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Bolt-on neck join

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dBerriff, Dec 18, 2004.


  1. dBerriff

    dBerriff

    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    I would appreciate some comment on the effect of the contact area in a bolt-on neck joint (sorry if this has been done before, but a forum search didn't find anything). First a disclaimer - don't try this on your own bass unless you know what you are doing.

    I have a USA Precision that is a really nice, resonant bass (maple/rosewood neck, ash body) but had a bit of a dead spot on the top G string, 5th fret, not something I really expected in a graphite-reinforced neck.

    I risked pulling the neck to check the joint and found the join was essentially bits of paper with bar codes and dates. Do Fender use sticky paper to help assembly? Anyway, all this was carefully removed (and kept) and surfaces cleaned up. I didn't go as far as removing the finish for a wood-on-wood joint as Godin claim they do for some of their guitars. On re-assembly the dead spot was all but gone. So one of my favourite basses is now better than before. Or am I imagining all this?

    I think physics says that waves are best transferred between surfaces with identical properties (propagation velocity?) so could it be that the paper labels were reflecting back vibration and nulling certain notes? I don't have much experience with these things so I would certainly appreciate comment from the experts out there.
     
  2. In a word - Yes

    Precisely the reason I like to use harder materials for shims on bolt ons. I believe they don't do this like you've experienced.

    Another thing might have happened here and probably did to some extent. The labels prevented 100% contact of the neck and body surfaces with anything - there were gaps. That's as good as anything in killing the sonic coupling between components. When the neck bolts were tight, they were tight against labels not against wood.

    You done good!
     
  3. dBerriff

    dBerriff

    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    Thanks Hambone. I presume Fender stick all this crap in a critical part of the neck/body join to help production. It seems a bit short sighted to me. If Godin can be bothered to get it right and then charge less for their guitars, why can't Fender? :confused:
     
  4. I've never heard of that happening before so I assume there's a step in production to remove them. I would think so like you do. My new American Fender was from when the ALL Fenders were made in the USA so I can't use it for a reference. :D

    If you want to take that neck coupling to the next level, consider having threaded steel inserts installed and using machine bolts in place of the wood screws. 5-10x the clamping force, no degradation of the threads from repeated removal, and 100% invisible. A total win upgrade.
     
  5. I remember reading several topics here about Fender basses that had dead spots on the G string. Some were adding some mass to their headstocks by using a device called a fatfinger. I wonder how many of these basses might have the labels in the neck joint as well? Just a thought.

    Mag...
     
  6. Gianni

    Gianni

    Jul 4, 2001
    Palermo - Italia
    The inserts have to be installed in the neck?

    Thanks
    Gianni
     
  7. Yes, of course!

    The holes in the body don't contribute to the clamping force. They are larger than the neck bolts or screws. The system is designed to clamp the bottom of the pocket between the neckplate and the heel of the neck.
     
  8. dBerriff

    dBerriff

    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    The 'bolt'-on neck join is crude way of doing it and the bolt/insert makes more sense. In fact a passive Fender bass is crude and simple from an engineering point of view to cut costs. The genius is that it generally works. The only place I have known Fender to use inserts is for their battery compartment cover screws (USA Deluxe models). I suppose they would argue that the other screws don't really need to be removed.
     
  9. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I just installed inserts and whatnot on my old p-bass copy. Worked really well!
     
  10. Gianni

    Gianni

    Jul 4, 2001
    Palermo - Italia
    I asked to a luthier and he told me that to properly install the inserts it is necessary to remove a piece of the fretboard, otherwise they could be pulled out by the screws...

    I think that he does not know the type of inserts you are referring to.
    Are they common?
    Can you give me some detail more?

    Thanks
    Merry Christmas to everybody!
    Ciao
    Gianni
     
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yikes - this might be the whole problem with my US-made Peavy Foundation 5-string (it's all I can afford now, and I'd probably like to replace my weak amp first, as our band plays more gigs. I love how it feels to play.). It has a very un-solid, 'wolfy'-sounding B-string, and when I look at the neck plate, there's a little hole with what looks like an allen-head screw in it. Is this one of those 'tilt-o-neck'-whatever adjustments, like what was on some of the fender guitars? A fulcrum system like that would be about a worst-case for this issue of solid neck joints, wouldn't it?!

    Joe
     
  12. Gianni

    Gianni

    Jul 4, 2001
    Palermo - Italia
    In some neck pockets it is possible to find strips of grit paper (I hope the term is right) used to tilt the neck in the proper angulation...

    Ciao!
    Gianni
     
  13. Yeah, it's one of those adjustable necks. Of course, if you have the neck sitting down all the way it's making solid contact. I guess, in theory, having the neck jacked up might be a issue. Also, if you have the bass setup with the neck jacked up, you could always go with a thin metal shim in the neck pocket and not use the screw. I did a bass with a thin shim of aluminum and it worked great. The bass felt and sounded better than it ever had. Just some thoughts..

    Mag...
     
  14. http://www.ezlok.com/index2.htm
    Look under wood, then knife-thread.

    I think the luthier might be thinking of a different type of inserts. There are several different types. The one shown here would not pull out. The original wood screws would strip or pull out much easier than these knife-thread inserts..

    Mag...
     
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Bingo. I'm getting my beloved to a luthier SOON. I maybe never knew how good my bass can be!

    Thanks, Mag.

    Merry Christmas,

    Joe
     
  16. Hey Joe,
    Thank you for the holiday wishes. Same to you.
    I wanted to add that I added the shim only to help the fret action down the entire neck. I couldn't get anywhere with the truss or saddle adjustments, and adding the thin shim got the angle just right on this bass I was working on.

    Mag...
     
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I don't know much about the practical side of setup. I should get this thing to pro setup guy, and see how it can really sound. I love the way it plays (in fact I'm so 'used to it' that I can't seem to play other basses very well) - I've adjusted the saddles for very low action with no buzz; most basses at music stores have comparably high action - but I'll bet it can sound better than it does - most noticeably the wolf-tone-sounding B-string, and a too-quiet G-string.

    Joe
     
  18. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    There is also a contrary theory that, as I understand it, there should be relatively little footprint between the neck and the body in order that they should each be able to vibrate more freely at their own native resonances. I have seen this attributed to a number of luthiers including Buzz Feiten.

    Whether there is any real merit to this or not, I can't say. I do know that some rather dark Fender guitars on which I have worked seemed to "open up" in sound after shimming or Micro-Tilting with no other modifications, including new strings, so there may be something to it. [shrug]
     
  19. dBerriff

    dBerriff

    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    The more you start looking at an electric bass, the more complex it gets. Whether maximum or minimum contact you will want a joint that does not damp out the energy so it should at least be as rigid as is practical. I suspect you are not going to get this with sticky paper labels being a major part of the 'bonding' surface.