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figuring out neck depth

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jordan_frerichs, Apr 13, 2009.


  1. jordan_frerichs

    jordan_frerichs

    Jan 20, 2008
    Nebraska
    I am trying to figure out how high i need the fingerboard to be above the body of one of the basses i am working on. It is a glue neck, but i am gluing the neck, and then gluing the top on. I have the neck ready and fretted, i know the thickness of the top, and i have the schematics from schaller (going with a roller bridge).
    How can i take what i know, and figure out how deep to route for the neck, before i have the top and bridge attached?
     
  2. First - I would install the top, THEN rout for the neck pocket and glue the neck in. This allows you to level the top (if needed) and then you have a reference surface for your neck pocket depth measurements, and you will get a better fit of the neck against the body wood. If you do it the other way around, it could be very tough to fit the top around the installed neck.

    Second - you MUST know for certain which bridge you're going to use. Best is to actually have it in hand. Put the saddles at the midpoint of their height adjustment and then measure how far the witness point (where the string rests) is above the body. You will probably have to measure the thickness of the underlying plate and the height of the saddle above this plate, and add them.

    That's how high you want the fret tops above the body. This way it will allow you to adjust the saddle height either up or down when you do your setup. And you won't need a neck angle.
     
  3. jordan_frerichs

    jordan_frerichs

    Jan 20, 2008
    Nebraska
    I can't put the top on, then the neck. It has to be hidden. Customer request. I was thinking i might get a piece of scrap the thickness of the top, clamp it to the body, and screw in the bridge, and check like that, but i don't want to have to put holes where the bridge will go.
    I need to either temporaly fix the bridge to the scrap piece without screws, screw it in a different place (that sounded dirty.... now that thats out of the way, would that work, sctrewing in the bridge away from its final location?), or find out how to calculate this ahead of time, so i don't have to stop and check after every pass (that was kind of the idea of this thread).
     
  4. The Insane

    The Insane

    Jul 12, 2007
    Germany
    erikbojerik said it already, but from my experience the strings might end up being a bit too low. I build mine with the top of the saddles when fully down=top of the frets and next time I would go with getting the frets even deeper so that I have 1mm space between the frets and the strings when the bridge is fully turned down.
    With this you can always raise your action specific to your needs and I don't think that anyone can play with 1mm string clearance at the 24th fret, so you have the full distance of travel of the saddles available. If something goes bad, it's easier to shave down the top 1mm or so than to bring it up because the action is too low.
     
  5. jordan_frerichs

    jordan_frerichs

    Jan 20, 2008
    Nebraska
    I think i have figured it out! Get the bridge, add its hight plus the top and drill a piece of scrap to represent the bridge, and get it done like that. I believe there is always a margin of error height wise on these bridges because, you can always sink the bridge in top if necissary, or (this on isn't as fun), glue some scrap and carve it into the top, as a raise. I want to get in the range, that, if any modifications must be made after the top is glued, it will be to sink the bridge, instead of raise it. I think a bridge looks best sunk in slightly, so i think i will aim for that, rather than sitting on the top.
     
  6. Make sure you also get the neck tilt perfect before glueing the neck, Personally I like to totally preassemble the bass, neck, bridge, strings to pitch etc. before finishing the wood. If you need to correct something it makes more sense to do it before the finish is applied.
     
  7. jordan_frerichs

    jordan_frerichs

    Jan 20, 2008
    Nebraska
    There is a very slight angle in the neck itself because of the crappy jointer. It was supposed to have no angle, but i will treat it as no angle, still, because it is very slight of an angle.
    I tracked the size of all the components, and tomorrow, will roll out the big paper, and try to figure it out there, so i don't have to check and recheck (as often).
     

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