Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

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slowlearner
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Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 09 Nov 2017, 11:07

Ok, so after all the dramas with photosucket, and showing the build on TB, it seemed unfair not to subject you all... I mean, "share" this build with you guys. As many of you know, a while back I built this guitar as a test case. It has turned out to be a real success. Plays great, sounds great, weighs nothing, went together in an afternoon... literally.

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The construction method is well weird. Basically I get to avoid making a neck pocket altogether and dropped shed loads of weight. The big aim here is to avoid as many machining steps as possible and make the bass very easy to assemble. I also get to compromise the body stiffness enough to get it to interact with the strings more like an acoustic instrument. The name of the idea is, "three planks", but as of today it's probably going to be 4.

Let me start by giving a few specs on this build.
Neck; 4 piece laminated Vic ash, Jarrah board, Single double acting rod, graphite bars.
Body; (probably) Chinese elm or Kauri pine wings.
Tuners; ETS headless.
Electronics; Double HB (Nordy or Bart) and 26mm piezo discs under the bridge. Passive wiring.
Strings; Labella deep talking tapewounds
Scale; 38"

It is, and I know I keep saying this, the craziest thing I've ever built. Here's the overall plan of the bass.

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And slight close up of the body with some revisions.

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This morning (day off) I got working on another feature I want to add that will make assembly even easier.

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To all those building basses I have a question about graphite rods.

How close to the nut to you guys run the graphite rods?
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SneakyJak
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by SneakyJak » 09 Nov 2017, 18:12

Is that a bolt on headstock ?

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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 09 Nov 2017, 18:16

SneakyJak wrote:
09 Nov 2017, 18:12
Is that a bolt on headstock ?
Now why would I go and do something stupid like that? :peep:
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SneakyJak
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by SneakyJak » 09 Nov 2017, 18:34

slowlearner wrote:
SneakyJak wrote:
09 Nov 2017, 18:12
Is that a bolt on headstock ?
Now why would I go and do something stupid like that? :peep:
Well with that design logic and the scale length ... subscribing to this thread with great interest

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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 10 Nov 2017, 06:19

I went through the wood pile with the chinese elm, eucalypt and liquidambar in it last night. Some pretty amazing looking stuff there, but also some compromised stuff. A lot of the chinese elm is pretty warped/checked and it's super heavy too. I could machine some of it but I'm not sure. I'll look at what I have in the other pile. I'm aiming for 20mm thick body wings. That being the case, I need some sort of mechanism to stop the body wings warping like a neck does. Been thinking through that one as well.

Have another question about PUs. If you used super strong magnets to hold your PUs on, would that effect the magnetic field of PU negatively?
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by drbass » 10 Nov 2017, 06:29

Very “Pete” ... 😉

Graphite rods very close to the nut, I’d say within 10 mm or so.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 10 Nov 2017, 13:11

I went hunting through my decent woodpile and found some usable body wood almost straight away. You can also see the neck blank and the Jarrah board there.

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The large yellowish wood is the top from an old desk friends gave me some time back. It's pretty old. I think it could mango. It's some sort of native hardwood. It could be something completely different. It's not Vic ash... I don't think. This bit it big enough to cut both my body wings from.

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It's not 100% straight, but it's pretty close. For more purposes, I think I can use a slight curve to my advantage. I also pulled this piece of Chinese elm from the rack. It's going to need to some machining, but it's more than big enough for the headstock. Failing that, I'm laminate up something from other interesting offcuts. Hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a body wood offcut for the headstock.

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Failing that, I'm laminate up something from other interesting offcuts. Hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a body wood offcut for the headstock. I'm also trying to think through how to mount/house all my electronics in a very thin, 'full of gaps' body. I'll be using a strat style jack mount, but how I mount it is another issue. I realise I need to do more drawings before I go cutting anything.

In other news, even though I'm adverse to spray finishes, I'm having some thoughts about some racy solid colors. Still sorting out how I might do that too.

P.s. why did I make that neck blank so wide?
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david1234
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by david1234 » 10 Nov 2017, 16:14

Exposed wiring maybe....
:yep
O===
/ \

Endorsing artist: Warwick basses, Fender/SWR.

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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 12 Nov 2017, 15:47

Back to the drawing board today. I've decided I want as much of this bass nailed down as possible before I going lifting tools. If I get the designs right, the whole thing should take very little time. If I don't, I'll be fixing half-done issues as I go along (like usual).

I want a trapeze style bridge on the bass. Additionally, the PUs need to mount to the front of the body. I'm not recessing them otherwise I'm compromise the body structure further. So here's what I have for the neck joint. I've added an extra 18mm of timber where the neck bolts on. I assume I'll glue that on (so much for no glue joints).

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The distance of the neck above the body also allows for less issues with the headless tailpiece. Although, I need to sort that and the bridge design out next. The other good point about the above drawing is (if I feel so inclined), I could make up covers for the PUs and have plenty of space.

Then it was onto the control cavity.

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Again, the issues of chopping too much timber out of the wings and totally weakening the structure. I've gone with simple controls; Mast Vol, Mag PU blend, Mag/piezo blend. I was tempted to add a tone control, but I can easily do that on the amp. I'm already putting on tapewounds, so it can't be too much of an issue. I'm hoping to get a huge range of tones from that anyway. I've not added series/parallel switches this time. Experience tells me I tend to pick one and stick to it. Whatever sounds best with the tapes is what I'll use. I suspect it will be series, but I'm not 100% sure at this stage.
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Classic5
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by Classic5 » 12 Nov 2017, 17:21

I'm liking the idea of using timber from old discarded furniture. Will have to keep my eyes open in future :yep

Your design looks good :thumbup:
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 13 Nov 2017, 07:23

Last night I got into the bridge. I've come up with a brake angle of 14deg. The bridge height is 23, same as the neck height off the body. Angling it back I got 14deg. If that's too much I can shim the tail piece up a little higher.

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To get that angle, I'll bevel the back part of the body. This seems like an easy option that just machining two slots in where the tail piece goes. I don't think it will weaken the structure much if at all. I'll keep thinking it through for now.

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What will actually hold the tailpiece on has ended up being a bit more complicated that I first thought. Under the tailpiece area you can see a large strip (in dotted lines). That will be another piece of steel strip. Between that and the tailpiece will be a block of wood. Maybe I'll use some crazy rare timber, call it a 'tone block' and patent the design so I can charge people silly money for it... :lol: I digress. That block will hold the strip and the tailpiece together. I realised this morning I need to re-think the screw location for where the strip attaches to the block. Shouldn't be hard to sort. For those of you thinking, "why didn't he just make the body wings meet in the middle and attach it that way?". I did think about that. I came to the conclusion the wings would be in sheer load. Thinnish timber is pretty rubbish in sheer, so the block arrangement will be a lot better. Course, when I say block, I mean something about the size of a tim-tam biscuit.

With all this done, I'm just about ready to make some templates from MDF. :)
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 24 Nov 2017, 22:01

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Written on the back of the deck top I'm using for body wings.

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Then everything went through the thicknesser... Neck = 18mm, Wings = 20mm, Headstock = 13mm, board = 7mm

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And some parts turned up too...

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I hate router tables, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. A few tearouts to fix, but nothing major.

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Cavity time...

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Headstock...

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Body is over 600 long. Crazy stuff...

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Bevel on the body...

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Neck blank and carbon rods trimmed to length. Cutting the carbon was easy peasy with a hack saw.

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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 30 Nov 2017, 14:42

Another day off today. I was hoping to get the neck all sorted and the board glued on. Hmm...

Instead I spend about an hour or two just figuring out the router table.

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If I measured once I measured a million times.

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Of course on the FIRST pass, the bit starting coming loose and dug itself 9mm into the blank instead of the 3mm I'd set up for. Thankfully, 9mm is the depth I need for the trussrod! A few more passes and it was done properly.

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Then I set up for the carbon rods. Again, measure a million times. I started off conservatively again, and...

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The 4mm bit came loose as well. Grr. I will have to fill this hole a little. It's 9mm too. This time as soon as the pitch of cutting sound changed I stopped straight away. Probably just as well as I think I'd have lunched the blank. Phew!

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So a few hundred passes later, I had it machined. I found I had to go 1.5mm at a time with the 4mm singled edged bit. I am having another issue though. The carbon rods don't want to go into their slots. Not sure what to do about that exactly. Maybe I'll try sanding them down a little.

BTW, what do people use to glue their carbon rods in with?
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by drbass » 30 Nov 2017, 15:42

When I do the routes for the carbon rods I use the little trimmer router (so far at the Melb School of Guitar Making, I have mymown now) with the correctly sized bit but spin the trimmer 180 deg - the collar is not 100% centered so that gives that little bit of extra width, and the rods slide in nicely.

You need that little bit of clearance because I “half-fill” the rout with the slow-curing araldite and then squeeze/push the rods in. The araldite oozes up, and can subsequently be levelled before being left to set overnight.

I had quite a few pics up in my build threads but: photobucket. Happy to send you some shots, or post them here - let me know.

Regards,
Michael
Last edited by drbass on 30 Nov 2017, 16:32, edited 1 time in total.
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 30 Nov 2017, 16:07

Sure that would be great.
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