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Neck Dive Solution Options?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mintondm, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Hey guys, been plowing around the forum today in a desperate attempt at convincing myself that I can keep this damn bass... Which I want to, but I'm fighting a severe issue: Neck Dive.

    Now there are several posts on the topic, several ideas on how to fix it, and none of them seemingly at first glance are going to work for me.

    Should I have tried the bass before I bought it and discovered the neck dive issue? Yes. Would I have still bought the thing even if there was? Yes. Why? Cause I paid 100 bucks for it off a some rich kid selling it on CL... lol. For a 700 dollar retail bass to fill a void I had for a project band I was working on, yeah, it filled the need.

    Wait for it (and I know there are haters out there, but keep the e-peen in your pants before you bash): B.C. Rich WMD Widow. There, I said it... It's a Neck-thru 5'er, that I SWEAR has more mass in the damn widow headstock than the entire body, in fact, I think the sizes are the same... Anyway... :rollno:

    However, now that project is over, and the damn thing is collecting dust, I want to revive it. I re-strung it with some nice red DB strings, replaced the hardware with black knobs with little red inlays that look like spider eyes lol, cleaned up the nicks as best I could, adjusted the play and set it all up darn nice. I love the tone, the sound, the neck play, everything about it except the fact I feel like I'm pole vaulting with it , or have the uncontrollable desire to use it as a pogo stick. It's really that bad!

    Now I have gorrilla arms, but trying to play 4 hours a night on this thing is just impossible, my arms get tired, my wrists cramp up, and I end up planting the very sharp bottom right spike into my right thigh to get the thing in a somewhat upright orientation so that I can reach the damn frets without hugging the thing like it's my teddy... (**Disclaimer** I don't actually sleep with a teddy bear...)

    Now I'm an engineer by trade and training, but I'm having difficulty accepting the idea of throwing in some recessed tubing out of the end of the already thin upper arm of the body and just letting it all hang out, but on the same note, the studs are mounted to the back of the body at the already furthest points reasonable on the body. Now the thing has some nicks and finish problems, so I'm not worried about modifying it, as long as it's effective.

    My current plan is defunct. I would have no problem weighting the hell out of the ass-end, if it had one. You can see in the pics, there's not even any place to rout the backside to add weight... I realize that it's somewhat close to the fulcrum or the front strap stud because of the small body, and reduced head weight or a more even fulcrum are ideal. Considering the thickness of the neck and the head stock, a couple grams savings on tuners is only going to make the evil thing cackle and laugh maniacally at me as it continues it's relentless attempt at plowing it's way back to hell...

    Now the onw thing I've considered is doing a bolt-through stud mounted on the top of the upper arm, which should help curb some of the down tilt and also "pull back" on the body. I'm also considering moving the rear stud up and in and let more of the ass end hang over, but the gains would be VERY marginal as the piviot point location of the front stud is where the money's at. But I'm obviously out of locations to move the damn thing forward...

    So I digress, I'm thinking a stud that comes out of the top arm at around 30 degrees up and out about 3-4 inches should get me some leverage...

    Has anyone else owned this same model or found some other "better" way to address the problem than simply fighting phsyics with a thick strap, a belt loop rig, a five-point racging harness, or some other crazy-arse contraption? Cause I'm about to go buy some of those Hitch Balls and hang it on the damn thing...

    Thanks guys! :D

    Attached Files:

  2. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Lighter tuners may help more than you think they would. It's taking off weight at the very end of the headstock, which will help. May not take it all out, but it'll make a difference.
  3. See how it hangs if you attach the strap to only the forward button. Just grab the strap and lift, see how it hangs. If it's much better, you might consider moving the rear button forward. This will of course change WHERE the bass hangs when playing....but maybe you could live with it. I see you've done this already, if I'm reading you right, so, nevermind. Light tuners may help.
  4. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's a leverage thing. A seemingly small amount of weight lost at the headstock end will have a noticeable impact.
  5. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Agreed, using the lightest tuners you can find that will fit is probably the single most effective option. Gotoh Res-O-Lite.
  6. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
    I had the same problem with a Beast-style copy. The guy who built it came up with a solution of attaching a stainless steel plate that extends just beyond the top horn. The strap button then screwed into the end of the plate. It works great.

    Attached Files:

  7. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Thanks guys, I know completely that the leverage gets exponentially greater the further away from the forward stud I go, but I can't begin to explain how severly unbalanced the thing is lol, and to boot, 1-200 bucks on tuners can't POSSIBLY add up to the weight this thing drops! I'm at work at the moment, but when I get home, I'll take a video to kinda show the severity. I've "balanced" the thing zeroed on some of my wall holders to find it's COG with the existing stud locations, but there is SO much imbalance to overcome, I'm VERY concerned that making an investment in lighter turning knobs will be nothing in comparison. The weight on this model is the severe head stock mass and the thick a$$ neck. I also can't find any spec on the stock OEM tuners to calculate the weight savings. Considering the whole thing is symetrical, the mounting points stock are inherently "Wrong" lol.

    BBox Bass, I think your solution there is sort of close to what I've been considering, just not as polished as I'm planning lol. Maybe I'll take off a tuner tonight and weigh it, but it just seems so far fetched considering the inherent balance issues across the rest of the neck. :crying:
  8. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    What is possible in the physical world can be quantified. Imagination means nothing. Video is also useless. However, measuring and weighing will be very meaningful.

    Try this. Take off one tuner. Then another. See what happens and at what point, if any, the instrument will balance. Then weigh the tuners. This will be the amount that needs to eliminated from the headstock.

    Can it be done? Again, this is a question that can be answered by measuring real world alternatives. Hipshot is the first source for this.
  9. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Good mathmatical plan! I assume I'll have to break into it to prove or disprove the theory. Thanks for the input! :ninja:
  10. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    The theory is sound. What remains to be seen is whether or not enough weight can be removed from the headstock to affect a proper remedy.
  11. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Somebody posted here a couple months ago to say that they weighed a set of HipShot ultralights and a set of standard Fender-style tuners and found the difference to be a full half-pound. At the end of a bass neck, that can make quite a difference in balance.

    Now, your tuners look to be lighter than Fender tuners, but there still might be a more significant difference than you expect.
  12. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Yeah, meaning the theory that just the tuners alone being replaced will remedy the situation enough that I can consider the problem "fixed", not Newton's law of gravity with respect to relative rotational forces. That's not in question here lol.
  13. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Thanks Low-E, I had overlooked them as a manufacturer, I was only able to locate the Gotoh Res-O-Lite that was mentioned before, which are rather pricey!
  14. Could you put a strap button on the back of the headstock?
  15. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    As long as you remain on this planet only you can do that work.

    Oh, wait! Engineer with screwdriver in hand? Might need to hire a tech.
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Yes, they could. Or tie the strap off behind the nut, which is less invasive. Both put a lot of strain on the neck. There is anecdotal evidence that prolonged usage can cause the neck to warp laterally. Truss rod is no help for that.

    Plus, it is darned uncomfortable. Try it. It won't make you happy.
  17. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Use a long strap and tie it off under the strings on the headstock using a bootlace. That will provide support throught the end of the neck. It worked for my diving fretless, but it hangs differently now. Instead of the body being centered on my body, it rests on my right hip. But I'll take that trade-off.
  18. mintondm


    Jul 28, 2010
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Engineering Manager, Community Professional Loudspeakers
    Touche'! Lol, it's cool, I started as a tech for years in aviation and electrical fields long before being degreed and eventually the audio industry, I can take the pokes... :)
  19. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Get the widest strap you can find. I just scored a 4" wide Italia leather strap for my Warwick Thumb 5-string, which is the king of neck dive. It makes a huge difference. I was about to replace the tuners with Hipshot Ultralites, but I don't think I'll have to now.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, but the wide grippy strap just ends up pulling your shirt up in back :atoz:

    big +1 to lighter keys; they probably won't make all the difference on that silly design, but if they get the thing from "unplayable" to "a bit neck-heavy", it might be worth it.

    maybe a "multi-front" approach?

    lighter keys, a front-strap-button extender, moving the back strap button forward somehow, adding a bit of weight at the back and a grippy strap might combine to do the trick.