[Bass of the Week] Simple Innovation #012 “Three Planks” 6 string fretless

Eight years of experimentation is what brought this bass to life.

Builder/owner Pete writes:

This bass is the culmination of eight years of experiments in guitar/bass construction. Throughout that time all manner of drastic things involving simplicity of manufacture and light weight construction have been tried. The aim was to build an instrument where the body timbers actually influenced the sound and vibration in a measurable way. The “Three Planks” system (trademark) is an effort to further simplify neck joint construction and manufacturing steps. As Carl Thompson once said, “to make a neck pocket without making a neck pocket”. So in building a guitar only 3 pieces of wood are required. A neck and two body wings. This idea was first tested on a guitar, “Skeletor” (see below), and finding it successful, the bass you see here was drawn up. Obviously that idea and it’s engineering challenges have been pushed to their limits by using a 39″ scale (only 3 inches shorter than an upright). Despite the size and scale of instrument, the construction means it still only weighs 4kg (8.5lbs) and balances well on a strap. For further simplicity of manufacture, the bass also has a bolt on headstock. The most curious thing about the bass is the incredibly rich harmonic content of it’s sound. A left hand technique more akin to the upright 1-2-4 spacing is required until about the 7th fret position.

Specs are as follows…
Scale: 39″
Strings: White tapewound La Bella Strings (last set unfortunately).
Neck: 5 piece laminated Victorian Ash, thin D shape profile, one double action truss rod, graphite bars, Jarrah fingerboard, 20″ radius. Wipe on poly finish. Bolt on headstock of recycled Aussie hardwood with custom string anchors. Hand rubbed poly/oil finish. Laminated, recycled bone and veneer nut. Custom “Three Planks” neck and body joining system.
Body: Recycled Aussie hardwood wings of 20mm (3/4″) thickness. Stained and hand rubbed poly/oil finish.
Bridge: Laminated Jarrah and veneer.
Tuners: ETS headless tailpiece.
Electronics: Nordstrand Audio custom thin DC6 humbuckers (ordered through BBG), 26mm piezo discs, passive blend system. Strat jack plate.
Weight: 4kg (8.5lb)

You can here a sound clip here

Well done!

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