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How to construct a neck pocket:

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Brendan, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm going to do a project here in the next week or so to make a new body for one of my basses. The current body recieved something of a bad routing job (that shouldn't have been done). So, instead of fighting and whining about the body, now and try to do even more work to get it fixed, I'm just gonna make a new body. I have all the nessicary parts, so all I need is the wood.

    Mahogany body, and MAYBE a Padauk top, but probably not, finish to be decided later.

    Now, it's a bolt on, so my question is: how do you get the angle for the neck pocket? You have to angle the neck away from the body for a straight string path, but how to determine the correct angle(which is supposed to be 1-3 degrees)?
    Should I just just flat, and shim? Or how would I make the proper neck pocket angle? or does the neck/heel have the angle already?

    A bit curious about this aspect (the rest is gravy...the fine art of making a neck isn't required for this project).
  2. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    So much is dependant on the bridge profile, height of fingerboard from the body, etc... For the bolt-on necks that I have done, using a 'Fender' type bridge, no angle is necessary due to the low profile of the bridge. I suppose that if an angle were needed, a special routing jig, (most likely a 'one-off' made specifically for this job), or shims would work.

  3. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    I just finished my neck rout, and if you don't already have one, I found that the router bit with the adjustable bearing ABOVE the cutter was invaluable. (as shown in the Stew-Mac catalog) I did not rout it with an angled pocket; I figured I had a greater chance of hosing that up than just using shims later to compensate. (if any are needed at all; I'm using a very low profile Schaller bridge) Good luck!
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    JohnL, I'm using a Schaller myself, a 4 string roller bridge, actually.

    So the idea would be just make it a flat neck pocket, and shim* if nessicary?

    Using of course, the time honored shimming material of soda/beer cans...
  5. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    That's pretty much what I'm thinking, but I haven't gotten as far as you yet. I've still got to drill holes and attach the neck and then see where I stand.
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Measure everything out ahead of time. You won't need a neck angle if the heights of your bridge, and the neck sitting in the pocket, are such that the strings will pass naturally over the frets at the desired height. A neck angle allows you to compensate for the situation in which the bridge sits too high in relationship to the fingerboard to get good action.

    It's hard to explain without a picture. There is a good explanation in Melvyn Hiscock's book.
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Oh, you did a fine job explaining, Matt. Many thanks to you, and I'll get around to posting pics in the Basses forum when I'm done.