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Headless bass owners: help with ball-end anchoring

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Taylor Livingston, Mar 31, 2003.


  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Sorry about that rather undescriptive title. I'm not too good at coming up with titles.

    I'm having an octave 10-string (doubled five) bass built, and the octave strings will tune at the bridge. I was wondering how to anchor the ball end of the octave strings at the headstock, and thought that I could get inspiration/actual parts from headless designs, the kind that use the double ball end.

    I know Steingergers have holes that the balls go in, and I don't think that's an option. In what other ways do headless basses anchor the ball end? I thought I read that some basses/guitars have a post that the ball slides onto. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Well, the old Kramer 8-strings just had holes drilled through the headstock for the octave strings, if I remember correctly.

    One thing that might work is to use holes that don't go all the way through, but are sized so that you cal slide the ball end into them, like the Kubicki:

    [​IMG]

    Mike
     
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The simplest (and most widely used) way would be an Allen screw. So also enables you to use single-ballend strings.
     
  4. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I considered this, but figured it would be unwise to cut holes in the headstock, since it will be bearing the tension of 5 regular strings. Would this weaken the headstock too much? If ferrules were used, would that help strengthen it? The holes would have to be very close to the nut, because I want to be able to use guitar strings as the octave strings, so I have to keep the length needed for the octaves as short as possible.

    :eek: I like that drop tuning lever... keeps a regular interval between each string. Would you call those frets -1 and -2? :D

    Could you elaborate a little? Do you mean I would put a screw through the ball and screw it to the headstock?

    Thanks for the help, guys. To clarify, if anyone was unsure, I'm not making a headless bass, I just want to use some cocepts of the headless and apply them to my project.
     
  5. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Hate to do this, but, bump.
     
  6. Well, the BC Rich 8-strings (and 10-string guitars) worked that way, with holes through the headstock to run the octave strings through. I think that it would not be so bad if you have a nice, thick volute at the headstock joint, keep the headstock itself on the thick side, and make sure you offset the holes (like on the Kubicki) rather than lining them up parallel with the nut, which waekens a single section too much. I don't think ferrules will do anything to strenghten the headstock--if anything, it will just mean you're taking out extra wood, since you have to drill holes big enough for the ball end and ferrule, whereas otherwise you could just drill holes big enough for the string itself, and leave the ball end protruding from the back of the headstock.

    I still like the Kubicki "top loading" approach better, though.

    No, what he means is using an allen screw as a clamp, like the David King basses (http://www.kingbass.com). He's assuming that you're talking about having the ball end at the bridge side, which is not correct.

    Mike
     
  7. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I don't really understand the "top-loading approach" - how is the ball staying in the hole? It seems like the tension would pull the ball out... sorry to be so dense! :)

    I've checked out Kingbass.com. I considered that approach, but I don't think it would work, which, I guess, you already said.

    Regarding a volute: this was probably going to be an angled (scarfed) headstock. Is that unwise? Can one do a volute with an angled headstock?
     
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No, you put the string through a hole, and a screw from the side (top actually) clamps it fast.
     
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    [​IMG]
     
  10. It's simple, but not necessarily obvious from a picture. The holes don't go straight down--the bottom angles in toward the body a little bit, so that the string pressure pushes the end down rather than letting it pop out.

    It just stuck me as simple and elegant--the strings go in from the top rather than having to be fed through the back of the headstock, and they stay firmly in place when they're under tension but are easy to remove when the strings are loosened.

    You can certainly do a volute with an angled headstock and a scarf joint--all the really pronounced volutes I've seen have been on angled headstocks, actually. I can't really say that an angled headstock is "unwise"--whether it's the best choice just depends on how all the other elements of your design fit together, I guess.

    Mike
     
  11. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Conical:
    A scarf joint is a good joint, and can be made with volute. You will have to make that extension as an add-on piece or make the head part separately (as opposed to as a part of the neck blank).

    A good volute and the Kubicki variant on string holder will be strong and elegant (I love that feature on the Kubicki's).


    JMX:
    What is that on your pic? Where d'you get it?
     
  12. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  13. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Hm!:meh:
    Doesn't look like the gear on my BassLab, but of course, they may have dveloped things...
    Thanks!