Got an interesting one for ya.

You mean there are other basses? :D This is where those discussions go.

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Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Kevin Baker » Sat May 14, 2016 5:27 pm

Hello, everyone, I'm Kevin, and if you couldn't already tell, I'm Ken's kid, and I'm going to tell you a story.

About 8-10 years ago I got it into my head that I wanted to build my own bass. Drew out the plans for a body, looked at necks and various pickup configurations, and studied the specs of a few preamps. Then, I discovered that things were a little pricier than I had first expected, and the vision of a bass that I could say I built got left on the wayside as Dad procured various instruments that he let me play.

About a month and a half ago, I decided to start looking at it again, now that I am (theoretically) gainfully employed, and once again, I looked toward Warmoth for a neck and body. I had liked the look of their Gecko instruments way back when, so I looked at those this time around. I was kinda disappointed that they no longer offer Kahler bridges, but there are others out there. Because of the years of playing Dad's L-Series G&Ls, I didn't really have to look far for which pickups to choose, and he was very helpful when I was choosing the other electronics. I started looking at their custom body/neck selections, and 5 weeks ago, I took the plunge. Earlier today, a majority of the parts arrived. (Don't worry, there will be pictures at the end.) Things have gotten very real in the past few days.

Parts list:
  1. Warmoth Medium Gecko Body, quilt maple on ash with a laminate accent, unfinished
  2. Warmoth Medium Gecko Neck
    • Macassar ebony on maple
    • Stainless Jumbo frets
    • GraphTech Black TUSQ XL nut
    • 1 7/8" nut width, 14" radius
    • Satin nitro finish by Warmoth
  3. 2x G&L K-model 5-string humbuckers
  4. Hipshot A-Style bridge, preloaded with GraphTech GHOST piezos
  5. Nordstrand 3-band preamp, running at 18v
  6. Gotoh GB7-series tuners
  7. Cafe Walter piezo buffer
  8. The support of one Ken Baker (This one was quite expensive. Have you seen his rates? Yeesh.)

Now, for the thing I'm sure more than a few of you have put up with the rest of this post for (click for hi-res):

Image

Image

And, in case some of you wanted a better view of that neck inlay:
Image

I have been asked to document this project of mine, and I will be posting updates here as they happen. Currently waiting on the pickups and that piezo buffer, then it'll be off to a local luthier to rout for the pickups and get the thing Plek'd.

This is going to be a very interesting next few weeks.

--
Kevin.
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Ken Baker » Sat May 14, 2016 5:50 pm

You still get the prerequisite "Welcome to BassesByLeo!

Kevin Baker wrote:The support of one Ken Baker (This one was quite expensive. Have you seen his rates? Yeesh.)


Hell yeah!

This is going to be a very interesting next few weeks.


Yes, it is! The body is a really beautiful piece of wood and it only weighs 3.5 pounds. Of course that's dry with no electronics, but it just feels stupid light to hold in your hands. The neck is very nice as well with a great satin finish and smooth & clean fretwork.

He's got a great project going. It should turn out remarkably well.

Ken...
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Mr. Mom » Sun May 15, 2016 10:34 am

K Model MFD's? What are those?

I'm interested in your opinion of the G&L pickups with the "other" preamp.
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Ken Baker » Sun May 15, 2016 11:16 am

Mr. Mom wrote:K Model MFD's? What are those?


"K" pickups are, for all intents and purposes, the same as regular L Series pickups. G&L uses them for factory single coil capability, L series only. The difference is in grounding and coil isolation. These pickups will be a weensie bit quieter than the regular pickup.

I'm interested in your opinion of the G&L pickups with the "other" preamp.


I've not actually played a bass with MFDs and Nordstrand. There are a few out there and they're well regarded. Mal might know of someone who has done this.

Ken...
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Mr. Mom » Mon May 16, 2016 3:35 am

Ken Baker wrote:"K" pickups are, for all intents and purposes, the same as regular L Series pickups. G&L uses them for factory single coil capability, L series only. The difference is in grounding and coil isolation. These pickups will be a weensie bit quieter than the regular pickup.



Gotcha.

Looking froward to hearing updates on the build!
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby TDR1138 » Mon May 16, 2016 7:05 am

I'll be watching this one, too. I like the Gecko look.
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby bdgotoh » Mon May 16, 2016 3:53 pm

Very nice Kevin! I especially like the hanging method for the neck pics.
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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Ken Baker » Mon May 16, 2016 5:08 pm

bdgotoh wrote:I especially like the hanging method for the neck pics.


Good shot, huh?

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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Kevin Baker » Tue May 17, 2016 5:17 pm

Small update time!

One of the piezo saddle wires was actually broken off of the saddle, so that's a warranty replacement. GraphTech was great, fast and helpful support. Hopefully I'll receive a replacement in the next few days.

Did some cutting on the body with a forstner bit in a drill press, made a slot for the piezo wires to find their way over to the control cavity. Also cut away a bit in the control cavity to allow for 18v instead of 9v.

Received the magnetic pickups today, and got a pickup cover over to a local luthier to produce a template for routing. He's got a bit of a backlog, so that'll be a couple of weeks.

And now for the worst part. Waiting...

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Re: Got an interesting one for ya.

Postby Kevin Baker » Sun May 22, 2016 2:21 pm

Dunno if there're rules about double posting, but they're probably made to be broken. Right?

...Right?

New update! With pictures, even!

Bit the bullet a few days ago and reamed out the bridge ground wire hole a bit so I could run the piezo wires down to the control cavity. Didn't quite follow the original hole, but at least it came out still inside the control cavity. I'll just say that I don't think I like drilling like this with a driver drill.

Today, I dropped the tuners in place, and with Dad's help, marked and drilled the pilot holes for the mounting screws. Once we got everything planned out, it went real easy. Final installation of the tuners was a breeze, as well.

Once that was done, I got the bridge mounted to the body so I could (potentially) see how the piezos worked with the buffer. A little trial and error (and a rats' nest I forgot to take pictures of) and we got sound out of it.

Strings are an old set of Infeld Superalloys.

Picture time!
Image

Image

Thanks for the time, everyone.

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