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Bass hangs at an odd angle - how can I fix it?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Benjamin Strange, Mar 9, 2008.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've got a Strangeberger XM2, which I dearly love, but ever since I picked up a second bass (a Dingwall Super J), it's come to my attention that my Strangeberger hangs a bit funny. I play it a bit high, like so:

    [​IMG]

    It balances perfectly, but the trouble is that the neck pitches away from me, and I have to reach out to the neck rather than have it sit close to my body. There's very little carving on the back - it's almost a plank. I'm a skinny guy, so it's not my belly that's making the thing stick out.

    What's my best bet for pulling the neck closer to me? I'm sure I could reposition the strap buttons pretty easily, but I can't think of a good placement for them. I'm not opposed to carving the back - the bass weighs a ton, and I've modded it beyond the point of it being recognizable already, so no qualms there. Suggestions?
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Does your Dingwall, whose playing position I assume you'd like to emulate, also hand level to the ground like that?
     
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Yes. It hangs almost completely level - both the Strangeberger and the Dingwall usually hang anywhere I want without moving, which is usually slightly angled up at the neck. The above picture just so happens to be almost level to the ground, but usually the neck is angled up just a pinch.
     
  4. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Try moving the bottom strap button higher on the body of the bass-I'd suggest a straight line across from the one on the "horn". Having the bass at more of an angle will help the neck fall more readily to hand. I've done this to all my basses for years. You might want to let the bass down a bit as well-your playing position looks awfully tense to me. Your right shoulder is considerably higher than your left.
     
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I'd try taping a small pillow to the butt end of the backside of the bass, like behind the bridge, to see if some additional material there will do what you want.
     
  6. Sheldon D.

    Sheldon D.

    Oct 3, 2001
    The Dingwall neck is angled with respect to the body.

    It's major surgery, but you might be able to re-rout the neck pocket of the Steinie at an angle. Just make sure to draft it out because a fraction of a degree makes a huge difference.
     
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    That's just the picture - normally I don't look that tense. I was just in the moment making some funny moves. The height and angle of the neck don't bother me - it's the way the neck pitches away from my body. I have to reach out to grab it, whereas my Dingwall neck sits quite close.

    I don't think I want to deal with angling the neck pocket. I don't have much room to alter the bridge enough to get the setup correct. I feel confident that I could do that kind of surgery, but I'd like to leave that as a last resort.

    It's not just the neck that pitches away, it's the entire bass. For some reason I feel like this has to do with the relatively flat back of the bass, which has almost no body contours at all. I guess I could move a strap button or carve the body, but I'm hoping to get away with making a slight change rather than a major mod.
     
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Aha. My luthier buddy of mine and I got together to scratch our heads about this, and we figured out the extremely obvious problem that I was missing: the rear strap button isn't in the middle of the bass. It's on the side closest to me, which pulls the bass body in while kicking the neck out. Shouldn't take but a simple move of the strap button to fix this up.

    Heh... the solution was so obvious I completely overlooked it.
     
  9. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Well, perhaps moving the strap button isn't the trick. I moved it towards the middle of the bass on the bridge side and also below it to no avail. The body of the bass wants to pull around my chest and angle the neck out, no matter where the bridge side strap button is. Hmmm... Perhaps it's a weight issue? Or a shape issue?

    Both myself and my skinny roommate / luthier feel it might be a shape issue - the flat back of the bass doesn't contour to the body at all (unlike the Dingwall, which fits like a glove). It feels like the body is pushing against my stomach. I'm at a loss here.
     
  10. if the back is not contoured, you will have a problem, the bass is going to use your stomach or your chest (whatever sticks out most) as a pivot point since it will be the center of a flat surface????
     

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