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number of frets...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JSPguitars, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Hi all,
    I'm beginning to start making a neck for this bass I'm trying to build, and before I screw things up I had a quick question about # of frets.
    I ordered a pre-slotted 24 fret, 34" scale ebony fretboard from Stew-Mac, and after laying the board on my template drawings, I find that the area between the bridge and the end of the fretboard doesn't leave much room for the pickup combo i was thinking about (musicman bridge, jazz neck).
    THe question:
    --can I cut the fingerboard down to as little as 21 frets as LONG AS I keep the scale length to 34"??
    Would you recommend keeping the 24 frets?? I don't think the guy I'm building it for plays all the way up there anyway, at least not frequently.
    Also, how much room do you recommend keeping between the end of the neck (not necessarily fingerboard) and where the neck joins the body?? 3 inches?? AKA...lenght of neck pocket. I was planning to glue the neck in, IF I can get a nice tight fit in the neck pocket.
    Thanks in Advance.
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    On a 34" scale fretboard, you must keep the nut or zero fret 34" from the nominal bridge saddle position; having done that, you can cut back the fretboard as far as you want (starting at the 24th fret end!).
  3. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    thanks, that's what I thought............
    just wanted to double check before I start wittling away.
  4. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    alright, I have another quick question.
    I have a nice thick piece of black limba or korina that I'm using for the neck(s). I'm hoping to get 2 necks out of it. I thought I'd try and '69' the two necks, and I'm cutting the headstock angles out instead of using the scarf joint method (the less glue joints, the better for this woodworking novice).
    However, after getting the headstock angles mapped out on the wood (I used an 11 degree angle) for one neck, I didn't have much room for the 'bulk' of the second neck. I'm trying to leave myself 1" at least for the neck thickness of each.
    SO, I figured out that the length of my headstock IF I leave the 1" thickness for each will come out to about 6" from the end of the nut to the end of the headstock.
    Is 6" enough for a 4-string bass headstock?? I realize I can make it work, but was wondering what the 'rule of thumb' for the length of headstock was, if there is any. I was thinkin' more like 8".
    Perhaps I should just go with scarf joints, but I've never done it before.
    I realize pictures would help, but I dont have a digicam, yet.
    any advice much appreciated, sorry for the lame questions.
  5. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    maybe i should come up with a headstock design, eh??
  6. You really should be getting out the paper and pencil and doing a full size sketch of your components. Easiest way in the world to see if something will work or not.

    6" can be done. I've got a Peavey Grind NTB that has 5 posts on a headstock that couldn't be longer than that. Draw it and see for yourself.
  7. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    roger that! It sux trying to cram all this work in in one day.
    I dont have space where I live, so I have to work in my parents garage on weekends. Darned if one day I'll have my own house/garage/shop.
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Yeah, 6" is definately doable for 4 string. Buy yourself some 1/4" ply or MDF and make some headstock templates to get a feel for how big they will need to be to accomodate your design. The templates will come in handy as you'll want to be able to reproduce your better designs anyways.

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