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Cure for loose neck pockets

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Hambone, Jul 31, 2000.


  1. I've been thinking about this for quite awhile and think I have the cure for the occasional bass with a looser than desirable neck pocket. The solution comes from the unlikely realm of gun repair.

    My father was an accomplished gunsmith. He specialized in long guns and was in high demand in the area in which he lived. One of the problems with both shotguns and rifles is that the neck isn't supported along the entire length of the stock. This caused inaccurate patterning because the neck would literally "wobble" under the pressure of firing the round and as it heated up the problem got worse. The cure was to have the barrel "bedded" in the stock. This entailed filling the barrel channel in the stock with a fiberglass resin (no fiberglass) then setting the barrel in the goo until it had dried. What it left was a firm foundation for the barrel to lie in and kept it supported along the entire length of the stock. The resin didn't glue in the barrel so it was always removable. I believe this technique could be used in basses. It would require using a release coating applied to the neck so that the resin wouldn't stick but you could set the neck with the resin filling the voids and have an absolutely solid, form fitting pocket. I know that there have been some basses that I had to pass up purchasing because of the loose neck characteristic (especially some of the Fender "Tilt-a-Whirl" varieties) and perhaps I shouldn't worry about it if the idea is a winner.

    Whadyall think?
     
  2. Would that make the neck perminantly bonded to the body or would there be something of a cradle of material in the pocket?
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's what the release coating would be for, if I understand this correctly. The release coating would be on the neck, the neck would be set into place to form the fiberglass and could be removed when the fiberglass set. Sounds like a good fix to me, as long as no information (serial number,etc.) was obscured by the repair.
     
  4. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    If you saw 2 brothers, one named hambone, and the other flippy, which would you say liked dolphins the most? I'd say Flippy, wouldnt you?. but youd be wrong its hambone.


    ok ok enough deep thoughts... ur talking about the holes in the back of the neck that the screws go into to hold it to the bass?? if so i just cut out a piece of an aluminum can rolled it so it fet the hole used wood glue to hold it in there and re screwed the neck back on and it still works fine to day :)
     
  5. Apparently this topic has taken on a new life. Cool.

    This got a lot of discussion over on the FDP. I was informed that a common cure was to use a piece of window screen under the neck and that increased the friction between the two to the point that the neck wouldn't shift any longer. That's true but my objection is that it also destroys the wood on both the neck and body surfaces. If that continues with every neck removal, it would eventually be disastrous. I also learned that the same technique I described was printed in Bass Player a number of years back.

    To help with the description a bit - there would only be enough fiberglass resin to "paint the inside of the neck pocket. It needn't be a large gob of resin. It only takes a little bit of mis-fit to allow a large amount of movement in the neck. This thin coating would then form itself around the neck heel and make an absolutely perfect fitting pocket without any voids at all. And to allay fears that it would obscure date prints, the coating is clear if you want it to be. In gunsmithing they use a dye in the resin to help with seeing it better, but that wouldn't be necessary in a neck pocket.

    For "I want a bass" - though your approach achieves the results you wanted, there is something to be said for a more elegant solution. Specifically, the bedding method is nearly invisible, it doesn't involve adding foreign objects to the bass, it's absolutely reliable, it doesn't require repeating the process if the bass is disassembled, and it looks very, very good.

    And what in the world were you trying to say with the Flippy/Hambone reference????
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Hambone:

    Have you ever just used a feeler guage to measure the gap and then used brass shim stock glued to the sides of the heel?

    O.K. on the router. That should be worth its weight in gold. I am working on a carving machine to carve necks with. When I get it operational, maybe we could trade some work. An affordable access to necks and bodies would benefit both of us. The prices being charged for the wood components in a bass is pure ripoff in my opinion.

    If we could find someone to wind pickups we could build an instrument for a fraction of the cost of ready made components.

    Good luck and keep us informed on the new project(s).
     
  7. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    In my experience the fit of the neck pocket (neck slop) has very little real effect on tone. I've found that how tightly the neck is screwed down has more impact. I've got a few Fender basses with gaps at the sides of the neck pocket and they sound just as good as custom basses of my aquaintance with a neck pocket fit that's so tight the neck has to be set with a rubber mallet.

    Shifting in a loose pocket is a possibility if the neck isn't screwed down tightly. I'd rather go with a Vintique upgrade before I resorted to an epoxy filler.

    [Edited by Rumblin' Man on 08-16-2000 at 05:46 AM]
     
  8. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    The reason I want the neck to fit well in the pocket is not because of a tone issue. It's more a durability thing. If the neck is depending on the screws for maintaining lateral alignment it doesn't take much of a bump in the right(wrong?) direction to knock it out of alignment.

    I would hesitate to make a pocket so tight it requires a mallet to set the neck. The direction of the wood grain creates a body split potential if the neck heel should should expand from humidity faster than the wood of the body.
     
  9. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    oh ok lol tha hambone and flippy thing used to be my favorite deep thought off of saturday night live and your screen name being hambone reminded me of that =P hope no offense was taken or anything
     
  10. I don't think this method would require using such force to set the neck. And as for splitting the body, I don't recall that ever being a factor with neckthrough designs that use totally different woods. Maybe I'm wrong.

    I've seen most of the sloppy neck pockets and fits on the Fender Micro-tilt adjustment basses (Tilt-a-whirl:) ). I think that the poor fit and function is exactly why they stopped making 'em like that. My reason for using this method would be to salvage a bass with that system and make a better player.

    I disagree with there is little relative effect from a neck that shifts in it's mounts. Aside from the de-coupling of a major tone component from the body, there is also the problem of intonation differences. Essentially the frets would no longer be perpendicular to the strings. A fret that hits adjacent strings at differing points along the scale length will make for some interesting intonation problems.

    Damn, a neck machine!!?? That is quite an undertaking. I certainly wish you luck. I can't even imagine the type of rig that would accomplish that. Sure, there are probably those industrial machines from Fender but they probably take up half a room. For this project, I'll just buy my neck and be very happy. And you bet we'll talk turkey when your project is finished!

    No offense taken - that's probably about the most obscure and hard to understand reference I've heard. Even Biski's gems eventually sink into my skull. Then I usually make some dumb chuckling sound and have to wipe drool off my chin.
     
  11. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    " Damn, a neck machine!!?? That is quite an undertaking. I certainly wish you luck. I can't even imagine the type of rig that would accomplish that. Sure, there are probably those industrial machines from Fender but they probably take up half a room. For this project, I'll just buy my neck and be very happy. And you bet we'll talk turkey when your project is finished!" (quote by Hambone)

    Actually, Hambone, it's not very complicated. The machine I'm building is called a duplicator. It was actually designed (not by me) for making airplane propellors. works a little like a pantograph but instead of only X-Y axis it controls a cutterhead in X-Y and Z axis. Unlike the industrial machines, this design can be set up on a 24" x 50" table. it uses a standard router for the business end.

    >I would hesitate to make a pocket so tight it requires a mallet to set the neck. The direction of the wood grain creates a body split potential if the neck heel should should expand from humidity faster than the wood of the body.<

    That paragraph was in response to Rumblin Mans post:. > I've got a few Fender basses with gaps at the sides of the neck pocket and they sound just as good as custom basses of my aquaintance with a neck pocket fit that's so tight the neck has to be set with a rubber mallet. <

    Sorry for the confusion.



    [Edited by pkr2 on 08-15-2000 at 10:09 PM]
     
  12. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Good point on the durability thing but I'd rather have a neck shift in it's pocket if it takes a hit than break.

    The "mallet fit" bass is 7 year old and lives in a climate with very wide ranges of humidity, never had a problem with it.

     
  13. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    The microtilt neck (Tilt-a-Whirl, good one :) ) is held in by two screws and a bolt. Since it's possible for the neck to be supported only by the adjustment point and the area under the two screws, it is definitely a problem for tone considerations since you actually reduce the contact area considerably. Keeping the neck flat on the neck pocket surface and tightening the screws greatly improves the contact area and coupling of the two components. In fact, the same problem occurs with a 4 bolt neck that has been tilted by placing a shim at the end of the neck. The contact area is reduced considerably and tone can suffer. I use a full pocket shim if I have to tilt a neck so the contact is maintained.

    IMO, it's not a function of the fit of the sides of the neck that aids in the transmission of energy (and therefore tone), rather, the contact and compression (call it "crush factor" if you like) between the mating surfaces of the neck and body is much more of a determining factor.

    The bolt on instrument was designed to have an easily replaceable neck so minimal or no side contact was designed into it from the start. Shifting can become an issue of the pocket is loose and the screws aren't tight. In the case of a hard bump it may shift no matter how tight the screws are but that's better than a busted neck, IMO.

    Granted, if the neck does shift there will be a shift in intonation, a minor problem. I had this happen once and I just shifted the neck back and cranked down the screws. No biggie. In fact, it was that incident that got me interested in the neck pocket fit/shift issue.



    [Edited by Rumblin' Man on 08-18-2000 at 11:21 AM]