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"Bass 5"

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Wood Choice

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With this Bass I really want to go wild with lots of different woods. 6 String basses are like the Elite of the Bass world so a 7 stringer should be total overkill, likewise I want to do the same with the wood laminates. I want to create something that looks really exclusive. When people see my 5 string headless they usually say "WOW, that is really nice" but with this bass I want them to be speachless over!

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I usually descide on the neck laminates first, but this time I chose the body. I wanted to make a hollow laminated body, so I settled on a 5 piece laminate set, using a Wenge 1" central core. I have wanted to work with wenge for some time, but haven't had the opportunity, with the previous basses it just didn't seem right. At the moment it is really difficult to find any good stock of Wenge (because of an African Civil war) fortunately I was lucky to find just enough to build a 1" body core. This will then be sandwiched by a thin maple " plate either side and a Cocobolo AAA " book matched set, top and bottom. Cocobolo is a stunning wood but is really expensive, that's why I am only using " plates and not my prefered ". This I hope, will create a luxurious "hippy sandwich" effect. Duncan tempted me with a stunning batch of 2 matching sets (enough for 2 identical bodies), it was expensive, but really worth it. Duncan (Craft Supplies) had set them aside for photographs and I came along at just the right time to sanp them up! It will look a lot better on my Bass than in his catalogue!

The through neck laminates will consist of a " centre strip of Walnut (I wanted wenge-but I wasn't so lucky) with a " Paduak stripe either side, sandwiched with a " strip of maple followed by another "Paduak either side. I am going to lay a black veneer between some of the laminates. Then another 1" maple either side to make up the neccessary neck width (just over 4"). This makes nine laminates and four veneers. It's going to be a headache joining them.

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I have bought a nice blank Rosewood fingerboard. It is just wide enough and is very straight grained. Because it is softer than Ebony and I am unlikely to find a 7 string set of headless halfwounds, I will coat the fingerboard in epoxy to protect it from the wear of Roundwounds. I don't fancy a blank fingerboard, so I'll saw fret lines into it and fill them with Maple Veneer.

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Wenge is very difficult to find at the moment, so I bought a wenge bass neck blank. I cut it down the centre and laid it either side so that I can use it as a 1" body blank


Wenge is a curious wood. Chocolate brown in colour with a darker brown grain. I am told that it makes a great bass tone wood. It seems to have quite a bright tap tone. It is really heavy and hard. It can be drawn to a sharp edge but it is also quite brittle and doesn't take knocks so well.

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I bought a 4 way bookmatched set. Which means I have two sets of thin mirrored plates which are nearly identical.


Cocobolo is a glorious wood. It is ultra hard (I can't even sink my teeth into it!) very stable and can be sanded/polished to a shiny finish. It has a fantastic colour and a spectacular grain pattern. When it is polished it reminds me of a freshly opened conker. It doesn't like being glued so I'll have to epoxy it.

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The centre section is all through and is made up from nine laminates of quartersawn Maple, Paduak and Walnut.



The Neck blank is just big enough to yeild two complete headless necks. I am thinking of using the other half for a 6 string (maybe 7) fretted and building them both together. I think I have just enough wenge but I'll probably need another set of maple and cocobolo plates. I may down size the body to get 2 basses from all the wood. I'm not sure yet.

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4x 21"x14"x " Cocobolo AAA Grade Body top

4x 21"x14"x " Maple Body top

38"x4"x2" Wenge Body strip(cut into2x1")

2x 48"x2"x1" Maple Neck Laminates

2x 48"x2"x" Maple Neck Laminates

4x 48"x2"x " Paduak Neck Laminates

48"x2"x " Walnut Neck Laminate

4"x25"x" Rosewood Finderboard