1. Welcome to TalkBass, the Premier Bass Player Community and Information Source. We've been uniting the Low End Since 1998!

    We're glad you've found us. Register a 100% Free Account to post and unlock tons of features.

Balancing device for small bodied bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by KatCreek Guitars, Dec 24, 2013.


  1. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    Hello,

    I am interested in getting input on a balancing device that I have made. It allows a smaller bodied bass to be well balanced. The device called "The Comfort Rod" replaces the bolt-on neck plate. A retractable and positionable rod attaches to the shoulder strap at the end. The rod slides behind the neck. This was developed for individuals with medium to small builds.

    Thank you!
    Kathy
    KatCreek Guitars
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    That's a pretty cool idea. I assume you would have to make different size plates depending on the size of the OEM plate.
     
  3. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    Thanks! Yes I would like to make a variety of OEM plates. Your suggestions on what ones to make first are important to me. Let me know if you have any preferences.

    Kathy
     
  4. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Studio City, SoCal, USA
    This is certainly an answer to the issue. But doesn't it block your thumb on the back of the neck when you are playing up high? Or am I missing something? And since it is on the centerline, won't the instrument tend to flop over if you take your hands off?
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Neat idea, what basses specifically is this aimed at? Would it replace the use of an existing mount? It also appears that the rod itself would be parallel to, and right behind, the neck - I'd like to see what it looks like mounted on a bass, any pics? Thanks for sharing... :)
     
  7. Dradder

    Dradder

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    That would be my concern as well. What would be the difference between this and simply placing a strap button on the back of the neck? As long as you don't play the higher frets -- and a lot of bass players don't -- I suppose it would do the job of balancing the instrument.
     
  8. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    Interesting idea. I suspect the rod would be positioned about an inch away from the Back of the neck, basically whatever thickness the body wood is at the neck cavity heel. If that's the case, things might get a little tight for a player that keeps their thumb on the back of the neck when fretting. Not sure how you overcome that from a design standpoint or if it can be easily overcome from a playing style standpoint.

    Take a good look at the typical neck dive offenders and you'll probably find the Warwick Thumb and the Gibson/Epiphone Thunderbird as two of the biggest potential markets. The Thumb bass doesn't use a neck plate for their bolt on models but the Thunderbird does. You might want to consider focusing heavily on that bass with your product vs a typical Fender neck plate. Neck diving Fender basses are fairly rare so not much market there.

    Again, neat idea! Be sure to look for the potential markets and continue to fine tune your product.
     
  9. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    The Comfort Rod sits about an inch behind the neck as GBassNorth stated. There is some rotation on the fully retractable rod (straight) especially if one plays with the neck at a 90 degree angle to the floor. For those who like to play slap this is an advantage. However, if you play at a 45 degree, there is not a lot of rotation since the guitar body has less play with a shorter shoulder strap. I have a bent version that I am prototyping that has the rod closer to the top of the fret board.

    The prototype rod is made of mild steel and was done for demonstration only as you can see from the welds not being up to commercial standards. For individuals who have small fingers like mine, I have no problem getting my thumb behind it. For those that have larger hands, the bent version will be a better fit. The bent version is not fully retractable but of course can easily be removed for storage.

    I have two types of bosses, one that is like a standard strap pin, the other that allows the use of a Dunlop (TM) straplocks. It is more secure with the straplocks.

    I've added a few pictures that should help.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Dradder

    Dradder

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    Okay, those pics make the whole concept clearer now. The only question I have is why go to the bother of making it adjustable and/or retractable? Wouldn't one solid piece of metal, with the strap attachment point in an optimal position for a particular model instrument, be more rigid and useful, less likely to get pulled out of position while playing, as well as cheaper to manufacture? Just a thought, as I do like this whole idea quite a lot.
     
  11. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    Dradder,

    Yes it would be cheaper to make a solid part, and it would be more rigid. I don't have problems with it slipping, though. There is a flat on the rod to allow for the set screw to grab and hold well. If it is not adjustable, it would not fit everyone's style of playing. I could make a few styles though. I really think I should explore the one piece idea you suggest.
     
  12. Dradder

    Dradder

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    I think a flat piece of metal, maybe a quarter-inch thick, the same width as the instrument's original mounting plate, might work for something like the Thunderbird that another poster mentioned. Just have a bend in it to bring the strap attachment point far enough away from the back of the neck. Seems like it would be simple to manufacture, and you wouldn't need to use a rod thin enough to fit between the plate's screw holes. A flat metal piece would also look sturdier, and perception counts for a lot in marketing. If it cured an instrument's neck dive problem, I imagine a lot of bass players wouldn't mind leaving it permanently on the instrument.
     
  13. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    I have to agree w/ Dradder- Piece of Mind sells. FWIW, having solid, non-adjustable 'slap' and 'standard' versions (or what have you) is a much stronger and easier sell than a single adjustable. Plus, w/ the adjustable iteration, you'll need to factor in all of the grossly misused 'defectives' you will undoubtedly encounter, i.e., 3000 lbs. of torque put on that set screw 'so it don't budge' and the subsequent, and inevitable, bitching abut how it stripped. :smug:

    Food for thought.

    Rob
    :bassist:
     
  14. Dradder

    Dradder

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    Yeah, plus I don't think you can overestimate the degree to which some overly theatrical bass player could flop around on stage like a dying porpoise, break the device, and then blame the manufacturer. Whereas it's much more difficult to break a solid piece of metal, unless he's actually chewing on it or something. :D
     
  15. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    Being blamed for a broken guitar is something I have been concerned about. I'll draw them up in the next few weeks and post them for input. Great ideas. I'm using aviation grade aluminum for the plate and stainless steel for the rod. Any suggestions on materials? I'm thinking this would work with an all aluminum part.
     
  16. jamesCD

    jamesCD

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Carrigan Designs
  17. Dradder

    Dradder

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    I think you're right to be concerned. A sturdy piece of metal would probably be enough of a lever, that if some moron pushed down on the attachment point end of it he could yank the screws right out of the instrument. You'd probably have to enclose some kind of notice that the purchaser assumes all risks and you're not liable for any damage from accidents or misuse. Considering how expensive some instruments are, might be worth talking to a lawyer to get the language exactly right. The device itself seems like it'd be a great idea, though; good luck with it.
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    For me that would be UNcomfortable. I would band my left hand on it when I played up the neck.

    Attach it to the horn of the bass instead.
     
  19. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    northern CA
    Disclosures:
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I like it - good design solution to address a real problem, but only on some basses. As a vintage T-bird owner neck dive is a way of life and I just accept it, but your product would only work on a bolt-on T-bird neck, w/o drilling holes that is. I would suss-out all the basses that are prone to neck dive and target to that audience. Good luck!
     
  20. KatCreek Guitars

    KatCreek Guitars Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Disclosures:
    Owner, KatCreek Guitars
    Thank you for all the input.

    I have a good lawyer who filed a patent. He did a thorough search and this item that was shown is listed.

    However, I'm really interested in an adjustable device that can't be seen by the audience. I'm going to work on moving the pin higher and more in line with the top of the neck to keep it away from the thumb. I'm also going to work on making sure the rod (or bar) won't move once it is positioned. I know that some folks hands are just too large for the device to be directly behind the neck. Moving the pin further to the back of the neck (more than an inch) makes it rotate more.

    I appreciate the comment that I could put it on the horn. However I think the main thing I built this for was to have unique styled basses that are very small without needing to stick to current designs driven by the functional need to have the strap pin around the 12th fret. The common Stratocaster (TM) look was built to balance the guitar. The bass was made bigger than the six string to make everything look proportional. It is too big for many people so the bass in not an instrument of choice (or even one they consider) if they are small.

    This is a great opportunity for luthiers to get out the drawing board and make a smaller bass. I have built a bass that has a body that his 9" x 12" and I don't have any problem with it being balanced.

    I only have a few on hand so can't offer this to many. Yet, I would like a few folks who are interested to try (not buy) this device. I think this would help me a lot to get first hand trials. Please PM me. Thanks so again for all your ideas.
     
  21. lundborg

    lundborg

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Check out the way it was solved on the old Riverhead headless basses, with the strap fastened to a plastic plate, which attaches to the bass body with a bolt just at the mass center. Dave Peg who endorsed these used to have a lot of fun on stage with a flexible strap,the bass was almost free floating

    One problem with the Riverhead is that the strap contraption needs to be removed for the bass to fit in the gig bag. That needs to be considered with the design suggested by the OP.
     

Share This Page