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Neck and Fingerboard Questions

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by flyingmarcel, Feb 21, 2006.


  1. Hello All,

    I have emailed my local Luthier regarding these problems and will be going in on Saturday, but being that I am somewhat impatient, I was hoping to get some feedback beforehand, partly so I know what I might be getting myself into.

    I have a chinese laminate bass, which unfortunately, has been nothing but trouble since I got it - If it weren't for its HUGE sound and deep tone, I'd have cut my losses years ago, but alas its the one for me....

    Since I got the bass, the fingerboard has been nothing but problems - I have had it dressed by four different people and have had it done probably 6 times in 6 years - not a fun annual repair bill. I had adjusters installed on my bridge to help combat climate changes, but these seemed to help little (I even had shims put under the adjusters to give more height, but this has still helped minimally)

    Recently, I have come into a small chunk of change (I am a graduate student, small chunk really is small chunk!) and have been thinking about having quite an overhall done on the neck area of the bass to hopefully put these problems to rest for good! I have several scenarios I would like to run by you guys and I'd love to hear your feedback on any and all.

    Firstly, I was thinking of having my existing fingerboard planed from a bevelled to a round shaped board. This, aside from a preference for me, I am hoping would also allow my adjusters to come down significantly (they are ALWAYS at almost full extension).

    Second option would be to have my existing, low quality fingerboard changed out for a good ebony one. This sort of works in conjunction with my third scenario, which would be to have my neck reset - I have been told that the neck on my bass is over angled, causing the bridge/buzz problems I have been having. I worry that if I have the new board installed, but do nothing about the neck angle, the problem will only continue, but with a better fingerboard in place.

    Can any of you who are knowledgeable on the subject help me out with some suggestions? I am going to go in to discuss potential repairs on the weekend, but would love to know a little about what I'm getting into ahead of time...

    Thank you in advance,

    fm
     
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Replacing the old board with a better round board would be a great idea.

    Your neck set is over angled? If I'm understanding you right, you can fix that without taking the neck out of the instrument. What is your bridge height and what is the overstand? Overstand=the amount the neck sticks out of the instrument at the body block.

    And...

    could you fill out your profile a little more? where are you located?
     
  3. Hello,

    Thanks for the reply! I don't know a lot of the technical terminology associated with luthiery - just what I've been able to pick up around here. My understanding of the problem with my bass is that the angle that the fingerboard sits at is too great for the bass, resulting in a need to have an ever and ever higher bridge - this does not result in high action, as I would say my action is quite low. However, my bridge is very very high (as I said my adjusters are pretty much at maximum height). This time of year in Ontario, where it is bitter cold, but also quite humid, it would be nice to be able to raise my action a bit to get rid of the slight buzzing I can hear. It would also be nice to not worry about my bridge collapsing during a gig because of its height! (thankfully, this has never happened, but I constanly worry about it).

    I will be home from work in about an hour and will measure the overstand on my bass then - Am I thinking of the right measurement if it will only be a few inches, or is it the ENTIRE length the neck sticks out of the body block?

    I envy people who own basses were the adjusters are pretty much at the lowest height - Mine actually add almost an inch to the height of my bridge. Oh, as an aside to this, I always thought I read that you should keep your adjusters always at the same height, but the luthier who works on my bass set them up quite unevenly - I would say the bass side is only up about a 1/8", where as the treble side is up about 1" - is this alright??

    Thanks again,

    fm
     
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Overstand is measured from the ebony/maple glue joint to the top of the "top" It should be between 25mm-40mm.

    Your bridge adjusters are way out of wack. There shouldn't be that much difference... 1/8" vs. 1" is too much!
     
  5. Hi Nick,

    My overstand (thanks for the luthiery lesson!) is definately great than that! In your experience, what would be a good way to have this problem corrected? Also, what should I do about the adjusters? If I drop the treble side down so they are equal, I'll just be playing buzzes up and down the neck (I think the strings might actually be just sitting agains the fingerboard if I did this, as my action isn't all that high)

    Is there a way to correct for the overstand problem, or would it be necessary to detach teh neck to do this?

    thanks,

    fm
     
  6. Ok,

    I measured the overstand on my bass and it is a little over 27mm - So it falls well within the range that has been suggested as normal. My bridge, however, is around 8 inches high - right up on the top of the adjusters. Can anyone see why this is happening if the overstand falls within the correct range?

    thanks,

    fm
     
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Is the bridge centered (side-to-side) on the bass' top? Are the strings hanging off more on one side of the fingerboard? Is your top collapsing? An 8" bridge is WAY too high!
     
  8. The strings are definately centred and I don't think the top has sunk any...

    I just got off the phone with another area luthier (I like to get as many opinions as I can) and he has suggested that I cut my losses with this instrument. With the repair costs he forsees, he figures I could almost get a new instrument, set up properly, that won't give me any problems for years..

    What do you guys think?
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I wonder if this is caused by excessive neck pitch. My Loveri is 7" tall with low string height and that feels high as most of my other basses are 6-6.5" tall.
     
  10. Hi Ken,

    Can you tell me how to determine whether or not the neck pitch is off on my instrument? I'm just curious, as I'd love to be able to know for sure what the cause of all my headaches has been...

    thanks,
     
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    It would be best if you posted pics of all angles of the neck joint, Bridge, Top and FB/string height. Then we all can see what each one of us thinks is the problem. Also, tell us the string length, D or Eb neck or other and height from FB to Strings at the nut.

    This is the best I can offer short of bringing it directly to one of the super set-up guys..