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Prostheta

Gibson Rd Bass Build(S)

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A few weeks ago I started working on a pair of basses based around the old Gibson RD style from the late seventies/early eighties....

The basis of the Gibson RD was not too far removed from the classic Thunderbird design, however the through-neck of the Thunderbird and Firebird were eschewed in favour of the more familiar Gibson set-neck approach. The hardware was typical of Gibson basses at the time being a three-point bridge with its own little quirks. The two configurations ("Standard", "Artist") came passive with small soapbar humbuckers or active with a full Moog-designed filter circuit and larger low-output humbuckers respectively. Following the weirdness of the seventies, the originals were all-Maple contrary to the general Mahogany madness usually associated with the Gibson name.

These are certainly not authenticity builds, however the design that I ended up with in CAD is not too far removed from the original. As usual, the essential underlying design was put through the "me filter", adding aspects I am more comfortable and familiar with such as volutes, scarf joints for stability, etc.

The specification for each instrument is fairly different despite the same underlying design:

RD Antrasiitti

Body

Two-piece Finnish Birch, 40mm thickness

Gloss black paint (possibly Nitro)

Rear electronics cavity

Black pearloid pickguard

Neck

Finnish Birch neck, laminated from three vertical grained pieces

Paperstone fingerboard

Nickel-silver frets (2.8mm crown width, 1.4mm crown height)

35" scale

13° scarfed headstock with volute

Two-way truss rod

Neck thickness taper from 20mm at the 1st fret to 22mm before the heel transition kicks in

Fibre-optic side fret markers inlaid in Sterling silver ferrules (white LED source)

Electronics

Guitar Logistics A8 blade humbuckers in chrome covers (all credit to RestorationAD for the work on these!)

Custom differential buffer pre-amp

Dual vol/tone

RD Hiillos

Body

Two-piece Sapele, bookmatched curly Birch drop-top (40mm overall thickness)

Cream/black 2-ply binding

Gloss black back, tobacco burst top (Nitro)

Rear electronics cavity

4-ply BWBW pickguard

Neck

Sapele neck, laminated from three vertical grained pieces

Indian Rosewood fingerboard

Nickel-silver frets (2.8mm crown width, 1.4mm crown height)

35" scale

13° scarfed headstock with volute

Single-acting truss rod

Neck thickness taper from 20mm at the 1st fret to 22mm before the heel transition kicks in

Fibre-optic side fret markers inlaid in Sterling silver ferrules (flickering red/yellow LED source)

Electronics

NOS Gibson series 3 humbuckers (originals from a Standard)

Custom differential buffer pre-amp

Dual vol/tone

My usual methods apply here - the instrument is drawn in a flattened top down state with no allowance for perspective distortion of viewing an angled neck or headstock. This is then translated to a side view where actual neck/headstock geometry are added in, before adjusting the top-down view to account for the distortions. This is done specifically for creating the body template and defining neck-body transitions only. The neck and headstock templates are "disembodied" and treated as seperate entities. I always draw only what is needed in CAD....this is functional rather than artistic!

1.jpg

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Agh, Network Solutions are being annoying, holding my domain name to ransom hence the broken links....

Anyway. I will have to put Hiillos on hold for a short while as I have seen Sapele cut from the same length crack. Best to leave the wood to do what it will for a while. On with Antrasiitti I guess.

The pickguard material arrived the other day so once we figure out what we're doing with the overhead pin router (I burnt out the main bearings!) I'll do some kind of tutorial on making a pickguard.

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Did a little work today on the Antrasiitti model, cutting the neck tenon and shoulders. I debated over the specs for a while and decided to reduce the scale to 34" in line with the originals. I may maintain the 35" scale for the Hiillos model, however.

Had disappointing results with the finish of Paperstone (as did Peter Naglitsch) which is making me question the value of using it. I'd rather not have to spend on Ebony to get a black fingerboard on this one so I might even consider painting the fingerboard. Risky since I've not tried this before....

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Didn't John ebonize some fingerboards a couple of years back? Something to do with vinegar and steel wool, I think. You could always dye a board black too.......

Painting a fingerboard does not sound like much fun.

SR

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I have dye but I find the results inconsistent on anything other than Ebony! Worst comes to the worst it will end up Rosewood but I don't want to draw stock from the Hiillos model really. I'll just have to hunt down an Ebony board.

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Thanks Freekhenk. Yeah, I know of them. I am sure that from what I remember their shipping would make it uneconomical. I'll have another look in a minute....got lasagna on the boil :-)

(yes, I know you don't boil it but that's a figure of speech....!)

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Haha good thing you put that disclaimer in, I was about to propose a recipe. I believe shipping costs were around 20 euros to the Netherlands so unless you order a batch or with a bunch of mates, it probably won't be viable. Prices of their stuff are quite fair though.

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I'm just doing a quick lasagna tonight. My specialty is actually Thai. Can do a mean "madras" however....

Yeah, its somewhat difficult when you factor in shipping. It is what it is though.

edit: OUCH! €20,92 shipping for one fingerboard and two sets of fretwire!!!!!

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I'm looking forward to it too! I am actually going to write a comprehensive review on the Hipshot Supertone 3-point bridge replacement off the back of these builds, unfortunately this month is the release (or at least, pre-order) date of the Strapping Young Lad vinyl box set which I truly cannot not buy.

NSFW! LOUD METAL!!

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Gene Hoglan? That goes without saying! Yeah, Devin is a character and always has been. Forced me up onstage in London for my birthday whilst I was drunk off my ass to sing Far Beyond Metal.

syl2.jpg

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I used to live in Vancouver and one day found myself driving next to Gene and Devin.......they were bombing around in what looked like a newish Toyota Echo or Tercel. For anyone that's not familiar with the Echo it's pretty much one of the smallest cars you can buy in North America. And for anyone that doesn't know Gene is like 6-4 and 300+ lbs. It was the most hilarious metal siting of my life.

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Hah, yeah this sounds about right! I used to chat with Dev when I worked on the HDR and SYL websites over MSN (or was it ICQ?). He was a real stoner geek some days. He totally forgot that he had left his coffee outside during one chat session and froze it to the bonnet of the car. After that, very little surprised me about Dev. Gene has lost tons (well, not entirely literally) of weight recently. He looks really on top of his health which is reassuring since the diabetes stuff. Meat, milk and vodka do not make a healthy diet. The sheer extremeness of the exercise from Gene's drumming style probably saved his life. How about that. Maybe typing will save mine?

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Teaser. I'll try to have as much patience with this nitro as possible before I get to wet sanding and buffing. Gold headstock decals added and buried under the clearcoats.

IMG_20131008_112311_zps8445b898.jpg

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