Things are going great! The shop has been very busy these last few months. Right now I’m building more basses simultaneously than ever before. Here is one of them.
Just how I like them, full of features. Maple and wenge neck, pau ferro fingerboard, sapele body with a rare one piece spalted maple top, ebony adjustable bridge, Nordstrand MM style pickups with covers matching the body top, Delano preamp with all the knobs and switches anyone can ever need, and fingerboard frontal red LEDs. I think this one is just a bit too cool… maybe I won’t build it… it’s too much.
Maple and wenge. You can’t go wrong with maple.
Carbon fiber reinforcements for added neck stability. This is already a standard feature in my basses.
This bass is ready now, so here are a few shots of the building process.
The fingerboard has Person Tupinambá’s signature engraved in mother of pearl, just like his first Dogor.
Walnut body wings, for nice and warm low frequencies.
Time for some magic. Here I cut two thin pieces off the body top. They will become the top of the pickup covers, so the wood figure will match beautifully.
Most of the machine work is done.
And finally, the muscle work. Hours of carving, rasping, scraping and sanding.
A good oportunity to refine the design of this bass, with some subtle changes meant to improve the playability and the balance when standing up. Person and I also wanted this bass to be very different from his first Dogor, just to make things more interesting. The main differences are the neck through body construction for extra sustain, birdseye maple fingerboard for good attack and crisp high frequencies, walnut body for big lows, buckeye burl top for the mandatory eye candy factor, Norstrand pickups, Hipshot metal bridge and gold hardware.
It’s not 100% sure, but Person might be coming to Spain in November to pick up his bass and then play a series of concerts in Portugal. That will give us a chance to finally talk to each other in… well… person… Get it?
You can see the finished bass in the gallery.
These are the last stages of the construction, before I start to apply the finish.
The adjustable bridge and the pickup covers are ready.
Time to fill all those unsightly voids, very common in burl wood.
But before I start to spray varnish, lets install all the electronics, test the sound and check if I need to make any adjustments. At this point, I like to make sure that the bass performs exactly how I want, so that I don’t need to correct anything after I apply the finish. This way, I avoid the risk of scratching it.
It may not look like a big deal, but this satin polyurethane finish took a lot of time. Now that it’s silky smooth -and already in Chile with his owner- you can see it here.
Time to carve, rasp and sand the neck and the body to give the bass that organic, smooth feel that I like so much.
Believe me, it takes patience and sharp tools to work with bubinga and not give up and just buy a CNC router.
Now walnut, that’s a different story. It’s so soft I could probably carve it with a spoon. But not a tea spoon, that would be stupid. I mean a full size table spoon. But for now, I will stick to the rasp.
And finally the maple burl top. It’s not particularly hard, but the grain is chaotic. You can’t predict how it’s going to react, so you have to work very slowly to avoid tearing it.
Now the body is smooth and confortable.
This one features a gorgeous maple burl top with matching headstock veneer. This kind of maple burl is similar to bird’s eye maple, but not the same. But don’t worry, this is highly technical lutherie terminology that you don’t need to understand. Oh my! Look at me! I am so special!
Back in 2012 I made an El Puntudo bass with a super short scale for a bassist and bass collector in Chile. He liked it so much that he came back and ordered another El Puntudo, this time with headstock and all the features available: carbon fiber neck reinforcements, wood adjustable bridge with piezo, neodymium humbucker pickups, 3 band Nordstrand preamp and LED side dots.
Now I’m in the final stages of construction, almost ready for the polyurethane finish.
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