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Neck Reinforcement

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Cody Sisk, Jan 3, 2012.


  1. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    There's been much discussion in this forum regarding carbon fiber rods being installed in necks. Besides the weight, tone and stiffness considerations, how would this type of reinforcement do in a rental application? I fix at least half a dozen broken bass and cello necks a week from my rental fleet. I'm curious to know if any of you have found any carbon fiber reinforcement to help the structural integrity of a neck in the event of an accident. Will it help? or just make the repair that much more difficult?
     
  2. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Merriam Kansas (Kansas City)
    owner RC Williams Co. LLC
    I have seen more necks broken where a truss rod would have no influence on the break but I would think that, were it would be in the break area it would likely improve the chances for survival. possibly encouraging the neck to break elsewhere.
     
  3. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    I am not a luthier but from the basses I have seen that have been repaired the majority of neck cracks seem to be either at the heel (short cross grain) or up at/near the pegbox (short cross grain). The carbon fiber is installed underneath the fingerboard which would not help these areas. What would help these vulnerable areas is a little redesigning to make them stronger.
     
  4. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Merriam Kansas (Kansas City)
    owner RC Williams Co. LLC
    Just out of curiosity, Cody, how do you do quicky neck repairs at the heel? When I was a shop owner, we always used a tapered pin, (cello end pin reamer and tapered peg, the tapered pin always insured a good tight fit. you could probably wrap it in an aramid fiber to ad some strength, but that would probably force the use of a resin for bonding.
     
  5. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    If it is a break at the heel I will leave the neck mortise intact, take the fingerboard off then glue the neck back on with wood glue and reinforce with two or three 1/4" bamboo dowels. Of course this is dependant on the roughness of the break. Most of the time, the wood fibers will eliminate any creep with the wood glue. I don't like going through the fingerboard with a tapered peg; it's an aesthetics thing more than anything else..

    (Ok so you hide glue purists out there might scoff but here's my reasoning. I've experimented with epoxy, hide glue, white glue, superglue and yellow glue to repair these rental workhorses. The best solution I've found for these instruments that are dropped over and over again is yellow wood glue. Every other method fails eventually. No they aren't to one day become pedigree instruments so keep your pantyhose on. :ninja:)
     
  6. rental rat speaking...clean out and get squeeze out.
    i believe you will discover later that FB removal and dowels will not make a significant improvement to low rank wood, that breaks next go-round an inch higher/lower.
    .02
     
  7. shaft311

    shaft311 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Warwick neck-thru basses have steel rods in either side of the neck where it meets the body. Hans-Peter Wilford stood on one that was suspended by a table on one side and a chair on the other while addressing the company.
     
  8. yea do that cody..
     
  9. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    another lost BG soul
     
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It might be worth researching how and when the instruments break. During playing? Sitting around the house? Transportation? I'm just wondering if hard cases would help.

    Although... I've got two kids in string lessons, and I do see a lot of kids who just have to wriggle all the time. Eventually their bows or instruments go flying.
     
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Or a potential convert. :D
     
  12. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    Those cheap chinese instruments that you are renting are made with really soft wood. I've fixed a number of broken bass necks on our rentals as well. I tend to think reinforcements might help the neck stand up to the tension of the strings, but not so much to impact damage. Even if your bolt or carbon fiber rod holds, the wood can still crack. Repairing the damage will basically be impossible too. I tend to think that you just need to find the cheapest and easiest way to repair these sorts of breaks and live with it. I can tell you that for cheap cellos and basses with broken heels, we do the repair with the fingerboard on and plug the fingerboard with used cello pegs. It makes things much easier, and its functionally and visually fine. I tend to think this is a better solution than removing a fingerboard that's been glued really strongly like they usually are and risk damaging the neck. Of course, you would never do any of these repairs to a nicer bass, but if you need to get more life out of an instrument that isn't worth replacing the neck on, do whatever it takes.
     
  13. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    IMHO these student instruments should be made with bolt on necks and smaller head scrolls, this would make repair/replacement simpler and less costly.
     
  14. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    This thread might be of interest to you Joey. This method really makes taking the fingerboard off of these a piece of cake when it would split the neck and/or fingerboard otherwise.
     
  15. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    This DOES happen! :scowl:
     
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Every broken DB neck I've seen is from the instrument falling: falling after being leaned against the wall, falling out of stands, falling when the player spaced out and reached for something else... :(

    Basses have a lot of mass at their highest point (the tuners) and once it gets going its hard to stop. The neck is usually (but not always) strengthened sufficiently by the fingerboard, so that leaves the short grain at the heel as the victim.

    The damage does move around depending on what part hits something solid first and sometimes the neck just pops out of the mortise but mostly its blind maple dowels and epoxy in the heel for me.
     
  17. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    Interesting. I've tried using an iron and a heat gun to do the same thing, but with no real success. I guess it makes sense that the heat blanket would heat the whole fingerboard more evenly. More tools to talk my boss into buying...
     
  18. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    I have used a clothes iron for years with good success.
     
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Me too - set it on cotton and you're good to go. No starch! ;)
     
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Well, having watched kids at group lessons, recitals, etc., nothing surprises me any more. :eek: My son's 1/4 size cello had a repaired neck heel when we got it.
     

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