#024-029 - Shorties

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drbass
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#024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 19 Jul 2019, 16:14

Yes, that's correct - 5 builds in one thread.

I had Shorty with Drew and Heejoo at the Bass Workshop (if you haven't been you should go and have a look - it's basically next door to Chatstone) and had pretty positive feedback. Someone offered to buy it but no, it IS a prototype, very sloppy, so I thought I'll get a little more serious about things just this once: I'll build some stock.

Went to Mathews and purchased a good amount of walnut (also used in #023) and some sapele. Have read reasonably good things about it and thought I'd give it a try.



The plan is to build three 4-string Shorties and two 5-string Shorties. The 4s will have a sapele body with a yet to be determined top (I have quite a few floating around so I'll find something suitable), the 5s will be just walnut which won't be an issue since there's not much body so weight will be reasonably OK.

I have ideas for pickups and electronics but happy to accommodate anybody's preferences if you commit to a purchase. Let's see how this pans out.

Regards,
Michael
Last edited by drbass on 19 Jul 2019, 21:52, edited 1 time in total.
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BassLine
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Re: #024-029

Post by BassLine » 19 Jul 2019, 19:15

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Re: #024-029

Post by basshack » 19 Jul 2019, 19:51

You keep up this pace and you’ll need a shop front!
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 19 Jul 2019, 20:39

You're both not wrong, Owen and Blaine ... . Time will tell what's feasible and what's not.

Here are the tops for the three sapele-bodied 4-strings:

#1:

Nice piece of mango. Total thickness for this one only about 34 mm so I'll probably put a double veneer layer in there.

#2:

Reasonably figured wenge. This one will get a swamp ash contrast layer which will bring the total thickness to 37 - perfect.

#3:

Quilted maple. This one will have a wenge contrast layer which again will bring the thickness to 37 mm.

The wenge pieces are the ones I wanted to use for #023 but they're just that tiny little bit too narrow.

And the walnut 5-strings will just be walnut.

Exciting times ahead.

Regards,
Michael
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 22 Jul 2019, 21:10

Lots of glueing happened in the background over the weekend.

5 body blanks (2 walnut, 3 sapele), and 5 book-matched pieces. Had a look at the swamp ash I had and decided to use that as a top rather than the wenge so here are the combos:


Sapele, black veneer, mango.


Sapele, wenge and swamp ash - will do the "grain enhance" thing and possibly go with a nice primary colour - green?


Sapele, wenge and quilted maple - thinking red for this one but might just leave it natural.

Regards,
Michael
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Juan Lauda
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by Juan Lauda » 23 Jul 2019, 06:34

That quilted maple is stunning, Michael. I think you should let the natural colour speak for itself.
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 23 Jul 2019, 08:50

Juan Lauda wrote:
23 Jul 2019, 06:34
That quilted maple is stunning, Michael. I think you should let the natural colour speak for itself.
Should I apply a colour it'll be transparent so the grain will still be (very) visible, Tim.

More thinking.

Hardware will be Hipshot A style bridges (18 mm spacing for the 4s, 17 mm for the 5s), and tuners will be UltraLite short stem Y.

The three 4 stringers will all get a different pickup configuration:
1) reverse P in the P position;
2) MM in the Stingray position;
3) 2 single coils (skinny!!) in the Warwick Thumb positions.

The two 5 stringers I'm thinking
1) Xtender in the G&L bridge position;
2) 2 single coils (skinny!!) in the Warwick Thumb positions, or maybe go "J".

All pickups will be Delanos, and I've been in direct contact with Klaus Noll and will have his TCM 3 pre-amps in all 5 basses in a three knob configuration as follows: Vol (P/P active/passive), treble (passive roll-off), and concentric mid/bass. That will cover all the bases and will give me and others a good indication of what's possible with 30" scale length.

Regards,
Michael
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 24 Jul 2019, 10:17

Amazing.

As mentioned in the previous post I decided to go with Noll pre-amps because
1) I'm super-happy with the TCM 4XM in the Rasta fretless,
2) they have a compact central block (like Nordstrand) instead of the boards soldered to the pots (like Glockenklang),
3) they have a passive tone roll-off like Glockenklang (Nordstrand don't offer that option),
4) they're priced quite reasonably.

I contacted Klaus Noll directly on Monday afternoon by email and had a reply less than an hour later (!!!!).

By yesterday morning we worked out a custom configuration for the TCM 3 (vol - p/p/ active/passive; treble - passive tone roll-off; stacked bass/mids), and by 8:00 pm yesterday Melbourne time he prepared, packaged and shipped 5 pre-amps with suitable (and good-looking) knobs.

Along the way we "chatted" about all sorts of things as well.

All of the above and the pricing tells me that I have found my go-to pre-amp supplier.
In case you don't know: Noll pre-amps can be found in Ritter, Jerzy Drozd, Maruszczyk and other basses.

Excited!!

Regards,
Michael

P.S.: On the other hand I placed an order with BestBassGear on Friday and received a notification email today to let me know that some items are on backorder - which was not indicated at any time during ordering and paying. Oh well, trying to get away from that crowd anyway.
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 28 Jul 2019, 20:47

Come a fair way since the first picture. Happy with the progress and how things are going so far - no irreparable screw-ups yet ;) .



The three 4-stringers all glued up and ready to meet the bandsaw (probably next Saturday), and I did some routing and body shaping with the two fivers.

Regards,
Michael
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basshack
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by basshack » 28 Jul 2019, 21:00

Ir-repairable screw ups? There's no such thing, just opportunities for new features.
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by narcdor » 28 Jul 2019, 21:13

No flies on you... I’ll be keen to see how the tiny tiny four strings come out.
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drbass
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 29 Jul 2019, 09:15

basshack wrote:
28 Jul 2019, 21:00
Ir-repairable screw ups? There's no such thing, just opportunities for new features.
Sure, Blaine,

Happy to-rephrase: "so far this batch is feature-poor".

Regards,
Michael
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 02 Aug 2019, 13:56

just arrived from Germany: 5 custom tcm3 pre-amps from Noll combining the compactness of the Nordstrand 3b-3 with the passive tone roll-off of the Glockenklang:



Regards,
Michael
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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by SneakyJak » 02 Aug 2019, 15:53

Now you’ve got a bunch under you’re belt I have a question.

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you started. Is there any specific lesson that seems so obvious now you’ve built a bunch and eluded you in the beginning

I’m still over thinking everything, going around in circles and not putting tool to wood. Which is deeply frustrating

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Re: #024-029 - Shorties

Post by drbass » 02 Aug 2019, 17:01

SneakyJak wrote:
02 Aug 2019, 15:53
Now you’ve got a bunch under you’re belt I have a question.

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you started. Is there any specific lesson that seems so obvious now you’ve built a bunch and eluded you in the beginning

I’m still over thinking everything, going around in circles and not putting tool to wood. Which is deeply frustrating
Hi Pete,

Not the right section, should be under "Zen and the art of bass building" :D ;) . OK, enough of that.

When I first started I was terrified of the big and small machinery, and absolutely terrified of making a mistake.

I now have a much better understanding of things like routers, bandsaws etc. and a very healthy respect with regards to the potential damage they can do.
I also have a better understanding of timbers and yet am still constantly surprised at how one piece of walnut can be so completely different in looks and "behaviour" to another - that's part of the enjoyment though.
By making mistakes along the way (and sometimes actually not sleeping particularly well for a couple of nights) I have gained a ton of experience that helps me avoid such mistakes. There will always be some, and that has helped (with the support of numerous people here on the board and in person, such as David or Blaine, last name "Features" ;) ) to develop strategies to use those mistakes to make progress with development and design - find solutions that (potentially) work better than the original design rather than dwell on the screw-up.
What helped with that as well is the patience and level of understanding of people who commissioned a bass. I'm just a tiny fish in the pond, and errors can have much bigger consequences.

I've also become a little more independent and adventurous regarding finishes, and am not afraid of using non-mainstream timber (of course I still love walnut and ash but there's interesting opportunities out there - accoya, for example).

While I deal with hundreds of different personalities every year I've learned a lot about how to make connections with others - it's completely different being a lecturer in a position of authority (although I push that angle as little as possible, I attempt to be a "first under equals" with my students) compared to dealing with suppliers, and customers. As already mentioned above I was pretty lucky in that respect but it's still something that doesn't come naturally, and never will.

Overall it's just more confidence in what I "design" and in how I execute the "vision", going from that thought bubble to a final "thing" that works the way it is intended.

In short, I wish I had had experience when I first started but of course that's not really an option, right?

Hope that makes sense. I know it sounds "psycho babble" and common sense but that doesn't make it any less true for me.

Enough soul-baring for now.

Regards,
Michael
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