New (to me) 5 string bass project (PICS)

ChrisThompson

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4
I just picked up a Warmoth five string body and neck on ebay. It's not "Just out of the box from Warmoth", but "Just out of the box." Sorry if this is the wrong place.

I'm not entirely sure what I have, because there are some real oddities to it.

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Fantastic deep mahogany that's making me rethink my planned Olympic White. The previous owner(s) drilled and redrilled the bridge several times, oddly enough none of the holes match up to the bridge that was included in the auction. Also, I'm not sure if this is some sort of factory second, but, at least according to the seller, the pickup routes are for 4 string jazz bass pickups, which he expanded with a router. This isn't a problem, except that the "ears" on the sides of a jazz for mounting screws are a different distance apart on a five, so he elongated each of the half-circle cutouts to fit.

neckback.jpg


The neck is also odd in that it's a Maple/Bubinga laminate, which currently Warmoth only list as available for 8 string basses. And something else not currently for sale:

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(photo from auction listing)

Dual Truss rods. So, is this thing older? something Warmoth doesn't sell anymore?

Even stranger:

heel.jpg

8eca_3.JPG


The neck screws are spaced to use a standard strat style neck plate rotated 90 degrees. There's SOME room to redrill deeper into the body, but not much and even if I did, what sort of plate does one use? Looking at "Deluxe 5" bodies on the showcase, the neck pockets are MUCH longer.

So, Anyone have any ideas what it is I've got? Both body and neck are stamped with the Warmoth turtle logo, but they have features I can't reconcile with what's being sold today. Any input is appreciated.
 

mayfly

Senior member
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8,299
Well, it looks like a 4 string body that the owner tried to convert to a 5 string.  I bet that he also increased the size of the neck pocket.

It also seems from all the bridge holes and the strangeness around the neck pocket that he tried to get it to intonate , but could not. 
Could be a challenging first build.

Neck looks nice though!
 

ChrisThompson

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mayfly said:
Well, it looks like a 4 string body that the owner tried to convert to a 5 string.  I bet that he also increased the size of the neck pocket.

Now that's something that never occurred to me. I'll have to check it to see if the neck pocket looks like it's been routed. The turtle is still there, so if it has been, it's just around the edges.

It also seems from all the bridge holes and the strangeness around the neck pocket that he tried to get it to intonate , but could not. 
Could be a challenging first build.

Luckily, this isn't my first rodeo. My primary strat is a Mighty Mite body with a Warmoth neck. And I've got a basement full of reclamation projects. Everything from partscasters to old 60's Silvertone archtops, and a 58 Guyatone that's snapped into pieces that I'm fixing and refinishing for a friend. Even the mighty Trodgor the Burninator, a strat that was finished with, um, a blowtorch.

I'll have to measure and see where 34" lies, Unless something is really out, I'll just plug those holes and put the bridge where it needs to go.
 

simple

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Staff member
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2,101
What you have there is the first 5 string series Warmoth came out with; the small 5 and the Big 5. It was replaced by the Deluxe 5 series. Warmoth cannot make the first series parts any longer so there are no replacements available.
 

ChrisThompson

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Gregg said:
What you have there is the first 5 string series Warmoth came out with; the small 5 and the Big 5. It was replaced by the Deluxe 5 series. Warmoth cannot make the first series parts any longer so there are no replacements available.

Gregg, You basically confirmed what I was thinking.

I went down after dinner and measured and poked and prodded. It's 17" from nut to 12th, and 17" further on puts the saddles right where you'd expect them to be. So my suspicion was correct that the drill and redrill exercise was someone absolutely clueless as to what they were doing.

The neck pocket itself, there's no way it was routed out. The sides and floor of the pocket are CNC smooth. And the lines and curves on the back around the heel all resolve to something that size, there's no way it could have been widened, because they'd have had to add wood to get the lines right.

So the whole thing is just someone clueless putting it together. I think I'm going to get some mahogany dowel and plug up the holes, then re-drill a more sensible pattern, and put in a decent set of neck ferrules, as I don't think I'll find a neck plate that size if, as Gregg says, they don't make those parts anymore.

Still have no idea about the wood. Everything says Mahogany, except the color is deeper and darker than any mahogany I've ever seen. Of course, wood darkens with age. Gregg, how long ago were these on the market?

I'm still struggling with whether or not to paint it, or leave it alone. Time will tell, I guess.
 

mayfly

Senior member
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8,299
So the body is bare wood?  Jeez - it looks pretty nice as is!  I'd be tempted just to shoot it in clear and call it a day.

Good idea about the neck screw ferrules, and I'm glad I was wrong about the body being a modded 4 string.

Sounds like you know what you're doing - I'm sure the result will be fantabulious.  :eek:ccasion14:
 

dbw

Senior member
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4,531
That wood's definitely got a finish on it.

I kinda like the rotated neck plate!  You can tell it was meant to be that way because the turtle is rotated too.

Keep us posted :)

Edit: Actually I'm not sure that's mahogany at all.  I think it might be swamp ash with a yellow stain and satin finish.  You don't usually see those big swirly grain patterns in mahogany.
 

ChrisThompson

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The seller did coat it with "some lacquer". It's actually not that bad, though he didn't grain fill, so there is some grain showing through. I would not be opposed to slapping some pickups in this, assembling it and playing it as is. It's a nice piece of wood.

There is raw, unfinished wood inside the control cavity and where he extended the pickup routes AFTER he finished it, those areas are the same color.

I really have no idea what wood this is. the grain looks like mahogany, the color looks like koa or bubinga. I laid out my thoughts on it near the bottom of a thread over at reranch:

http://www.reranch.com/reranch/viewtopic.php?t=23798

I have never seen bubinga or koa with this sort of grain, but I can find a few, very few, pictures of certain types of mahogany in this color range. I agree it's an odd color for mahogany, but the grain structure, to me, looks just like mahogany.

My problem is, I want to dowel and plug the extra holes, like at the heel and under the bridge, but I seriously don't think I can find dowels near that color. If I leave it natural, it'll show.

I've thought of a three color burst, but I wonder what that would look like, because I can't see tinting it amber, and if I don't I think the red would disappear. Maybe just a tobacco burst?
 
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