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Making 2 Neck-throughs from 1 blank?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by davee5, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. davee5


    Sep 14, 2004
    Monterey, CA
    Hi, I'm a new member, first post. Even more accurately first new bassist, first bass (I am a confessed guitarist aspiring to expand his repertoire), This may be my first bass built or owned, but it's not my first stab at luthiery. I have built solid body guitars before and have a reasonable bit of woodworking experience, but the whole bass itself is relatively foreign to me.

    My primary question:
    -As I am building up a laminated neck blank, what dimensions or cutting orientations would be required to coax 2 necks out of one blank? I have a friend who plays bass professionally that I'm trying to sell my 2nd, simultaneous creation to. I told him I'd charge the price of the materials and like $50 for my time, so I want to make 2 necks out of the one "paid for" blank to offset costs for my own bass.

    I am planning on making a neck through, and I'd like to avoid using a scarf joint if possible to minimize the number of places I could screw up.

    Some ideas I've kicked around my uninformed head regarding getting 2 necks out of 1 large chunk of wood:

    -Oppose and invert the necks to be roughly cut out so the backs of the necks and bodies are aligned. (like fitting 2 very stretched out "L's" together. I figure if done well with 1 careful bandsaw cut this would require about 3-4" x 50"+ of material. Create the headstock with a scarf joint (not ideal).

    -Oppose and invert the necks as described before, but out of a longer (60"?) block to hang the headstocks over the ends of the bodies. This is starting to feel like Tetris with necks.

    -Cut 2 long thin (relatively) neck-throughs with no profiling (i.e. no body thickening) and glue on a "tone block" to the back for body thickness. Perhaps routing/dado cutting a through pocket in a body blank would also accommodate the thin "neck-through." Note I prefer to avoid routers (idiosyncrasy) so I don't want to do a set neck for fear of making accurately routed pockets.

    Any other suggestions or experience with this attempt at conserving materials?

    Anybody do anything neat with the waste cut from the back of the neck? Spiffy coasters?

    Related bass project questions:
    -Are there guidelines for minimum thicknesses on neck stringers? I am currently leaning towards something like a 5-7 piece neck, (maple, purpleheart, padauk combinations) but am concerned about excessive gluing and possible shaping and routing complications (nearly all shaping will be done with rasps and files after initial bandsaw profiles are cut).

    -Are there places or people from whom to get nice parts for cheaper than mail-order houses? For instance would it be a good idea to see if a local luthier or shop could get me parts wholesale? Since my buddy is a professional musician he basically has no money. (Nor do I, as a recent graduate). When I priced out a sweet rig it seemed like 75% of costs came from parts and electronics rather than wood.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    this is all just from what ive knoticed......

    best way to go would be 1 neck threw, and 1 bolt/set neck

    with a "tone block" your pretty much ending up with a set neck anyways.

    as for neck strings......i havent herd anything bad about using larger ones or smaller ones...

    ive seen some pretty crazy amounts of stringers ( 11 on a 4 stringer ) but as long as your glue joint is good, shouldnt have a problem.

    for parts.......look in the used market, or classifieds....some people have new parts for cheap.

    i have hipshot A and B style 4 and 5 string bridges in gold for sale for a good bit under retail, drop me a line if at all interested.
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Here's a quick take -

    You can split out one piece of 8/4 wood to make 2 necks. I have done it one way you mention - by leaving the ends full thickness and cutting the headstocks from those ends and building up the other end to body thickness. A friend of mine used to do scarf joints as per your first description to save wood.

    I've used veneer for accent laminates in necks. No real problems going down to 1/32" thin for those.

    I have given neck cutoffs to a friend to make cribbage boards. I'd love it if I knew of a better use for them because I have about 20-30 of them sitting in my shop right now.

    As for wholesale, you can look around but you have to ask yourself: why would person X be willing to buy me parts at wholesale? This is generally frowned upon by vendors and has possible tax implications for the person doing the buying for you. There are often minimum orders from wholesale vendors as well. It is not unusual for parts and electronics to far exceed the wood costs on an instrument, even if you are getting wholesale, and especially if you are particularly good at buying wood. It's just part of the business (or hobby, as the case may be).
  4. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    ive spent about 80 bucks on one of the basses im building, for the woods, including the figured top, and over 150 on parts so far, and i dont even have the pickups yet.
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Make a cardboard 2-dimention template of your neck profile. Judge how much wood you will need to make a double neck block. We don't know your design or body thickness so you and what's in your head has to Draw it out and measure it carefully before cutting your first piece of wood.

    You can't start cutting and then make adjustments. Know what you are making first. It will save you time and money. Be patient !