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Author Topic: New fretless build  (Read 40022 times)
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peterleroux
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« on: January 31, 2015, 04:34:34 pm »

So this arrived in the post recently- a Mighty Mite fretless neck- maple and ebonol. Looking forward to putting it together- I've got a Bartolini quad coil and an NTMB918 three band pre-amp


I'm busy sourcing the hardware, and I'm planning on CNC routing an Oregon Pine body from some reclaimed beams. Looking at something like an Azola Jazzman:
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Meron Rigas
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2015, 09:52:45 pm »

I had a minor attack of gas, went looking for a fretless (not that I could play it) this week. Did some reading on ebonol fretboards and concluded a mighty mite neck w/ebonol as a home build would be the way forward (Or a SX Ursa if I could find one).

And here you're building one - awesome!

The oregon pine is going to result in a weighty beast though? I had a tele (body from reclaimed roof timber), it was seriously heavy.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2015, 08:26:11 am »

Looks beautiful.  But I love wood. Who else has spotted the trend that guitars attract paint to cover up the wood, but bass players are often more inclined to show off the beauty?
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peterleroux
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 10:33:25 am »

..Did some reading on ebonol fretboards and concluded a mighty mite neck w/ebonol as a home build would be the way forward...

I had a Cort Curbow 5 fretted with an Ebonol board and it was fantastic- flat, strong, stable. Because it is a composite, it does have a subtle 'grain' that comes out a little with wear. I'm pretty happy with it as a fingerboard material.

The oregon pine is going to result in a weighty beast though? I had a tele (body from reclaimed roof timber), it was seriously heavy.

Might be. I'll have to see once I start buying timber. If needs be, I'm hoping I can route some weight relief.

Who else has spotted the trend that guitars attract paint to cover up the wood, but bass players are often more inclined to show off the beauty?

I think for bass players this started with Alembic's work in the 60s. A lot of influential players used them, then other luthiers like Ken Smith, Spector, Fodera and eventually Ibanez started copying that look.
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 07:10:33 pm »

Some nice shapes in that Alembic line up. (Some pretty odd one's too. Hehe)
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2015, 09:55:04 pm »

some movement here...

The hardware arrived acouple of weeks ago, so I have all the parts I need except the bit of wood that holds them all together. Will go trawling some salvage yards over the next few weekends to find something I like the look of. I decided I wanted a scratchplate, sketched something based on the Fender Roscoe Beck scratchplate, itself inspried by 70s Fender thinline guards.

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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 04:04:37 pm »

So I spent a bit of time over the weekend setting up a 'test mule' (like the ones Leo Fender used) to help me finalise the pickup position.
First step was to mount the tuners and drill the neck for mounting. I used the best template I had- the neck pocket of my J bass. While I was checking the fit, I took the opportunity to string it up and test out the neck on the Jazz body.


After that, I mounted the bridge (badly- the neck was skew so I adjusted the bridge to match) and, after picking up some mounting screws this afternoon, I'm ready to start experimenting with the placement of the pickup for the tone I'm after.


Hopefully will be making progress on this soon- my father in law has a garage full of timber he needs to empty out before the end of the year so I'm hoping to climb into it in the next two weeks
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 11:32:57 am »

Excuse the noob questions - I'm curious!

So when choosing pup placement, what are you looking for?

Is it mostly pup placement (regardless of pup type) - E.g. closer to bridge = more finger attack (I'm thinking rickenbacker/rock), more in the middle = P-bass mids and more to the neck = jazz-y warmth?

Or is it more dependent on pup type, E.g. depending on the type of pup, you'll adjust to balance out the inherent tone of the pup with the placement. E.g. Humbucker more to the bridge to add a bit of treble to the warmth of the bucker?
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 02:29:38 pm »

Excuse the noob questions - I'm curious!

So when choosing pup placement, what are you looking for?

Is it mostly pup placement (regardless of pup type) - E.g. closer to bridge = more finger attack (I'm thinking rickenbacker/rock), more in the middle = P-bass mids and more to the neck = jazz-y warmth?

Or is it more dependent on pup type, E.g. depending on the type of pup, you'll adjust to balance out the inherent tone of the pup with the placement. E.g. Humbucker more to the bridge to add a bit of treble to the warmth of the bucker?

It's mostly to answer this question that I'm giving it a try.

Apparently the position and construction both have a lot to do with tone- some people say that a MM pup in the P-bass position sounds more like a precision than a Stingray. I'm going to move it around and see. One of the things is that an active circuit can compensate for the loss of warmth you get when moving closer to the bridge- apparently the Stingray circuit was tweaked with the position of the pickup in mind, to compensate for the shortcomings of the tone.
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 09:03:04 am »

It's mostly to answer this question that I'm giving it a try.

Apparently the position and construction both have a lot to do with tone- some people say that a MM pup in the P-bass position sounds more like a precision than a Stingray. I'm going to move it around and see. One of the things is that an active circuit can compensate for the loss of warmth you get when moving closer to the bridge- apparently the Stingray circuit was tweaked with the position of the pickup in mind, to compensate for the shortcomings of the tone.
Aha, makes for a interesting experiment!

You said "MM" pup, that's a mighty mite pup? It also crossed my mind that the active circuit could mask some of the tonal changes one would get from moving the pup around.

Keep us updated please - quite curious! I've got a old Hofner (missing the original pup) that I need to drop another pup into (Probably a P Bass passive, if I can find a reasonable one).
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 10:47:24 am »

It's mostly to answer this question that I'm giving it a try.

Apparently the position and construction both have a lot to do with tone- some people say that a MM pup in the P-bass position sounds more like a precision than a Stingray. I'm going to move it around and see. One of the things is that an active circuit can compensate for the loss of warmth you get when moving closer to the bridge- apparently the Stingray circuit was tweaked with the position of the pickup in mind, to compensate for the shortcomings of the tone.

Aha, makes for a interesting experiment!

You said "MM" pup, that's a mighty mite pup? It also crossed my mind that the active circuit could mask some of the tonal changes one would get from moving the pup around.

Keep us updated please - quite curious! I've got a old Hofner (missing the original pup) that I need to drop another pup into (Probably a P Bass passive, if I can find a reasonable one).


ah, sorry. I meant the big double humbucker MusicMan like the Stingray and Saber have-



I'm told that strat pickups works ok for bass- I have a R50 Chinese one I will bolt on just for laughs- but the Fender Musicmaster / Bronco basses had strat pups with blank covers to hide the fact that they had 6 polepieces. Probably won't be this weekend, but I will post some feedback on how this works out. I suspect I will end up placing the pickup more or less where most single humbucker basses have one in the Stingray 'sweetspot' or thereabouts
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 07:06:33 am »

Insight: pickup position is one of the very few things that can't be tweaked with a screwdriver or allen key after the build is finished

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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 01:12:47 pm »

Insight: pickup position is one of the very few things that can't be tweaked with a screwdriver or allen key after the build is finished

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good point.

Here is a pic of some of the positions on the test rig:


At the end of the day, towards neck- boomier, towards bridge- thinner, and it's more or less personal preference beyond that. I found that going closer to the neck than the P bass position started losing definition, and passively the stingray position was too thin. With the preamp however, I was able to dial a bit of thump in, so I'll be placing the pickup centred at the Stingray position, which is pretty close to where it was on the Cort Curbow this came out of:



I've just picked up a piece of Oregon Pine at Country Woods, so I hope to be routing the body in the next few weeks.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 04:17:35 pm »

...and here's the end of the plank- fine grained (about 20 rings per inch), clear, old growth Oregon Pine
About R300 and I'll have about 300mm left over on the plank when I'm done.

http://41.media.tumblr.com/26ca25b2073d1d1d086369c392dfa846/tumblr_o5u23gzgIZ1sk85t9o1_1280.jpg
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2016, 10:33:13 pm »

Very nice.
Very fine grained for Oregon.
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