Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

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drbass
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Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 07 Sep 2018, 17:11

And so it begins. As mentioned in the "Future builds" thread I'll revert to individual threads now, and keep things a little shorter (by now I'd say you all know what a glue-up or a truss rod rout looks like).

OK, first off a commission build for our very own maxgroover. Matt was very disappointed that I had the incident with the drill bit resulting in a cracked top but was equally happy with what he felt and heard a couple of weeks ago in Sydney when he had a chance to play the Reject. Long story short, I'll build another one.

Basics:
35", 24 frets (with zero fret), 5 piece neck (three maple one of which is a central wedge, 2 wenge), neck-through, wenge board, angled matching amboyna burl headstock;

walnut body wings, light veneer layer, wenge contrast layer, and amboyna burl top - this one:


electronics: 2 Delano SBC 5 HE/S-E (matched pair), Glockenklang 3-band (because it has a passive tone roll-off option), three 3-way mini switches (one for each pu to have series/parallel/single, and one to switch pus neck/both series/bridge)

hardware: black Hipshot Ultralite short key Y, 3/8"; black ETS Tuning Fork single bridges, Dunlop Flushmount strap locks; black dome knobs

That's about it. Started preparing the timber (together with a few other builds - see separate threads) which is taking a little longer than expected. Looking forward to this one, will be interesting to hear the SBC pickups with the Glock pre.

And another thing: prompted by some background discussions I'm contemplating changing the name of this particular model - Kermit made sense for the very first green one but not for the others. Happy to hear suggestions if you have any.

Regards,
Michael
Last edited by drbass on 08 Sep 2018, 17:00, edited 2 times in total.
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

packrat
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Re: Build #014 - Kermit NT5 MG Signature

Post by packrat » 07 Sep 2018, 18:12

How about Fozzie?

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maxgroover
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Re: Build #014 - Kermit NT5 MG Signature

Post by maxgroover » 08 Sep 2018, 08:09

Very excited about the two builds Michael has underway for me. :hyper:

I’ve been a keen follower of his builds since he started and really appreciate his openness and honesty about everything he does. A year or two ago he came to a Sydney GTG and due to illness I couldn’t attend but I kept hearing positive comments about his builds. When he returned recently I was very pleased to spend some quality time with his builds.

The Kermit design is superb. The neck feels shaped for my hands, and the basses really respond when you dig in. Incredible evenness across all strings and the entire fingerboard. The tone from the pickups and electronics are crystal clear. And finally weight and balance is excellent. There weren’t many of us at the last GTG but the feedback was consistent that these instruments are of very high quality.

Sauron was a collaboration between Michael and I (although I really only influenced the pickup choice and location to give the bass a distinct difference in tone from my other Jazz based basses in the stable). So yes, it was a shame when the crack hit during drilling of the jack hole, but Michael has a superb demo model now and some subtle changes have come out of it too (Glock pre to get the passive tone control I use often and simplified pickup switching).

And now I really look forward to watching the builds progress. :)
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narcdor
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Re: Build #014 - Kermit NT5 MG Signature

Post by narcdor » 08 Sep 2018, 10:56

I like Kermit, but if you’re looking for suggestions how about Parallax?
Strings: Fender, Custom, Framus, Warwick
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drbass
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Re: Build #014 - Kermit NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 08 Sep 2018, 16:58

Very kind words there, Matt - really appreciate them.

Looks like the name issue is settled, thanks to - who would have guessed - Matt! It was so obvious, I am literally too close to would have seen it. I actually should have named the whole "enterprise" like that but all good, Polaris will remain the name of the business.

Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 23 Sep 2018, 16:48

And another glue-up. Not quite as involved as yesterday's 9-element session but 5 is still pretty nifty:



Getting into the swing of mixing up the epoxy, spreading it (with a personal touch: I'm using my business cards for that since I have so many!) and clamping everything up wrapped nicely in baking paper (Woolies homebred is so non-stick it's not funny).

And remember, this fretted Merlin will have the maple burl top now, not the amboyna burl (swapped).

Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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maxgroover
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by maxgroover » 23 Sep 2018, 21:01

Looking good Michael :)
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 06 Oct 2018, 16:06

Neck-vana part 2: 3 maple, 2 walnut:



Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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narcdor
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by narcdor » 07 Oct 2018, 06:54

Ooh I can’t decide if the purple heart or walnut is better, I think I’d take both in a pinch...
Strings: Fender, Custom, Framus, Warwick
Knobs: Mesa, MarkBass
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maxgroover
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by maxgroover » 07 Oct 2018, 06:57

drbass wrote:
06 Oct 2018, 16:06
Neck-vana part 2: 3 maple, 2 walnut:



Regards,
Michael
It’s wenge instead of walnut right?
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 07 Oct 2018, 14:37

maxgroover wrote:
07 Oct 2018, 06:57
drbass wrote:
06 Oct 2018, 16:06
Neck-vana part 2: 3 maple, 2 walnut:



Regards,
Michael
It’s wenge instead of walnut right?
Of course, wenge - too many necks.

There is one issue though: when I started marking things up I noticed that the blank is not square but more like a parallelogram. Must have started with a slightly off reference surface. That means I’ll have to re-do this one. All is not lost though: I can salvage the blank to be a perfectly fine standard 5-string bolt-on neck.

Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 20 Oct 2018, 06:43

Progress. Really productive day in the workshop yesterday.
Only one pic for all 7 current builds, and I thought it might fit in this thread best because it has the new neck for this project, and this project is the one with the smallest number ;) . And just because I can.

Here are all 7 necks, from left to right:
014: the Merlin all-new maple with wenge neck (will get wenge board)
015: the Gumdrop accoya fretless neck (will get ebony board)
016: the Merlin multi-layer mostly wenge with maple fretless neck (will get wenge board)
017: the Merlin maple with walnut neck with the tapered centre (probably birdseye maple board)
018: the Merlin maple with purple heart neck (not sure - I think zebrano would work with this one)
019: the Short Q maple with purple heart neck (will get purple heart board)
020: the Manta maple with maple (5 piece) neck (will get maple board).



All necks have had the carbon rods epoxied in, a little bit of scraping off excess epoxy required for some as you can see.
I just (literally right now while typing this post) noticed that I should have trimmed 019 at the heel since I need to fit the neck to the pocket before I can put the board on (which is what I left the little ears for - to fix the board to the neck without the need to go through the fret slots) - oh well, all good.
Headstock veneers on a couple as you can see. My headstocks are not big but I'll still need tiny little ears on all of them to get the required width. Not a problem, plenty of offcuts.

Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by Classic5 » 20 Oct 2018, 21:29

OMG you never cease to amaze Michael. Awesome! :cool:
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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by drbass » 26 Oct 2018, 15:48

Sibling bass to #016, and the board looks almost identical. This one will have frets though. Should leave it like this, bit of a battle axe thing going on.



Regards,
Michael
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

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Re: Build #014 - Polaris Merlin NT5 MG Signature

Post by maxgroover » 27 Oct 2018, 08:19

:hyper:
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