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Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 09 Sep 2018, 09:38
by drbass
I'm expecting this one to become my "go-to" fretless (6 is just one too many), and if not it won't be a terribly bad thing.

This is the experimental accoya bass with the English oak top. You've seen this before:


Still working out the final shape. Definitely not natural finish, might go for a "wasted" look, or some weird burst (green to blue, red to blue, blue to green, blue to red? Don't know).

35", not sure if I'll go for 22 or 24 fret equivalent, neck will be 5-piece (central walnut, and 4 maple) most likely with an ebony board (but not sure about that just yet), angled matching headstock with ebony nut.

Electronics: I have a few EMG soapbar pickups and a Noll 4-band pre (bass, low mids, high mids, treble). Pickup positions? First of, there'll be only 2, One will be VERY close to the bridge, the other one somewhere around the standard Stingray spot (probably a little further towards the neck, there might be space constraints).

Black Hipshot short key Y (3/8"), and an ETS Tuning Fork bridge, and Dunlop Dual strap locks.

That's it. Will be building a "laminating rig" in the next week or two, and this one will be the first to be glued up in it.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 09 Sep 2018, 16:03
by drbass
My new glue-up rig in action. Looks cumbersome but it's really straightforward. The 4 brackets stay together, and you just slip your sandwich (baking paper, body, glue, top, baking paper) which is between two pieces of 2 layers of 16 mm MDF glued and screwed together in and tighten the bolts.



Everything is nicely off the ground if you feel like adding a few clamps as well, and frees up my clamps for other stuff. Plenty of room for a variety of thicknesses.

This will get its final shape next week, and then I have to go for getting the neck glued up.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 16 Sep 2018, 16:36
by drbass
Waiting for epoxy to cure I thought "let's have a little fun", got out the router, rasps and files and dug into this one.

Simple round-over:



Little bit of rasping, filing and sanding later:



Don't be fooled - the light was pretty flat so the tummy cut almost doesn't show but it's there! Nothing too extreme with this build, the forearm cut is pretty much final, and only a bit of sanding left to round over the edges. And making it up as I go. As I said before if it works, cool, if not, so what?

Here's the glued-up neck:

Just wide enough.

General comment: the accoya is rather soft, and then occasionally there are soft bits in the softness. The English oak isn't exactly hard either so it might end up being structurally totally unsound (see above: if not, so what?). I definitely won't take off much of the neck pocket in the neck-to-body transition area like I normally do.

If it works I might make another one with the mango top and northern ash (or mahogany) body.

Oh, weighs nothing! Stay tuned for updates.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 30 Sep 2018, 09:54
by drbass
Accoya.

Here's a little something for those with basic German:

Acco-ja? Acco-nein ... .

OK, that's a very drastic statement but the more I work with this stuff the less I like it. Routed the big hole in the back, and it was most unpleasant, a lot of fine dust almost like MDF. And it is SOFT!! I clamped it and had nice marks. Then again, they sanded right out ;) .



I'll continue with this but have a feeling that putting screws in will be a complete nightmare, and (as mentioned above) I'm already making contingency plans for another body. Anyway, let's see what happens.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 30 Sep 2018, 09:59
by narcdor
An interesting experiment either way.

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 01 Oct 2018, 14:13
by Curto
Do you recommend shaping the body before routing the neck pocket?

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 01 Oct 2018, 14:53
by packrat
You could practically shape a balsawood body by blowing on it too. Question. Could you soak something into it which hardens it?

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 01 Oct 2018, 15:49
by drbass
Curto wrote:
01 Oct 2018, 14:13
Do you recommend shaping the body before routing the neck pocket?
Hi Paul,

I personally don't have a preference. Probably easier to rout everything while you have a slab, then shape. If you can properly clamp (or fix with double-sided tape) your template it doesn't really matter. Still contemplating the final size of the neck for this one so the neck pocket will have to wait ... .

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 01 Oct 2018, 15:52
by drbass
packrat wrote:
01 Oct 2018, 14:53
You could practically shape a balsawood body by blowing on it too. Question. Could you soak something into it which hardens it?
You could do the same with this material, Bruce.

And soaking the whole thing is really not worth it but I might either fill the pilot holes with epoxy or superglue, then re-drill, or use threaded inserts. Not quite sure yet.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 05 Oct 2018, 19:03
by drbass
Some progress.

Love those Japanese rasp-files - making routing templates was never easier. Very quick to get straight and accurate edges, sensational.

Neck pocket and the two pickup spots routed out today. The "neck" pu is in the Musicman position (absolutely true), and the bridge pickup is, well closer to the bridge ;)



Will be very growly.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 06 Oct 2018, 16:09
by drbass
Neck-vana part 4: simple 2 maple, centre walnut, and 2 maple.



Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 14 Oct 2018, 09:29
by drbass
Progress.

I love completely unmarked fretboards or fingerboards. No fret lines on a fretless. But I also like the "convenience" of knowing approximately where I am on the board.
This is my approach to the issue: "invisible fret line markers". I'm putting in dark veneer where the fret would normally be in the neck BEFORE putting on the board. Don't fret, there'll be dots as well.



Of course this requires a little more work but I'll let the superglue set properly before removing the surplus.

Regards,
Michael

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 14 Oct 2018, 10:07
by packrat
Aha. That’s how you did it!

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 14 Oct 2018, 11:41
by narcdor
Don’t fret, you crack me up

Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Posted: 14 Oct 2018, 12:11
by Classic5
Great idea regaring the fret line markers. Best of both worlds really :thumbup: