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Lex Luthier

Pictorial of 5-string fretless bass being built.

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See THIS thread for a little background info.

Anyway, I thought maybe I could take pictures of the process and stages of this instrument being built.

Here I am so far:

Well, I met with the customer again and the design for the body has been finalized and a downpayment (which I'm pretty sure won't cover the costs, but that's okay) has been recieved.

In this picture you can see the original templates I made, as well as the new body drawn out on the un-cut piece of MDF, and the new neck drawn out on another un-cut piece of MDF. I'm still tweaking the headstock for even tuning gear and string alignment. You can even see the original bass I made, which I'm borrowing back from the customer until tomorrow.

temps.jpg

In this picture you can see the rough lumber, currently stickered in my guitar room/den. I probably spent over 4 hours at a three different Windsor Plywoods looking for the right pieces, buying pieces at each one. The body will be made out of the large piece of Black Walut on the far right. The neck will be Maple/Merbau/Maple/Merbau/Maple. The bigger block of Maple next to the Walnut will be the outer pieces, I believe it's Eastern Maple, but not really sure if it's Rock maple. The smaller piece of Maple IS Rock Maple, and will be the center piece. The piece on the very left is Merbau, it will be in between the three pieces of Maple. I will orientate the woods of the neck so they are all quartersawn.

basswoods.jpg

I have ordered the hardware, will be from Allparts, from a local place I regularly deal with and sell my instruments at, on three-day delivery so it should be here tomorrow, hopefully. I will be ordering the Ebony fingerboard and trussrod, probably along with some bass nut slotting files from StewMac in the next day or so. I don't have a planer or thickness sander (yet) so I hope to get it done at my work (furniture manufacturer) sometime this weak, the latest being Saturday.

I was wondering if this could maybe be made "pinned"? I will be updating this thread as progress moves forward, and being a custom ordered instrument with a downpayment, it will hopfully move QUICK!

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Nice Wood assortment and I'm looking forward to the next stages of work but either you have the left/right thing backwards or I'm blind :D

so long

ace

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WHOOOOOOOOOPS! I got the left/right thing backwards! The biggest piece with the light flaming is the Walnut.

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Pinned per request :D As soon as it's finished I'll start a copy and paste for the main site!

COOL! Thanks buddy!

I'm machining the wood at my work tomorrow, so I'll update with pics then.

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I have re-sawn the Merbau halves for the neck laminates.

resawmerbau.jpg

I have cut the Walnut into the two halves of the body prior to jointing.

walnuthalfs.jpg

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Pieces for the neck thicknessed.

thickness.jpg

Body ready for clamping.

clampprep.jpg

Body clamped. I will hopefully thickness it at work tomorrow.

bodyclamp.jpg

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I still haven't been able to get time to thickness the body, maybe today.

Anyway, the thicknesser put humps in two of the pieces for the neck, the center piece of Maple, and one of the pieces of Merbau. In the picture you can see where the hump is (was), I used a scraper to get rid of the humps, them some

80grit sanding the roughen up the smoothly scraped areas.

fix.jpg

I have begun the laminating process of the neck. I'm thinking it would be a whole lot easier (and cleaner) to glue the pieces up one at a time. In this picture you can see that I've glued up the center piece of Maple to treble side piece of Merbau, using the to larger outer pieces of Maple as cauls.

clamping1.jpg

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Another update, my Allparts order came in, and I just faxed an order to StewMac for the Ebony fingerboard, Hot Rod truss rod and two double sided bass nut slotting files. This picture has all the Allparts hardware.

hardware.jpg

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The bass side piece of Merbau is now glued and clamped into place, again using the outer Maple pieces as cauls. I think I may glue up the two outer pieces of Maple at the same time tomorrow, just to quicken things up.

clamping2.jpg

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Update: Just relized the bridge spacing is too big, :D I must have ordered the wrong one. I thought I was getting the 2 1/2" spacing bridge, this one is almost 2 7/8". I'll keep it and use it on a mega-wide 5-string, and order the right one from my local place as soon as possible on quick delivery.

EDIT: DID NOT order the wrong bridge, the one they sent me doesn't exist on their website. Ive emailed them to find out what's up.

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The neck laminations have been glued up. I will have to remove all the dried glue before I joint the fingerboard surface.

neckglued.jpg

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The fingerboard gluing surface is now ready for the trussrod channel and fingerboard. I jointed the surface, then used an edge sander to really smoothen it out.

neckjointed.jpg

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Update: Just relized the bridge spacing is too big, :D I must have ordered the wrong one. I thought I was getting the 2 1/2" spacing bridge, this one is almost 2 7/8". I'll keep it and use it on a mega-wide 5-string, and order the right one from my local place as soon as possible on quick delivery.

EDIT: DID NOT order the wrong bridge, the one they sent me doesn't exist on their website. Ive emailed them to find out what's up.

I got a reply from Allpartsand they basically told me to send it back, and thet the manufacturer changes specs without telling then sometimes. This sorta sux if that particular bridge is now redesigned, the ORIGINAL design is what the customer asked for, whats on her other bass. The only other bridges that Allparts carries with a 2 1/2" string spacing are ABM and Schaller bridges with adjustable string spacing, but they cost $110 - $160US, and the bridge I wanted is only $28US. I think I may contact the customer and see what she wants. If I go with the bridge I was sent, the neck will need to be wider, more-so in the upper register, but if I go with the similarly spaced bridges, I'll need to raise the price of the instrument by like $150CDN. DANG! B)

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how much does an average customer pay you to make them a guitar?

Right now not much. I'm getting $800CDN for this bass. I'm not really making alot of money off them, so I will start charging more soon.

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