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Neck swapping question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by boombiscuits, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. boombiscuits


    Jan 7, 2012
    I have a Squier VM Jazz fretless that i would like to use periodically with a fretted neck. Would it be harmful to the bass if I swapped necks on a semi-regular basis?
  2. Arial Bender

    Arial Bender

    Oct 28, 2012
    Largo Fla.
    Get one of those threaded insert sets.
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Actually you would need two threaded insert sets if you do use them.

    But you can use the wood screws.
    If you are careful to thread the screws into the original threads each time,
    you can reinstall a neck many times. But it requires that you are able to
    "feel" the threads when you start the screw. The screw needs to have
    good clearance through the body holes so that it can drop freely through.
    It also requires holes that line up well on both necks.

    What you need to do is drop the screw into place so it is just about to start
    threading into the neck. Then with only light pressure, turn the screw CCW
    until it suddenly drops down into the wood threads. It should then start to
    thread into the wood easily. If you don't make sure you are in the original
    threads, there is a danger that you will cut new threads in between the old
    threads. That will pretty well weaken it.

    You can try it on the neck without the body to get a better feel for how the
    screw can find the original threads.
  4. Mickey Mao

    Mickey Mao

    Jun 7, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    If it were me, I'd favor the threaded inserts. It completely eliminates the risk of stripping the screwholes in the neck.

    (There is also the question of whether threaded inserts can improve the coupling between the neck and body, and improve tone. This is a hotly-debated topic, and I won't open up that can-of-worms here.)

    If you decide to go this route, and have trouble finding inserts, let me know. I can hook you up.. ;)
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Yes you can bolt on a replacement neck but that's not the end of the story. The neck may require a shim and the bridge will need to be readjusted for action and intonation every time, not to mention strings.

    I guess what I'm driving at is this: why get a $100 replacement neck and $40 worth of threaded inserts so you can spend hours on swaps & setups when you could get another Squier VM Jazz for $250? I understand money is always the deciding factor but sometimes a greater expenditure is worthwhile when it means less time tweaking and more time playing.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    Several potential problems ... (1) You can eventually strip one or more of your mounting holes by deinstalling/installing a neck over and over. (2) If your neck(s) fit tightly in the neck pocket, you can accidentally pull up chips of finish surrounding the neck pocket when deinstalling the neck. (3) Strings that are cloth wrapped on the headstock end can start coming unravelled when they are deinstalled/installed too many times. (4) Me personally ... once I get a bass set up the way I like it, I'd just as soon leave it alone ... they don't always go back together the same way you had them. I see used, completely loaded Fender/Squier P and J bodies for sale on TalkBass (and elsewhere) for next to nothing ... just get one and have a fretless AND fretted bass.
  7. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    RE: hotly debated-- I'll open it! Every single instrument I've converted, has been noticeably better, afterwords. I use 1/4-20 inserts & buttonhead machine screws, so there's some serious torque happening. The inserts are steel; brass is too soft , IMO.
  8. hgbrede


    Nov 1, 2012
    I'd like to support JLS here on the subject "hotly debated".

    I came upon an old "Lotus" "near P-Bass" that felt and sounded like you would expect that level of clone to do.

    Equipped with the 1/4-20 mod, with no changes to pick-ups and tone controls the bass has significantly stronger fundamentals and richer overtones.

    It feels in the hand (and sustains notes) a lot like a neck through. I feel the capscrew pressing on the back plate helps that a lot
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I'll second that. Threaded inserts are a significant improvement. But it's really another case of diminishing returns. So if you start out with an inferior instrument, the results make not be worth the cost/effort.

    OTOH if you are removing the neck on a regular basis, it may well be worthwhile installing inserts - sooner or later the wood will strip with regular screws. Not that it's a serious problem, but you can put the inserts in once then never have to deal with a problem again.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I would just build a fretless parts bass. Respectfully, your plan sounds like a pain in the neck in the long term.