Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

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Joseph Price
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Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:12 am

Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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
Attachments
bass headstock2.jpg
bass headstock.jpg
bass back.jpg
bass action.jpg
bass front2.jpg

JC Whitney
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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.

Dennis Duross
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Dennis Duross »

I love the shape of the body.

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Joseph Price »

Thanks Dennis - its pretty standard Gibson Jumbo shape

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Bob Gramann »

Beautiful! I love the headstock. How does it sound?

Brent Tobin
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Brent Tobin »

Very nice !!! I'd really like to hear that.
Better to have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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?

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Jim McConkey
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Joseph Price »


Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Bob Gramann »

Very nice sound. Congratulations.

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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

Andy Bounsall
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Andy Bounsall »

Looks great and sounds great. Would love to see more of you work.

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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 :)

Todd Stock
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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.

Dave Higham
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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'.

Bob Francis
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post by Bob Francis »

That looks and sounds great!
I think the 32" scale was a good choice too.

Joseph Price
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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.

Todd Stock
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Re: Acoustic bass Wedged shape Cocobolo/Englemann

Post 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.

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