How to measure neck thickness without calipers

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Stagelab, May 27, 2020.

  1. Stagelab


    Dec 26, 2015
    Brooklyn, NY
    Any tips on the best way to measure neck thickness without calipers?
  2. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    With a clamp and a ruler?
    andruca, lz4005 and RSBBass like this.
  3. Bloomfield


    Jan 21, 2020
    Nova Scotia
    It would be very difficult to get anything like an accurate measurement without using calipers. They don't need to be anything fancy; these 6 In. Utility Caliper would be perfectly adequate.
    btmpancake likes this.
  4. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    buy some calipers. everybody needs calipers. other than that, one of those old-timey external spring calipers and a ruler will get you close but they cost more than a pair of econo calipers at the bargain bin of the hardware store or those $2.39 plastic vernier calipers posted above.

    at the end of the day you will see that you need calipers.
    robert43 and Vinny_G like this.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Get some cardboard. Make an L. Cut another piece that's an I. Place the L under the neck. Place the I above, touching the fretboard. Stick it there. Mark the centre point on both pieces. Remove the device and measure between the two centre points.

  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    I find it amusing that when the question is how to measure without calipers, the answer is get some calipers.
  7. Stagelab


    Dec 26, 2015
    Brooklyn, NY
    Awesome suggestion. You've helped me a few times with setup questions, too. I really appreciate it. This is the kind of help that makes Talkbass so valuable.
    Vinny_G and Joshua like this.
  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Ha-Ha, in the P&E subforum folks ask what pickups they can get for $65 USD & folks respond with stuff like Frailins!
    Vinny_G likes this.
  9. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Of course, right? Lol

    Put the neck gently in your vise, then measure the gap between the jaws.
    Killing Floor likes this.
  10. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    #calipers are so trending.

    ~share you caliper story and get involved!~
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    vid1900 likes this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    ...Or just look it up on the Google tube
  12. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019

    Using Pi and a pair of calipers, I could easily give her the desired circumference
  13. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Aw gees. Now he needs scissors. This is getting complicateder and complicateder.
    Big Boz and paco facile like this.
  14. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    This is all quite amusing....Richard's elegant technique with the cardboard is actually the pure form of a caliper. An adjustable or temporary mechanism which is used to reach the two measuring points and be locked down. Then it's gently removed, and a ruler or other device is used to measure the gap. That's what a caliper is. It's used to transfer a distance away, to where it can be measured.

    These days, these things we call Calipers, are calipers with the ruler built in. Either a dial gauge or a digital readout. You adjust the jaws to contact the workpiece, and it internally transfers that distance to the ruler, and reads out a number. Modern technology, in use for about 150 years.
    comatosedragon and paco facile like this.
  15. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    scissors, ruler, paper, pencil,. i think we're exceeding the $2.39 threshold here. :)
    Bloomfield and Vinny_G like this.
  16. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    You generally already have them ;)
  17. Context is important here. If the OP is measuring ballpark neck thickness simply to satisfy curiosity and no decisions of consequence are based on the measurement, then accuracy and precision aren't critical...and who doesn't love playing with scissors? But if, for example, the OP is about to order a new neck and wants to base that purchase on the size of an existing neck, that's another story and that story involves calipers.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  18. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    You generally already have a caliper, if you're into measuring stuff, too...

    But yeah, needs context. Why is it so important to be able to measure, but exclude the most useful tool for it?
  19. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    Support the neck on a table/block. Put a spirit level on the fretboard and check it. If it's all level, measure from the table/block surface to the bottom surface of the level.
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  20. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Wrap a string around the neck. Mark the string precisely where the ends would meet each other, then measure the string. Probably some math involved once you have that.

    the other method involves removing the neck and immersing it in a bathtub that you have marked the water line with a sharpie...
    comatosedragon likes this.