Z Bass II - Preliminary Designs Underway

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tZer, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. The bug bit again and I had to start at least designing the follow-up to Z Bass.

    Z Bass II will be:

    Neck: Neck-thru, Maple, Fretted, w/Rosewood fretboard (Jazz V dimensions, 21 frets)
    Inlay style? - Possibly block or somthing similar to Ric's 4001 triangles...
    Body: Maple or Ash - thin profile
    Pickups: J-Style (probably passive, noisless - but nothing firm yet) - V, V, T
    Simple, Fender-style, 5-string bridge and J-style nut.
    Finish: Painted (solid color with solid color pickguard)

    I am sticking with my general body shape with some subtle modifications:


    A Z Bass Family shot:

    The lower bout, bass side of the body will be a little fuller than the original Z Bass with a more dramatic turn into the dip.

    The upper horn 'cresting wave' will have a little more curve at the top.

    The lower horn will be more of an 'answer' to the upper horn.

    Control cavity will be routed in the top instead of the back, like Z Bass I.

    I'm in the very early phases of design and I expect it to evolve like the last one, but for the time being, this is the design I am working with.

    I am going for a more 'retro' flavor with a solid color paint job - something like antique or olympic white w/black pickguard - or vice-versa, black (think Jetglo) paint with white/white-ish pickguard.

    A more simple, Rock and Roll aesthetic. Yes, I've got Geddy's 4001 in mind - but I want to remain open to other cool two-tone variations -
    Red/Maroon Body w/Black PG
    Red/Maroon Body w/ tan/copper PG
    Good old black and white or White and black... But simple and bold.

    I think I'd like to bind the body.

    This will be my first fretting job and I am nervous about that... But I am sure I'll get through it with a little help from my TB friends!

    This, like my last build, will unfold slowly. I'll be acquiring my parts slowly as I can carve out a few $$ here and there. I am shooting for begining to cut wood when the weather warms up to bearable. One of the drawbacks of having to work in an unheated garage.

    Away we go!
  2. asad137


    Jan 18, 2007
    Looks cool, man! I definitely get the 'modern Ric' vibe from the body and pickguard.

  3. asad137 - thanks! That's pretty much what I'm shooting for this time.
  4. Very nice! Subscribed.. :smug:
  5. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Looks great. Like, really great.
  6. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I really like this shape! Kind of Ric-ish, but flows more.
  7. slyjoe

    slyjoe Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2008
    Valley of the Sun (AZ)
    Family shot? More like a single school shot with an ultrasound of the one in the oven :)

    Looks great - did you change the lower bout to have more of a "hook" from the first design?
  8. I'm in love with the design!
  9. Yeah, baby! It's 3:30am - just in from another fantastic, universe-expanding jam session - and I get to read this!

    Thanks - I am confident this build is going to kick ass.
  10. Yep - exactly. The last one's got 'massaged' out. Too much shaping. Shaping can be very addicting, especially with the flex drum sander... you can get carried away... that sort of softened most of the more exaggerated moves in the original design. I don't want to make that same mistake this time.
  11. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    heh, those are always a good time. they dont happen nearly as much as i would like though.

    really looking forward to seeing this one take shape. i was very impressed with your first build, and love your styling, as far as how much all the parts flow together. i see a lot of quality work floating around, but not all of it seems to have that cohesion, you know?
  12. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    Great design - fantastic take on the Ric-look!
  13. asad137


    Jan 18, 2007
    Is it going to be 33.25" scale like a Ric?


  14. No - 34", like my last build. I do like the feel of shorter scale basses, but not 35". Being a 5 string, I feel I need every inch (boy, there's a phrase that sounds bad out of context...). 34" is the scale of my last build as well as the scale of my Fender and MusicMan, so I'm going with what I'm used to.
  15. Hmmm...I was only looking at your first build thread for about the fifteenth time the other day and thinking how much I like the first design, as people have said a little Ric-esque, but you can tell from my board name that the Ric 4000/1/3/4 has been one of my favourite bass designs since I was 14.

    I thought your first build was a fantastic take on an updated Ric look with maybe a touch of Marleaux Consat thrown in (another shape I really like - surprise, surprise).

    I'm not sure this second design has quite got that pizazz, but I'm prepared to eat my words. Look forward to watching the build.
  16. Jools4001 - We'll see. I feel like the updates I've made to my original design bring it closer to a Ric. You may be right.

    I am also going to keep this one more 'square finished' - not rounding over the edges and keeping it more like a Ric and I am probably going to bind the body too - both, in my mind, make it very Ric-esque.

  17. i dig it. kinda want one the more i look at it.
  18. I was waiting to see another of your dsigns to come to life!
    good luc,k with this one!
  19. I probably came over as being too harsh, I meant it as a backhanded complement. I still like the second design (as I said ^^^ up there, pretty much anything that has shades of Ric in it gets my vote).

    But, whilst I LIKE the second, I LOVE the first...it's an inspiration (and also trumps a build I was planning)

  20. Thanks a lot! It's really great to hear especially since the things I'm trying to accomplish with this one's look seem to be recognizable.

    But I am glad I took your post the way I did - which wasn't badly at all - I took it as an honest appraisal of your take on the design. Since you do appreciate the Ric angle of thing much the way I seem to, your comments made me take a closer look.

    The way I made the paper model was by looking at the screen (I didn't have access to a printer) and sketching it by hand - by eye. I traced my original Z Bass and my Fender Jazz V onto the posterboard to provide boundaries and shape hints, then traced in the adjustments by looking at my design on screen.

    I used my Fender V for dimension references for bridge, neck and pup placement.

    So the paper model is not a full-scale printout of my digital rendering - which I do like better than the paper model.

    After your comments, I started looking at the photo in comparison to the design and I found that I do want to adjust the body of the paper model to be much closer to the digital rendering.

    Here's the original design:

    And here's a picture of the full-scale paper model that I distorted to compensate for the perspective of the picture.

    And here's an overlay of the original on the skewed photo:

    Being that I did use my Fender bass for actual measurements in my full-scale model, there will be some aspects that I don't change much. But the lower bout (if that's the correct way to refer to the bridge end of the body) - is going on a diet and the lower horn is getting reduction surgery as it protrudes more than I'd like and is a little to wide.

    I am going to bring the center dips in more - maybe not quite as deep as shown, but definitely more - which will alter the design of the pick guard a bit. In my opinion, for the better.

    It's really something how a little perspective in a photo can significantly alter how the shape look! Of course, it makes perfect sense - but when I did the overlay, I was struck by how skewed the photo was and realized that doesn't accurately show the proportions.

    And I love the first one too - and thanks again for your compliments.

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