red oak neck with cocabola fb

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pkr2, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I am thinking of building a jazz neck using red oak for the neck and cocabola for the fb.It is to be fretless.

    I chose these woods simply because I already have them.

    Can anyone think of any reason that this combination woudn't be satisfactory?

    Another issue is that the neck that Im copying the dimensions from has a 13/16" thick neck and the oak stock that I have is only 3/4". I plan to make up the difference in thickness by making the fb an extra 1/16" thicker to make the total thickness the same as the neck that I'm copying. An alternative might be a 1/16" holly "shim" between the neck and fb to make up the difference in thickness. I dont plan to use an adjustable T.R. I plan to use two carbon fiber splines to provide stiffness and just plane the relief into the F.B. Anyone see any probs with this plan? I am just a bit concerned about the weight of the finished neck. Thoughts?

    I plan to use the neck in an H27 vintage Harmony hollow body.

    This is just a shot in the dark but do any of you guys know of a source for vintage parts that might have a neck for such an instrument? Fretted, of course.

    Thanks in advance for any good advice.

  2. Having just done pretty much exactly the same thing - guessing on the results of a trussrod design - I'm advising against doing it that way. There are some other reasons too. First, the choice of oak might be convenient but when there are so many more "proven" neck woods out there that are cheap and plentiful, why would one take the chance? Second - You mentioned in another thread the vintage nature of this piece so I don't particularly agree that mixing in an oddly made substitute neck is being true to the spirit of the instrument. Call me a sap but that bass has a soul and it would do it much more good to recieve a properly made neck - even better, a copy of the original. It would also be more of a challenge to make a nice neck because I think if this bass is worth making any neck for, it's worth doing a decent one. And finally, What's the plan when the FB has been planed to perfection and it decides to change shape on you by several thousandths of an inch? Say during hurricane season? :D If the bass could be rendered unplayable for weeks at a time, it seems to be a small investment in time and money to make a gung-ho stab at a good neck with a real TR so that you can deal with that like it should be handled.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Yeah, I've been considering and reconsidering and have just about decided just to locate a nice piece of rosewood and make a new fb altogether. Possibly a fb thats already slotted and fretted. Luckily the inlays are just dots.

    The neck is bound so that's gonna add to the aggravation a little.

    Oh well, I need to sleep on it a bit and get a plan of some sort together.

    I really wasn't looking forward to building a neck that much anyway. That kind of stuff ain't nearly as much fun as it was before my fingers got all stiff with that 'itis crap.

    The tr is the least of the prob since the fb has to come off anyway.

    Anyway, thanks for the response. Sometimes two heads are better than one.
  4. Can you get some pics up of this beast. How badly is this headstock cracked? Restoring the old one might still be the best bet to get it going.
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    That's what I've decided to do,hambone.

    The headstock is pretty close to the classic Fender shape. It is apparrently a glue up to get the width they needed. The glue line has failed and it seems to be a clean "break".

    The plastic laminate is still holding everything together and in alignment. Probably cleaning out the joint is going to be the biggest prob.

    The neck itself, excluding the FB is in decent condition so I'll just make up a FB and truss rod while everything is opened up.

    I haven't measured the radius but it is an almost flat FB so a stock after mkt replacement board probably wont fit right up.

    The biggest concern is that the neck may have taken a permanent set in an extremely bowed shape. Maybe some heat while it's clamped flat will take care of it. I'll just have to see.

    I have a digital camera but being one of the most computer illiterate people in the world, I'm not sure I'll be able to get them up. I'll give it a try though.

    Thanks for the interest.
  6. I'd stay away from oak.

    The biggest problem is: it is not stable with humidity changes. As said above, during hurricane season (or dry winter), it WILL shift on you. Woods like maple are chosen because they are strong and stable. If you did use oak, you would absolutely need an adjustable trussrod.
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Agreed. :)
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Disagree! :D
    Except for the truss rod section.

    Actually, oak is one of the better neck materials, and the wheather stability is up to par with maple - if properly seales with oil or laquer.
    It has been used for necks for ages, and have produced some incredible tones over the centuries!
    (At least this goes for Quercus Robur, I don't know any other variants)
  9. Ok, I was wrong. I did more research, and oak is as stable as maple. Volumetric shrinkage from green to 6% moisture is 10-11% for both depending on your sources.

    They are similar in hardness and density.

    Oak has very open grain. You'll have to fill that, or it will get nasty in a hurry.

    Adjustable trussrod, still.
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Thanks Sub and Pale.

    If I screw up the neck in trying to remove the FB I at least have another option.

    If I can summon up a burst of energy I still may build a fretless neck after I get it back to as close to original as I can.

    It's a bolt on neck so it would be easy enough to reinstall the refurbished neck to make it look original again.

    I really appreciate the help that you guys are offering.