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gpcustomguitars

Warwick Thumb 4 string

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Most of my basses have a bit of a back story, so this one is no different. My very good friend became a dad for the first time a few months back. I'd like to present him with something kinda special and personal, so here goes :) I'm kinda reinventing the wheel here as I go, as this will all be handmade, so the procedures are quite different to Warwick's... I have also ommited the first few steps, but I have basically spliced together a walnut necktrough blank with a shorter cherry piece to cover the face portion of the neck blank, dissappearing under the fretboard. Neck is not scarfed, but has a thick faceplate, 3.5mm to strenghten the short fibers there.

Fretboard is the heart of the canadian walnut, wings cherry.

So this is where I'm at now:

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Edited by gpcustomguitars
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My first full build from scratch was a fretless Thumb 4 tribute :)

I very much look forward to seeing this progress.

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I hope I'll do it justice. It does help that I have an actual Thumb 5 at home.

Here's my current progress, I've sanded the joining surfaces flat, and glued the treble wing on first. Located in place with 2 8mmx8mm dowels (I've shortened stock ones). I hope to do some shaping on this and join and glue the bass side too later today.

 

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I went to the shop to joint and glue the other wing, but instead started the carve. Fun! Its not very visible in the pics, but the curve on the back is roughly dialed in. Started on the heel and rounding over the sides.

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Just saw the dents, will have to steam them out prior to sanding... I wont carve the top until everything is glued together.

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11 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

 Its not very visible in the pics, but the curve on the back is roughly dialed in. 

Yes - I saw it :)

And it's one of those features that most folks are unaware of.  It was the spark that led to my series of curved back, lightweight builds :)

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I think it will get more visible with 2 wings on. I joined the sides using a sanding board, and managed to sand in a slight angle on both. That came in handy :) I had a moment for myself this morning and managed to glue the remaining wing on. After this, it's mostly about shaping!

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Glueing went fine, so I started to rough in the other side of the curve. I used small palm plane, flat, and the Ibex, with some scraping at the end. One mishap was that a wormhole I thought was going to be completely planed off was a bit deeper, so I had to fill it with wood dust and CA. Should get less visible when I oil the bass. I've also cut off the excess length of the neck, as I will be shaping the roundover on all the back, and refining the curve some more. The middle part is still pretty flat.

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I had some more shop time yesterday afternoon, so I did some more carving/sanding. My little sander was really a huge help in this. So, I'm still working on the back edges, almost done, and started carving the headstock transitions and the heel. I did a few passes with the palm plane on the first edge facets on the neck, but mostly for easier handling. Other than the 2 wormholes I had to fill, no problems so far.

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...some shaping later, the side is half-rounded all around the back, and the bulk of neck shaping is also done. The neck is still too thick, but I won't rush that part. Now I need to plane the top to follow the curve of the back.

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This notch at the join is actually the needed radius of 38mm, shaped prior to gluing. It's now a marker for the correct radius when I start shaping the top sides after planing.

Andy, could you share any advice on routing of the electronics cavity? To just route a flat cavity or to try to get it to match the curve? I thought about just drilling 3 pot holes wit 25mm forstner, perpendicular to the curve and join them with regular routing?

 

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We actually had 2 days of snow, some is still on the ground, so I have moved the carving operation indoors. Can't use the sander tho, she drew the line there... So, a bit slower and tidier than usual...

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Just the multi-rasp and the tiny Ibex...

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Made some cardboard templates, one follows the thickness I'm aiming at, and the other is the correct side radius.

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Radiusing the bass-side wing, mostly Ibex (my fingers really hurt...)

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...and it's almost done, some sanding with a beam will show the high/low spots.

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...and this is where I'm at, some high spots found, a bit more rough rounding to do and then I'll fine tune the radius with a sander. The middle section is still flat, I'll also need to route the pickup cavities soon.

Edited by gpcustomguitars
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2 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Can't use the sander tho, she drew the line there...

<_<

And wives give husbands coffee cups like that one so they'll believe it's true.

SR

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🤣   I'm trying to believe, but...

It's getting warmer today, the snow is melting, I might find some time to finish the carve and start sanding in the shop. Also should glue the paper pickups template to some 8mm MDF. I have another bass that's been waiting to get finished for a long time that could benefit from the same template

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Some more work done in the last few days - mostly sanding and filing, but also some routing:

roughing in some more facets with a file

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and got to something like this

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lower horn is still squareish, will get to that, and then some old school drawing, regular paper, transfered to thicker paper for better handling, and redrawing as needed to thin paper again, glued to some 8mm mdf stock. Pups were drawn directly from the master paper template.

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Cut on the scroll saw, some adjustment with a file, and secured with the double layer of the double sided tape, and routed to -17mm. I'll have to get the sharper corners by hand a bit later

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and then finally sanded the curve in the top, still keeping the bridge area flat (marked)

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just some more pics and details I still have to carve/file/sand in - I think the top and the back curves are nicely visible now

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...and now, the scary part for me in this build - drilling and routing the electronics cavity:

shallowly drilled the pot holes, 8mm

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then from the other side, -5mm with the 35mm forstner, followed by 25mm forstner

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then, making the template, forgot to take the finished pic - I might not even use it for routing, but did use it to draw out the contours of the cavity on the bass

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carved the corners of the pups with dremel and the inlay bit

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and chiseled the sides

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the neck one fits, will have to chisel the bridge one some more.

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Well, some more details done - bridge pup fitted, routed some relief for the pickups wiring/drilling and routed shallowly, then chiseled the cavity. I was kinda afraid of routing it, but this was stress free and worked OK. I'll pretty it up with a dremel sanding drum a bit later. Recess for the cover was all chisels, didn't want to marr the surface with my dremel router base.

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