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Old American Standard--new neck options?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by standup17, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. Hello, I purchased an old American Standard bass a few months back for not much $$. The box looked to be in good shape, and the neck had a couple of cracks in it.

    So, my local luthier has just got the neck off and said it doesn't look good. Apparently, there isn't much left of the neck block left (but quite a lot of bondo in there), and the neck itself is full of small screws and nails where it shattered apart. Curses!

    His idea is to perhaps get a new neck (from say Engelhardt) and set it. However, he has suggested that because of the poor condition of the block, this could be a sort of "final fix".

    ??-Any suggestions as to what kind of neck to get (and where)?

    ??-Is it worth it to spend $750 or $1000 for the repair?

    Thanks for your time!
  2. Bob Gollihur sells Engelhardt necks and is an excellent guy to deal with. I bought several items from him and recommend him without reservation. Whether or not the E'hardt neck will work without modification is a question I am unqualified to answer.

    American Standards are generally held in very high regard. A few hundred bucks invested in repair could result in an excellent bass.
  3. Check out the "American Standard Restoration" thread by smokinbass. Maybe pm him and ask where his new neck came from.
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    It's important to know whether you have the original style A.S. or the second generation. The originals have a hump on each side of the neck as the ribs turn to join the neck. There is NO neckblock. To re-neck one of these, the top has to come off, a neck block fitted and installed, and then a new neck fitted and installed. (BTW, an Engelhardt neck will not work.) This is an expert-level job that will cost several $thousands. The second-generation A.S.'s have no humps, and DO have a neck block. Repairing it effectively requires widening the mortise and converting it from dovetail to standard neck joint, then installing a neck. Not easy, but less of a job than I previously described. You'll need excellent advice to decide if the bass warrants all this work.
  5. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Excuse my ignorance, but the above mentioned "American Standard Restoration" thread shows a new block and a new neck with dovetail joint. What is the preferred option ? (I guess it's the standard, but I don't know why... except that maybe when dovetail joint breaks it really makes a mess...) :confused:
  6. originally posted by Olivier:
    "except that maybe when dovetail joint breaks it really makes a mess"

    this should read:
    "except that maybe IF dovetail joint breaks it could really be a mess"

    ;) Safety first!
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    of course, just speculating! :D
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    The standard neck joint is superior for several reasons:
    1) More readily removable for re-set, re-alignment, etc.
    2) More surface area in the glue joint is better for sound.
    3) Neck sits into the block, rather than on top of it, resulting in a stronger and better-sounding joint.
    4) It's extremely difficult to properly align a dovetail joint on a bass. Most of the ones I encounter are misaligned.
    5) The walls of the dovetail joint are fragile, and the block wood is soft. This makes breakage likely when the bass is moved around or clumsily handled.
    Just my humble opinion...
  9. Can anyone point me to a photo of this "standard" neck joint? I just haven't seen one apart and am curious how it goes together and is strong enough to work.
  10. Hello all, it has been a while, but thought I'd update you on the AS repair.

    Not a lot of good news to report unfortunately...

    My luthier got a new E-hardt neck and fingerboard, and found it would NOT fit, no matter what he did. So, as per Arnold's suggestion, this seems to be one of the 1st generation AS basses.

    He also tried a couple of other necks from old basses with no luck. And, he found that the bass has had the neck broken off at least twice, with subsequent bad repair jobs (think bondo) both times.

    So, we are back to repairing and setting the original neck. In some ways this sounds good to me, but if you recall, the neck was full of screws and nails from some previous hacks.

    At any rate, my luthier said "your's is the last one of these we do"! I hate to have set a president like that, and am feeling a little guilty about it. I intend to tip him out over the repair cost for all of his hard work.

    Just hope it plays and sounds good. He has said that it will. I suspect I will have about 2K into it before it is all done.

    Hope to see it by Christmas.

    Happy Holidays to you all!!
  11. Uhm, I think I was looking for the word "precedent"...

    Don't get me started on "daddy's little president"...

  12. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN

    By first and second generations, are you referring to pre- and post war models? I think mine is from the latter period and just received an adjustment from Jim Ferguson. It had some glueing and alignment issues that have been straightened out. Loved your Cleveland Hybrid BTW that I saw at ISB.

  13. my new neck worked fine, of course it was just a big square block at the bottom, and i had a new neck block installed, so....
    other folks here at TB said an Engle neck wouldn't work, guess they were right....
    sorry it's not going better, chin up!
  14. any update?