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

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

Post by slowlearner » 14 Mar 2018, 11:08

Started working on this last night...

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It's still to tall, but I'm on the way.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 15 Mar 2018, 13:59

Back in the shed today. Started cutting the nut and... fail....


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So I'm laminating together another one as we speak, using the blank I started on before. I also got the top and bottom strings on.


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Note the B string. See the red wrapped end? That's the full length of string, it had exactly enough string to go under the anchor... and not a sausage more. Phew! The other good news is, as you torque the screws up, it pre-tensions the string nicely. So good designing there.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 15 Mar 2018, 16:03

New nut blank.

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Would you believe... 9 different layers of old piano veneers and dyed maple?

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Let's see this one try and chip out! ;)
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 15 Mar 2018, 20:51

Back into it after dinner. How much do I hate cutting a new nut... let me count the ways. :(

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It's still too high, but I've had enough for the night. I did manage to the get the two outer string on the bass though...

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Learned a few important things. Firstly, the B string is a doddle. No issues with tuning there. The C string was a different story though.

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Had to pre-tension the string 3 times with plyers and then hold the allen screw tight as I tuned it up to C. I'm expecting more fun like that tomorrow. I wasn't left with a lot of thread on the tuner either. And it's mighty tough to turn up at high C.

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So, I'll have to keep on eye on that. Hopefully there are no dramas, because the last set in the world is on it's way soon. LaBella has stopped making the super long scale strings and I've been wating 7 months for the black set. Can't really afford to have any broken strings. :/

BTW, I had my first chance to play it tonight. First impressions are, it's damn light! Crazy light! The C string was also quite loud acoustically. So that's interesting. Be really curious to know how PUs will effect the weight, but can't be much.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 22 Mar 2018, 14:53

Back into it today again. Some more cutting of the nut. More work getting the bridge down to size.

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To start off with I had the action a little too high.

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This did allow me to see how much deflection I'd see from the body with so much leverage on the bridge.

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So that's around 1.5mm. The good news is, when I brought the bridge down by about 13-15mm, it halfed the amount of pressure on the body. So it's probably about 0.6mm of deflection in the bass side wing now. I've had more of a chance to play it (without electronics). The action is still a little on the high side and the nut needs to come down a smidge too, but it's pretty good. LOTs of mwah. Lots of sustain. Even in the upper positions. I'm still getting used to the intonation, and there are no dot markers yet either. Did that on purpose this time.

Been playing with this little plane I got for my birthday from my in-laws. Lot of fun. :)

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

Post by slowlearner » 22 Mar 2018, 21:30

More bridge work tonight. Before I cut it down a few more mm, it was almost level with the board!

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Then some grooves for sneaky wires...

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Then a polish up and a coat of wipe on poly.

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Finished up the snappy bow tie for my neck too. Pretty pleased with the finished product, but what a lot of messing around.

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

Post by slowlearner » 23 Mar 2018, 20:52

Back in the shed tonight to try and get the bass playable. I spent a long time mucking about with the piezo PUs. Followed by mounting the mag PUs. Made a stupid rookie error there, but nothing serious.

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When I tensioned up the strings, the action was so low, I backed the truss rod off. It's still so easy to play. Huge, but easy. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with wiring, so for a laugh, I hooked up the piezos straight to the output jack. No buffer, no dials or nothing. Plugged it into my labby and mini-stack...

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Oh... maaaaaannnn.... the sound....

I've recorded a short clip. Straight into my computer. No EQing. No comp, no nothing. Just straight signal. By far the best sounding fretless I've ever built. Little if any clacky-ness from the piezos.



Excuse my intonation. There's still no dot markers. I really didn't want to put it down. I'm not sure whether it's the construction, the strings, etc, etc. But it sounds huge. Probably the best sounding bass I've ever built and it's not even running right yet. As close to an upright as anything I've built thus far. The B string is so big, the lowest note is really just fundamentals. The other thing is, unlike a lot of 6 string basses, it balances really well on my knee.

Anyway, there's a start. Lots of electronics to fiddle with yet, but it's nice to know I'm on the right track. :)
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narcdor
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by narcdor » 23 Mar 2018, 21:53

Sounds great!
Strings: Fender, Custom, Framus, Warwick
Knobs: Mesa, MarkBass
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by drbass » 24 Mar 2018, 10:33

Now that sounds WOODY - love it.

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

Post by maxgroover » 24 Mar 2018, 10:40

Like! Nice work Pete. Sounds awesome.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 24 Mar 2018, 12:23

So today I hung it on a strap. Like Michael (drbass), I have an aversion to putting them on the end of the instrument... and there wasn't enough timber to put a screw into down there either. (An issues that's reared it's head on a few fronts.) So I put it on the back the bass side wing.

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The good news is, the bass balances really nicely on a strap. Which it pretty good, because it's like hanging and albatross around your neck. If it didn't balance, it would be a pretty big disaster. On the subject of weight, I put it on the scales this morning. Nothing too precise, but it comes in at 4kg, which is pretty great I reckon. Considering the length of the neck and a scale length of 39", that's got to be some kinda miracle.

There is one downside to all that scale length though. That is, finding a gig bag. The bass is 1265mm long. A P-bass is 1158mm. So not a lot longer, but enough to make it a bitch to find something that fits. I'm stuck with ABG cases, which is ok I guess. Not bothering with a HSC or I'd need a roofrack for the car.

This would probably work...
https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_gigba ... _jumbo.htm

This might, but they helpfully left the overall dimensions out of it...
http://www.belfieldmusic.com.au/uxl-pre ... g-240.html

Any suggestions anyone else has is good. Not looking to spend more than about $60-80.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by drbass » 24 Mar 2018, 15:39

I would have thought you're way below 4 kg, Pete - 20 mm, mostly air. Must be all the metal bracing ... .

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

Post by slowlearner » 24 Mar 2018, 16:35

Damn, you caught me out. :)
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 25 Mar 2018, 21:31

Some more progress. After agonizing about the depth blend pot, I discovered the top of the cavity was too thick for any of their threads to go through. So I got out the router and fixed it quick smart.

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This afternoon I got the wiring finished.

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Spaghetti western!

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The good news is that it's all done. The bad news is, I had a few issues.

To begin with, I had nothing coming out of the bass. Absolutely zip. I managed to sort this out finally. I think the issue was a signal wiring grounding everything against some shielding. Having stopped that, I discovered another issue.

There's is an earthing problem. I'm not sure exactly why though. I have a good earth wire going to the tail piece. I've also got everything else earthed properly, still there's a sizable hum coming from the mag PUs. It could be the signal wires exposed on the back (teach me to get all clever and leave them open like that). Or it could be something else. Part of the issue is, my office is right behind the power distribution box for our house. So everything, no matter how good, can always hum in the wrong position. Strangely, the hum is worst right in the middle of the blend control. Any thoughts?

I'm also pretty sure the mag PUs need to be close to the strings. The piezo is much louder. No biggie, but another thing to fix. They sound pretty good to my ears... in between the humming. :(

It still needs a control cover on the back too.
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Re: Build #12 - 6 string fretless (warning; crazy content)

Post by slowlearner » 27 Mar 2018, 18:14

So, it seems that some lecky tape, two washers and a few bits of rubber tube cured everything. So it's live and ready to go except for a control cover. I'll do that tonight and then it's ready for some sexy shots. ;)

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Got some black strap buttons coming too, but I'm not sure if it needs it.
Bassline "I'm not arguing.... I'm just explaining why I'm right."
My Band - https://www.facebook.com/PBT-1914426202220972/

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