New Neck, transferring screw holes

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jefff100, May 30, 2018.

  1. I have a Carvin Bass, a B4 jazz style body from 2001. 4 bolt neck.
    About 4 or 5 years ago I bought a replacment fretless neck for it, direct from Carvin (back when they were still called Carvin). Just now getting around to the final finishing and installing it.

    Suggestions on the best way to transfer the hole locations in the body to the new neck so that I can drill holes in the neck that line up with the body holes?

    thanks much,

  2. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm no proper repair guy or tech or luthier, but I've done this a couple times.

    1. Clamp neck to body.

    2. Use a transfer punch with a diameter that matches the holes' diameter to accurately mark the points on the neck.

    3. Use a drill press (this is critical) to drill perpendicular pilot holes to proper depth into the neck heel.
    96tbird, jefff100 and Matt Liebenau like this.
  3. briandavismurph


    Jul 1, 2013
    One very important detail is to put the Estring and the G string on the neck and through the bridge so that you can make sure that the neck angle is correct in the pocket so that before you position the center punch to mark the holes into the neck you’re sure that the angle of the neck is correct so that you don’t have one of the strings off the fingerboard and the other one a quarter of an inch inside if that makes sense
  4. If you don't have transfer punches, another option is: follow the above advice to clamp the neck to the body and double check string alignment. Then, use a drill bit the same size as the holes in the body (probably 3/16" but, again, double check) and chuck it up in a drill, put it through the body holes and run it backwards for a second. This will leave a divot in the heel where you want the screw holes.

    Use a drill press to drill the actual holes in the neck heel and lube the screws with soap or wax the first time you screw them in.
    byacey and jefff100 like this.
  5. Thanks all. Makes sense.

    Hope to get this put together in a couple of weeks, will be my first solidbody fretless.
  6. Post some pics when it's done or of the build process.
    jefff100 likes this.
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You can also use the screws themselves as transfer punches. They fit in the holes and they have points. Hold the neck and body together with your palm bracing the neck heel. Put the screws in the holes, touching the new neck. Give them a light tap on the head with a hammer. That will make little dimples in the surface to mark the locations.

    Yes, it's also a good idea to put on the two outboard strings, tightened enough to take out the slack. Look carefully at how they pass over the heel to help get the neck on there approximately straight.
  8. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Wow. Use paper to trace the back of the old neck. Tissue paper like womens clothes are sometimes wrapped in, or onion skin used for carbon copies of correspondence (archaic, I know.)
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  9. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    I don't use a clamp. I wrap masking tape around the heel to form a very snug fit in the pocket. Not a press fit as that may cause a crack in the sides of the pocket. Two layers on the heel and an even number of layers on the sides. Use small nylon/cotton string instead of real strings to check the margin. Much less tension and chance of it moving the neck. It'll take about 3 yards. Tie it off on the strap button. Adjust margin by removing masking tape from the large side and apply it to the other, maybe using small pieces to add any angle necessary for a good balanced margin. I use thin wall metal tubing in the body holes as a bushing and drill one hole in the neck with a depth marked drill. The body holes may need to be cleared for the bushing to fit but that's a good thing. The screws should drop through the holes and not have to be screwed through. Install that screw and and check the margin. Adjust neck angle as necessary and drill other holes. Works for me but YMMV.

    Edit: The size of the thin wall tubing and drills used will depend on your body and neck mounting screws.
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  10. "Official" Carvin and Kiesel Club - Part 3

    Pix I posted in the Carvin club thread when I first started working with the neck in earnest. The last of these pix show 1 coat of Tung Oil. I'm currently on coat 4 of tung oil, letting it dry 3-4 days between coats and lightly sanding with 1000 grit between coats, wipe it down with citrus oil solvent between coats to lift out any sanding dust. I'm not sure how many coats I'm going to go. Headstock overlay seems to soak up more. Back of the neck feels good now but I figure it will get more playing wear.

    My apologies for my being somewhat dense in the orignal post. For some reason I had it in my head that the neck and body orientations were backwards of what they are...I cant explain that one. Will post updated pix when I'm making more visible progress.