From raw wood to finished instruments: In our MAKING OF videos we show the production of Warwick Masterbuilt basses at the Custom Shop in Markneukirchen / Germany.
Warwick Custom Shop Masterbuilt Streamer LX – Birdseye Poplar Top / Flamed Maple Back #16-3226
Our today’s MAKING OF Videos shows the emergence of an absolute “Eye- & Earcatcher”: a Warwick Custom Shop Masterbuilt Streamer LX 5 string. The Birdseye Poplar* top in combination with the red LED front and side dots, the red illuminated “W” logo on the matching Birdseye Poplar* headstock, and the Warwick machines with wooden knobs provide extremely attractive optical contrasts. The bolt-on neck consists of four strips of Wenge; 24 extra-hard jumbo bronze frets are precisely set into the Wenge fingerboard with IFT (Invisible Fretwork Technology).
The back of the curved body of this beautiful instrument was made of intensely grained Flamed Maple*.
Active MEC J/J pickups are used in combination with active Warwick 2-way electronics. The integrated lithium battery can be recharged via USB cable without having to unscrew the wooden cover. Other hardware details include: Just-A-Nut III brass nut, 2-piece solid Warwick brass bridge, chrome hardware and Warwick Security Locks. Included is a handmade leather RockBag®.
Musically, this MAKING OF video is underlined by Viktor Krauss and his song ‘Playground’.
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* Birdseye Poplar:
Black poplar, from which we harvest our grained poplar wood, belongs to a genus that grows primarily in Northern Europe and Russia. Important here is the grained stem, meaning that the growth “errors” that first eventually develop into striking grain patterns, are scattered throughout the entire trunk, and not just near the roots. Because of the extraordinarily attractive grain pattern, poplar is used in the manufacture of fine furniture as well as the interiors of luxury cars.
This impressive wood’s coloring ranges from creamy white to straw colors and can in some cases appear slightly brownish. Especially impressive is the wood’s large number of knotholes, which look like a wild collection of eyes. For that reason, this grain pattern also goes by the name of ‘birdseye poplar’.
A top made of poplar is one of the finest things one can bestow a beloved instrument. Staring at length upon the twisted growth malformations in the poplar’s wood may well call up associations with the human body: here, perfectly formed muscles twist and flex, surrounded by blood vessels, fine veins and arteries.
The weight of poplar wood is around 400 to 450 kg/m³ and thus comparable to alder.
* Flamed Maple:
Maple plays a significant role in instrument making as a standard material for necks on the one hand, and for solid and veneered tops on the other. As such, maple is quite often used in conjunction with bodies built from the softer sounding mahogany. The sugar maple, preferred for instrument making (aka hard maple or rock maple), grows primarily in the northeastern region of the United States and in the southeastern region of Canada, although it has recently been cultivated in Europe as well. However, flamed maple, while greatly sought after for tops due to growth errors that result in spectacular grain patterns, is quite a bit more difficult to come across. Variation exists in the strength of the grain patterns of flamed maple, which has led to the creation of a grading system from A to AAAAA. In a nutshell, the more intense the flamed pattern, the better the rating.
The color of flamed maple is light yellow to beige with a brownish grain that runs lengthwise in wavelike formations through the fibers of the tree. This decorative flaming is due in part to genetic components, but can also be attributed to environmental factors and suboptimal growing conditions. Clouds (or quilt) are notably rare nuances in the trunk of the flamed maple, which appear in the outer sections of the wood. These decorative variations consist of wavelike patterns in the tree fibers with the additional appearance of wavy grain. Such errors occur only seldom and, moreover, exclusively in the American Big Leaf maple. The quilt exists for the most part only in the outer areas of the wood and extends only a few centimeters into the core. A true rarity! A beautifully flamed maple top: who could possibly tear himself or herself away from such a unique feast for the eyes? Generations of musicians have honored and been fascinated by this rare formation, which can be found in so many classic instruments. Today, as ever before, its beauty seems to cause the viewer’s heart to burst into flame as fantastic landscapes spread out into endless distances, new horizons, and new dreams. But, speaking of dreams, this is one that need not remain so. This dream can come true! The specific weight of maple is, depending on the type, between 600 and 750 kg/m³.
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