New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

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David Searle Guitars
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New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 08 Feb 2015, 18:07

Hi All,
I've set myself to create a new series of basses starting with some double cut and some neck-through models.
All of these designs have their origins in Peter Lamburd's 6 string blue bass (hence the PLB model designation). The body size has been narrowed down for these 5 string versions. I've also gone for a neck through design for the single-cut as I feel that the bolt on method (as used on Peter Lamburd's original blue bass) would be a little cramped behind the neck in the upper register for the players thumb.

This bass will have a neck-through made of two pieces of quarter sawn maple with a pinstripe of veneer at it's centre. The neck will be a 35" scale with a rosewood fretboard that has small frets (as per Dingwall and Fodera). The neck will also have an angled and veneered headstock. Internally the neck will have a double action truss rod with graphite reinforcement.

The body wings will be constructed from American black walnut, with a highly figured top of rosewood, with some pinstriping of veneer in between.
I don't have a set opinion on what pickups and pre-amp that I'll use for this bass. So I'm open to suggestions from forum members. Let me know what you think.

First up are some shots of the neck blank. Glued up a few weeks ago, awaiting its second machining process.
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Cheers, David.

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 08 Feb 2015, 18:18

Next up some shots of the body construction.
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This shot shows the marking out template.
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With this shot I've glued the Rosewood onto the walnut body wings using the Roarockit vacuum bag.
The rosewood top plate is about 3mm thick and has white maple and dyed black maple veneer in between. The vacuum bag system easily bent the rosewood into place! For the first time I used some small screws to keep all of the top sheets in place during the gluing process as it can be tricky to get everything all lined up inside the vacuum bag. And once the glue goes off.......there's no making changes.

Cheers, David.

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 08 Feb 2015, 18:25

With this shot you can see the forearm bend easily. You can also see the outline of the body and the lobes of timber that I've left on the wings that will be used to clamp onto later when gluing the wings to the neck through section. These look pretty ugly now but will make life a lot easier when time comes. Following gluing it will be off to the bandsaw to lop of the lobes and reveal the final shape.
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With the next close-up shot you can see the pistriping that will visible between the walnut and rosewood top.
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Cheers, David.

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dazzalenko
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by dazzalenko » 09 Feb 2015, 03:41

Looks cool.

Out of curiosity, are you selling these?
Basses: Fender | Gibson | Sigma | Warmoth | Yamaha | Musicman
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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 09 Feb 2015, 07:25

dazzalenko wrote:Looks cool.

Out of curiosity, are you selling these?
Hi Dazzalenko!
Yes I am selling all of these basses. As this batch is in its infancy, I won't be able to accurately quote on the individual prices. I've left the pickups/pre-amp selection open at the moment to allow for interested buyers to make some choices. It is this area and bling factor (binding and inlay) that I find has some of the biggest impact on end price. Clearly though, I won't be pricing my work at Fodera levels!!!!!
Some of the design elements that I'm also focusing on are the use of veneer for effect rather than 1/2" solid tops that add big dollars. The body materials will be quality alder, walnut and mahogany.
One of the things I'm thinking about with the pickups is to use what seems to be a standard soapbar size route. Nordstrand, Aguilar, Bartolini and EMG seem to be getting to a standardized size. Not a bad selection of pickup options!
I'll be posting prices on my finished items in the next few days, so this may give some ideas for future prices.

Cheers, David.

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dazzalenko
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by dazzalenko » 13 Feb 2015, 06:05

Awesome thanks !!

Will be watching this thread with interest..
Basses: Fender | Gibson | Sigma | Warmoth | Yamaha | Musicman
Amps: Aguilar | QSC | GenzBenz | Markbass | Tecamp
Cabs: Bergantino
Effects: DBX | Furman | Gator | Korg | MXR | Tech 21 | TC Electronic

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 19 Feb 2015, 18:47

Some more shots.

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You can see some figure in the maple neck through sections.

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The central maple section will of course be tapered according to the line of the outside of the fretboard.

And yes there is another single cut lurking in the background.....

Cheers, David.

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 29 Apr 2015, 19:19

Fretboard inlay time!

I've been busy getting the fretboards shaped, slotted and glued down. Now for some refined bling! I've used small 2.5mm sterling silver dots for the general fertboard markers with some nice MOP (mother of pearl) inlays at the twelfth fret.
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This shot shows the large MOP shell that I begin with.
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This shot shows a 'close-up' of the oval pieces to be inlaid.
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Here, I'm marking out the position of the inlay before cutting out the pocket for it to be glued into.

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 29 Apr 2015, 19:27

Some more inlay pics.

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This shot shows the cut-out for the MOP inlay. This is done by hand using a tool like a Dremel. The depth of the cut must be about 1mm less that the thickness of the MOP so that you can sand the inlay level to the fretboard following the gluing.
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The inlay in position.
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Looking 'down the barrel'

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 29 Apr 2015, 19:36

And some more inlay pics.

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Following the gluing up of the MOP inlay (done with epoxy mixed with a good amount of dust from the fretboard sanding, which colours the glue to a consistency much like the fretboard) it's onto some decorative engraving of the inlay. This is done by hand using engraving tools which are basically miniature chisels. These tools are usually used to engrave precious metal, which is a skill from my original profession.
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A little fuzzy, but you can see the pattern here.

Cheers, David.

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RedVee
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by RedVee » 29 Apr 2015, 19:46

That's really nice
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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 29 Apr 2015, 19:48

RedVee wrote:That's really nice
Cheers, RedVee :drinkingbuddies:

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drbass
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by drbass » 29 Apr 2015, 19:58

Very nice, David!
- 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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- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by SneakyJak » 29 Apr 2015, 20:26

those inlays look fantastic

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David Searle Guitars
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Re: New single cut 5 string bass (PLB5-SC)

Post by David Searle Guitars » 29 Apr 2015, 20:27

On with the fretwork!

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Here you can see the Stewmac #147 profile fretwire installed. I've chosen to use small fretwire like Fodera and Dingwall. The small fretwire makes absolutely no difference to the tone or sustain of the bass BUT makes a huge difference in the way it feels to play. Put simply, you just don't have the feeling of bulk in hour hand. The strings can be set much lower to the fretboard, resulting in a much easier bass to play.

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