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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:25 am 
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First name: Doug
Last Name: Balzer
City: Calgary
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I have built furniture as a hobbyist for 20 years however this will be my first guitar of any kind. My build will be fashioned after Mottola's Tinozza Acoustic Bass guitar which you can read up on here: http://liutaiomottola.com/instruments/Tinozza.htm
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So far I have built the molds, made a bending iron, built my own radius dishes (15' and 30'), and am finishing up a home-made drum sander (thanks Pat Hawley ;) ). My tonewood arrived today. I've probably spent 40 hours building jigs and tools...can't wait to actually work with material that will bring this thing to life!

Projected specs:
-laminated maple neck - bolt on
-curly maple sides and back
-sitka spruce top
-currently debating on whether to go with walnut or ebony binding. Because of the rather large and oversized nature of the instrument I believe the aesthetic value leans more to simplicity rather than complexity as you can see in the picture. Suggestions anyone?
-ebony fingerboard, fretless and 34" scale, 7 1/4" radius
-classical strings rather than steel strings. These are both longer (and thus need to be anchored deep within the body - see pic above) as well as have an internal dampening effect. This and the fretless approach is to help this guitar better mimic the sound of an upright bass....the very reason I am building it.
-Large body - 18" lower bout, 6" deep ribs
-Truss rod and twin carbon fiber neck rods

If anyone reading this has built a Tinozza bass please let me know...I'd love to hear from you!

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Last edited by Doug Balzer on Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:10 am 
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The home-made bending iron
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Building the radius dishes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:19 am 
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Location: chicagoland, illinois
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i tried to make a bending pipe that way last year, and as soon as i squished the heating element, it cracked. 20 bucks, brand new, poof


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:05 am 
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nyazzip wrote:
i tried to make a bending pipe that way last year, and as soon as i squished the heating element, it cracked. 20 bucks, brand new, poof


I was sure to bend the element in a vice while red hot as not to crack it. I went slowly, pausing in small increments to allow the metal to relax. I saw no evidence of metal fatigue as a result. Maybe I just got lucky.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:22 am 
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This is going to be one to watch! Very cool looking bass. nice work on your hot pipe. Mine is basically the same design but not near as professional looking. I find tht it works very well. You will have to be careful with the temperature though. Mine is in a steel pipe and still gets very hot. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:58 pm 
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Tonewood Arrived from Bow River Woods

Sitka spruce top. It took some digging to find material large enough for this larger guitar. Thanks Bow River for going out of your way to supply these great pieces!
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Curly maple sides and back. I'm feeling a bit nervous about that curl on the sides after reading what happened with Zeke. Supersoft II has been ordered.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:03 pm 
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Nice looking wood Doug! Don't fret too bad about it. I think I just had some stubborn wood. My #2 guitar was curly maple and I had no issues. Though the SSII will probably assure you have no issues.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:05 pm 
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That sitka looks like it has some nice curl to it! I'm looking forward to see how it goes together. The design looks neat! (yes, I'm from the 50's).

Alex

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:04 pm 
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I always start with wanting to build a bass and then end up on other projects.
I'm glad I'm building an acoustic this time but will keep an eye on this one!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:46 am 
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That bass is on my bucket list. Got the plans printed out, and have accumulated the necessary bits. Still stuck on guitars, as the strings i can find down here in OZ run close to $200 a set!

Will be watching your build with interest.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:56 am 
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nickinbruns wrote:
That bass is on my bucket list. Got the plans printed out, and have accumulated the necessary bits. Still stuck on guitars, as the strings i can find down here in OZ run close to $200 a set!

Will be watching your build with interest.



Nick classical strings do not come cheap. Similar price here in NA but with a bass great tone comes large, heavy and expensive!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:28 pm 
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I cant wait to hear this thing. I've been wanting to build a bass and I think this just may be the plans I use. Prolly spice it up a bit though. I'm sure you have some design details that will make it not so plain. That top bracing is very interesting. Can't wait to see you get started.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:11 pm 
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So one of the challenges with such a large acoustic guitar is finding a case to fit. Unless someone else can provide some good ideas my best hope is to get my gifted sister to sew me up a soft shell gig bag. Ideas?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:35 pm 
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Well if you got the money you can always get a hoffee. But that's a lot of money. The gig bag is probably the most practical. Of course you can always build a case to go with it. [:Y:]


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:44 pm 
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Guitar mold complete. This sucker is HEAVY being made with mdf and 5 1/2" thick!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:35 pm 
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5-1/2" ? wow !

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Aahhhhhh! Major StewMac delivery today and it feels like Christmas! Food is way over-rated when considering purchasing luthier tools. Now if only the velcro sandpaper would arrive I could actually begin thicknessing sides, tops as well as thin micro-laminate layers for the neck. Without it there is not much to do and I'm too lazy (ok-scared) to thickness this stuff with a hand plane. Two terrible words: back order.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:50 am 
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I'm looking forward to seeing this one evolve - I also would like to build an acoustic bass one day.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:10 am 
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Doug! How's things going with the bass? Are you still awaiting sandpaper? If so have you considered going to a local fabric store or hobby shop and picking up some Velcro material an gluing sandpaper to it? If you are like me I know the anticipation of getting started must be killing you. Anyhow I hope you can get started soon. You have got me super interested in building one of these.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:07 am 
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Thanks Zeke. My stuff arrived yesterday and I hope to be bending sides on the weekend. In the meantime I am busy dreaming up my six next builds.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:54 am 
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Sweet! I'm always planning for future builds. It's addicting :)

Here are my suggestions for your side bending. It's what I will do the next time I bend curly maple.

1. Thickness to the thin side of things, I wouldn't have them any thicker than .07" possibly thinner than that

2. Easy on the water, if using it at all, I think the SSII will work better

3. Slow and steady and don't get carried away with the pressure. It'll bend when it's ready do not try to help it out too much.

4. You may want to use a thin metal slat for support on the opposite side of the wood from the pipe. I'll be doing that next time. It seems that's the weak spot because it has no support.

5. The darker areas of the curl seem to be softer and want to bend with less heat. This may have just been my wood but it seemed to help to focus the heat on the lighter color areas.

6. Have fun!

You don't seem to have any crazy tight bends so I imagine you will be fine. Your tightest area will be the cutaway, but you will get it. I just wanted to share what I have learned with you and hope it helps. I'm no expert and your wood may act different but hopefully the info will make it a little easier.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:05 pm 
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I did some practice bends on some 6" soft maple sides just to get used to the approach and was easier than I thought it would be. Zeke do you apply the Super Soft 24 hrs before bending as I have read is a suggested timeframe?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:22 pm 
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I experimented with it quite a lot since I've had it. I've already used 1/2 a bottle with all my little experiments and time trials. What I've found is that once it has sat for 24 hours it's pretty stiff again. The instructions on the bottle say to apply and wait till the wood appears dry and then flatten it out and let it sit for 24 hours. (those instructions are for flattening veneer). The best approach I've found is to wet the wood down soaking both the front and the back. Then wait 3-4 hours, until the wood is dry to the touch, it still appears wet but if you run your finger across it and it comes off dry you should be ready. Then it's at it's softest stage, IMO. If you go while it's still sopping wet it'll bend but the pipe will scorch the SSII and it can't be good to breath the smoke it makes. Haha I may have accidentally ingested some, emphysema here I come haha. Anyhow that's what seemed to work best for me. The stuff works great I soaked some bindings and didn't even have to heat them to bend them to shape. Good luck, hopefully you will post some pictures of successfully bent sides soon.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:35 pm 
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So I got my sides successfully bent. All the research I've come across warned against a newbie starting with curly maple and I can see why. My practice sets with plain maple were much easier. I did have two minor and salvageable breaks...about 3/4" long but should be easy enough to glue up. I have to say how stressful this was - not wanting to destroy $100 sides. I should have started with something less expensive but I just can't say no to flaming maple in a guitar!

Neck lamination done and glued up...sitting in clamps now.

BTW - building a thickness sander was a very good move! If you are contemplating doing so I know you won't regret it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:05 pm 
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So here we have the sides bent and tail and neck blocks glued in. The sides got a fair bit scorched in the process...I see a lot of sanding in my future. You might notice a rather odd looking tail block. Given the size of this guitar and it's size prohibiting some playing positions I plan to experiment with having a removable tail pin much like what is on an upright bass. This instruments is supposed to sound similar to an upright so why not trying playing it in a similar fashion? We'll see...it's just an idea at this point but now is the time to incorporate the infrastructure to support it. Additional support for this will be in the form of cross bracing (baltic birch) on either side of the lower portion of this tail block to the string anchor blocks (if what I am saying makes no sense to you I would suggest you look at the pic of the inspiration to this project to see how the strings are anchored into the lower body).

I found another great use for SuperSoft II. Where minor adjustments were needed on the curves, instead of bringing to the iron once again I simply sprayed SSII on the spot, clamped to the mold for a few hours and presto!!! Perfect! This really helped given the thickness of the maple needed to be reduced to 0.07" to accomodate the curly maple and left the curve transitions initially quite erratic. Has anyone else used SSII in this way?

Neck lamination...I neglected to ensure it is straight side to side when clamping and now there is a curve of 1/16". Tempted to leave it as it will never be really noticeable once the fingerboard is on. Tempted also to redo it. I'll let is sit for a while and see how I feel later on. I'm learning that sometimes the best thing to do in lutherie is to walk away from the project and get back into a zen place.
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Last edited by Doug Balzer on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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