Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Neck Replacement Question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Jan 28, 2004.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Probably a dumb question, but what is involved in replacing the neck of a bass, and what's a ballpark figure on the cost (even very broadly ballpark)? I think I know the answer to my question already, but I'm asking because of my old American Standard. I'm tempted to sell it because the neck is so thin it cramps my hand, but it just sounds so damn good (and so LOUD) I'd hate to let it go. I figure it would probably be prohibitively expensive to have the neck changed out, but....
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    One word: Bondo :)

    But seriously, just brainstorming-- what about building up the neck profile?

    What say ye, luthiers of yore??
     
  3. Why don't you ask Nick?
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I probably will when I get a chance -but he's 100 miles away. I know that removing the top on a plywood is always a risky business, and that by the time I added a new fingerboard, the cost could be way up there...I'm just trying to define the "way" part. :) I like the Shen plys I've played, and I LOVE Arnold's New Standard line (wish I could afford the La Scala hybrid at the moment), but here's a bass that I already own which already sounds great in a different way from my main bass. I'm thinking that if the cost of the work was less than the cost of a new decent ply bass, then why give up the sound? Plus, the damn thing's so ugly that no one but a sound-oriented player would want it - and I don't mind the ugly part.
     
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Maybe you could just put an extra-chunky board on there. That way, you'd have the authentic neck on. (Genuflects toward tablets of The Luthier's Prime Directive.)
     
  6. I was gonna suggest this too! A full size board might give you some extra notes way up there and, i'm not sure on this, they might be a tad thicker.
     
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I think I would replace the board (if that works) or sell it. It's lived this long of a life in its current state, I would hate to see it get mutated at this point.

    Besides taking the neck off might mess up its mojo.
     
  8. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Shim it. That's what I'm doing on the old Kay I'm sloooowly restoring. (Still getting the last of the metalflake paint off). I'm using a new Englehart neck, but I'm gluing a piece of 1/4" SFS maple to it first. I was going to hot glue it, but I can't imagine any reason I'd ever want to remove it so I'm tempted to Titebond it....
     
  9. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    OK, us luthiers can get precarved replacement necks that'll run us between 2-5beans depending on the quality and flame. But there is always gonna be substantial fitting and finishing even with a precarve. New board installed 6-10 beans, new bridge 2-3, varnishing and setup +misc. Whole job is gonna run 2-3k. Is it worth it? Hard to say, but if the bass is killer now it is only gonna improve, And possibly significantly. I've been involved in hundreds of neck sets in my days and in virtually 100% of the cases the owners were way pleased with the outcome.. Never saw a case where tone decreased. If your'e stuck with that axe I would argue in favor of doing the job. All bass players need to figure in the fact that you are not likely to ever retire from working and while you can tough it out while you are relatively young that @#$%s not gonna last. What are you gonna do when you are 55 and your hands/arms/shoulders craps out? BTW I've seen Nick's neck setting work and can heartily recommend it.
     
  10. Jeeze, thanks alot Jeff!
     
  11. Hey Paul, Jeff isn't old enough to know that it's not the arms, hands and shoulder that crap out - it's the knees (two weeks and counting) and back!:crying:
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The real wild card here is that the top has a patch repair right by the soundpost. I figure, if it looks like that would hold, and the repairs were under or around 2k, it would probably be worth it. If it was more like 3k, then I'm pretty close to the price of one of Arnold's New Standard plys, which is probably a better choice because of the great playability factor (no giant shoulders, and a more manageable scale length). Next time I'm up in Cincy or Nnick's down here, I'll have him take a look. Thanks for the assessment.

    There's also the "Lluthier's Prime Directive" aspect, but since I'm a liberal southeastern bassist, I can live with breaking that if it'll get me a more playable and better sounding bass. :)
     
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    55!? S**t, that leaves me about seven years to make my first million.
     
  14. You guys may not know, but the little remark about knees giving out by Branstetter is alluding to the fact that he's going in a couple weeks to have a knee replacement operation! So, we'll have to nurse him through that I suppose. :crying:
     
  15. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Good luck, Bob- my mother has been through two of them and today's procedures are pretty amazing, she bounced back quickly. Tho as a medical veteran myself, surgery ain't fun, ever. Best wishes to you for a quick recovery!
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Ditto that. By the sounds mine are making on stairs these days, I have a feeling I'll be joining in the fun before it's all over. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
     
  17. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Yes, but a new neck can address both those issues.
     
  18. Thanks Guys!
     
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Arggh. Good luck, Bob.
     
  20. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    Bob, sure beats a neck replacement. hey I had a hip replacement and the cure was well worth it. Sometimes you don"t realize the pain you are in until it's gone.