12th fret neck attached strap button?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by InternetAlias, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    So, I have a question that has bugged me for a while.

    A lot of people suggest making the body big enough (if it's a single cut) or making the horn long enough (if it's a double cut) to support having a strap button at the 12th fret's location.

    I understand the reasoning for this, but I am wondering why nobody is suggesting to simply add an extension to the side of the neck, such that there's a protrusion at the 12th fret, and a strap button can be attached there?

    This would make it possible to have a perfectly balanced thunderbird or similar design of a bass.


    What would be the main risks/problems associated with this?
    teh-slb likes this.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Does "...would look like crap" count? I've always like the plant-hanger extension approach a la NS Bolin.

    Atshen, dbsfgyd1, gebass6 and 2 others like this.
  3. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    It counts for general purposes, but not for mine. I don't care what it would look like, I just don't want any body in that general area, horn included.

    Basically, there's a limit to how vertical your instrument can be when you have a horn since it's distant from the neck itself, and more to that point, on literally every guitar that wasn't a thunderbird, I'd have trouble with the upper horn cutting into my chest whether I sit or stand while placing the neck in the way I find comfortable.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You can bolt an arm onto the neck-body joint which runs parallel to the neck but only within inches of the neck margin. After the plane crash, the surviving members of LS were all "clipped in the left wing" but also had a penchant for Explorers, Firebirds, Thunderbirds, etc. IIRC, Leon had his basses mod'd in this fashion.

    mikewalker likes this.
  5. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    If you actually play in/above that region (I hardly ever do) it would get in the way of your fretting hand. You might get used to it, folks manage with single-cuts, but it's definitely going to make an odd spot in the neck ergonomics. It might also make an odd spot in the relief (natural curvature of the neck under string tension) due to the "lump" in the neck.

    Might as well try it and see and post pictures.

    Possible alternatives:

    Sounds like you might be headed towards EUB ergonomics - put an endpin on it and forget the strap.

    Curve the upper horn forward so it stays out of your chest.

    The very old-fangled strap at headstock attachment.
  6. Slidlow

    Slidlow The Human CNC Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    It can be done. What ever you use as an extension could be blacked out to make it less visible. I have to question though, wouldn't the extension dig into your body as well?
  7. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    It wouldn't because I would put the strap button behind the extension. I already did this to some guitars and it reduces the issue, but since those guitars still have hefty fender-style upper horns, it doesn't completely fix it.

    Curving the upper horn sounds fun, I would think about that actually.

    EUB is a no go as I actually want to be able to walk with my instrument. Also I am designing it to be exceedingly light (4-5lbs) so that it is easy to carry.

    Playing in that region (12th fret+) always causes me to move my thumb forward, so I wouldn't even feel the extension.
  8. Slidlow

    Slidlow The Human CNC Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    Sorry I misread your original post. So you are talking about attaching something directly next to the side of the neck right at or about the 12th fret? If you are not a thumb wrapper then probably this would work. I would consider a thin metal piece sandwiched between the neck and fretboard sticking out enough to attach a strap to (via button or otherwise). It could also be made removeable if required.
  9. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    @JIO has made strap extensions for more than one bass, perhaps he'll share. :)
  10. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    When Pete Seeger had his banjo neck extended by three frets he experianced an unwanted amount of neck dive. Pete's solution was to simply install a big ol' screw eye in the side of the neck where it balanced to his liking.

    Be more Pete-like. ;)

    On many instruments I add a flush mount Dunlop Straplok to the heel of the neck or instrument body. Nothing says you can't add one higher up the neck.

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
    teh-slb, jmlee and mikewalker like this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    What the OP suggests is ergonomically a challenge - it'd get in the way for most of us moving up and down the neck. For some, it might be a good warning, though - "You're going above the 12th Fret! - what the HELL is wrong with you????" - think of it as a warning scheme to help "stay in your lane".
    T_Bone_TL and mikewalker like this.
  12. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    T-bird body - (pre-finish)
    Satin black finished - (by Pat Wilkins) Wear a black shirt on stage and it disappears.
    Tele-style body - strap button can go on either side for preference
    EB/SG style
    Removable for a fitted HSC - (T-bird)
    Dunlop Strap-Lok's re-purposed
  13. tubedude


    Jan 19, 2015
    Country players can just drive a strap button into the back of the neck at the 6th fret.
  14. Slidlow

    Slidlow The Human CNC Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    I think he is suggesting on the side of the neck which would only impede if you wrap your thumb around the neck (which you shouldn't do anyway). i think it could work well for some problematic body styles.
    TrustRod and gebass6 like this.
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
  16. Slidlow

    Slidlow The Human CNC Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    I believe he means to attach to the side close to the 12th fret.
  17. bobfarabaugh


    Jan 23, 2009
    My Jazz Bass has one on back of headstock but I have never used it! ;)
    pellomoco14 and sonic 7 like this.
  18. I had an Epi T-bird a few years ago. It had a rather extended flat on the back of the neck where it met the pocket-an extra inch or so I think. I stuck the button there and that worked well.
    mikewalker likes this.
  19. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    Have fun with your tuning stability if you drive a strap button/straplock into the actual neck.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2020
    Eli_Kyiv likes this.
  20. Worked fine for me. But it was right near the heel.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2020