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Baritone to Short Scale Bass...need science

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by screefer, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    I own an Ibby Mikro Bass with 28.6 scale. They are only available with rosewood (now Jatoba) boards. As I'm partial to Maple boards, I thought I would order a Tele baritone neck and mount it on a Tele body. The Bari neck is 28 5/8 scale. I contacted Warmoth and they said that although the Mikro and a Bari have a similar scale, they couldn't be any more different due to string size and fret number. They said my chances of success was slim. When I asked them to elaborate they sent me three links which were generic and difficult to navigate.

    So does any one know the Science here? I searched this forum for "baritone into Short Scale Bass" and got nothing.

    A Hipshot vintage bridge will give me the 17mm sting spacing that would be required and I can order a bari neck with no tuners holes. But if it won't work???...

    Thanks All
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If you want to spend a decent chunk of your money and time to make a new instrument because you want a different color fretboard, go right ahead.

    Are you using a premade Tele body or getting one made with pickup holes the proper size and location for bass pickups?
  3. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Thanks Iz,
    this is all about fun....I have a standard routed Tele body and ,of course, would have to change it for new bridge and pick up positions (no problem). But it will be no fun if it won't work/intonate. I directly asked Warmoth why a .068 low baritone B string will work but a .105 low E string won't on the same neck, frets, and scale. I did not get a direct answer.
    Am I missing something obvious?
  4. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I dont see why it wouldn't work with a new nut and new bridge on the Tele body.

    If I had to guess, I'd say warmoth said it wouldn't work because of potential warranty headaches they might have to deal with.
  5. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Roger on the new nut....I hope to heck yer right!
  6. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Also, I suspect it will be difficult to find a bass pickup that will fit in Tele routes.

    I'd get an unrouted body for such a project and route my own pickup cavities.

    You'll need to pay very careful attention to where you place the bridge. The screw holes are really a secondary concern. Make sure the saddles are positioned for the correct witness point, then Mark the screw holes.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  7. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Thanks HeD,
    All the routing and positioning are not an issue. I just want to be sure about Warmoth's view that the string size and number of frets won't work. I am no expert, but I've never heard of this and I just want to learn....
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I don't get what they're saying about number of frets. Unless they mean the neck you want isn't a conversion neck.
    That would be the only dealbreaker.
    As long as it is designed to convert a standard scale tele into a baritone then it will work.
    Otherwise you would have to relocate the bridge, which would be a pain, particularly considering you might end up exposing the ground wire hole.
  9. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Here is our conversation verbatim...

    Me...Are Tele 28 5/8" scale baritone maple fretboard necks with four string right hand reverse headstocks available? I have a 28.6" Ibanez Mikro bass and would like to build a Tele version.

    Warmoth...While the bass you have is a similar scale, the two products
    couldn’t be more differently designed.

    The fret spacing and number are wholly different as the two
    sizes of string have vastly different requirements.

    If you wish to try something in that vein, we can always make
    a Bari (Conversion) Tele neck without tuner holes.

    I can say I don’t see a ton of possibility for success but, who
    knows, you may create something brand new!

    Me...So what I hear you saying is that a Bari with an .068 low B string will intonate but a .105 low E string will not? I had no idea. Would you have a link to such info?
    Could you make the board fretless with no tuner holes? Would that work?

    Some resources I know of for more esoteric luthier info might include::
    ProjectGuitar.com - Home
    Online Resources | stewmac.com
    Search Results for books | stewmac.com
    Of course we can make one as fretless, and without inlay and….
    Without most of the options.

    That was our conversation. I must be reading something wrong?...
  10. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    For a given scale length, the nut to bridge measurement has to be a particular value. That does not change regardless of the number of frets. The number of frets does however dictate the point the neck connects to the body. The neck must connect to the body at a point that achieves the proper nut to bridge measurement for the given scale. Does that help?
    ctmullins likes this.
  11. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Roger...so a 28 5/8” scale needs the nut break to 12th fret to be 14 5/16” and the 12th fret to saddle break also needs to be 14 5/16”. That is what I assumed would be the result when I installed a Bari neck and positioned the bridge accordingly. I thought that converting to a baritone and then adding only four strings would work...
  12. I could be utterly wrong but, to me, they’re saying that the Ibanez neck has 21(?) frets and their baritone conversion neck has 24 frets. So, it depends on what you’re using it for. The Warmoth neck won’t bolt up to the Ibanez body and work without major “adjustments.” It should work as a bass on a Tele body especially if you’re starting with a blank body and can position the bridge and pickup routes accordingly.
  13. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Bingo...I think you are right and will email Warmoth right away and clarify.
    Thank you
  14. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    me to Warmoth...
    I may have clumsily stated my situation. I wish to install a Bari Tele conversion neck onto a standard Tele body. I would then add a new nut and a Hipshot vintage 4 string bass bridge. That bridge has 17 mm string spacing which would fit the neck.
    I’m thinking that I led you to think that I wished to mount the Bari neck on the Mikro body.
    Does this make sense?

    Nope! Totally got what you were lookin’ to do.
    The Bari fret spacing will still likely cause you some
    fairly major tuning frustration.

    ....they do not say why but it appears my idea is pooched...
    Sorry for the wasted time and thanks to All
  15. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Yeah I dont get what their objection is. Maybe they just don't think the Mikro scale will work for a bass.
  16. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I remember the Supro Pocket bass was 25.5" scale and Moserite had a 24.5" scale hollowbody bass. As far as I heard both had intonation issues, so maybe based on those types of basses, Warmoth is skeptical?
    Either way... could always make it a fretless ;)
    screefer likes this.
  17. The .025” difference in scale length should be easily accommodated by saddle adjustment alone. But, is the neck wide enough at the heel end to be comfortable with bass strings?. If so, and you’re starting with a blank body, I can see no reason for it not to work. If you cannot buy or fabricate a new neck that is drilled for bass tuners then it’s probably a no go for you. They probably don’t want to get involved in something out of their comfort zone in case you’re not satisfied.
  18. I don’t get what their objection is. Perhaps, as others have said, they’re concerned you won’t be happy with it and want your money back? Dunno.
  19. It might be possible to use the 1st, 3rd, 5th and sixth tuner holes with smaller bass tuners and homemade string guides but it seems like an awful lot of work.
    instrumentlevel likes this.
  20. It seems some people have figured it out. The new taylor acoustic basses aren’t even baritone Guitar scale if I remember right. And I’ve seen a couple guitars that were converted to mini basses. There's more involved, bass specific pickups for example. And possibly funky strings like the taylors use. But it’s been done with some success at least. Heck the wing basses are tiny granted they substitute a lot of range below the 12 fret on the e string by making it option to have a pog built into it. I think getting it to Work Is possible, getting an ideal tone might be a different story though. I’m sure one of the bass builders here on TB could build you something similar to a wing bass that’s more like a neck that starts at the 5th fret instead of the 12th fret linen the wing basses. But a Guitar to bass conversion would be tough.

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