Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Building, Modding, Setup and Repair
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drbass
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Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 09 Sep 2018, 09:38

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 09 Sep 2018, 16:03

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 16 Sep 2018, 16:36

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 30 Sep 2018, 09:54

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
- 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 #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by narcdor » 30 Sep 2018, 09:59

An interesting experiment either way.
Strings: Fender, Custom, Framus, Warwick
Knobs: Mesa, MarkBass
Cones: Baer
Patch: TC Electronic, Aguilar

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Curto
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by Curto » 01 Oct 2018, 14:13

Do you recommend shaping the body before routing the neck pocket?
Custom 32

packrat
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by packrat » 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?

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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 01 Oct 2018, 15:49

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 01 Oct 2018, 15:52

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 05 Oct 2018, 19:03

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
- 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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 06 Oct 2018, 16:09

Neck-vana part 4: simple 2 maple, centre walnut, and 2 maple.



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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drbass
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by drbass » 14 Oct 2018, 09:29

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
- 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 #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by packrat » 14 Oct 2018, 10:07

Aha. That’s how you did it!

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narcdor
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by narcdor » 14 Oct 2018, 11:41

Don’t fret, you crack me up
Strings: Fender, Custom, Framus, Warwick
Knobs: Mesa, MarkBass
Cones: Baer
Patch: TC Electronic, Aguilar

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Classic5
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Re: Build #015 - Polaris Gumdrop 5 Fretless

Post by Classic5 » 14 Oct 2018, 12:11

Great idea regaring the fret line markers. Best of both worlds really :thumbup:
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