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Removable Neck Question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by shwashwa, Nov 6, 2013.


  1. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    i was just wondering what the pro's and con's would be of getting a removable neck bass solely for the purpose of string height adjustment at the neck heel versus the bridge. is this a better or inferior method? on a side note, a friend of mine says that his bass improved in tone (sounded warmer, deeper.) after the conversion
     
  2. I've seen some taylor guitars with adjustment shims at the neck heel and they sounded ok.
     
  3. On the other hand, double bass setup is something that suits the particular bass, not person, to me. A good bass set up once by a luthier may never need another setup.
     
  4. It's moving the mountain to Mohammed. It's a really extreme procedure that's only being done properly by three or four people for thousands of dollars. I'm also not sure how many of those systems are meant for string height adjustments -- the only luthier I'm aware of doing it this way is Jim Ham in British Columbia.

    Bridge adjusters can be installed by almost anyone for a fraction of the cost. Adjusters have a tendency to cut some higher frequencies from the instrument's sound, but that's not always a bad thing. In any case, a good luthier can compensate for that in other ways.

    Neck removal is a great idea, and with all the traveling I've been doing it seems like I may need to have it done myself. But with the new FAA regulations for instruments going into effect next February, I'm not sure how necessary it is any more.
     
  5. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    well, i personally would be having a bass made from scratch this way, so its not necessarily moving the mountain. and im lucky enough to live in an area that has access to at least 2, and even 3 if it drive a little further, people who are doing it right. (im guessing that they are doing it right. schnitzer, gage, and upton)
     
  6. I wasn't aware that any of those guys were offering the removable neck procedure. A quick check on their websites shows no mention of that particular service. Am I mistaken? Upton offers a removable neck upgrade for new instrument orders, but they explicitly state it is not available for retrofitting used instruments.

    The only luthiers I'm aware of at the moment which specialize in this are James Ham, Mario Lamarre, and Jean Auray. I'd love to know if there are others.
     
  7. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    like i said, id be having one made that way from scratch. i know upton offers one. 99% sure arnold has one. and someone converted patitucci's bass, im guessing it was david gage since he does all his work, but i could be wrong on that one.
     
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Bill Merchant does it. I think Lemur does too. Arnold did a RN for a former poster here.
     
  9. Nathan Levine

    Nathan Levine Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Anchorage, AK
    Luciano Golia has a very interesting design. He is making me a bass right now that will have his removable neck system and two necks. A regular 4 string and a 3 string too!
     
  10. valentina

    valentina Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    Owner: Alter Ego Usa String Instruments
    I hope this info is pertinent to the topic and questions of this thread. I presented a fully carved Alter Ego traditional bass with removable neck at the ISB convention last June. They are available in the US.
    Cheers,
    Valentina
     
  11. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    It is nothing radical or even new. Almost every established double bass luthier in the country offers some variation on the removable neck design in both new and old instruments and it has been going on for a long time.

    'Having just got back from a gig a little while ago with my removable neck bass that I've been using for 5 years now, I can't imagine not having one.

    j.
    www.condino.com
    www.kaybassrepair.com
     
  12. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    but im wondering if someone could address the original question?
     
  13. I tried to in my first response. You're spending $2000 for a feature than can be accomplished with bridge adjusters for $50. String height adjustment is not a good reason to have the removable neck unless you also plan to travel frequently with the instrument.
     
  14. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    im just asking from a theoretical point of view, not a cost perspective. maybe the neck adjustment is a better way and people do the bridge because its cheaper? what if price was no object? would raising a bridge to increase action and increasing downward pressure on the top of the bass (and perhaps perceived tension in the strings due to a more radical angle over the bridge) be better than lowering the fingerboard and not increasing the downward pressure on the instrument, perhaps even lowering the pressure slightly? one advantage i can think of off the top of my head, and i dont know if it would be significant enough to notice, would be that once you get the geometry between the bridge height, and tailpiece length and saddle height the way you like it for your bass then this would not have to change whereas with an adjustable bridge it changes very much and for me is very noticeable , which is why i now also have an adjustable height saddle, and yes, it makes a difference.
    so, im asking for opinions from people who have experience with this what they noticed, or luthiers who have done this. lets not take cost into consideration.
     
  15. If the neck heel swings through an arc following a radius drawn from the strings at the nut end, there will be zero change in string angle at the bridge whatever the string height from the fingerboard, thus zero change in pitch or tension on the bridge. I made my first doublebass this way, and am working on a second with the mechanism simplified slightly (it's just a nut and bolt and ferrule really, but I'm doing away with the nut) and using a high tech plastic for the bearing material instead of lignum vitae so as to make adjusting it even easier. You can see how it works on my website if interested, and by all means put the idea to other luthiers and see if they're willing to pursue and improve upon it. Frankly I'm a bit confused that no one else seems to have looked at this solution to the geometry/tension change problem... unless they have and I've just not seen it yet.

    As for sound; on my first bass it only ever had that removable and adjustable neck so I can't say whether it might sound even better with a fixed traditional neck and adjusters. I doubt it, but will never know for sure. I tend to agree with Mario Lamarre regarding the motion of the neck; he asserts that allowing the neck more free motion restricts vibration less, generally opening up the sound of a bass. I've done several removable neck conversions using something close to his method as well, and in every case the sound has been improved. I'm not fond of this method, but it is relatively simpler than my own design. With mine the upper blocks of most basses are not suited so it becomes a much more complex problem to convert an existing bass. Better applied in new instruments I think.
     
  16. This has been covered before... in other removable neck threads... but repetition has its rewards....

    This was posted in this thread.. but here it is again..
    http://www.lamario.ca/bio.php?lang=en

    Down the page, Mario talks about the new relationship between tension and string height , with adjusting at the neck instead of at the bridge. (higher string height = lower tension; lower string height = higher tension).

    Mario also talks of the removable neck being favourable for sound as the neck vibrates a little more freely. Other luthiers chimed in and wrote that in their experience this difference was minimal.

    If someone else was paying for it.. here is what I would do..
    Get a removable and adjustable neck
    get a bridge with bridge adjusters
    get another bridge without adjusters (nice one-piece for travelling)

    Experiment with adjustments at the neck and at the bridge to experience the differences. Maybe a combination of both will be ideal. But it could lead to all sorts of obsessive behaviour too! ;-)

    The best thing to do is just find a bass with these features and play with it for a while.
     

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