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Your Opinions on my new DP Custom

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Brooks, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I am about to comission Dave to start work on my dream 4-string bass, and just wanted to run the specs by you guys. I would appreciate any comments/suggestions.

    Here are the specs:


    ·Construction: Neck-through, 34” scale

    · Wenge/Maple/PurpleHeart/Maple/Wenge. PurpleHeart to be as wide as it needs be to support the truss rod. Most of the neck wood should be wenge.

    ·1 1/2" at the nut, Fender Jazz spacing at the bridge. Neck shape based on Fender Jazz also.

    ·Bone Nut

    ·Figured Cocobolo Fingerboard with green abalone dot inlays.

    ·Green Abalone Side Dots

    ·Amboyna Burl veneer on headstock, followed by a PurpleHeart veneer

    ·Cocobolo inlay on headstock, reads Brooks


    Somewhat similar to an Alembic Essence 4 string

    ·Amboyna burl top

    ·Body construction: Amboyna Burl approx 1/8” (or more if wood permits) body cap, followed by a PurpleHeart accent stripe (approx. 1/32" or so), followed by light Swamp Ash.

    ·Tung Oil

    -Electronics Cover: Wood, matching the back of the bass. Separate Battery cover/holder, doesn’t require screws to open


    Shaller Strap Locks
    ·ABM Gold-plated Bridge

    Tuners: Hipshot Ultralights, gold-plated


    Neck Pickup: Bartolini J, passive.
    Bridge Pickup: Bartolini MM-style, passive, with MM-style switch (Series/Parallel/SingleCoil). Output of the switch goes to the pre-amp
    ·U-Retro Preamp

    Foil Shielding

    So..what do you guys think? It's kind of a cross between a Lakeland and an Alembic. I hope to be able to get good lower mids and growl, plus very nice slap tone. Still wondering if I should go with Basslines for a more agressive sound. U-Retro has variable mids, so it should be able to get Barts to growl well...but that's in theory.
  2. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State

    I bet you will have a great bass!

    Here's my advice having gone through this process with Dave:

    1. Be extreemly specific. For example, how thick do you want each of the stringers to be on the neck? Sweat every detail.

    2. Is the body top full or "wings"?

    3. The neck shape is "based" on the Fender Jazz. What part is not based on the jazz?

    4. How much figure do you want in the wood?

    5. I didn't understand the "Amboyna Burl veneer on headstock, followed by a PurpleHeart veneer"

    6. What type style for "Brooks" on the headstock?

    7. The electronics cover is open to interpretation. I have several examples of different approaches. If you want, I can send them to you.

    Anyway, these are just a few example of how you can tighten up your spec.

    Let me know if I can help...
  3. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Thanks Jeff...very useful feedback!
  4. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    First off - Good thing you're listening to Jeff. His beauty is almost finished. Mine isn't too far behind.

    To address some specifics;

    - the 6-piece neck. If that is what would make you happy and cost is no object, by all means, go for it. If it's not that big of a deal (after all, you're about the only one who will ever see it), it sounds like overkill with the 6 plys and 3 woods to me. A 4 string won't stress the neck as much as a multi-string.

    The wenge might be hard to come by, due to civil war in the Congo. Timber Commodity News says very little is getting out and Warwick doesn't even offer it any longer. Some wood sources say they can't get it any longer.
    Plus, you would be using it in long, thin, pieces. It is a coarse wood that splinters like crazy, so you'll need a lot more than will actually end up on your bass. Hopefully, Dave already has some.

    - The figured cocobolo fingerboard with green abalone dot inlays is cool as long as you don't mind paying for it. (The top of my Pushic is all exhibition grade cocobolo).

    The "figured" will be a matter of how much figuring you want. The wild stuff is hard to come by and costs out the kazoo.

    Also, do you mind if your fingerboard has poly on it??? Cocobolo is oily wood that darkens a great deal quite rapidly. A polyurethane finish with a UV protectant is the only way to seal off the oils and keep the wood color bright. Perhaps you'll luck out and get some cocobolo that isn't oily.

    - The Green Abalone Side Dots and inlay - I opted for Ablam abalone rather than natural shell slices. Ablam is much more highly figured, is easier to work with, and costs less than whole shell

    - The Amboyna Burl veneer on headstock, followed by a PurpleHeart veneer - Like Jeff, I don't get this either. Only one wood is going to appear on the headstock unless you are spec'ing some sort of "half and half" headstock. "Veneer" connotes what the surface is.

    - The cocobolo inlay on headstock, reads Brooks - could be a real bitch, especially if the lettering is fancy and small. The reason shell is typically used for inlay is because it is so dense, it can be cut into small pieces without fracturing.

    In spite of my cautions, you have a good start. Dave would be the ultimate expert on this stuff because he knows his available materials and capabilities better than any of us.
  6. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Thanks for your comments Ric. Re. the neck, it's actually 5 pieces. Maple will be just for visual accent, so it's really wenge and purpleheart that will matter.

    Re. the cocobolo, I will leave it to Dave as to the best way to treat it. I don't mind poly at all - played on a Ric for a long time, and they have poly over their fretboard too. So does my G&L (maple board).

    As far as 'veneers' are concerned, the headstock design is such that both will be visible from the side, plus I will have a sort of a cutout that will show them off. My Alembic Essence has 3 thin stips of wood on the face of the headstock, and another 3 on the back - looks great, and I hear, also makes it much stronger. That's where I got the idea from.

    Re. the Ablam, yeah...seen it in StewMac catalogue and forgot about it, but it seems like a good idea.

    Re. the inlay on the headstock, I chose cocobolo because of the fretboard. So far, Dave didn't say anything about it being tricky or difficult, but if it is, Ablam would probably do, I am not too picky about that.

    Thanks for all the input!
  7. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Actually "veneer" just means a very thin slice of the wood. For instance, Alembic says that for laminates less than .125", they don't saw/plane them themselves, they use veneer. This applies to the walnut in their multi-maple (no purpleheart or ebony) necks.

    The 5-piece neck sounds great, if I understand it's really 3-piece with the maple thrown in to offset the two dark woods from each other.

    The whole thing sounds good. You'll have to post some pics once she's underway. :)
  8. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Correct. Both wenge and purpleheart are dark, so I wanted a thin strip of maple to offset that.
  9. dark wood = dark tone.

    this is not always the case, but is kind of a good starting point. if you've done your homework and know for sure what kind of tone you want then go for it, but if you picked your woods because you like the looks you may want to think about it.

    you said you wanted a good slap tone, I'm not too up with what kind of tone wenge produces, but the swamp ash would help out there. remember with a neck through, the neck wood plays a big part in how it sounds.

    the electronics sound awesome, I wouldn't change a thing. you should be able to get tons of tones to play with :D

    on the body, myself, I wouldn't use so many laminates. I like the tone of wood better than the tone of glue. but, this is your bass. also I heard Alembics are prone to neck dive due to the short upper horn. if your body shape is like those you might want to reconcider. but, you say you already have an Alembic so....

    I like the no inlay look myself, but that green sounds awesome.

    best wishes on your bass, sounds like it's gonna be a winner! hopfully my DP will be done soon, I can't wait. :cool:
  10. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Thanks for the comments Chump Stain. Re. the tone, I specked swamp ash to balance the 'dark' nature of the wenge. Wenge is supposed to give me good lows and lower midrange, plus some growl. Maple and purpleheart should add some top end bite. Top is really for cosmetic purposes, I don't expect it to contribute too much to the tone.

    My Alembic has Maple/Swamp Ash body with a walnut stripe in between - sounds great, and looks good too. I considered this issue re. too much glue, but then, so many of the basses (especially high end) that I like use this approach, so..why not?

    Re. the body balance, my Alembic is very well balanced. If you check Alembic web site, you will see that Essence is much more traditional looking than other Alembics, so no neck dives. It has a proper upper bout, so I am not worried about this. Also, with MM pickup and a heavy ABM bridge plus the preamp and the battery on the other end, it should balance nicely.
  11. sounds good man! Yeah, you know, you don't want to just jump right in and say "I take that, and that, O and some of this". sounds like you thought it out real good. you want to make sure you have something you'll like for years to come, and it sounds like you will.

    cool man, you got to keep us posted. post some pics when he sends 'em your way. that way I can steal 'em and put 'em in my DP custom photo album I've been building:D
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Okay, let's get all pissy about semantics. :rolleyes: From the dictionary;

    - "A thin surface layer, as of finely grained wood, glued to a base of inferior material.
    Any of the thin layers glued together to make plywood.
    A decorative facing, as of brick.
    A deceptive, superficial show....."

    Unless Wickersham is your reference instead of Webster :D
  13. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    ooh do you have pics of my DP Custom in there too?:D

    As for Brooks's bass, that should be one kick ass instrument. You might want to consider the Bartolini NTMB-18 preamp to go with the Bart pups instead of the U-retro. I have one in my DP Custom and its great. Of course I don't have any experience with a U-retro so I can't really compare the two.
  14. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Actually..Dave's website kinda sucks a bit (which is OK, the man spends time making basses, not websites), especially the pics. I was thinking of redoing it for him, as a freebie (hope he likes my version!), so maybe you guys could send me pics of your axes?

    I don't have any experience with the Bart preamp, but if I remember right, mids are switchable between 3 different center frequencies. On U-Retro (non-Jazz version of J-Retro), mids are variable, and that is what really attracted me to it. Plus the fact that I read a lot about how U-Retro seems to bring the best out of Barts. I wish I could try both, but being in the Middle East, there's no chance of that, so, I'll go with U-Retro. If it doesn't work out, I'll just move into my Project Bass - a Samick which has a very nice body and neck, but really bad pups and a preamp.

    Thanks for all the comments guys, keep them coming. I am about to 'freeze' the specs, and this is really a great way to see if I am on the right track!
  15. i have to agree with jeff about being VERY specific. i have a DP that i love, but if i would've paid a little more attention to detail it would be even better. i'm referring to pickup spacing from neck and bridge, body contours & EXACT dimensions, straplok placement, etc... all small details, but they make a difference when you put a little extra time into it. i would recommend making a full size body drawing as well defining everything you want. you might want to add some composite stringers to the neck too.. i can't remember the material (carbon graphite(?), anyone help me here?) but it does make a difference.

    the 5 pc neck trips me out. i was gonna have dave do one, but he recommended 3 pc due to the amount of glue needed. i have a Pau Ferro neck, and it gives a good dark tone as well. i would recommend that if dave can't get the Wenge.

    good luck, it sounds great, i just sent specs for another one myself

  16. actually your bass was the insperation for mine :D I went with the exact same shape (headstock and all). I just changed the woods, electronics, and hardware around. so, of course I got some pics of yours!:cool:

    hey funkingus,
    you still as stoked about your DP as you were when you first got it? have any new pics of it?

    here's Phat Ham's bass
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Brooks - It's 4am after a Sat night gig, so I don't know why I was thinking about your cocobolo, but I was.

    Anyway, if you like the insane-looking cocbolo as do I, you might ask Dave if he has enough left from the board I bought for my body top to use for your fretboard and inlay.

    It doesn't get much better than that. Here's a pic of the original board from my online photo album that Mr. Rader graciously put up for me;

  18. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    My guitar player got a nice new digital camera for Christmas so as soon as I get back to school I'll take some pics of my bass and email them over to ya.

    In my last post I just wanted to let you know how much I like the Bart in my bass. I'm sure the U-retro sounds great and you'll be happy with it.
  19. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I wish I could take credit for it, but the headstock and body are all Dave's design. I couldn't come up with anything good on my own.
  20. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Wow Rick! That's an awesome looking board! Thanks!

    I did toy with the idea of using cocobolo for the top, but then I saw this Amboyna Burl, and really liked it. On the other hand, I have decided on a cocobolo fretboard long time ago - I just love the look of it.


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