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For those of you who have had their neck slightly thinned to make their bass easier t

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by pmad_bass, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. pmad_bass


    Oct 24, 2004
    Were you happy with the results?

    Did it achieve the desired results?

    Were there negatives to having this done? (Diminished Tone/Volume, your d or e flat on g string is now in a slightly different place etc)

    These questions all assume the work was done by a professional (who didn't advise against it), the integrity of the instrument remained largely intact etc.

    I am considering having my done and also entertaining the ides of having a new nut installed- one in which the strings have been re-spaced so that they are ever so slightly closer to one another.

  2. pmad_bass


    Oct 24, 2004
    Looks like my title got clipped. Sorry- It was supposed to say: "For those of you who have had their neck slightly thinned to make their bass easier to play-"
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've not actually done this, but I have had a close friend do this and later feel that he'd ruined the bass by doing it.
  4. you should search the forums for other threads on this topic. there's a really good discussion here:


    take into consideration the point longfinger makes in this thread - as you open your hand it opens in all directions. this means that you will experience more fatigue if your thumb is closer to your fingers while trying to hold a proper spacing. in most cases a thinner neck would actually be harder to play on, not easier.
  5. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ding ding ding ding ding ding!! We have a winner!!

    Seriously, I couldn't agree more.. I had a new ebony fb put on my Kay, and I'm going back to have a shim put in.

    And yes, the search function is an invaluable resource that way too often goes unnoticed on here.
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001

    I'd recommend borrowing an Engelhardt bass... there are lots of 'em out there... and play it for awhile, on a bandstand if possible. I've played lots of them as rentals, and my left hand is usually just screamin' after awhile. Too damn thin.

  7. I bought a P bass for the thicker neck. I like it more. Whenever I play guitar I feel like I'm going to break it.
  8. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
  9. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    How thin do you mean? My Geiger has a pretty thin and narrow neck.1-7/16" thick at the F#, and only 1 - 5/8" wide at the nut. I don't know if width makes a difference, it seems that a wide and thin neck wouldn't be nice, but I absolutely love the dimensions of the Geiger.
  10. William Hoffman

    William Hoffman Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2009
    Lodi, California
    i guess there is a place for thinning the neck if the neck in relation to your hands is too fat for you.

    but thinning the neck to make your bass "easier to play" is maybe a misnomer. thinning the neck isn't a short-cut to playing better.

    the other side: it is said that thinning can alter your bass structurally, so that it vibrates differently, perhaps boomier. if you go too far, it could be a mistake. there is a chapter in the Traeger book on this subject which might be useful for you.
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Don't do it! Thick necks rock!
  12. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
  13. pmad_bass


    Oct 24, 2004
    OK- it is the 21st century- and I do know how to use the search function already. The links that I came up with (prior to posting) were the same as those posted here. So I assume the posts were meant in the spirit of being helpful and not meant as an attempt to lord one's alleged sophistication over another.

    Perhaps too many folks got caught on my word choices of "make the bass easier to play." My bass plays fine and I can play it well. While I may not have the technique of....say- Rinat Ibragimov- I'm sure there is room for improvement in my technique.

    To me smaller necks, feel better in my hand.....maybe they are easier to play or maybe it is perception. I just know they feel more comfortable. As 'Thisis CraigP" points out- he wanted a thicker neck- so he got a P bass. Using slabs as a comparison- for me the P feels too large. I'd druther a J or even a Factor neck.

    In the years that I've been playing and the players that I have encountered- most seemed to prefer their necks on the less-than-thick side of the spectrum. I wonder if this is more common among students transitioning from electric as opposed to those who started out on the upright from the get go. If there are others out there who feel the same way, or have encountered players/students contemplating neck surgery (or looking for a different bass) what tips are there for them to learn to love the neck they have?

    Perhaps neck width isn't so much the issue, maybe it is string length or even height. While I could lower the strings- I don't want to diminish the tone and volume I am getting. Regarding string length (or mensure as I have seen it called)- there is nothing I could do there- save for looking for something on the 41 & 1/4 in side of the spectrum.

    Short of any major alteration- I may decide to have some of the glossy sheen removed and go for Danish oil and perhaps a new nut with slightly narrower spacing. If I don't like the new nut- I'll just have the original reinstalled. Both of these seem like fairly non-invasive alternatives.
  14. Bring it on over and we will discuss it. You can play a couple basses I have here and see what you like. We can take some measurements and see where your neck stands. Plus we have to see how thick your fingerboard is in relation to the neck wood because we don't want to thin it too much if your fingerboard is full width. While we are at it lets look at the fingerboard camber and see if it is good for the type of playing you like and the type of strings. Lets measure the bridge spacing and the nut spacing and make sure the strings are not too far into the grooves... come on over? Rhetorically, of course.

    One call to your local luthier will get your bass playing well. Or you could spend forever on the internet.

    If you are unfortunate enough to not have access nor resources to visit a luthier, I am sure we can guide you through these things a bit. But the learning curve is pretty steep.

    Start by measuring your neck at the nut end and at the heel, just before the turn. Also measure the thickness of the fingerboard edge.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Then there's your answer. Different from mine, but you asked, so I told you. And yes, I've played the same bass pre- and post- op, despite my urging the owner to not do it. I preferred it thicker.

  16. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I started on electric back in high school, and my first double bass (got it back in high school) was a Kay that needed a new neck. It was replaced with an Engelhart neck, which (as Marcus already pointed out) are very thin.. I don't know if I can say it may have made it easier as I was transitioning from electric bass though because my double bass technique was nowhere near where it is today (or even 5 years ago). Maybe in the beginning, but once I got a handle on how to play double bass the thin neck really started to bother me.
  17. sounds like you want just want a thinner neck then. go for it, good luck. i was just trying to be of help, really didn't mean any offense.
  18. pmad_bass


    Oct 24, 2004
    No offense taken.

    I thought I'd cast my line and see who bit- looks like most folks advise against the thinning idea. I was intrested in exploring a subtle thinning but even then I was a little leary and in need of a sounding board. No thinning for me.
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Listen, no one here knows you, your playing or your bass, so you have to decide for yourself. For all we know, you've got one of those club like, massive necks I've seen occasionally. One thing you might try is having the board, if it's thick enough, taken down a bit, instead of the neck. Boards can be replaced if necessary without altering the bass itself. And if you want to try a different spacing at the nut, go for it!
  20. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    I had the spacing brought in a little at the nut on mine. I thought this was a better accommodation for my smaller than average hands than thinning the neck . I'm very pleased with it. Also, it's easily reversible if you don't like it.

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