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Pre-Built Neck Questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by andvari7, Mar 19, 2005.


  1. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    In an effort to repair a $40 bass for my friend (which has been covered in a previous topic, "A Bit Of A Problem..."), I purchased a really nice neck. Unfortunately, the neck does not fit the pocket, and I cannot use it for that bass. No problem; it's a really good neck, and I want to use it on a great body that I'm building myself. What I want to do, though, is make a short-scale bass (32" scale, to be exact). This neck is a replacement for a standard, 34" scale Jazz Bass, which is quite obviously not 32". Now that I have bogged you down in excessive detail (which, from my experiences here at TalkBass, is a good thing), I will ask my questions.

    Is there some way to convert this neck to work on a short-scale bass?

    If the answer to the above question is yes, how would I go about adding an extension to the fingerboard? Frankly, I was looking at a 29-fret equivalent (26" from nut), but no less than a 24-fret (which is exactly 24" from the nut).

    Thank you.
     
  2. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    30" scale is not possible with a neck with other scale. The reason is, then you shorten the scale, all the frets get closer together. There is some math that goes into fret placement, and it would be way off if you mounted the bridge at 30".
     
  3. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East

    I am no luthier, but if it's a standard fretted neck, the simple answer is no way. Fret spacing on a 32" scale is different, so that's it, unless you are willing to remove the frets, fill the fret slots, then install new frets in the right position. Might as well hit eBay and get a Fender 32" scale neck instead.

    If it is an unlined fretless neck, yeah, you wouldn't need to convert anything, just use it.
     
  4. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    It's a non-Fender, Made in Canada, J-style replacement neck. Unlined fretless ebony fingerboard. But that's not the issue. I'm wondering if the neck can be used on a 32" scale bass.
     
  5. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Well, yeah, you sure can use it. You may look into how to figure where the notes fall on that neck and put the side dots in the proper places, but you REALLY don't have to.
     
  6. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    Okay, but what of the neck itself? What about bolt placement and the neck pocket?
     
  7. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Just make it the proper size to fit that neck. That's all you really have to worry about.
     
  8. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Well, that and the balance. 34" neck is longer. If the body is not big enough, bass will be neck-heavy, so plan this carefully.
     
  9. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Put some long horns on it. That'll help balance it out. My conklin is like this. It balances very well.
     
  10. What I've got is just to fuel the short scale conversion idea which I don't have the answer to right at the moment. After I post this, I'll open up the fretscale program and run up some numbers and see what matches up. But here's what leads me to think something might be here - Steinberg has a new guitar called the "Transcale" that has a built in capo. It converts from something like a 28" scale baritone guitar to a 25½" scale regular guitar. Pretty neat. So there might be a place that the scale can change - the question is whether it's usable there.

    Off to the lab :bag:
     
  11. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    If you think about the math, Hambone, capoing and retuning makes the scale change. but the frets are closer together like on a short scale.
     
  12. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    The capo should make the first fret after it function as a "zero fret". Remove it, and the scale falls back to how the instrument is naturally set up, in this case, a bari 28". The only effect the rest of the scale behind the capo would have would be to act as a massive headstock. That's what I think, anyway.
     
  13. Nope, I realized it can't be done if only for the simple reason that the spacing of the first fret from the nut is based on the 34" scale length and no matter how many frets the neck has, it still starts counting them from the nut and you need 12 to make 2 octaves. When a capo is used, it's sort of a "virtual" scale change. That's how I've got to think about it. Even though the distance for the player has decreased between the nut and the bridge, the frets are spaced based on a true 34" scale. So, in practice, and to answer the first question of "Can you convert a long scale to a medium or short scale?" the answer is no. That is unless you are prepared to chop off the headstock and start the scale at some other fret. I don't know that even doing that would keep you in the same tuning - I bet it wouldn't. And that raises another possiblity - you could remove that bottom portion of the neck, losing a few frets and creating a short pocket ala Warwick and then make a petite body bass to go along with it. The catch would be that it would have to be tuned differently all the time also.
     
  14. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    Well, that's just it, really. Wouldn't that only apply with frets or fretlines, neither of which are on this neck? Or is it the actual neck piece itself that's the problem? If that's the case, is it possible to make an extension for the 34" scale neck (in which case, the 29 fret equivalent option is not going to happen)?
     
  15. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Andvari, you have you thoughts right. Nobody else in this thread noticed that it is an unlined fretless board. With an unlined fretless board you can make any scale length you want, it just depends on where you place the bridge, you don't need to modify the neck at all.

    About the 29 frets. A standard fender 22 fret neck will yield 25 or 26 positions for a 32" scale setup.
     
  16. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    Intriguing. I've only been looking at it in terms of inches, and the fingerboard distance from nut to end is slightly less than 24", which is, co-incidentally, the 24th fret equivalent on a 32" scale. What I'm thinking is this: cut about 3/4" of the board off, add an extension to lengthen the board to 26.5", which clears the 29th fret easily (by 1/2"). The only problem I can see with this is the seam. What would be a good way to make it, err, seamless?
     
  17. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN

    What?? I don't follow your reasoning on this at all. Please explain yourself in more detail. IF your talking about using a 34" scale fretted neck and making a shorter scale bass, it still won't work, no matter how you tune it. It won't play with correct intervals. If you made a 32" scale with 34" frets, when you fret position one, instead of raising the pitch a half step, it will raise it somewhere between 1 and 2 half steps. and same problem will continue all the way up the neck, regardless of how you have it tuned.
     
  18. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Yes, 26.5 will actually give you 30 frets. The extension will be a little challenging. Your idea does have some merit. You will want to find piece of wood that matches the fb pretty well. You will then have to cut and remove that last inch or so of fb, easier said than done. Then you'll have to cut a piece of the new Fb material and glue it on. If you get your cuts nice and flush on both ends, the "seam" should be negligible. A super thin glue line at he most. Now here's the fun part. Your are going to have to sand and file patiently and precisely until your height and radius match up. The only potential problem that I see, is that if your truss rod adjustment is at the heel, you will loose any chance of making it adjustable with out taking it off. Also if this bass is going to have a pickguard, you may have to make a cutout for the extension. It all depends on whether you are going to cut the neck pocket so that the Fb is flush with the top of the body, or elevated.

    ps. if the seam did become a problem, i'm sure you could fill it with epoxy.
     
  19. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    Ouch. Yeah, the rod is heel-adjusting. And I don't like pickguards on basses, so it's going to be flush.

    Other than my idea, is there another way to do this?
     
  20. Yep, I read through everything again and you are right about the math as I've written it. If this worked in any fashion, the scale wouldn't be an even number, just one calculated from the original 34 - the distance of the frets removed AND it would require removing them from both ends to make it work. Capo'ing does make a shorter scale (of some length) with 34" spaced frets, but it also moves the 12th fret.