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Neck dive problem...solution?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by de@n, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. de@n


    Aug 5, 2010
    Just a little background.
    For quite a long time I wanted to purchase a non expensive P bass for occasions where I do not want to take my regular guitars...to have an instrument I can enjoy and don't need to worry about.
    So among many different instruments (SX, Squier, second hand instruments..) I have chosen Lornez bass guitar, made by luthier from Salzburg, Austria.
    Price was good, instrument quality is good and after I replaced tuners, pickups and electronics (old spare parts) she became very good bass guitar...I like it quite a lot.
    But...there was a problem.
    Body is made out of lime wood tree (sort of basswood) and is very lightweight.
    Whole bass weighted 3.3 kg...that is nice but neck dive was massive.
    Since I started to like this guitar I wondered how to solve this problem...
    Massive bridges and lightweight tuners were out of the question...there is no sense to invest in new parts more than instrument costs.
    So I get an idea how to solve this problem...caution: this may seem to radical for some :)
    I tried to estimate how much of weight should I add to the body to achieve good balance but not to make bass to heavy (and not to look to ugly or be awkward).
    It turned out that 350g would be just right (I increasingly added weight in a small bag attached to strap pin on the body).

    Solution came in form of fishing lead weights.


    I drilled holes while trying not to get in collision with screws and electronics and filled them with lead bars.


    I mixed some sawdust from drilling with glue and filled the holes.




    Some sandpaper and I was done
    After drying, holes are still visible but it is OK with me.
    Bass is now lightweight (3,65kg), balanced and there is no change in sound and playability.

    Of course, this method is probably not right for high value instruments....

    Have anyone tried something like this?
  2. I haven’t done it myself but I have heard of weights being added to the body to balance things out. I always pictured them being in the control cavity but what you did works to, and it leaves room in the controls for a nice preamp.:D
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  3. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Nice work, but you could have went the non-invasive route by putting the weights in the backside of the strap... unless you're swapping guitars out, left and right, not a bad way to go.

    RobertUI likes this.
  4. de@n


    Aug 5, 2010
    I thought about that too but in that case it is hard to play without strap, say sitting by camp fire...
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I've solved the problem of neck dive by adding an extension to the strap button on the upper bout. I simply remove the screw and drill the hole a bit oversize. Then, I install the extension (usually 1" - 2") with the strap button mounted on the top end.

    There are numerous ways of fabricating the extension but I've always used a smooth shank bolt with a short length of thread at the bottom end. I do a bit of cleanup/shopwork with the piece and paint it to match the body for cosmetic value.

    Because there will be much more leverage with the extension, there will necessarily be a lot more stress on the threads in the body so it's important to drill the hole oversize and use a thicker diameter bolt.
    T_Bone_TL likes this.
  6. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    All things considered your solution was sound, but if designing a bass from scratch - the key to correct balance is having the upper horn at the 12th fret, and locate the lower strap peg off-center toward the E string (direction). Unless the neck is really heavy (like wenge/ebony can be) those two points will balance the bass w/o need for adding weight. Light tuners will also help and there are Hipshot and Sperzel versions that are very light.

    The only extra weight I consider adding would be a bridge anchor. By routing for a brass (heavier) or aluminum (lighter) plate and bolting/epoxying it into the body - the bridge then is bolted on top of it (not touching the body) for the most dynamic strings/instrument connection.

    This aluminum plate is 1/4" thick and rises 1/16" above the body (ledge in this case) The bridge was then attached with machine bolts into metal treaded inserts imbedded into the body under the plate. The bridge had a slightly bigger footprint and the edges of the overlap were painted the same color as the body so it basically disappears. It is also a string-thru, for more tone-grounding. In this pic, you can also see the inset Dunlop Strap-Lok port off-center.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    What I USED to do.
    Loop a short segment of belt through the strap at the end peg around my right thigh.
    It worked!

    Now I just use a comfort Strapp!
  8. Whammytap


    Oct 17, 2004
    Kansas City
    Just us a guitar strap that's suede on the back side! ;)

    Also, random factoid: Basswood comes from the linden tree. Linden trees are known as lime trees in the UK (not to be confused with the citrus lime tree). This suggests to me that lime wood=basswood.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Your method of correcting the balance of your bass is simple and sensible. Using the bag on the strap button to test it is a real good idea. You need to find out how much weight you actually need to add to get it to balance, before you plan out how to add that weight. And the back edge of the body is the best place to add it.

    In some cases, the amount of weight you have to add is a lot more than you think. The neck dive may not feel like too much on your left hand, but when you work the geometry and test it out, it can take a lot of weight at the back of the body to fix it. I remember one time having to add over two pounds to a bass. That's when you start looking at extending the upper horn or doing something more drastic.

    Another option, if you don't want to drill and inset weights, is to add a brass block on to the back end of the body. Cut a piece of brass bar stock to the right weight. Shape it, round it off, polish it up, and attach it to the edge of the body with a couple of screws, with the strap button in the middle. A solid heel block.

    Like JIO says, if you are designing a bass from scratch, making it balance correctly is part of the engineering that you are supposed to do. You adjust the weights and contours and strap button locations to make it work. On my basses, I put the center of gravity right about at the heel of the neck. As I've worked out prototypes of new models, I've added and subtracted weight of the hardware back at the bridge area.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  10. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    FTR to those who may be new to Bruce, the imbedded bridge grounding-plate/platform I posted is his innovation. I've used it in a few different ways since learning about it, all to positive results.
    Beej likes this.

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