Bass with 2 interchangeable necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lokire, May 13, 2005.

  1. Just curious as to whether anyone has had one bass with two or more seperate necks (bolt on) that they could switch. Like One Maple neck and one Ebony neck for example. Or maybe one fretted and one fretless. How easy, and/or practical do you think that would be?
  2. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Reminds me of the Novatone switchable fretboard system back in the late 80's. They would plane off your fingerboard, put a metal plate in and you could switch fingerboards in a few seconds. They had a fretted, fretless and a stainless steel fretless. I came very close to being a company rep. Interesting idea, but apparently it weakened the neck too much, and the company soon folded. I'm sorry, what was your question again...? ;)
  3. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Those Novatones were a great concept, but the only time I played on (on a fretted/fretless Musicman Sabre) I was somewhat underwhelmed. Not bad per se, but didn't quite feel right.
  4. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Yeah, like I said, it was a great concept that was poorly executed. I'm not sure there really is any pratical way to implement such an idea. The V-Bass is the next best thing, IMO. :)
  5. BassikLee

    BassikLee Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    Back when the earth was cooling, circa 1986-7ish, Marcus and I were in school together. As I am sure he will recall, the then bass teacher at the college was Jorge Casas. At that time, Jorge was just joining Miami Sound Machine. Anywho, he had what in my brain was a pre CBS P bass, which he had put those fingerboards on! The really odd thing about it was that I "think" warmoth offered a neck either with that system, or prepped for that system, or something along those lines. Jorge told me he used his neck cuz he liked the feel of it. That system added quite a bit of depth to the neck, as I recall. Imagine what that neck/bass would be worth today, had he not done that.....

  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I bought a Carvin B5 fretless a couple of years ago. Very light weight swamp ash body. When I developed back problems I needed a lightweight fretted 5 string, so I ordered a fretted neck for it. It worked out great. After a while I went back to fretless. I don't change it regularly, but it is nice to be able to when I need to. It is like having two basses in one. I can switch necks and set it up in about half an hour. If I had two sets of tuners it wouldn't even take that long because a big portion of that half hour is moving the tuners from one neck to the other.
  7. I've swapped fretted and fretless necks on my Warmoth 4's, several times.

    As was previously mentioned, it works best if you have the necks set up with nuts, tuners, and string retainers (if applicable.) Then the swap is only a matter of loosening and tightening strings, unscrewing and screwing in the neck screws, and maybe a little bit of setup work, like intonating.

    If you intend to do a lot of neck swapping, it is advisable to install threaded inserts into the neck heels. That way, the wood in the neck heel is not being eroded by the unscrewing and screwing in of standard neck wood screws. You then use machine screws instead of wood screws, and everything will hold up much better.

    You can get these inserts and screws at Lowe's, Home Depot, and many other hardware suppliers. Most of them have a screwdriver slot to aid you in screwing them into the neck. It's just a matter of drilling the right size pilot holes into the neck heel before you start screwing in the inserts. Highly recommended.
  8. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa

    I've been to several Home Depots and can't find those threaded inserts... I'll try LOWES tonight. Anyway, I am about to be in this boat as I have found a neck for my BB450 Yamaha (it's a fellow TB'er BB1000 neck) which will give me a fretted neck (the new one) as well as an ugly buy playable fretless neck. I decided to pick the neck up b/c I really like the bass, but am not really sure that I like fretless (not yet anyway).

    PEACE! :bassist:
  9. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Westone used to sell a bass with swappable fretted and fretless necks back in the 80's. It did have threaded inserts, but I think the concensus was that it was just too impractical--swapping necks took to long and was too big a pain to do it in between sets, for instance, so there really just wasn't much point.

  10. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    A lot of people like to say they spend equal time between fretted and fretless, but precious few do. These days, I would say pick you main axe, and if you really want both, buy a MIJ fretless/fretted as a backup. Gives you both for not much more money, and swapping basses is a helluva lot faster than swapping necks. Of course, I just got the V-Bass. :p
  11. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Yeah, the V-bass is nice for the occassional fretless bit, especially since it plays in tune. ;) Much easier than swapping basses, much less swapping necks, since you can even do it mid-song if you want. It's not the same as actually playing fretless, but that might be a good thing depending on how much effort you want to put into becoming proficient on one!

    Maybe I'll get another V-bass one of these days...

  12. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Well, yeah the V-Bass is certainly not as good as playing an actual fretless. (tho the in-tune part is fun) For recording or anything like that (i.e., time is not so tight), I would definitely grab my fretless. But for live application, especially like you said mid-song stuff or perhaps a melodic intro, it's hard to beat.
  13. SteveC


    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota

    Buy an inexpensive "other" bass. You're way better off in the long run.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yep. I've got one of those. Unfortunately, my fretted neck was on a bass that was stolen, so all I have now is the fretless neck. I rarely changed them anyway, that is why the fretted neck wound up on another bass, another Electra-Westone that I defretted and removed all the finish from.
  15. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    About ten years after I got my fretless Wal I wanted to go fretted but I couldn't afford to buy a whole 'nuther bass. I wrote to Electric Wood (the Wal makers) and had them make me a fretted neck. At their recommendation, I had them make it complete with tuners and string tree so I wouldn't have to swap hardware when swapping the neck, and of course Wals already have the inserts for the neck bolts. The neck came out great! I don't swap them much, but do on occasion when I get an urge. At the moment it's wearing its fretless neck. If it's a thing where I'd be switching a lot I'd get another bass, but the way my situation developed it worked out nicely.
  16. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    In the mid nineties, Korean based company Vester (remember them?) Offered a bass series called "The clipper" which were copies of a Warwick thumb and A Spector NS (or Warwick streamer, which ever you prefer) which had a special patented fingerboard which had frets for the E and A stings and was fretless at the D and G strings.

    You don't see those oddballs turn up anymore.