

    Thanks cause that is a concern of mine, though would the neck and fretboard not clear the sound up a bit as I thought it was quite an even match of maple vs walnut (apart from the body obviously)

    Thanks for the site also, I will definately consider that if I can't find somewhere more local (can't say I've had a good look though).


  4. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    LMII (www.lmii.com) also sells carbon fiber (called "graphite" in this case) neck reinforcements.

    Flame figure seems to be hard to find in hard (or rock) maple (birdseye is the big one there), so you might be forced to use soft maple for your fingerboard. If you do, just be sure to coat your fingerboard with something hard to protect it from abuse.

    Good luck and be sure to keep us posted.

  5. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Thanks Nateo, I will sure to bring update, when I have collected all the info I want to be able to make a set design, got a couple of designs floating around in my head, nothing on paper until I know what I want and can get. Also I am sure I will be on these boards for information on such as the coating of rht fingerboard and finishes.


  6. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I dunno about a warwick bridge but ETS makes two piece bridges and they are based in Europe somewhere. IIRC they offer several spacings on that bridge as well, I have more detailed info I can look at once I get back home.

    Check out the MK III:
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Walnut is on average not much heavier than honduras mahogany. It's about the same on average as soft maple, with a specific gravity around .62. Honduras ranges from about .55-.65 on average. Alder on average .53, european maples in the .65 range.

    You're probably in a better position to get a Warwick bridge than most of us on this side of the pond since they are based in Germany. JP of JP Basses might have a contact in Germany for you.
  8. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Thanksm Paintandsk8, definately be having a good luck and consider that as an option. Thanks FBB Custom, I am still mslightly concerned for the amount I am usuing but ifi worst comes to worst I can sit it on my lap and play, not too much of a worry.

    Also I will certainly look into that as an option also.

    Thank you both,

  9. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Again thanks paintandsk8, been in touch with them and it looks like thats solved that aspect of this project.

    I understand what people say about bass prjects not being for cutting down costs or saving time, this is going to take ages to do and cost a good £250-300, but its all going to be worth it, if only for the experience.

    I'll be back soon with some updates on the proccess, hopefully ordering all the parts soon enough (towards end of week I think)


  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Walnut and maple. A good, well tested combo.
    I was just wondering about a few things:
    Why 7-piece neck? It won't be 3,5" at the head, so I figure that a 5-piece would be as pretty. And the flames on the center maple will barely be noticable on a nearly flat inch.
    Don't overdo the bolting. I know somebody will flame me, but as a fact, it's the bolts at the end of the body and the bottom of the pocket that makes it. The others are mainly for non-operational stability.
    What kind of ugly walnut did you find for the body? :eyebrow: I mean, normal walnut is at least as pretty as a maple burl, lighter in weight and easier to work. And about as resistant to dents. No need for a top!

    I hope this confused you a little bit :D Confusion, rethinking and careful planning is half the job and 3/4 the fun of instrument building! :hyper:
  11. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    I'm unsure why I designed it as 7 peice, but its that way in my mind, and thats the way I want it to stay haven't exactly got a good reason, as supprot purposes, 2 reinforcements and a truss rod should be ample enough with the maple and walnut, just the way i want it really. And the Flame, I think I am going to use normal maple instead. Oh and the body top, well its all down to prefference realy, once its done and i have a picture you may see why I wanted the top, but maybe not I dont know, unfortunately I haven't got any of the materials as of yet, thats what I am planning on doing with my next couple of days, and i think a 5/6 bolt should be good enough for me (prob 5 but haven't made a dead set design to base it fully on yet, seeing what i can get so I can design around it all.)

    Unfortunately that didn't confuse me but please keep trying when I post more on it, it is certain 3/4 of the fun of instrument building, I have been doing enough of it in my head. Oh and the head, it is likely to be a good 3" at some points on the head stock and as said I have my mind set on it as I like the idea and can't see a reason why not.

    Thanks and hope you confuse me soon enough

  12. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Right an update, yes ok it is in a bit of a wrong order but I have ordered my bridge for my bass (first thing ordered).

    Getting onto the wood, as unfortunately it doesn't look like I can get down to the place i'm getting it from, I'll have to order over the net, which is ok. But either way I need to know what I'm getting, ok yes I know the woods I'm getting, but glue and finishes, I am clueless.

    That is why I am posting here.

    I have been looking and I have many options possible to get, Titebond is a main one, with several options of that;

    Titebond Original wood glue - alphatic resin glue - forumlated for hard and soft woods and other porus materials - bonds stronger than wood, heat resistant, sands easily, storng intial tack, sets fast.

    Titebond liquid hide glue - Titebond was the first hide glue offered in liquid form. It offers long assembly time, superior
    strength on most porous surfaces and unique
    crackling effect. It is ideal for musical instruments.
    * Slow set allows precise assembly
    * Excellent for crackling effect
    * Ideal for fine furniture repair.

    Titebond Polyurethane Glue
    A breakthrough in adhesive technology. The only
    polyurethane glue that combines a long 20 minute
    working time with a short 45 minute clamp time. A
    versatile multi-purpose glue, it will bond metals,
    ceramics and most plastics as well as wood. It
    sands easily, it is unaffected by finishes and will
    not expand or contract the glue joint.


    Behlen Stringed Instrument Lacquer
    • A specially formulated nitro-cellulose lacquer for wooden stringed instruments
    • Produces a finish more resistent to cold checking and scuffs and is more flexible than standard furniture grade lacquers • Will not scratch “white" •
    • As used by leading American manufacturers and custom shops

    Behlen vinyl sealer
    • Ideal as a base for behlen stringed instrument lacquer with superior adhesion and clarity compared to
    conventional sealers.
    • Works well as a moisture barrier and helps prevent bleeding in rosewood etc. and colour coats. Also helps block contaminents, such as oil and silicones, from migrating into top coats

    Teak or danish oil.

    I am ordering from;

    So if you see anything which is better than those I would appreciate you recommending them to me.

    The woods being used are flamed maple top (for body) flamed maple finger board, flamed maple veneer, and walnut.

    I am sorry for such a large question, I am going to see if I can find myself some answers yet I thought I might as well ask and see if anyone would be so kind as to help me out.

    Also what is the commmon radius used for 6 stringed instruments fret boards?

    Thank you for the help, it is very much appreciated, I feel quite stupid for not knowing/finding out more on this as I should have already.


  13. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    I know its such a long post but can no one give me a little bit of advice?


  14. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I find that any good quality wood glue works fine. Titebond is good.

    IMO, an oil finish is less of a pain to work with than nitro, especially if you aren't set up with a proper spray system like a booth and then like.

    6 string fingerboard radii vary a lot. My Dingwall is a 9" to 25" compound radius. My JP was a flat board with no radius to it. Both felt fine. On a wider board I find that flatter is better. If I were to put a radius on a 6 string I would probably look at either 16" or 20".
  15. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    Thank you Geoff S.G. though I was wondering about what a protective finish would be for it? I just dont want to dint it too easily and try to prevent any dints and such, of course i'm going to be careful with it but these things happen, and any prevention of damage to it when i knock it on something is good, what would you recomend which is likely to be able to be done with some practice by a "beginner"?

    And thanks for the radius advice, I went into my brothers room and had a go on his classical guitar (of course a bit different to a full size size string neck, but i like the flat fretboard, so i'll try it, and of course, if i really dont like it, i can do something to change it.