Adding weight to correct neck dive

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Baltimore Bass, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Baltimore Bass

    Baltimore Bass

    Jul 14, 2016
    I know that there have been plenty of threads on fixing neck dive (I've read most of them,) but they all seem to recommend a) ultralight tuners b) using a suede strap c) moving the strap button.

    None of those options really help me. I've recently inherited my former teacher and college jazz band director's '69 P Bass. The body has dried out (and relic'd hard) over the years and it neck dives pretty bad. It means the world to me and I want to keep it totally stock, so I'm not into swapping the tuners or moving the strap button. I also hate suede straps- they pull on your shirt and don't let you move the instrument around.

    Anybody had an experience successfully adding weight to the body of a bass? There's of course some room in the body cavity to tuck some weight. Any insight on what would work best for that, or how much I should add?
  2. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    East Bay, N. Ca.
    Stick on lead wheel weights possibly in the control cavity?
    Baltimore Bass likes this.
  3. Mechayoshi


    Dec 7, 2015
    If you have to keep it stock, weights it is. Experiment to see what works, but realize that your gonna have a heavy bass in the end!!
  4. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I wouldn't mess around with the bass. I'd fix a weight that was heavy enough to solve the problem to the end of the strap.

    I'd also make it a wide and padded strap to help with all the extra weight you're adding.
  5. Although I am of the 'keep it as light as possible club'.
    I think that the dried and lightened body will compensate
    for any added weight.
    The best area to add weight would be around the rear strap button.
    Maybe a small leather bag containing wheel weights with a short strap to fit on the strap button.
    LarryBama likes this.
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I agree with Bill Whitehurst above. The simplest way to balance it with no modification at all to the bass is to attach a weight to the back end of the strap. You can experiment with a small drawstring pouch, hung over the strap button before the strap goes on. Try different weights to see what feels comfortable in terms of balance vs overall weight. Once you figure out how much weight you need, then figure out something more permanent. A leather pouch attached to the strap, or something.

    The thing about neck dive is that, if it's enough to annoy you, then two wheel weights in the control cavity aren't going to fix it. It may take one or two pounds of lead to balance it. I restored an old Ampeg a few years back where a previous owner had poured molten lead into the inside of the back of the body to help make it balance. After chipping it all out, I weighed it: 2 1/2 lbs! On a few custom instruments where I've had to add weights, it's been 10-16 oz, not 1 or 2.

    A neat permanent way to add balance weight, if you are willing to modify the bass, is to drill a large (like 1/2" or 5/8") hole in the back end of the body, right where the strap button screw goes. Epoxy in a slug of round brass bar stock, faced off on the end, with a 6-32 tapped hole in it. Figure the diameter and depth, based on the weight you need from experimenting. Set it in so that the machined face is just slightly proud of the body perimeter. A nice neat mounting surface for the strap button, which is hidden under the strap when it's on.
  7. jag-atk


    May 5, 2010
    the best fix for neck dive is a set of light tuners. gotoh produces some ultralite tuners with vintage fender shape that might fit your bass without drilling new holes GB640 | G-GOTOH Ltd.. might be worth checking them out.
    with regards to adding weights to the body, as Bruce pointed out above you might not have enough space in the body cavity to fit the right amount of weights to compensate for neck dive.
    for non-permanent mods i remember that a few years ago there was a company producing a strap with some weight-carrying pockets hidden in the back that was supposed to compensate for neck-diving guitars and basses. apparently they're not in business anymore (their website domain is for sale) but here's a link with a picture of the strap, maybe you can try to devise a similar system with your own strap.
    Prevent Neck-Heavy Guitar Headstock Diving | Guitarless
    hope this helps
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
  9. ak56

    ak56 Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
    Attach to headstock.
    Winton, Volume272, sabre79 and 9 others like this.
  10. Baltimore Bass

    Baltimore Bass

    Jul 14, 2016
  11. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    I use a Comfort Strapp. Comfort.jpg It's 3 1/2 inches wide and 3/8 inches thick.
    Cancels out any neck dive!

    OR you could do this!
    Take an old belt.(I prefer an old dress belt)
    Shorten it so that it can wrap around your upper thigh.Mine is about 25 inches long.(First picture) 3037812-1b772373fd174f595ec5e467bf63c483.jpg
    Drill some new holes so you can buckle it.

    Notice that I have relocated the end strap peg to the back of my bass.Here!All three of my basses have this done.(second picture)You don't have to do this.

    Now,with your bass strapped on feed the belt from the outside of the back of your upper thigh in between your legs.
    Then between your bass and the strap.Wrap the belt around your upper thigh of your right leg to complete a loop and buckle it!(third picture) 3037815-4e70c41b611772667ab7f5f27babb85c.jpg
    Tighten it so that it is snug.Not tight!
    There!Your bass neck is fixed at a good playing angle.(Last picture) 3037816-da978c4e510e5bbd4285d3424f5ed8ce.jpg

    Now the neck doesn't dive!
    You can walk around with it.
    Your left arm doesn't have to support the weight of the neck.
    And your right arm doesn't have to push down on the body's upper edge.
    You can fret and play your bass with less forearm muscle tension.

    This works by using a lever and fulcrum basis.
    Your bass is a lever.The strap around your neck and shoulders together are a fulcrum.
    You can either decrease weight on one end of the "Lever"(the neck) to raise the neck.Or you could increase the weight or"counterbalance"and/or anchor the other end.

    The belt "dead ends"or anchors the shortest end of the "lever" without adding weight.
    Try it out!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  12. Hang a plumb line from the bottom strap pin. Adjust length according to neck dive.

    Or fix a pulley above your stage, tie a string to your neck above the nut, through the pulley and onto another, locking, pulley at your belt. Turn said pulley to the correct length of string, lock it, and take off some pressure.

    While we're being silly.
    Baltimore Bass likes this.
  13. Mildew Jones

    Mildew Jones

    Dec 18, 2014
    I'm partial to the DiMarzio clip lock straps; they are usually the slick nylon type of strap, but they do make a cotton version, it's keeps an unbalanced instrument in place pretty well (I have a basswood P bass with some dive issue, this strap helps a lot).
    I know you're looking for an adding weight solution, but this strap is a good alternative to a big honkin' expensive suede one. Cotton ClipLock® | DiMarzio
  14. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I once saw a youtube vid of someone who recommended running the strap inside the belt you wear around your pants. Not for me, but can't deny it was effective...
  15. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Brand name?
  16. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I used to worry about this with my old Jazz Bass. Heck, now I hold up my upright by it's neck whilst I play about half the time. If you stop worrying about it, the problem will disappear. A three inch wide strap WILL help. By the way, Fender never built anything out of green wood. at the very least it was really kiln dried and most likely aged for quite a while. If you lost all the paint and dried the wood to the point where a spark would make it explode, I bet you lost less than an ounce and a half. More TBers seem to be looking for lightweight basses. You have one. Dig it!
    DD Gunz likes this.
  17. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Inject helium into the space around the truss rod.
    dmt likes this.
  18. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    Kramer 450B bass.jpg Your bass can't dive worse than this thing. With a grippy strap, this old Kramer 450B will pull my shirttail out, and try very hard to pull the shirt over my head, if I let go of it. My solution is to not use a grippy strap; angle it up quite a bit (like a lot of T-Bird players do - myself included); and just live with it. Not ideal by any means, but I have lots of other basses, and I don't have to play this one for any longer than I want to...:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    Gaolee likes this.
  19. That is a "heads up" strap, I believe. Can't seem to find any for sale though.
    GKon likes this.
  20. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks for the "heads up", har har.

    I can likely make something similar. I like the simplicity of it.
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