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So now that the fish is all done I want something with frets. I have the redwood shown, and am considering the design drawn here. I may go headless, but I sort of like the headstock design I came up with here and I may prefer to have standard type tuners.

eb_12_sb.jpg

bass2.jpg

Another 5 string neckthrough bass, this one with frets. I'm thinking of a bound ebony fretboard and maple neck with a pair of 1/4 inch wide wenge stripes. The pickups would be Bartolini, same as my bass bass, but the preamp may be something different.

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I like that design a LOT!! With that in mind, I have to ask that you go headless on this one. The headstock design is good, but does not, in my opinion, look as good as that bass would if headless.

With that in mind, I would recommend you bookmatch to center on the top rather than leaving the neckthru showing, as that wood is spectacular.

About regular tuners: you don't, strictly speaking, need to have an ABM or Steinberger system. With a little engineering, I have no doubt you could find a way to use regular tuners mounted into the back end of the body. It'd look very cool, too, if done right!

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I like that design a LOT!! With that in mind, I have to ask that you go headless on this one. The headstock design is good, but does not, in my opinion, look as good as that bass would if headless.

With that in mind, I would recommend you bookmatch to center on the top rather than leaving the neckthru showing, as that wood is spectacular.

About regular tuners: you don't, strictly speaking, need to have an ABM or Steinberger system. With a little engineering, I have no doubt you could find a way to use regular tuners mounted into the back end of the body. It'd look very cool, too, if done right!

I planned on covering the entire top with the redwood too, it would be a shame to waste any of this piece.

Funny you think it should be headless, have you seen the one I borrowed the design from?

86_12_sb.jpg

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You don't see guitars with an "inverted" rear end like that unless they're going to be headless, or they're a Grizzly guitar kit! :D

In all seriousness, though, it'd be nice if you could machine some gears as a 90 degree "tuner adapter" to allow you to have regular tuners with the posts sticking into a cavity in the back to be adjusted; that way you wouldn't have to deal with headless systems and their distinctive look, or the look of regular tuners on the surface of the guitar.

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You got that redwood? Unless I'm sorely mistaken, I bid on that piece. You got it on eBay right? Was the seller renobird? When I got my piece from him I was a little dissapointed in the quality. It was really nice, but nowhere near the quality in the picture.

Yeah, I won that one from renobird. I'll have to dry it out and let it sit a while before I use it, but I think it's at least as nice as shown in the pic. The surface is pretty rough at the moment but I can see the beauty just below the surface. Sorry to hear that yours didn't turn out as well.

ebay page

You have a point about the inverted bout and headless tuners Skibum, I hadn't thought about that but now that you mention it it seems exactly right. I'll have to think some more about tuner design and string mounting at the head. I haven't looked at a headless bass before with the thought of building one so I have some research to do.

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Word to the wise:

A lot of the curly Redwood sold on eBay is not seasoned, and needs to be set aside for several -years-, not months. It may be dry enough to 'work' in a year, to make a chair or something, but it won't be luthier quality wood. When they say stuff like 'almost dry', they mean almost dry enough to build a chair.

PS, those guys all enhance the pics. The real wood is brown, not bright flashy reddish-orange brown like those pics make it out to be. They use a flash when the wood is wet and it makes it look like those pics. When you open the box it will be very brown, plain-looking wood.

Ask any REAL luthier, who makes their living from building guitars, how long they will let wood like that season before they would consider using it.

And we're supposed to be luthiers here, not chairmakers. I think a LOT of guitar makers get ripped off from buying curly redwood from eBay because they don't really have the patience to wait it out for 5 years and will wind up building inferior sounding instruments because they can't/won't wait that long, and were enticed by trhe beautiful figure of the wood and the words 'almost dry' which gets used a lot. I've watched those curly redwood auctions for years now, I know what they usually say and what it really means.

I mean c'mon, let's be honest about it, most guys would get that piece in the mail and resaw it before the day was done and not give a damn about whether it was actual quality luthier wood or not, it's all about the pretty figure and curl, not about waiting 5 years to use it. It would be a supreme effort for a lot of guys to wait 6 months on it.

Another hint: store it correctly for seasoning and leave it thick until you are ready to use it. It will warp on you like you won't believe if you resaw it thin before it's dry. I've seen that stuff warp up to 1/4" a day, then flip it over and the next day it was warped 1/4" the OTHER way, and you could flip it back again and it would warp back again 1/4". It will move like crazy when still wet. That ain't guitar wood.

Another hint: unless you like dents in your guitars (some people do) plan on finishing that stuff with Poly or catalyzed lacquer, something really really hard and durable. That wood is soft as butter ans sucks up finish like a sponge.

Having said all that, I really like your design a lot! :D:DB)

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bass2.jpg

Well, if you're going to go headless, may I PLEASE request a design that doesn't just rehash every other bass design out there?

A headless bass doesn't need the horn for balance, right? You can do something else...come on people!

Pretty please?

(Okay, I admit--the prettiest bass I've ever seen was the semi the girl was playing in School of Rock...so you know where I'm coming from)

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Drak- I was planning on using this wood within 2 or 3 months after drying in a box heated by a lightbulb. From what I've read on the MIMF, it seems several makers are using wood within a few weeks from the time the tree is cut. I will check this out thouroghly before I cut this board and if I can't use it for 5 years then so be it. I'll get a piece of curly maple or something if that what I have to do. The finish would polyester as on the bass bass. That stuff is rediculously hard and durable. The main drawback to it is that it is quite thick, about .030".

idch- I don't quite understand what you're saying

"Well, if you're going to go headless, may I PLEASE request a design that doesn't just rehash every other bass design out there?

A headless bass doesn't need the horn for balance, right? You can do something else...come on people!"

Not rehashing is exactly where I'm at. True I have essentially copied an existing design, but this one has hardly been hashed at all. The bass in the pic is a Guild Burnside Crossbow. According to the seller, there were only about 35 of them made. Steinberger pretty much proved to me that electric bass bodies are for show anyway, so I feel free to make any shape that pleases my eye. It doesn't look like a Steinberger or a P or J bass, doesn't look like a Toby or Pedulla or really anything I've ever seen before except for that very rare one. The upper horn is certainly where it is for balance purposes and would not be required for a headless design, but what would you do with it? I like the flow of this design with or without the peghead.

Not that I'm about to redesign that body, but I'm curious to see what kinds of things you might be thinking. Do you have any sketches?

Edited by Wademeister
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I like your design.. I'd be hardpressed to do a whole lot different. I agree the headstock could be tweaked a tad.. looks a bit weak, but to me headless instruments look really un balanced. Plus I think you lose a lot of tone without the headstock. Depends on what kind of bass sound you like though. I love the P and J sounds and the gigantic headstock has a lot to do with that.

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I saw your thread on the MIMF, and I will gladly bow to popular opinion from there. The reason I mentioned leaving it thick was because my resawn pieces moved and cupped a helluva lot more than the thicker pieces, but you do what the general consensus recommends, I'm all for that.

Mark and Larry both are qualified enough to give you an experienced answer, and Mark basically agreed with me. Follow Larry's recommendations, he knows what he's doing.

But that bit about using wood within weeks after a tree is felled is the biggest load of trash I've ever read, and if you want to follow in footsteps like that, go right ahead. It tells me more about your experience level that you would even consider doing something that ridiculous, with all due respect. Do some more reading up on the subject. A -lot- more. :D

PS, I remember reading a post from a guy who had some Cypress that he had personally felled himself and it had sat in the backyard for 18 years and he still thought it wasn't ready to use yet.

One example is as ridiculous as the other, if you follow my drift.

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I appreciate all the input Drak, and I take no offense. Of course as you can see, I'm doing my homework and seeking advice from experienced people like yourself. Larry mentioned using four stickers and weight to dry this piece, which would seem to address the bowing problem you had experienced. I wouldn't have guessed that a piece of wood could possibly be used within months, but I had read something that amounted to that over on MIMF so thought it may be possible. I have some good input already but I'll continue to read and wait a while before doing anything with this board. Most likely I will resaw it and sticker it with weights as Larry suggested, but I don't think it will hurt anything to wait another week or so. I may bump into or be presented with some interesting facts during that time and I'm not going to rush the project.

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Also if you are worried about getting dry wood, you might want to just shop at lumber yards, ask around, many places have good instrument quality woods that are already dried to a proper moisture content. Of course you should still give it time to acclamate to your own shop conditions if they are kept under good control but you should find out these things from a trusted supplier. But like Drak said, if you are willing to wait a year to build with the wood you are buying from ebay then you should just to be sure. Also depends on the wood, but here is my experience on the other end of the waiting spectrum. I bought some buckeye burl, 3/8" thick, bookmatched set. It was basically cut and sent to me after sitting out in the sun for a day or so. This stuff is really pourous and soft and by the time I got it it was very dry, almost too dry but that's the nature of it, and it was used as a top wood for looks. I still waited a few weeks before using it and it didn;t seem to change much in that time though. Most lumber facilities have kilns that they dry their wood in and if you ask around at several places you might even be able to have them personally dry the wood you want to a specific moisture content if they don't already dry it to a proper moisture content for doing instruments.

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  • 8 months later...

Well it's been about 9 months now, the board seems to be dry and stable, and I'm gettin the itch to build! Going 4 string this time though, with a thin satin finish for a nice natural look.

here's the new sketch. Quite a bit different, but the old one semed a little too boxy after coming back for a fresh look at it.

smallbass2.jpg

Edited by Wademeister
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Bump for the new sketch! Looks like I need to scale the headstock up just a bit since the tuner holes are so close to the edge. Soon as I have new tuners in hand I can measure them and see exactly where and how much to add. I'll draw the angled frets when I fix the headstock.

Anyone have experience with the Grover Titan tuners? They look great from the pics I've seen, but I haven't had a chance to get my hands on any yet. I like that massive post look like the G&L tuners but I could only find the Y-key hipshots with the 3/8" post.

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  • 1 year later...

Wow, I can't believe this thread is nearly two years old!

Right around Christmas, what, about 6 weeks ago? I got inspired again to work on this one. Bought a Peavey T-40 donor bass for the electronics, touched up my design and dove in. I had a nice big hard maple board hanging around from about two years ago I guess, and I made everything but the (ebony) fingerboard from that. Mostly cut with the CNC router, though all the glue joints were cut on the table saw and hand sanded so my blank was handmade. Uh, all the computer design work and CNC programs were handmade by me as well :D

Well I had bad GAS for a Ric a while back, and then around Christmas I had it again for a white Fender Aerodyne Jazz. I couldn't really afford either of them at the time and I had all this stuff hanging around to build one so I decided to cure my gas by building my own. So far so good, in fact I've been surprised at how well a lot of things have worked out on this project. Right up to the point of putting the strings on for the first time and having very nice action, neck relief and even intonation without making any adjustments. :D No really, I can hardly believe it myself! I planned carefully but I really never expected everything to come together THAT well.

Still has a bit of work to do but it's pretty darn close to done.

Pic of my Aluminumglo T-4003

DSCN0510.jpg

What's the rule now for posting pics, can I post a bunch of thumbnail links for pics or do they need to be text links?

Edited by Wademeister
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  • 3 years later...
And we're supposed to be luthiers here, not chairmakers. I think a LOT of guitar makers get ripped off from buying curly redwood from eBay because they don't really have the patience to wait it out for 5 years and will wind up building inferior sounding instruments because they can't/won't wait that long, and were enticed by trhe beautiful figure of the wood and the words 'almost dry' which gets used a lot. I've watched those curly redwood auctions for years now, I know what they usually say and what it really means.

Getting the itch to build another and that piece of curly redwood is still waiting for me. I think it may be time!

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