Cracked neck

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by buffalobillh, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. buffalobillh


    Jul 20, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I have a Kay bass that has a crack in the neck underneath the duck tail, as if the bass fell backwards landing on the headstock. It's been like this since I bought it 15 years ago - hasn't gotten worse. Are there any easy/simple repairs for this, or is neck replacement in order?


  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Would probably be expensive to repair. I know I'll have people screaming at me for this, but... if it's held fine for 15 years...? Ah, you get what I'm trying to say.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Duck tail? Head stock?

    Don't let PW hear you talking like that. And, for heaven's sake, don't mention the fret board.

  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Cracked necks seem to be a feature of so many older Kays. I managed to avoid that on the Kay C-1 I owned from 1967 through 2004. Anyway, if you plan to keep it, my advice would be to repair it. A decent luthier can grab a replacement Kay (Englehardt) neck and/or repair the one you have. Just my 2-cents worth.
  5. buffalobillh


    Jul 20, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    Thanks for the advice.


    You'll have to take me to school on terminology. I've never had any formal training on UB. I was a tuba performance major but most gigs are on UB. Forgive my ignorance. Any links to bass jargon?

  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Well, no list here that I know of. Maybe Paul will write oen out?

    The headstock is the scroll, or in its parts, the scroll and the peg box (where the tuning pegs are).

    The ducktail? No clue what you're talking about with that one.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If it hasn't misbehaved in 15 years, it seems likely that it has already been repaired. Often, the most efficient path to a suitable repair addresses the structural and the functional but doesn't worry over the visual. Especially on a bass of lesser value like a Kay.

    I have seen plenty of basses left with visual evidence of significant damage that are structurally and functionally fine after repair.
  8. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    Vice President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Ken got it right. The "duck tail" is a pretty common term in the violin world, and thats what it was called in violinmaking school. I am sure Strad did not call it that though... ;)
  9. buffalobillh


    Jul 20, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    The button is what I guess I should have said, but didn't know to say.The crack is quite wide (1/8" to 1/4"). It does not extend as far as the peg box. It has not worsened in all these years, nor has it created problems that I, in my limited knowledge, have noticed. I'm tempted to leave it until repairs become necessary or I buy another bass. Right now, I need to get a new bridge fitted.

  10. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Although we are onto the DUCK I have to give my 2 cents on Kay necks......they are bad, early or later in production its all the same. The way the neck is fitted into the block is really odd. Outside of the areas that are "fitted" and not actually plumb the true reason for the many broken Kay necks we see today is the space that is left at the floor of the mortise. See this picture for details:

    My point here is that out of all the Kay neck breaks I have seen only a few are in the peg box. It seems nearly every other Kay you see has a broken or repaired heel. Considering these basses and the cost of repair my vote is always a fresh new neck :