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Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:24 am
by Joseph Price
Despite being a member here for nearly 20 years, Yikes! - I've never posted my instruments,
so felt it was high time I did so. here is an Acoustic bass I made last year.

Specs are
Acoustic Bass Cocobolo/Englemann spruce
Custom designed and crafted for maximum volume and comfort - this bass features Manzer inspired wedge shaped body and a side port soundhole. The neck is made up of 2 different types of mahogany and maple for maximum stiffness and light weight.
Macassar Ebony fingerboard. Scale length is 32" . Body is based of a J200 so 18" wide.
The depth of the side where the forearm crosses over is just under 90mm wide. It was very difficult to make and caused quite a a lot of stress. The neck joint is glued in Mortise, but is designed to cantilever over the top - I used a well seasoned ebony board.
Finish is French Polish with an Oil slurry grain fill which worked quite well = Cocobolo seems to have less massive pores than other species of Rosewood.

Bracing is Adirondack spruce - quite a wide splay X, with 3 fan braces interlocked over alaminated maple and wenge bridge patch. I left the sides intentionally thin. The top came out roughly 3.4mm thick, but of course this information on its own is not that useful - I thinned the edges somewhat.

Top is 25ft radius and the back is nominally 12ft, slightly exagerrated on the treble side due to the wedge.
I would really love to experiement with a Rick Turner style neck joint but do not have the skills to figure his system out.

All the best everyone,
Joseph

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:10 am
by JC Whitney
That is indeed a beauty, especially in its details. The headstock design is striking - after a few minutes spent looking at it, it occurred to me that what I first thought of as a contrasting triangle of veneer in the headstock might better be described as a wedge.... getting slow in my old age.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:32 am
by Dennis Duross
I love the shape of the body.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:24 am
by Joseph Price
Thanks Dennis - its pretty standard Gibson Jumbo shape

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:29 am
by Joseph Price
Thanks JC. The endgraft is same design as headstock and I made a heel cap and feature on the rear of the body in the same vein.
I like inlay in wood. Sorry about poor quality photos

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:14 am
by Bob Gramann
Beautiful! I love the headstock. How does it sound?

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:17 am
by Brent Tobin
Very nice !!! I'd really like to hear that.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:56 pm
by Joseph Price
Thanks Guys - well its louder acoustically than the Martin basses i have worked on - that was my goal.

The sides are doubled in the upper bout. They are also stiffened with Adirondack side braces in the lower bout.
The back I made stiff and "non-active" - I felt it was safer as it was my first time making this design.
There are no dead spots on the neck - which despite being pretty slim Depth is very stiff on its own. I was
a little wary about going full 34" scale so went 32" with a steep headstock angle - which I usually prefer on acoustic guitars.
The fingerboard was from LMII and I was extremely pleased with the quality. I kept it for over a year in my workshop and brought it down in stages to minimise post build movement. I relieved it on the underside of the board which is catilevered over the top.
I still made a full width UTB but stopped it short of the edges and didn't add feet into the sides - hopefully a little more vibration in the upper bout than normal, but again, that is just supposition. I would REALLY LIKE to try the Rick Turner Joint and we are friends - from this forum decades ago! - bu I fear asking him may be "pushing the friendship" - and I am nowhere near clever enough to make something like this myself :)

I have some basic phone video of it - Am I allowed to post it here?

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:11 pm
by Jim McConkey
Welcome out of the woodwork (finally!). That is a nice looking bass and I really like the head.

Videos are too big to post here. If you can upload it elsewhere (Vimeo, YouTube, your own site, etc.), feel free to link to it from here.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:17 am
by Joseph Price

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:21 am
by Joseph Price
...And this one. Strings were just on.
She is quite a bit louder now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HJF55k ... e=youtu.be

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:20 am
by Bob Gramann
Very nice sound. Congratulations.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:02 pm
by Joseph Price
Thanks Bob. I took the low E quite a bit longer to "wake up" than the other 3.

I think I will try a deeper body and more radical wedge next time.

Do any of you guys know a sure fire place to buy the hardware used in Rick Turners neck joint?
I think that would be superior to my mortise and tenon glued in joint in the long term.

All the best,
Joseph

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:44 pm
by Andy Bounsall
Looks great and sounds great. Would love to see more of you work.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:23 am
by Joseph Price
Thanks Andy - currently I primarily make Electric guitars "by hand" - which is por nomenclature and
commercially ridiculous!

I have an OM nearly finished, so will post that when it is done.
Long term my goal is to transition out of repair work (which has been very good to me financially, and wrt building customer
base/reputation) to just building and moving to the countryside. I wanted to refrain from committing to "one style"
of guitar for as long as possible - and have finally figured out that I love playing and working on electric guitars, and feel i
know a lot about them but routing and sanding is not my idea of fun :)

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:04 am
by Todd Stock
I think you'll find that Linda Manzer was in high school when Walter Smith patented the wedge body in 1969. Kudos to Manzer for popularizing the configuration, as well as many other laudable accomplishments, but to claim as she does that it is an original innovation is not even remotely correct.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:44 pm
by Dave Higham
Todd Stock wrote:to claim as she does that it is an original innovation is not even remotely correct.


Which also applies to Novak and his 'Fanned Frets'.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:13 pm
by Bob Francis
That looks and sounds great!
I think the 32" scale was a good choice too.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:47 am
by Joseph Price
Thanks Bob

WRT who did what when where first, it doesnt really interest me TBH.
We share knowledge as best we can, but it seems to be the nature of the work that even with
the same methods, the luthiers "touch" makes for a different result each time.

I referenced Lindas work as she was to the best of my knowledge the first luthier i saw do this.

Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:23 pm
by Todd Stock
I am curious on how much you deepened the body on the treble side to recover the lost volume from the wedge - it seems like 5-1/4" is the practical limit to depth on a 0000 shaped bass, but support for E1 is still lacking even at that body volume. We've built them to 5-1/8" and still maintained good ergonomics, but wedging the back could allow a bit more depth - particularly for the seated bassist. What were your final dimensions at the lower bout edges?

Love the cosmetics - basses are so difficult to make truly attractive, but you def hit the mark on this one.

The issue is not with your attribution - Linda's web site still inaccurately claims she invented the wedge configuration in 1984 and requests attribution to that effect for anyone using it. I'd like to see her acknowledge Smith as the inventor and make her claim as one of popularizing the configuration. That said, the patent expired in 1985, at least a year after Manzer began using the configuration commercially, so I question whether accurate attribution is much of an issue for her, given successes in other areas of endeavor.