Neck Dives

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thaque, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Hey Fender bassists,

    I was practicing and I found that my left forearm was aching pretty bad. I was playing my Fender Jazz bass while sitting down and I realized that I had been supporting the neck with my left hand. As soon as I removed my left hand from the instrument, the neck would dive down to the floor.

    By balancing my bass on the arm rest of a chair, I found that the center of gravity on the bass is on the 17th fret. Is that normal? Where is the center of gravity on a typical Fender Jazz?

    jazz bass.jpg
  2. It depends on many things. The body and neck wood, and the age and dryness of the wood. The tuners and the bridge, and to some extent also the strap used.

    I would say (based on my own personal experience and nothing else) that most standard Fender instruments with standard tuning pegs and bridges are a little bit top heavy, but not in the same way that Gibson basses can be.
  3. gebass6

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

    There are ways to resolve this.

    The foremost way is for makers to pay attention to the balance of a bass by making the upper horn long enough to adjust the center of gravity.

    Or by inserting a weight block under the bridge to counterbalance the bass.
    But they don't do this.

    One way that I used to do was to anchor the bottom strap end of the bass to my right leg with a short length of belt. Snapshot_2015326 (3).jpg Snapshot_2015326 (4).jpg
    This kept the neck up without adding weight to the bass.
    I also installed Ultralite tuners.

    The other way,which I use now,is to use a Comfort Strapp.
    This grips and helps to keep the neck up AND spread out the weight of heavy basses.

    Some,not me,have also attached weights to the strap at the end of the bass.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  4. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I had a MIM 60's Jazz with bad neck dive - got a set of Gotoh Resolite tuners with reverse winding (they have both types btw). They looked good, had the same look and footprint, and are a fraction of the weight. Definitely worth checking out. Solved my neck dive problem.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  5. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I recently sold a lovely P-bass that had balance point around 17. fret and nasty neck dive. My current jazz balanced around 18. fret, and when I fitted Hipshot Ultralite tuners, it moved to 21. fret. It is great now.
    MattZilla likes this.
  6. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I ordered a Fender Squire online and after giving it a once over, I thought it was a keeper until I tried to play it standing up.

    It went back into the box and was stolen after I dropped it off at the post office.
  7. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Am I missing something here… any bass I own that has the upper horn (strap peg) at the 12th fret does not have a neck-dive issue. (as on a Jazz bass including the OP's) I can only imagine it being a slippery strap or ? - having said this, moving the bottom strap-peg higher (off-center) should fix it if it is a problem.
    Count Bassie and bolophonic like this.
  8. Hey Thaque

    So, if I interpret you correctly - you were sitting down and NOT using a strap?

    Yes, this can be such a dirty little secret this neck dive thing. It gets swept right under the rug a lot.

    I love the little tutorials with the special straps - the suede "non-slip" backs and the belts and all the other gizmos people invent to specifically treat "the dive". Makes me smile. A bass should hang on you in the perfect playing position, perfectly balanced - without the aid of a special strap or any other kind of gizmo "assistance". It should also be perfectly balanced when sitting down, with or without a strap.

    Ultra light tuners can help, so can medium scale. I find it is very rare to score a long scale Fender out of the box that doesn't dive when sitting down without a strap.

    Just my opinion, and I HOPE that is what you were referring to.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  9. [/QUOTE]

    Hey Thaque

    So, if I interpret you correctly - you were sitting down and NOT using a strap?

    Yes, this can be such a dirty little secret this neck dive thing. It gets swept right under the rug a lot.


    I think your post begs the question: Who plays a bass even sitting down without a strap? I learned many years ago that if you want to be comfortable playing a bass you needed a strap, I don't even think about it.
    gebass6 likes this.
  10. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    I never play sitting down.

  11. Gee, since you begged....

    I would venture to guess that pretty much everyone who knows that bass is-a-diving when sitting down - was taught to use a strap! It's only logical.

    Do yourself a favor. Try sitting without it.


    See how perfectly balanced that baby really is....
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  12. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    If the balance point of the instrument is at the 17th fret as shown, then having the strap anchor point at the 12th fret would only serve to REDUCE neck dive.

    I've probably played 100 Fender basses and never experienced neck dive. I mean, you can just look at them and see how unlikely it is that the headstock will be heavier than the body.
    jammadave, bobyoung53 and JIO like this.
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i've purchased a bass online and i got lucky that it had no neck dive issues from the get-go. but i've always been able to tell if an instrument was poorly balanced (re: neck dive) just by playing it, with or without a strap. i've always assumed that if i could tell, so can anyone else...not true? this might be a case of 'old = experience'.
  14. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I play both sitting and standing, and qualify the physical/ergonomic merits of a bass based on both equally. Some production basses work better than others in this regard, and the basses I design/build take this into serious consideration.

    test pilot Chris Kuffner comfortably playing my SuperB seated
  15. I have played sitting, without a strap, plenty of times. It's not anymore unheard of than using a spoon to spin spaghetti against. "Who uses a spoon to eat spaghetti?" I do.

    Big world, innit?
    wvbass likes this.
  16. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    If we can't learn to correctly employ the quote function, how can we possibly cure neck dive?
  17. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    not exactly how it works
  18. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Right, you might just get one of those rare Jazz basses with a five pound headstock, so it's a good idea to strap them on just to make sure.
    bobyoung53 and Count Bassie like this.
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    YMMV on that one.
    bolophonic and Count Bassie like this.
  20. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've never played a Fender or Fender style bass with neck dive issues. I would not want to add weight, so if it were so, my options would be:

    1. Use a suede or other friction strap.
    2. Ultra light tuners.
    3. Sell the bass.
    Bodeanly, bolophonic and Count Bassie like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 24, 2021

Share This Page