New neck for an old odd-ball bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hawkeye, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    I bought a 1980's vintage Ibanez RB-999 "bean bass" recently. It has awesome tone but a lot of wear on the metallic ivory body and neck. The headstock has been repaired where there was a crack going thru the tuner holes.

    It needs a refret badly so I'm thinking of getting a new neck instead. To use the current tuners I need a two-per-side headstock style and a typical rounded Fender-style heel and Fender-style 2.5" neck width to fit the body.

    I looked into getting the current neck refretted or defretted and that will cost around $300 Cdn without refinishing. That's just too expensive for a twenty year old beater bass with a cracked headstock. I figured a brand new neck would be better.

    I really liked the Warmonths but they are too short (23.5" from the nut to the tip of the heel for a typical 20-fret size) The only problem is, I have a 21-fret neck and need one that's 24.5" long from nut to heel.

    Any ideas?
  2. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Ummm..... I'm not sure if this would work, but it sounds right... Maybe you could go with the Warmoth neck (21-fret is standard) and move the bridge back 1"
  3. Hell, I wouldn't do that at all. :D The trick here is that you want to go fretless. The gates have opened my friend...

    Just purchase a Warmoth fretless neck and install with your bridge in the stock location. Now measure the distance between the nut and the average saddle location of the new setup. 34.689"? Round it off to 34.5 and mark the 12th fret with a dot. Then download one of the nice fretspace calculators and print off the pattern for a 34.5" scale and X number of frets and set that on your neck. Now mark each fret location with a dot on the side. You now have a scale matched to the body/neck combination and you'll never know the difference.

    BTW, the idea of a dot at every fret location is absolutely the neatest thing. I tried it when I revamped my fretless. I've played one since the late 70's and when I layed off and my intonation went south, I thought I would give it a try. The constant reminder is great!! It's not a distraction like the idiot lined fretless's are and it looks great from the front. All the pro's around town that have tried it have raved about it. I don't know why it isn't used more.
  4. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660

    Why didn't I think of that??
  5. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    The Warmoth standard neck is 20 fret. They offer a 21 or 24 fret version via a fingerboard extension. Arrggh.
  6. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    OK, if I'm understanding this right (and there's an excellent chance I'm not) I don't think I'll be able to do what you suggest because the nut to average saddle dimension will be around 33.5" because the Warmonth is about 1" shorter than the Ibanez (23.5" Warmonth vs. 24.5" Ibanez).

    I sort of liked the idea of going fretless but the current neck is so beat up and cracked I figured better to go new. Also the Ibanez neck is totally painted (uggh) and has a deep profile that makes it quite a mittful.

    I kinda llike where this discussion is headed though, especially with your idea of having side marker dots at every fret position. Whadda ya know maybe even I could play a fretless!
  7. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Here's a link to a good program that I use to print out fret templates -- totally free, BTW. Just enter the scale and number of frets you want, click "Print Template," and provided you have a working printer connected, out will print a template! :D

    And 21-fret is the standard Warmoth bass neck configuration, 20 is by special order, and 24 cost $25 more.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I think you missed it, yes.
    If the Warmoth neck is somewhat shorter, you will have a shorter scale. But what if?
    You still use the fret pos calculator you found, mark the fret positions, and you end up with a 33.5" fretless bass, that works well!

    And the "side marker at every position" is used today, Hambone... :spit:
  9. Hawk, from all of the dimensions being thrown around, I really didn't know what the real scale would be. I just used a number to illustrate that it didn't matter too much to the process.

    Subway, I figured someone might be using it somewhere, but who? Bored, petty minds want to know! :D
  10. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    ME! :D (at least on my EUB's)

    Attached Files:

  11. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I think I'll leave now. :(

    But actually, since you mention it, I hardly ever look at the actual frets anyway. In fact, I hardly ever look at the neck, unless I'm playing Miserlou (by Dick Dale, it's the Pulp Fiction theme, orignally played on the guitar), but that's only because it's a really fast song with a lot of movement on the FB, so I kinda have to. I'm not THAT skilled yet.
  12. Teej, don't take it like that man,

    What I'm referring to is that I'm a no lines trained sort of player - that's how I learned. When I get on a lined fretless, it isn't long before my mind goes into cruise control and I'm fingering right behind the "fret" as if I'm on a fretted. That quarter tone flat goes over real well in an ensemble setting! :rolleyes:
  13. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Cool, I understand, and I appreciate your ideas. I'm fixated on this Warmoth neck with the kick-back two-tuners per side headstock and the fretless looks great, but already has the sidemarkers AT the fret positions which would be different if I went with a 33" scale.

    I suppose I could use a few more suggestions for neck suppliers. Maybe there would be one that would fit, but something tells me that if it's not Fender dimensions, I may have a problem getting what I need.

    At any rate, it's really neat getting guys to jump in and mull my problem around a bit. I'm learning a lot. I've only been playing around 2.5 yrs and planning a project means I have to learn more about the instrument before I undertake it which is actually a good thing. I continue to get lots of thoughtful ideas from the bass brethren.

    Neck Quest - The search continues.
  14. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I think Warmoth can omit side or face markers at no addition cost. At least I would think so. Less work for them, I don't see why it should cost more.

    Oh! What about a left-handed neck? With a lefty, the side markers will be on the OTHER side.

  15. Sidemarkers are the easiest thing in the world to eliminate or change.