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Any cheap Fender necks with a 7 1/4" radius?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fookgub, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I'm not really sure where to put this. It's not quite 'luthiers corner' material, and it's not really 'basses' either. Anyway, I've decided that I want a fretless jazz bass, and I'm probably going to buy an SX. I'm planning to buy a fretted model, then buy a fretless neck for it so I can swap back and forth every once in a while (I'll install threaded inserts in both necks to make sure I don't tear the mounting holes up). I was hoping to put a neck with a 7 1/4" radius on the bass, but my understanding is that SX uses a 12" radius on their necks. Does anyone know of any cheap, mass produced bass necks out there with a non-maple fingerboard and a 7 1/4" radius? I know Warmoth or USACG would be more than happy to build me one, but I'm not going to put a $300 neck on a $150 bass. Most of the other necks I've found online are either Mighty Mite (9 1/2" radius, but pretty cheap) or Allparts (10" radius, but surprisingly expensive). eBay hasn't turned much up either.

    Anyway, price is more important to me than quality, and I can do any fingerboard leveling or neck reshaping that is necessary. It just has to be sturdy.

    So... any ideas? I know it's asking a lot.
  2. Volk


    Dec 18, 2005
    South Jersey
    err...you could probably buy a radius block from stewmac and reradius it yourself....other than that I have no idea.
  3. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I had a feeling that was going to be the answer. I re-radiused my last fretless from 12" to 9.5". It turned out fine, except that the sides of the fingerboard came down so much that the side dots were showing through. I didn't mind the look, but I was hoping to avoid it on this one, especially since I'll be using an uncoated board.

    Anyway, I figured asking here was worth a shot, but I'm very diligent about my research, so if I can't find it it's probably not out there. I'll keep my eyes on eBay for a while... who knows, maybe a used Warmoth will show up.
  4. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    Why dont you just get a fretless neck from rondo when you buy the bass(last time I looked they were only $40), remove the fingerboard with a hot iron etc and then glue on a preradiused 7 1/4 fingerboard from LMI. then you have the chice of rosewood or ebony too>
  5. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Jeff, I'm giving your idea some serious consideration. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm always a sucker for a good project. I have a few questions about how this would work, though. Removing the fingerboard shouldn't be too tough. I've seen the tutorial at project guitar, and it looks like a matter of patience more than anything. The fact that I'm not interested in salvaging the fingerboard takes some pressure off, too.

    Since the neck will already be shaped, I suppose I'll have to use a router and a follower bit to trim the fingerboard flush. Since I'll want a flat surface to rest the router on, that means a pre-radiused fingerboard is out. Right so far? No problem, since LMI doesn't appear to offer a 7 1/4" radius anyway. I've radiused a board before and it wasn't so bad.

    Next, I want a lined fretless. I'd like to get a pre-slotted board for the sake of accuracy (especially with regard to the nut position), but since I'm putting such a deep radius on the board, I'm assuming I'll need to deepen the slots. Can I get by with just a fret saw, or would I be better off buying the jig to keep the blade at a right angle? I have some medium-brown ebony veneer that I could use to fill the slots, and I think this would work really well on a dark ebony board (sort of a 'ghost lines' type look).

    A couple other things are bugging me, too. When should I install the side dots? I'm thinking last, but that could make it a bit difficult to get everything square in my drill press. Also, what do people use to put the final bevel on the sides of the fretboard? Last time I did this, I just sanded by hand and it turned out fine, but I was wondering if there's a 'pro secret' to getting a really uniform bevel? Some sort of dremel bit, maybe?
  6. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    I would probably still get a preradiussed slotted board, glue it on then re-raduis to the 7 1/4 ". would be a bit easier than starting from flat and sanding all the way.
    to use the router and trim bit I would just use a thin flat board (MDF)on top of the fingerboard with packing at the edges, hot glued on to support the router base.
    then you could just use the existing fret slots as a guide to deepen the edges as reqd
    Side dots would go in last, possibly at the junction between neck and fingerboard due to the fingerboard edge thickness being smaller. Just clamp the neck to a dressed 2x3 timber or the like with packing to keep it square and you can just slide it on the drill press table
    Hand sanding the corner sounds fine to me
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