Balancing a neck heavy bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bonita, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Bonita


    Aug 14, 2003
    I recently purchased an Epiphone Explorer. The thing is neck heavy as I could not have imagined. About a month ago I saw online a replacement for the bout strap button. It was about threee or four inches long and moved end of the strap closer to the 12th fret. I did not think much of it at the time as I had not yet purchased the Explorer. Now it seem like just the fix I need, but I can't seem to locate the product. Can any one point me in the right direction. I think it may have been called the Bass Spike, but perhaps that is just my imagination.
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You might want to try this question on the "Basses" forum. Also if you haven't already, do a search on "explorer" and "strap."
  3. There was one on eBay. Search completed items. About the only two other things you can do is get a heavier bridge and lighter tuning heads (if they make them).
  4. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i have the same prob with my warwick corvette pro 6 - all i'm doing is making a new body from scratch with a longer horn - this is the only way of having a six without buying a new bass.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Actually, the Gibsons are notorious neck divers as well.
  7. anyways.........other than the neck-dive...what do you think of your explorer bass?
  8. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    A set of ultra light machine heads may help also, and you can try using one of those really wide straps (doesn't seem to slip on your shoulder as much).

    I've also heard of guys putting handfuls of lead buckshot or fishing sinkers in their electronics cavities. (Obviously put them in a plasic bag or something so that they don't short the circuit!)
  9. I built a project bass these past couple of days. The neck is Warmoth with the two steel reinforcing rods and the double truss rod and it's made of wenge, all of which adds up to tremendous potential neck dive. I ordered a dinky J black korina body, which is pretty much like mahogany, but paid an extra $40 for a light one and it is remarkably light, lighter than many alder bodies. And I chose a lightweight bridge, cast aluminum. I'm listing these things to show my bass is a natural neck diver.

    I'm short, so I play my basses off to the side. I drilled the bridge strap button 2" off the body's axis down toward the floor. That means the strap, instead of following the body's curve, crosses behind the body and lets me put it off to the right. But the positioning of the top strap button is, as Toastedweed noted, even more influential. His fix is very ingenious. It throws the bass' center of gravity toward the bridge.

    On a Fender, the first thing that can be done, and this is something a bass-playing chiropractor on TBL recommends (and he's working on it for himself), is to play with the body lower and the headstock higher. This reduces the amount of curvature in both wrists to help avoid carpal tunnel problems. There is a nice side effect in balance. The leverage that the weight of the tuning heads has depends on how far out it is, and the higher you hold the headstock, the closer it comes to the center of your body, while the body mass doesn't really shift (easier seen than explained), making the influence of the body weight greater.

    The second thing is to place the strap button in the best place. There are many places to put the strap button on a Fender body, all within about a half inch of each other. As you go around the end of the horn, the angle of the strap button changes a good bit. You want to pick a spot that lets the flat bottom of the strap button seat nicely on the curve, and also cover the horn with masking tape to draw out the axis of the screw as you go around (choose a placement with lots of support). I plotted about a dozen placements and angles until I was satisfied. Also I used plastic T buttons, which when screwed down conform to the curve of the horn. The spot I picked puts the strap button perpendicular to the strap when the bass hangs around 35 or 40 degrees off level. I usually wear a bass very high. This is rather low, but with the repositioned buttons, it feels totally natural (with buttons in the normal places it wants to squirm to a more level position).

    The last thing is to reduce mass at the headstock. I saved over half a pound by using large diameter (they're actually lighter than the small ones) Hipshot Ultralights with tapered posts (without the heavy drop D mechanism). Also I cut the graphite nut about 3 to 5 thousandths tight on each string, and there is a dead straight line from the bridge to bottom of the taper at the G string. This resulted in zero buzz and no tendency for the strings to pop out with no string tree, allowing me to save that tiny bit of weight, also.

    A lot of tiny things add up to a lot. Probably most people who suffer neck dive could fix it easily.
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Super post, kurosawa.Some great tips.

  11. most agreed!
  12. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Bonita I had the same problem with my Godin SD bass it was a 14th fret button. I had to buy a strap that had a felt underlining to keep it from sliding down.

    I have short arms and when I bought my G&L SB-1 (button over the 12th) it was more balanced and easier to reach my low F note!)
  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Yes, puttin the strap pin/button on the neck joint will help. Thats where it is on my Hohner, and i here that other models that have it elsewhere tend to dive.
  14. just tried moving the neck strap button on my warwick thumb 5 NT. It seems to make the neck dive worse! maybe because the horn is so long; moving the button down also moves it back. Oh well. New hole in my bass.
    Already installed hipshot ultralight tuners. They helped a little but not much. Anyone have any more ideas? I'm thinking about having some wood removed from the neck....
  15. An idea:
    I was working on a Spector 4 string (basswood body, maple neck, 24fret, 34 " scale) and noticed while sitting with it that it was wasn't balanced very well (neck heavy). I thought for sure it would neckdive hard while standing with strap, but didn't.. Why? The bridge-side strap button wasn't in the usual place. It was located approx 3-4 inches up the body, instead of the more common centerline position. The neck-side button was on the tip of the horn like usual. Locating this button higher must keep more weight below it which helps to counteract the neck heaviness. Good engineering from Spector, because I've never seen this before.