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Leave those necks on!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LowRick, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. LowRick


    Mar 24, 2019
    Looking around on Reverb and other (local) used stuff sites, i see a lot of basses with the necks removed to show whats underneath.

    I'm a technician and also a pretty curious guy... but this always rustles my jimmies. A lot of basses have what is called a "bolt-on" construction. In fact no bolt ever comes near it (wish they did). It is "screwed on" and everyone who ever used screws knows that it's in some way a destructive process. As a screw is turned in, the "thread" is being cut. This is not neat and nice thread like when a bolt is used, but crude and actually different for each screw. It's a very secure connection and solid and ridgid etc, but when you loosen the screws to remove the neck, you can, in some cases, see wood come out of the hole. meaning, the next time you reinstall it, the screws will have lost some power, tightening wise. worst thing that can happen is not the same screw in the same hole. No screw is exactly the same as an other one.

    I know i'm a Nitpick right now, but i've been thinking about this for quite a while and find myself looking at awesome J-Basses that are and look great, but i hit the little cross as soon as i see a picture with the neck removed or a clearly damaged neck-joint.

    Am i alone in this? am i going too far with it? Should i go to therapy?
    Auspuff, Rip Van Dan, djaxup and 35 others like this.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    The practice will stop when buyers quit asking for year-of-build verification and we know that's not going to happen.

    That being said, there is a right way and wrong way to remove a neck for inspection / adjustment / repair...same holds true for re-introduction of the wood screws.

    Auspuff, DJ Bebop, mcnach and 8 others like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I can see it being a problem if the neck is removed numerous times. Once? Not a big deal I would assume, but I am no technician.
    john m, jd56hawk and jamro217 like this.
  4. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I wouldn't let this stop anyone from buying what they thought was an otherwise awesome instrument.

    Plenty of resources/techniques to repair an enlarged hole...


    Instead of asking 'weight' and 'nut width', our new inquiry will include 'mean time between failure of the neck joint'...
    Wisebass, JRA, 4stringsjack and 6 others like this.
  5. Dave814


    Aug 23, 2013
    Central PA
    Ok ok! I’ll leave the neck on my Jazz when it finally gets here.
  6. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    I think you're worrying way too much. The amount of wood you'd have to lose to cause problems would be more than half. The necks are usually hard rock maple (that holds up well to tension). Assuming you took the neck off and reattached it numerous times:
    1.) If you labelled the screws and put them back into the same holes they'd all line up properly.
    2.) Unless you really over-torqued them there'd be no shedding.
    3.) Within the confines of the screw holes there isn't anywhere for the wood to go except to remain in the holes (which in turn will help keep the neck attached).
    Besides, how many necks have you seen with this type of problem? Relax.
    Fialka, imabuddha, rockdoc11 and 13 others like this.
  7. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    ^ This.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    The most sensible possible response.

    This reminds me of the thing going around in the 80's about not getting back into your car when pumping gas because when you get back out your clothes could create static electricity which could cause a spark so when you touch the metal nozzle to remove it from your tank the spark could fly down the gas tank and cause an explosion. Yea :meh:
  9. fretno


    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Sure ok maybe but irl I’ve taken many on/off without issues so screw those necks just like Leo intended :D
  10. cardinal


    Jan 13, 2016
    Also, seems like a good idea when reinstalling the screws: turn them counter-clockwise by hand for just a bit until you feel it "click" into the pre-cut threads in the wood. Then tighten. That way the screw won't be tempted to cut new threads in the wood.
    Fialka, davidprice, joker820 and 17 others like this.
  11. I feel ya. I personally don’t touch basses that pictures show they clearly have been taken apart because I don’t know the competency of the seller. I get some people want to know for example if a vintage fender is legit. But I never felt the need to spend a fortune on super old gear.
    MattZilla and LowRick like this.
  12. Original Fenders ( and quite a few new Fenders ) are designed with truss rod adjustments at the heel, with no adjustment route. The necks are designed to come off. In the unlikely case of the screws ever becoming too loose ( and that is highly unlikely ), a little wood glue and a piece of tooth pick or two would resolve the problem for many more years to come. Stop worrying.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  13. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    It kinda bugs me a little, but by the time it is vintage the neck has been removed and re-attached many times.
    GregC and lizardking837 like this.
  14. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Why not just use threaded metal inserts, and then get smaller screws? Imo, the "problem" is now solved.
  15. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Some builders do that, I've seen that in a magazine some years ago.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  16. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    I agree in principle. However... if this is the case, then manufacturers should stop designing/producing basses where neck removal is required in order to adjust the truss rod (e.g. quite a few Fender bass models, like my MIM Geddy signature). With my Geddy, at a minimum I need to remove the pick guard, which again involves removing screws from wood, and to do it properly, at a minimum, I have to loosen the neck screws and tilt it or remove it completely. Not a very practical design if screws should not be removed on a regular basis.
  17. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    Agree 1 million%! It always Turns Me Off, to see someone selling a Guitar/Bass and there are photos of it all torn apart! I wouldn't consider buying it, so Stop It!!
    Auspuff, pappabass and LowRick like this.
  18. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Well, I wouldn't recommend printing your theory on a T-shirt.
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I imagine Leo would be amused and perplexed at the reverence shown to his designs. His approach was always pragmatic, and he probably intended for his necks to be consumables, like air filters on cars (but with longer service lives). In other words, use it until it’s worn out, then chuck it and get a new one.

    This is how I build all of my bolt-on necks. It works really well.
    The Nameless, TrustRod, Oobly and 5 others like this.
  20. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    the big issue for me in taking a neck off (or just loosening the screws) is if it's never been done before it destroys everything that bass has built up in decades of integrity, the 'mojo' dies. it may come back to some degree if re-screwed just right but it'll never be like it left the factory. this really hit home last year when I wanted to shim my Japan Fender Power Jazz Bass Special and the second I cracked back the first screw I knew I killed it, the bass just felt like the life went right out of it... it may be a head trip but playing felt meh after being way kick ass. I was never as happy with it again. it'll go into the shop for a complete overhaul of rewiring / new PUs / pro setup soon and the shim will be out so it has a chance to seat tight and naturally, in time I hope it'll be a happy camper again. on these the neck has to come off to access the truss rod (grrrr...) I won't risk marring the paint with a tool, and the tech better not, but that hassle will be his thing. but I agree, don't mess with it if possible.
    Auspuff and LowRick like this.

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