Converting a Neck Joint

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by McHack, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Hello all,

    I'm building a Warmoth/USACG parts bass, here's what I have so far...

    Body - Warmoth Dinky J, made of Black Korina, routed for running the strings thru the body, PJ pick up config.

    Neck - USA Custom Guitars Jazz Bass Neck, made of Wenge, w/ an Ebony Fingerboard, & a 2+2 tuner arrangement. I had to custom order the Wenge Neck blank & have it sent to Tommy.

    We all know that these fender style body parts, were originally designed to have the neck mounted to the body, using the standard 4 screws, w/ a neck plate. However, I find these neck plates on the bottom side of the neck joint to be unsightly.

    My Lakland 55-01, uses a slightly different method. Actually, its one I prefer. If you look at the back of a Lakland, you'll see they:

    1) Don't use a mounting plate, they use counter sunk ferrules.
    2) A slight angle cut has been made to the body, where the neck mounts to the body, allowing easier access to the upper frets.
    3) Because of #2, the bolt/screw pattern has been changed. Including a 5th screw for added solidity of the neck/body union.

    Is making these mods, really as easy as it would seem? From what I can see, all I need to do is:

    1) Remove a slight wedge from the neck mounting pocket,
    2) map out two new holes,
    3) counter sinking all 5 holes....
    4) making sure the screws aren't too long...

    It looks like the necks are scultped to fit the angle, I'm leary of attempting this sculpting. I'm curious, because I worried that using a ferrule mounting system, requires different spacing,,, thus requiring different holes.

    Has anyone else converted a standard "plate" mount, to a ferrule mounting system, that could provide some insight into this????
  2. Yes, I do it all the time. Most basses can be done without much problem. Fenders especially can have this done but the extra hole (from the production line) can be a bit unsightly. I've even seen some production basses that have ferrules that come very close to the edge of the neck pocket. It doesn't seem to matter as far as I can tell. About the only place you CAN'T put a screw is in the middle of the neck! :p

    If you want a slightly smaller diameter ferrule type of thing, you can use stainless steel "cup" washers - also called finishing washers. Used with oval head screws, it makes a nice finished look.
  3. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Ok, thx Hambone... Where do you get your ferrules & neck screws from? I notice they've got some in the StewMac catalog. Have you used these? If so, were there any problems with them?
  4. The ferrules I get from StewMac. The finish washers come from decent hardware stores.

    I don't use the wood screws, I use steel inserts and stainless steel 10-24 oval head machine screws.
  5. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!

    I've bounced around about this, a WHOLE lot. I've gone ahead & decided to let Warmoth put a translucent finish on my black korina body. Royal Blue... But, that puts the hole neck conversion issue on hold, until I do my next. Reasoning is, I'd rather not invite issues until I get one of these under my belt.

    On to the real issue of what I'm posting about... Warmoth has kind of a limited selection of bass bridges to choose from. What I WANT is, a Hipshot A type bridge... However, they don't carry hipshot products, & as such, they wouldn't rout the holes for it... BUT, I'm planning on using a string thru type bridge, but all Warmoth carries is a Gotoh 206.

    SO, I went ahead & had them rout it for a Gotoh 206, including the string thru holes, in the body.

    Here's my dilemma... I'm going to receive a finished body, that has the mounting holes, AND string thru holes, drilled for a Gotoh 206. I don't really care so much, about the mounting holes, BUT, I NEED to know if the string thru holes will mate up w/ the placement of the holes for a Hipshot A-type bridge...