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Planning To Have The Neck Reshaped on My DB

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by jgbass, May 10, 2005.

  1. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    After playing my bass for two years, I am getting better at understanding what I want in a bass. I have had the opportunity to play other basses and like the feel of the neck much better on other basses. I like the bass I have, but do not like the neck because it is too thick. The bass has a maple neck.

    Has anyone had the neck of their bass reshaped or did the job themselves? Should it be an expensive job? Is there anything I need to be pre-warned about? Can this compromise the bass?

    Planning to take it to a luthier where there are many basses around so I can give him feedback on exactly what I want.

    Thanks for any info on this.
  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Here's a quote off Jeff Bollbach's site:
    "First of all, sometimes I'll refer the "body proper". By this I mean - in order of importance - the top plate, the back, the ribs, and the scroll. Other parts - the neck, fingerboard, interior blocks, bassbar are more or less extraneous."

    So at the very least, it won't ruin the instrument. Still, I'd recommend against doing it yourself!
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    It's really a matter of the extent that you want to change it. If you simply want to modestly narrow the profile, it is probably a fairly simple task assuming the wood is otherwise in good shape and the fb is of decent quality.

    If you are thinking about a more severe alteration, like perhaps narrowing the face of the neck including the fb, you're looking at a lot more effort. If this is the case, you'll want a luthier for certain.

    If you get too drastic, the neck may have to be reinforced with some material like a composite, which means the fb comes off, etc.
  4. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Thanks for the info. No, they do not want to do anything to the fingerboard, just the neck. Sounds like a fairly simple thing to do really.
  5. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    I recently restored an old Kay, replacing the old broken neck with a new Englehardt one. This was more or less square as supplied, so I reshaped it first using a rasp to get the rough shape, then used various grades of files to smooth it out. I finished it with progressively finer grades of sandpaper and steel wool, which has given me exactly the profile I was looking for with a smooth finish. So I guess it depends how much you value your bass - it's not a hard thing to do, but if you've got an expensive carved instrument, leave it to the experts :)
  6. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    No, its not a pricey bass, but nothing I want to do myself, so its going to the shop tomorrow. Thanks.
  7. Congrats on a sensible move!
  8. Luthiers who routinely do bass work will have templates for neck shape, will know what's 'normal' or 'average', and will have experience reshaping them. You must also bear in mind that your fingerboard will get thinner over time as it's dressed, which will also make the neck feel thinner. A thinner neck/ fingerboard sandwich will be more flexy, which probably means less fundamental and sustain to the sound, and more scoop which means higher string height. Having had a fingerboard replaced recently, I think the whole neck shape thing is more involved than one might think initially.

    Best to leave it to a pro if you can afford it, or at least get some advice (and measurements) from a knowledgeable source if you can't.
  9. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Took my bass up to Lemur Music and they got it done in less than two hours. This included reshaping the neck, and also having them take out embedded position markers I finally decided were not such a great idea after all. Trust my ear more these days.

    Another good thing about taking it to Lemur is that they have two rooms full of basses and I went around trying out the necks, found one I really liked and calipers were used to replicate the size of the neck. Interesting how some basses just almost seem to let you know they are right for you.

    So thanks to Jeff and the other guys in the shop at Lemur, I've got a "new" bass that's alot more playable than it has ever been. Good deal!
  10. what kind of finish did they put on the neck after reshaping it?
  11. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    No finish at this time. Right now, I really like the feel of the unfinished neck and as long as it holds up I plan to keep it that way.
  12. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Seems you made a good call. I'm not very happy with my neck either at this point, but for the opposite reason- it's too thin and cramps me up- just doesn't feel natural for my big mitts. Good luck witht he re-shape. Hopefully this improves the playability significantly! I like the feel of an unfinished neck as well and am not too fond of the gloss on my M-1.

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