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Andyjr1515

Concave Bottoms and Related Obsessions

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Andyjr1515    536

Hi

In this thread are a few personal musings, but hopefully also the opportunity for us to share experiences, good and bad, of some of the less conventional body shapes.

We all know how conservative we all are - most guitars bought and sold are still based on dimensions and shapes that were a result, rather than cause, of practical considerations prevailing 50+ years ago: if your blade switch 50 years ago was 1.75" high, then that's at least how deep the body needs to be, etc, etc..

I've done a few builds that have started to break out of that mind-set, usually driven by folks who wanted something specific from their builds and mods.  

The first was Pete's Jack Bruce Thumb tribute.  I'll be honest - I'd never seen or touched a Warwick Thumb until after the build was finished.  However, I did find this picture on the internet - a feature I incorporated in my tribute:

 warwick_thumb_bo-4_l.thumb.jpg.6cb912ee705d41fc1793ba3b5bb7911e.jpg

 

Also, to be honest, I never gave it much thought why Warwick might have done that.  But my own effort, made out of stunningly heavy bubinga:

IMG_3010.thumb.JPG.9d28761b892457fbb0facb859efb99c1.JPG

IMG_3012.thumb.JPG.725c924b6c3f8b2e2624356bebc781d8.JPG

...wasn't quite as heavy as I thought it might be.  Hmmm...that's worth remembering....

 

The next leg of my journey was Tom's African Bass.  If you remember, Tom had been given a 'bass body' by an African traditional drum maker to build a bass from.  It was of unknown and unsuitable wood with loads and spreading cracks in it and it was VERY, VERY thin!!

This was what I made from it:

IMG_5561.thumb.JPG.d9491b0c7a175abb4a4ef49b23fbd915.JPG

 IMG_5594.thumb.JPG.cedc7b6248af2321c94249a3a65c8431.JPG

Now THAT's what I call a slim heel...

Hmmm...that's worth trying again

I was so impressed with how Pete's Jack Bruce tribute felt to play (he lets me play a few numbers on it during our gigs :) ), that I built a fretless for myself.  Different shape, but same woods and overall dimensions, and incorporating a back cutaway and also the slim neck heel of Tom's African bass:

 

IMG_6351.thumb.JPG.a2f7d89f6321a7ef0f74553d07fbb160.JPG

IMG_6367.thumb.JPG.8297133c7dcd642e4fe9e4ecf5ede6ae.JPG

 

And I realised that this was one of the most comfortable basses I had played.  And that got me thinking...

In the next post I'll cover one or two intentional developments from the above 'happy accidents', and the one on the drawing board at the moment that will either showcase the concept....or comprehensively shoot it down in flames :lol:

 

 

 

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StratsRdivine    102

Cool stuff man!!!  Potato chip guitars.  Now you hate me for saying that, but it was the first thing to come to mind - sorry.  Now you need to make Pringles guitar.  Sorry again, can't stop.  

I describe this in the other shaping thread, but you might want my big one for your next concave surface.  

 

DrumSanders.JPG

Edited by StratsRdivine
correct term changout
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Andyjr1515    536
On 3/10/2017 at 7:46 PM, StratsRdivine said:

Cool stuff man!!!  Potato chip guitars.  Now you hate me for saying that, but it was the first thing to come to mind - sorry.  Now you need to make Pringles guitar.  Sorry again, can't stop.  

I describe this in the other shaping thread, but you might want my big one for your next concave surface.  

 

DrumSanders.JPG

Ah....I have one of those tools that you don't realise exists but when, by chance, you spot you know immediately it's going to change your life.  It's the top one here:

_MG_1108.thumb.JPG.26273c0c7b6f5c37db21a89003a632eb.JPG

 

It's a Veritas Pullshave and is designed to scoop out the 'comfort contours' in wooden chairs.  It works an absolute treat :)

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Andyjr1515    536

Well, now I had a hunch that a scooped bottom could be quite useful.  In the recently completed piccolo bass, I incorporated the feature to achieve the combined advantages of weight reduction, slimness of neck heel and comfort of play:

_MG_1168.thumb.JPG.a6b51a58c2e67124b69b320ca11486ac.JPG

_MG_1187.thumb.JPG.a0efc2526a0414c08cd786f88c1629bc.JPG

 

At 5lb 14oz, it is certainly light and the neck/body transition is a delight.  If ever you wanted an instrument to help encourage you to play more, it's this - it's difficult to put it down.

 

But now here is one of the things to be really careful with your drawing and calcs:

_MG_1142.thumb.JPG.4583fb7d97b1d5c014c2dc855a6703a9.JPG

No room for push/pull or 5-way blade switches with this body depth!  Same goes with the f-hole chamber.  It doesn't mean you can't do it, but it does mean you need to think about it, plan ahead, measure accurately and go carefully.

 

So where is this leading?

To the edge of the concept's envelope.

To this (the dark area is the cross-section of the through-neck):

Picture1.jpg.95155cd5e2258b57009e7060370fc396.jpg

It's the next project, it's on the drawing board, the wood gets purchased on Thursday and...well...we'll see! :D

 

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StratsRdivine    102

Nice pullshave!  I can definitely see its utility.  It has a fixed radius?  Maybe its radii gets tighter at edges for multi radii?  Cool.  thanks for reminder on switch depth,  I looked up several on StewMac.  Looked like the Right Angle toggle will be best for my new body but it requires 13/16" depth.  

This one only requires 11 mm depth.    

http://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Electronics/Components_and_Parts/Switches/Free-Way_Pickup_Switch.html

I love your magnetic hold down.  Gotta love the new neodymium magnets.  

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komodo    81

I played a guitar with an aggressive radiused shape back in the late 80s at a guitar shop. Wish I could remember what it was, as I've been obsessed with it ever since. It was an absolute marvel to play sitting or standing. I've since built a bass with a similar body, I used a flap sander to do most of the hogging. You've convinced me again to apply the idea to my next build regardless of all other variables, including semi-hollow.

Jerzy Drozd has some interesting chambered build that I could see curved. Theres also the Ibanez Artfield which was designed similarly.

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