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mistermikev

looking for oversight... yeah it's me again...

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so, inspired by all the excellent work I've seen here, I'd like to try and build a bass.  You guys make it look so easy... which scares me, I'm certain my p bass will end up looking like picasso did a version of a sort of jagged ernie ball albert lee.  Either way, I'm determined to at least build a body and attempt a neck - if it goes south my plan is to buy a warmoth neck.  what I'd like to end up with is a 32" scale pbass mutant. 

just looking for any advice on my design, gotchas I might face, etc.

my design (below) started from the 62 p bass body.  made it 7% smaller, then squashed it some more afa body width.  kept the orig neck pocket and then modified it to be 2.375 based on warmoth 32" necks.  built my own fretboard based on a fret calculator then saw the thread here regarding a fretboard builder (doh).  used that to build a fretboard just to check mine and they line up great. 

took a p bass headstock and flipped it... made the area where it joins the neck a hair smaller - not sure why as a pbass is sposed' to be 2 11/16 right?  anywho, this is just dreaming at this point, but I've got some mdf and after a few more fine points will send a pdf to a printer to get full size. 

all thoughts, comments, disparaging remarks, affirmations, and otherwise welcome.FenderPrecisionBass-62_modified.thumb.jpg.1fbce89bc8e74ffcabe1dd48e40d356b.jpg

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Nice idea to do a thinline short-scale P, and it looks very neat. You might want to check how much wood is left around the neck pickup and the f-holes to ensure neck stability - although there is still a decent amount of wood around the top horn

You might not get very much tonal separation with the J pickups being so close together. They are usually much further apart on a Jazz bass. If you coil-tap the MM pickup you should get something approximating a J bridge sound though, but I'm not sure how "burpy" it will sound. Would that centre pickup be adding anything to the sound?

What are your thoughts on the controls? Are they V-V-T-T? I assume there will be some sort of switching option

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hello sir, thank you for your thoughtful comments. 

1) wood around the neck joint... I thought I was being pretty conservative with my rout out, but I trust that just about anyone here has more experience than me... and I'm second guessing myself.  Funny thing is I was just working on this again and putting in plan a bigger rout out on the top and bottom!  Perhaps I need to re-think that.  My goal was to make it as light as possible, but hopefully not end up with something neck heavy.

2) pickup separation... good point.  well,  I wanted the mm pickup further away from the bridge as I like it for a thumb rest and have one on my p bass that is a little too far back.  I had toy'ed with the idea of doing a second mm pickup for neck but just like the look of the two singles.  I'm not really trying to get the 'j' sound, as I have a j bass.  That said I wanted my neck options to be more plentiful because this will undoubtedly be bright as my first bass was a 32 and it was.  also, I've had really cool results using a set of split-able j and using top from one and bottom from other... kind of end up with a p sound (which is my fav by far!) which would work well with them closer together.  will all depend on pickup choice in the end... for now they are really just place holders.

3) controls, as I usually do as of late... I would put in a volume, 6 way rotary, and a home built active preamp likely with a concentric and maybe a push/pull bright switch.  Haven't decided on pre as I have done a music man, and a few others, but am not settled on that as the mid options are ltd.  afa 6 way I was thinking b-series, b-para, inside series, outside para, all 4 coils, then neck para. - with the option to change the inside/outside to splitting the singles if I go that route.  As usual, I'm full of ideas!

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Timber remaining in neck joint is more than enough to withstand the normal string loading as you currently have it drawn. There are plenty of examples of builds floating around with less timber remaining than what you have with no structural issues.

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Hey curtisa, thanks for the vote of confidence.  "But I'm building it out of bulsa wood and tuning it up 3 steps" - just kidding.  That's good to hear because I had my mind set that I really want that neck pickup close. 

Have been watching a ton of tutorials about 2 piece necks.  Also about cutting the fret lines... if either of you know of any good one's to watch surely point me to them.

thanks again for taking the time!

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I'll defer to @curtisa regarding the neck stability - he has far more experience than me! I'm just a noob :D

I just didn't know how far/deep you were intending to take the internal chambering

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thanks again for chiming in Norris.  My gut said it'd be fine, I respect the heck out of curtisa and your opinion so I think ultimately I will err on the side of caution and just leave a little more material in the depth of my cut in that area.  I plan to use a 1.5"(with a .25 or more top) body and generally cut in 1.125 but in that area and the area near the belly relief I think I will cut at .75 leaving .75 material just to be conservative.  I plan to pretty much freehand those cuts and multiple passes at .25ish so I'll just stop early in some areas.

Also of note: the control area... since this body has a bit less width, and I don't need a lot of control space, I'll probably leave more material at the bottom of the body to ensure that area is reinforced.

thanks again for both your replies!

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Looks fine, however the headstock might be heavier than you want. That's some weighty hardware and a big lump of headstock. Structurally it looks fine. I'd perhaps think about reducing the headstock weight somehow, whether that be ultralight hardware or a big of a re-shape. Hipshot might be a good call in that respect.

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I like it anyway. I might be seeing the balance incorrectly because of it being a transparent plan.

If you can afford it, look into Delano pickups. As Norris says, the two Js in that position might not have enough variation between each other in separation. Delano do a pickup called "The Hybrid" which is a MM pickup with a splittable J:

http://www.delano.de/products.html?&cHash=9f97ffcf75&tx_smtdelano_pi1[cat]=1&tx_smtdelano_pi1[series]=8&tx_smtdelano_pi1[strings]=5&tx_smtdelano_pi1[system]=9

....that might allow you to eak some more variation around the pups.

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thanks prostheta, yeah there's def a concern of being neck heavy.  I had all sorts of that issue with my sg.  I actually got some hipshot ultra light tuners for that and while they are light... not impressed.  they stay in tune as well as any other mediocre tuner but they are anything but smooth.  Not a huge complaint but that and given the price I'd rather avoid them given my experience (altho good suggestion either way!).  Perhaps I should lengthen the upper horn or just try to get some heavier ash for the body?  Can always add sinkers to the control cavity (just kidding).

Already thinking of leaving some more material in the control area for balance and just because that big cavity would make for quite a weak spot at that outter edge.  Perhaps also consider a very heavy bridge.  Anyone know of a really heavy bridge that isn't zink?

 

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15 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

Perhaps I should lengthen the upper horn or just try to get some heavier ash for the body?  Can always add sinkers to the control cavity (just kidding).

Moving your strap button around the tip of the horn a little to the inside will also help counter a heavy neck.

SR

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delano, hadn't heard of them - thanks for the link.  Def nice the hybrid 4 also the extender caught my eye.  Quite spendy but not out of the realm of possibility (have to find one used on evilbay!).

I was leaning toward either some seymour split js or mec... but honestly I'm not decided at all when it comes to pickups.  I just know I want two coils towards the neck and one reverse wound so I can do inside series vs outside parallel. 

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15 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Moving your strap button around the tip of the horn a little to the inside will also help counter a heavy neck.

SR

good point.

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You're probably not that keen on me mentioning Hipshot again, however I have one of their Kickass bridges in for review and they're pretty nice in terms of weight. I'm a sucker for high mass (usually brass) bridges.

Never had trouble with their tuners ever. Are they the licensed versions or US-made? If they're that much of a problem, fire them an email. They're top notch when it comes to looking after customers. Feedback is important as well for obvious reasons.

MM pickups are very distinctive. I have an SD MM-5 ceramic in a Mahogany bass. Big bottom end and immediate cutting top end, which is surprising for such a warm slow wood. Really nice palette of tones played with a pick or anywhere from the neck to the bridge on fingers. I like 'em but they're not for all.

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perhaps I'm being picky... they were us made and about $80ish.  I wouldn't say I have a problem with them... just compared to the gotoh vintage style I have on one of my teles they just don't compare - keeping in mind those are $45 tuners.  Perhaps I'm just a fanboy for gotoh lately. 

I have a hipshot drop e on my p bass and that is smooth as silk, and in general I'm a big fan of hipshot.  They def make nice stuff... I think the issue is if you try to make something really light... well you are gonna make some sacrifices. 

those bridges certainly do look nice and are reasonably priced.  What are your thoughts on it afa A: contact with the body B: do the saddles move or are they rock solid?  looks like a channel holds them in?

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

You're probably not that keen on me mentioning Hipshot again, however I have one of their Kickass bridges in for review and they're pretty nice in terms of weight. I'm a sucker for high mass (usually brass) bridges.

Never had trouble with their tuners ever. Are they the licensed versions or US-made? If they're that much of a problem, fire them an email. They're top notch when it comes to looking after customers. Feedback is important as well for obvious reasons.

MM pickups are very distinctive. I have an SD MM-5 ceramic in a Mahogany bass. Big bottom end and immediate cutting top end, which is surprising for such a warm slow wood. Really nice palette of tones played with a pick or anywhere from the neck to the bridge on fingers. I like 'em but they're not for all.

my fav thing about them is the place I put my thumb... just feels nice.  afa sound, I have a cheap mighty mite one from about 20 years ago.  I put it in a pbass I had then with the plan to replace with an emb... but I like it quite a bit and have carried it through to another bass.  I am a seymour duncan fanboy so... I'm certain their version is outstanding, I just liked this one so much I never have had the heart to replace.

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The saddles in the Kickass are nice and solid, yes. They don't lock down to the baseplate like say, a Babicz, but it does have everything the Leo Quan Badass bridges have in style, range and weight. Each saddle unit does site in its own channel, which is very neat. It's a monster piece of hardware and that baseplate adds a lot of mass. Each saddle has a 3D adjustable insert which allows for infinitely-variable side-to-side string spacing. Useful since I tend to prefer equal spacing rather than equal centres.

I'll be doing a long-form review of this on the Rickenbacker.

I do like the SD MM pickup. I'd go there again if I wanted that flavour.

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thanks for the info prostheta. 

sounds like good contact via the channel. 

One more q if I may: is the weight of the babics less/more/appox same?

cheers

 

 

 

(also, updated my design with some possible wood choice)FenderPrecisionBass-62_modified.thumb.jpg.f9b0f4c3f57b0c76d3aae200dba3ee50.jpg

 

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I have no direct experience with Babicz, however they are pretty chunky. The saddles in the Kickass still apply themselves to the baseplate through two set screws whereas the Babicz products are much more coupled. It's an interesting concept, but again I have no direct experience with them.

Nice mockup by the way. It fleshes out well.

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roger that.  I will have to snoop around on the mfg of both and see if I can find weight... or shoot em an email but I'm not at that point yet anyway. 

Was out in my garage working on my 1/4" templale.  using my drill press and sanding drum.  bought some 'more expensive' harbor freight drums as they are able to use any sandpaper.  3 of 4 are balanced well, but the rubber shell is cheap.  Probably should have spent less money and went with the rockwell stuff.  or just buy a spindle sander.

any, thanks for the comment on the mockup.

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No problem. Looks like a fun player. Never been tempted by the double MM thing, I guess because I always associated them with "the single pickup in the sweet spot" thing. The same applies to my love of Aria Pro II SB-1000s, '51 P-basses, etc. Real player's instruments. Warwick seem obsessed with double bucks, so I guess that there has to be something in them!

Ceramic or AlNiCo?

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funny, I was thinking that given the feedback in here... perhaps folks were being polite and trying to hint that two j pickups and one mm looked funny. 

alnico2 in neck and alnico 5 in bridge?  I guess I'll watch cl/offer up/ebay and who knows: could go in a totally different direction between now and finish time.  Also, I would love to support some lesser known builder and saw a guy who makes an mm that looks like a seth lover and has a p within.  $90.

I learned to play bass on a yamaha motion b.  Pawned it for $75 when I was down on my luck in L.A..  That did have two passive humbuckers in it but I don't recall them being anything special... but that 32" 24 fret neck was home for me.  been chasing it ever since.  I'd buy a motion b but then what do you do with those pickups?  and they(motion b ) weren't exactly lookers either.  So hopefully this will quench that thirst... or even come close, but more importantly fill a need I have to be able to say I built one from scratch.

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can anyone tell me: I'm thinking of getting a stew mac hot rod for this project.  for a bass... i imagine the longer that better?  IOW as long as it's not so long that it pokes out both sides, right?

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I can't see that it'd be treated any different to selecting a truss rod for a guitar neck. In other words, the rods' effectiveness in providing additional support lessens the closer you get to the neck joint, where the thickness of the neck in combination with the timber in the heel mean that there is practically no pliability to be had at that point in the neck.

In the same way a guitar rod is typically shorter than the overall length of the neck, I'd select a rod that runs from the nut to junction of the neck and heel +/- 1 inch or so. Although if it ends up being longer it's not going to hurt anything (other than your wallet).

I've not had experience with the Stewmac Hot Rods, but I am aware that they generate their fair share of polarising opinions - some people are happy with them as-is, some people aren't so keen on the extra deep truss rod channel required to install them, some people have had issues with the quality of the rods.

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8 hours ago, mistermikev said:

funny, I was thinking that given the feedback in here... perhaps folks were being polite and trying to hint that two j pickups and one mm looked funny. 

 

One of my favourite bucket list basses - the Warwick Infinity - has a MM and J. :thumb:

Our apparent politeness might be just the fact that social media groups has made the default of online interaction more hostile and less conversational. Everybody wants to be more right than the last guy kind of thing. Even though things like Facebook have hurt online forums, they have failed to provide a better way, worsened interaction and eroded the quality of free information exchange.

I second Andrew's comments about truss rods in that they should cover the most flexible length of the neck. I'd maybe disagree with the use of the word "support" in that it implies that truss rods provide reinforcement, whereas I view them as a device to add in control.

I'm not a fan of Hot Rods - as Andrew likely knows :lol: - for two reasons. Required depth as per most people's disagreements with them, but also that I have largely gone off using two-way rods in favour of more traditional (but more finicky) single-acting compression rods. Two-way rods are a separate part of the neck whilst compression rods are an integral part of it. I favour the idea that compression rods provide a balance of forces whilst two-way rods are an external force acting on the the neck (even though they're internal, you get what I mean). Overall, I've found that necks with compression rods seem to be more lively and better sounding. More of a tendency as opposed to being a hard and fast rule. The downsides being that they're extremely prone to needing constant adjustment as the neck moves in tandem with its environment, plus the hassle of making curved channels and manufacturing the rods themselves. On the other hand, you can customise their lengths to suit the application they will be working within, something that off-the-shelf rods don't often do.

To completely contradict myself, I do like Gotoh-style U-channel rods. That might be because I have a thing for high standard classic Japanese-made guitars and basses, many of which came/come with this style of rod. All of the Matsumoku instruments I have played over the years have these as has the best Yamaha gear. My number one guitar - an Ibanez - has a single-acting compression rod though.

I've totally wandered off topic as usual, however I think you might get some ideas out of my blather!

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