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Thread: Slappin' together da IB-5 mon!

  1. #1
    Member michnet76's Avatar
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    Slappin' together da IB-5 mon!

    Greetings all...

    Welcome to my first build thread on this forum - hopefully I can contribute to the community here as much as I've learned through pursuing the threads.

    This is my second Pitball kit build, first one being a flying V style guitar I knocked up a few years back (https://i.imgur.com/9GUlxfs.jpg)... Was a fun build but I don't play it much as not fan of the fat Gibson style neck.

    I've recently started playing Bass a lot more in the local church band here - I have a cheapo Yamaha 4 string I picked up when Billy Hyde was going bust a few years back now but I'm noticing a lot of the songs we're doing were originally done with a 5 string so after looking around for a cheap 5 string I figured I'd try my hand at building one when I spotted the IB-5 kit.

    The kit rocked up last week and on first inspection I had mixed feelings. I was hoping for decent grain pattern on the body as I've always liked ash with a natural finish and have done a few guitars now with swamp ash like this. This seems to be ash but not the species I'm used to working with. Fortunately I think I've got a winner with this one still - the grain pattern differs a little from piece to piece but I think it will still work for a natural finish.





    The neck on the other hand is quite disappointing. The fretwork is atrocious along with the nut and nut slot. Quite a few of the frets are shorter than the width of the fretboard by a mm or two. I'm debating whether to go to the effort of just refretting it - I have a spare set of jumbro frets sitting in the draw so perhaps when it's all built and if I'm happy how it turns out I might go ahead and do it. The upper 12 frets also look like they aren't seated properly... On further investigation the centre of the fretboard is actually flat - seems as though whoever was in charge or radius'ing the fretboard decided to take a break and forgot to finish the job. Only way to fix that is to pull the frets and finish radius sanding... I'll give it a fret level anyway and see how much of an issue it ends up being. The neck also appears to have a bit of distortion, I wouldn't call it a twist. The bass side is dead flat, but the treble side has a slight bow. Once the strings are on and there's some tension I'll let it sit for a while and so the neck settles before playing around with the truss rod. The nut was horrid, it looks like it had melted at some point or something and was assembled by a toddler.





    The neck pocket seems ok and fitting the neck is tight with no slop and seats nicely without any glaring gaps.

    A quick dry set up to see what we're working with...




    More to come...
    Last edited by michnet76; 10-06-2018 at 09:01 PM.

  2. #2
    GAStronomist wazkelly's Avatar
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    Hi Michnet, welcome to the forum.

    Had a look at your photos and agree the nut situation looks wrong but mainly because it appears to be sitting too high? If so, easily fixed by knocking out the nut and sanding down that section. Probably a good idea to install a better nut too while you're at it.

    Overall grain pattern on the body is better than most as many turn up with very mismatched planks with grain heading off in different directions.

    In relation to fret lengths and seating, fret board & radius if you are not happy and believe it is faulty suggest you email Adam before starting any work on it to see what he can do. He is a very approachable fella.

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  3. #3
    Member michnet76's Avatar
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    Thanks Wazkelly... yeah I've already sorted the nut out - just haven't got around to posting about it yet! It was a real dogs breakfast, had a lot of messy uneven glue/filler around and under it. I wouldn't even expect that kind of workmanship on a kids ukulele in a cheap shop!

  4. #4
    Member michnet76's Avatar
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    So on with the build...

    After dry fitting everything I thought I'd start on the neck and knocked the dodgy nut off - it just popped off with a little pressure with the fingers! I ordered a graphite nut from ALS which rocked up yesterday. Spent a good hour with the file to try and flatten the nut slot and square it up. I think it's just about there, at least the new nut is sitting in a bit more flush and looks much better. I will still need to shave some more off the bottom of the nut but will worry about it when it comes to the final setup so I can fine tune it before locking it in a few drops of CA.

    I took to the headstock with the jigsaw and reshaped the top, I'm not planning on putting a logo on it and wanted to make it look a little more streamlined. Popped the tuners in to have a play around with which angle to have them sit at... Quite like the backward angled looked which Ibanez seem to use.


    - note the nut slot is only partially filed away in this pic.



    The tuners seem decent enough so will leave them stock for now but might possibly upgrade to Gotoh's down the track if I end up liking the finished product and these don't hold tune.

    Next up I recessed the rear cover plate with the dremel... I found it easier to keep the edge by first slicing into the wood with a knife. Still needs a little sanding but happy with how it came out.



    Then it was onto tidying up the jack mount. There was a nice chunk taken out from the factory so I leveled and beveled the area with the dremel:





    Next up I drilled the holes for the neck screws and tuners and did the calcs to mount the bridge. I thought I'd string it up to check and make sure it all works. Intonation is almost spot on which is always a nice surprise! The angle of the neck seems okay, the action is considerably high but I think with relief set up correctly and room to play on the saddles I should be able to dial it in.
    https://i.imgur.com/N29q1lH.jpg

    The careful observer may notice in that pic the weird grey stuff on the inner horns. I tried grain filling with black filler on the back to help make the grain pop... I've done a similar effect in the past but not using timbermate putty so thought I'd give it a go - I wasn't impressed with the results though so in the process of removing it all... More sanding :/ I think the main issue is because the body is mostly curves it's difficult to give it an even sand unlike on a flap bodied guitar. This resulted in patchy grain fill.

    I'm also not a fan of the fake pearlescent inlays so have popped them out. Thinking I'll knock up some rosewood plugs and see what it looks like. I have some darker 3mm rosewood scrap I'll try. It would be nice to have a very faint contrast but not too much as I like the clean look of no inlays. Can't hurt to try and see what it looks like, otherwise I might try ebony and if that doesn't work maybe some dark MOP as a last resort!

    As I'm not putting a logo on the headstock I thought I'd take a leaf out of Godin's book and see what it would look like on the bass side of the body next to the neck. Karl Bohm is my 'alter ego' brand name (My name is Carl Boehm). I thought it was too tacky to use the actual spelling back when I made my first guitar so have stuck with it since. On the higher end guitars I've made I've carved the name out by hand with engraving bits and filled it in with a darker filler but being ash I'm not sure I will try this as the bit will likely wander around too much with the uneven grain... It's not so bad on maple being a denser wood with a wider grain. If I do go ahead with putting the logo there I might just make up a vinyl mask on the cutter and spray it on with black paint. The temporary logo in the photo was placed there using an old trick I learnt making RC planes years ago - print the image in reverse on a laser printer, then place it face down and run a cloth slightly dampened with acetone over it, it melts the toner enough and transfers it over.

    Last edited by michnet76; 10-06-2018 at 09:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Member michnet76's Avatar
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    The only other 'mod' I wanted to do was to recess the excess fretboard area after the 24th fret - in similar fashion to the Ibanez SR bases. So this evening I attacked the neck with the belt sander! This was done with the neck off. It was tricky trying to keep it straight and level but I think I pulled it off - I ended up grazing the 24th fret but hopefully a fret dress will tidy it up, if not I'll just remove the fret and replace it - not that I ever play at the 24th fret anyway!

    After belt sanding:


    The line where the rosewood meets the maple was a little untidy so proceeded to use a finishing sander to try and tidy it up and bring the bass of the neck level with the body. The end result is not perfectly straight along that rosewood/maple join but good enough I think, by the time the strings are on and you're looking at it from a couple metres away you'd never know!





    Tomorrow I'll finish sanding the body and getting rid of the black filler, sand the neck up and start thinking of how I'm going to finish it.

    I'm still undecided whether just to stick with a natural finish - I think the body grain will look okay, or to go with a translucent colour perhaps. Leaning towards a blue to natural fade with spray poly clear. Either way it will be a satin finish - I really don't like gloss on guitars! They look great but I perspire a lot when playing and combine that with oily skin and my gloss guitars look atrocious after a few hours!

    I've used Tru-oil for a couple guitars a few years back. Application was simple but a lot of work - I ended up with around 15+ coats on those guitars, buffed back to a satin finish with steelwool but I found looking at the guitars a few years and the Tru-oil isn't overly durable. Last guitar I restored was a Maton MS2000 which had a blackwood cap and qld maple body and neck, I finished that with a floor poly using wipe-on method that that held up really well. I played the crap out of that thing for a year or two before selling it recently and that showed no signs or wearing down and held up to my abuse well. Decisions decisions!
    Last edited by michnet76; 10-06-2018 at 09:04 PM.

  6. #6
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Love that reduction mod mate, looks great!
    edit: you could probably touch that join up with a round edged cabinet scraper or one of the StewMac curved ones.
    Last edited by FrankenWashie; 09-06-2018 at 08:34 AM.
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  7. #7
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Yeah that reduction after the 24th fret is a really neat idea - looks good
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  8. #8
    GAStronomist wazkelly's Avatar
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    Might be difficult to match stain on the top as maple is a fair bit lighter colour.

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    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    If you put (img) before your picture link and (/img) after it, with no spaces and using teh square brackets the pic will show up in the thread. If you quote this comment you will see what I mean.

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  10. #10
    Member michnet76's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by wazkelly View Post
    Might be difficult to match stain on the top as maple is a fair bit lighter colour.
    I wasn't planning on staining that recess/reduction - just leaving it natural finish to match the headstock and add another point of interest. Hopefully it'll look okay!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Mountain View Post
    If you put (img) before your picture link and (/img) after it, with no spaces and using teh square brackets the pic will show up in the thread. If you quote this comment you will see what I mean.
    Yeah I tried that initially but in the preview it didn't scale the images to match the width of the post frame leaving the images cropped - it seemed to scale okay in your sample so will give it go.

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