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Custom Fender neck... P-Bass vs. Jazz Bass neck width ???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bluejay, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Bluejay


    May 12, 2008
    I've been switching back and forth between Fender Precision and Jazz basses for years ( 4 string variety).
    I swear I'm going to have a custom neck made with a nut width of 1 9/16 inches, that is exactly between the P-Bass & Jazz bass nut widths (1 5/8 vs 1 1/2 inches).
    Bottom line, the P-Bass neck is wider than it needs to be to play easily, -AND-
    the Jazz bass is just TOO NARROW (and string spacing too tight) below the 5th fret or so.
    Don't get me wrong, I can get used to either if I stick to only one bass for a while; but 1 9/16 would be a better overall fit, at least for me.

    ??? ANYBODY else feel the SAME WAY ???

    Who would you suggest to make a custom neck???
    Fender, are you listening??? ...NO!
  2. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    The 70's Precision neck had the same nut width as the 90's to current necks do, but I think the 70's necks play easier. I really didn't like the 1 3/4" at all on the two '83 basses I had. The Jazz necks, however, have all been very comfortable to me.
  3. Bluejay


    May 12, 2008
    Dan, right. You're getting at exactly what I'm talking about.
    No doubt about it, a 1 3/4" nut on a 4 string bass is just too wide. As a result, string spacing is too wide which slows down the pace. That is, its just more cumbersome getting around, especially below the 5th fret, or so.
    By contrast, the jazz bass neck, while very comfortable, has gotten thin to the point that the string spacing below the 5th fret is very tight, to the point of being somewhat confusing to the touch. I don't know about you, but I'm not always looking down at my neck when I play. I would guess that's the same for most of you. We play by feel. Our fingers know the way around. We think about, and listen to the music, the changes, our fingers do the rest. Well, on a Jazz bass, I find that things get sloppy unless I'm very careful. I find myself looking down more often on a Jazz bass compared to when I'm playing a precision.
    Look, I know I'm not going to get Fender to make a 1 9/16 nut width option available,
    these designs have been set in stone for decades, never to be altered (in any serious way);
    but, if some of us play a Jazz bass because the Precision Bass feels TOO CHUNKY, and
    some of us play a Precision Bass because the Jazz Bass just feels to 'dainty', then it stands to reason that many of us would actually prefer a string spacing and neck width smack dab in the middle between the Precision and Jazz bass dimensions, eg, 1 9/16" at the nut.
    Any ideas on who would best make a Custom neck for one of my Jazz basses. I'd like it to look like a stock Fender neck, only with the custom neck width and string spacing at the nut?
    Has anyone done this? ...and how do you like the results???????
    I can't believe I'm the only one who plays both a P-Bass and a Jazz Bass and would like to blend the characteristics of both basses into one 'perfect' bass.
  4. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Warmoth might make you a 1 9/16" neck; I don't know. I play my Soundgears at church usually, and my Jazzes and/or ATK in my bands. If I keep to one or the other for the whole gig I'm fine, but if I switched, I'd probably fumble around a bit. My ATK and the Stingrays I had had the necks you're looking for, I think; thick enough to be noticed, but not chunky.
  5. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Sounds like you really want that custom neck, Bluejay! I don't have any great insights as to procuring one but I hope you find what you're after.

    I play both Precision and Jazz basses (both are 70s profile necks - quite deep from front to back) and quite like the individual characteristics of both. I don't really find myself experiencing the same problems that you describe - I think it really comes down to personal preference and hand/finger size. I don't think that having a 1 3/4" nut on a 4 string bass is too wide for everyone, but I can appreciate that you don't like that width.
  6. Bluejay


    May 12, 2008
    Yah, I can see a 1 3/4" nut being a benefit for a player with very large hands and long fingers.
    I guess what I'm saying is that for those of us that wear either Medium or Large gloves (likely the majority of the population) how about a 1 9/16" nut and string spacing.
    Let those who wear an XXL glove play P-Bass, and
    those who wear a Small glove size, play a std. Jazz neck.
    Fender has given us the extremes; but not built the neck in the middle, that I feel, after many years of playing, would likely be MOST comfortable and easiest to play for the majority of us in the middle.
    The dilemma is that, while choice is 'GOOD', it's nice to have the choice of a 'Large' neck (1 5/8" nut), or a 'Small' neck (1 1/2" nut); but, unfortunately, that means that the majority of us in the middle have to compromise, when the better choice would be a neck right in the middle, just like our hands, "RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE".
    I guess its like sleeve lengths on a dress shirt. Yes, you can pay up. It is possible to buy a 16 1/2 X 34" (sleeve length) shirt. 34" sleeve lenghts are hard to find and generally only available on the more expensive dress shirts.
    Generally, men's "Large" shirts are only available with the 34-35" sleeve length, which is actually 35 inches. You can also find sleeve lengths labeled as 32-33" sleeve length, right? Well, these are actually 32" long.
    Yah, you guessed it. I wear a 34" sleeve, and you have to tie me down to get me in a dress shirt. I don't want to wear either a 32" sleeve (2 inches too short), or a 35" sleeve ( an inch too long).
    I guess I'm getting cynical in my old age. I've been playing Bass since about 1965. I'm tired of being part of the silent majority, lost in the middle with noone willing to stand up and speak for us.
    Well here I am! Give me a 34" sleeve length with out the extra charge, AND,
    Fender give us a Jazz Bass with a 1 9/16 nut and neck profile option...
    I Guaranty that many will like and buy this neck option, even if there is a $100 up charge.
    How about it Fender...a little extra profit for you, a better neck for us?????
    What a novel concept!
  7. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    I see what you're saying, but I wear either a small or medium glove and find the neck of my P-bass to be just right for my hands! I totally get you on the dress shirt thing - I wear a 37" neck size but find it quite difficult to find an off-the-rack shirt that has short enough sleeves (you may have figured out by this point that I am what you would call a 'tiny man' ;) ). I don't think that the analogy is quite true though - the length of a shirt sleeve needs to approximately equal the length of the wearer's arms, otherwise the shirt doesn't fit right - period! The wearer of the shirt has only one sleeve length that will fit them exactly. I think that the nut width of a bass, however, is not necessarily as inextricably linked to the player's anatomical proportions - a player with a given palm size, finger length, and finger thickness (thickness might be the biggest determinant in a preferred string spacing, at a guess) can play a variety of neck sizes comfortably. I realise that you might disagree, but I don't think that I'm being too presumptuous in saying this, given the number of people on this forum who own and enjoy playing basses of differing neck proportions.

    I do not for a second question the legitimacy of your desire for an 'in-between' nut width - that is your preference based on your own anatomy and technique - but I wonder if the issue is as widespread as you put forward that it is.

    Like I said, I hope that you find someone who can build the neck that you're after, be it Fender or someone else.
  8. demon666


    Jul 16, 2005
    Providence RI
    Why don't you get someone to shave down a P neck to 1 9/16"?
  9. Bluejay


    May 12, 2008
    Actually, I'd rather not destroy an Am. Std. Fender neck. That's why I'm looking for recommendations on 'Custom' neck manufacturers. If the project doesn't work-out, I haven't destroyed a $1000 Bass.
    As Dan suggested, Warmoth makes lots of Fender necks; but the truss rod set up is different and they tend to be considerably heavier than Fender necks, so the basses are unbalanced. Don't want a neck-heavy bass.
    Has anybody had any experience with USA Custom Guitars? I've been looking online and ran across their name. Apparently they make Fender replacement bodies and parts.
    I'm surprised I haven't heard from more players who play both a P and Jazz bass. Maybe that's the secret...choose one or the other. Then, over time, you just accomodate to whichever one you choose and if seems fine. Switching back and forth just keeps reminding me of the dilemma. Generally, I play the P-bass; but the Jazz bass is definitely more flexible, so...
  10. zippodaddy


    Feb 23, 2008
    I just bought a Larry Brooks Custom Jazz with a 78 PBass neck that he shaved down to -Yep - 1-9/16. Plays like a dream.