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bass mutilation/ alteration

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CDuff, May 20, 2003.


  1. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    Hi,

    I suspect most people don't read Luthier's Corner lessin' they got a luthiery problem or such, but I want to get a few more opinions on what I'm about to do to my bass.
    So, if you'd be so kind as to take a wee look and let me know what you think, i would be well grateful.

    Thanks,
    C.

    Head Chop
     
  2. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    i think that's an allright idea, but will it make neck dive cease? I thought different placement of the strap pins would make a much bigger difference. I kinda like that headstock the way it is.
     
  3. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    My biggest concern, and it may not even be a reason for concern, would be that dead spot(s) might occur from the lightening of the headstock.

    I have to agree with TMO33. Relocating the strap button would be a more efficient way to deal with neck dive.

    Good luck with it, however you approach the prob.

    Let us know how it turns out.

    Pkr2
     
  4. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    I thought that cutting off the last inch and a half or so of the head would reduce it's weight and therefore not pull down so much.
    As for pin relocation, could you explain which pin to move and to where?

    ...i don't have my digital camera at the minute but i'll post a pic of the same bass from a website.[​IMG]
     
  5. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
  6. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    Thanks Wulf, but I reckon i'll go ahead and do both. This bass is my experimental bass y'know? I don't know how many times i've disassembled it to see how it all works, so i want to do as many mods as possible now to know for the future.
     
  7. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Here's an idea - do some recording with your bass before and after the headstock mod. Nothing fancy - just stuff like playing every available note on the neck slowly enough to hear, maybe in groups of notes.

    The aim would be to see whether altering the mass of the headstock makes any appreciable difference on the tone of the instrument, dead spots, etc.

    I doubt it will, but after you've sawn the top off is too late to start making comparisons ;)

    Wulf
     
  8. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    that's some good thinkin', i'll do that.

    not really, I could stick it back on....i'm sure i saw some Blu-Tac lying around here somewhere;)
     
  9. permagrin

    permagrin

    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I converted the head of my 4+0 '85 Kramer Focus to 3+1, even if Musicman does own that design (heard that from Warmoth).

    No problems, in fact this bass used to have dead spots on the C# on both the G string 6th fret and A string 4th fret that are now gone - but at the same time I changed the body shape and finish, tuning machines, and pickups, so its impossible to tell if chopping the head had anything to do with it. The Kramer, like your bass, was an 'extra' that I wanted to mess around with.

    How much does it affect the weight distribution? This is simple physics, and without knowing the specifics of the weights and lengths of everything and making several assumptions, I figure you get about 5-10% less torque (tendency for neck to dive). Not huge but possibly significant.
     
  10. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    Well at lunchtime ,having drawn the new position, I gave my neck to my brother(a fellow bassman) and he machined it at work. Got it back at about Eight this evening and just plugged in 15 minutes ago.
    I'm dead pleased.
    I moved the strap pin and that worked, and now with the semi-headstock it's even better. Really happy with the tone and playability just as before.

    I definiately feel less strain, like you said...not huge but significant enough for me to feel more comfortable.

    I can't really pick out the difference yet, I'll have to compare the recordings (thanks Wulf ;) ) and see if i can hear any different.

    I don't think i'll even paint the cut off bit (it's a black bass) ....with the sanded-down neck and chopped off headstock it's got that used look
    (Jaco, Sting, Rory Gallagher etc.) which i love.

    and now for my next mod. (but what? ...i might do a Permagrin and go buck ape with it and do a total overhaul)

    So thanks for the input everybody,
    C.
     
  11. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Congratulations... and now where are the pictures!? ;)

    Wulf
     
  12. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    no.......you'll laugh :)
    I love it now, there's no disguising it...it just looks like i cut the end off me bass. If i get my digital camera back soon I'll try.
     
  13. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Dead spots will not "occur" from lightening the headstock. On the contrary.
    However, existing dead spots may move to another place.

    What happened to yours, Rex? Re. dead spots, I mean.
     
  14. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    no problems Suburban. There's nothing drastic enough to bother me when i'm at home and definately not enough to bother me playing live. The effect on the bass' sound has been negligable but the effect on it's balance has been strong enough to make me feel a lot more comfortable.
    If there's dead spots anywhere I would guess the C# on the G which i never noticed before, but it's barely noticeable so like i said.....dead pleased.

    :)
     
  15. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    Hello,
    I realise it's been ages and nobody cares anymore but i just got my digital camera back and took some pics.
    As planned, I lobbed off the end of the headstock and then sanded all of the neck right back to the maple:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Looks good. If it were mine, I might be tempted to shave away a little more of the headstock to take away the 'pudginess' and give it a bit more 'hook' but it works well.

    Do you find it more convenient with the 3+1 headstock rather than 4 in a row?

    Also, the string tree looks a bit odd only being used for one string - could it be moved across to cover the A and D, or is the A string low enough anyway?

    Thanks for coming back and posting the pics.

    Wulf
     
  17. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    no problem.

    C.
     
  18. geezer316

    geezer316

    Jan 26, 2003
    NEW HAVEN ,CT
    does'nt cutting off a chunk of the headstock alter the density,and change the headstocks ability to maintain tension/dynamics ? this is a serious question,i am aware that when a bass is designed all these things are taken into effect,and changing the mass would alter SOMETHING at the very least. NO ? :confused:
     
  19. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Apparently, the answer is "It Ain't Necessarily So"!

    It seems fairly counter-intuitive... but then I'm very happy with both my headless basses and don't think they'd be improved with a bit of extra wood and metal added at the top. ;)

    Wulf
     
  20. CDuff

    CDuff

    Sep 14, 2002
    Europe
    Seems like a fair point, but as Wulf said, I don't think the headstock does much besides holding the strings in place (although, i'm sure a headless basses neck is much stronger and better reinforced).
    I did this alteration over a month ago now, and there's been no negative effects and no effects whatsoever on the relief of the neck.
    Perhaps in the long term there will be some...unpleasantness, but i'll have a new bass by then.


    C.



    PS. Wulf, I just moved the string tree to cover the A string. It didn't need it but it looks a bit better and I think it's probably happier:)