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Adding A Matching Headstock Veneer To A Finished Bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jan 30, 2017.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I was just curious if this is ever done, as I haven't heard of it. I didn't want to sound like an idiot to the builder if it's a ridiculous idea, so I figured I'd ask you guys as everyone here already knows I'm an idiot :D
     
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    It could be done, but it won't necessarily be a simple task. It'd be a pretty expensive endeavour relative to only getting an aesthetic difference. It's not ridiculous, but I'd view it as a task that is more trouble than it's worth.
     
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Adding a veneer to a headstock is a simple job, in most cases. Sand the finish off the top surface, glue on the veneer, trim the edges, refinish with clear.

    I don't remember anyone ever asking me to put a veneer on an existing commercial neck, but it certainly could be done. I've done a few hundred new veneered headstock necks for my clients. The process would be about the same.
     
  4. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    It doesn't exactly match but I did something similar to a Frankenbass that I bought to rebuild/refinish. It had an older Fender style neck (no markings, heel adjustment, Louisville slugger profile), and a mahogany body with a flamed maple top. I wanted the front of the headstock to be a flame maple, but didn't want it to match the body (which was heavily stained/wet sanded to bring out the grain - almost a Tigerseye appearance).

    The method I used was to get some veneer from a local woodcraft supplier (it's a chain...). They had packets of maybe six or eight sheets. I had some relatively dense foam from a sample case which I used to clamp. I soaked the veneer first, then glued with basic wood glue to the headstock. I put a piece of plywood over the foam, then clamped the hell out of it.
    The little slope from the headstock up to where the nut goes it was contoured by the foam. Once dried I carved off the excess with a craft knife. I trimmed a little close in on or two spots, but it's not noticable from a distance - or with my age related dwindling eyesight!
    I finished the neck with Tru-oil and then wax. The flame maple does shimmer a bit under the right lighting.
     
  5. OMG! Is that idiot asking a question again?? He should ask his builder instead so he doesn't remind us all what ridiculous questions he asks. At least his builder is paid to field his embarrassing issue...:D

    Beautiful Zon's BTW!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Aaaaaaand....banned! :D

    The Zons are what I'd like matching headstocks for, and I just got word from them that they'll do it. It'll take about three weeks though so I'll only be sending one at a time. It may seem silly to some being a completely aesthetic issue, but a non-matching headstock has always looked imbalanced and distracting to me on anything but a Strat.
     
    SLivinghouse and kaoskater08 like this.
  7. I thought I might get 3 life sentences +135 years for that to a mod.

    In the picture the headstocks look the same (or at least with my crappy screen and eyes), so how are they different? Also, why not just send one to get it to match the other?

    Steve
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Nah. That would only happen because I'm an admin. Go ahead and treat the regular mods like crap ;):D

    Standard headstocks on Zons are black like the necks. I want them to match the top woods, not each other.
    IMG_0320.JPG IMG_0319.JPG
     
  9. Wow - the spalted maple on the light one is gorgeous! One of the most amazing top woods I've seen. I used to live in the Bay Area about 20 years ago and would go to a store called Gelb Music that was near Zon. They used to have a bunch of them in there and had to stay awaydrool. I've seen Michael Manring a bunch of times and loved the sound of his basses - and his playing.
     
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    The spalted one is funny because in some lights/angles you can't see the flame at all, making the upper horn area look fairly plain, then you move the bass and suddenly it becomes very lively.

    I've seen/met Michael just twice- unfortunately I'm nowhere near any kind of music venues. There's probably no better example of musical creativity contrasted with sincere humbleness than he is. A massive influence.
     
  11. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    It might be a little tricky to locate wood that matches really closely and then also to finish them so they look like the body, but it's certainly a doable venture. You'll lose the "Zon" logo though - although a contrasting colour could certainly be whipped together on a decal and then applied to the headstock... :)
     
  12. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Since Zon themselves are doing it, I'm sure they'll get a logo on there somehow. I'm pretty sure they just use paint or a decal to begin with.

    As for matching, if they find a piece that's just close in coloring even without the figuring I'd be happy. Shouldn't be hard given how common maple and walnut are.
     
  13. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Oh man if they are doing it, it will undoubtedly be perfect. Here I was thinking that a luthier would be adding this to an instrument s/he didn't build. This should be very nice indeed... :D
     

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