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Replacement Short Scale Neck for P-Bass??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Sammy Camden, Mar 26, 2006.


  1. :cool: I've already begun speaking with Greg at James Basses about this little idea. He's put it on a back burner temporarily because he's real busy with many other orders, including one he's building for me.

    Anyway, here goes:

    What is the feasibility of making a short scale (30") direct replacement neck to fit a Fender American Standard P-Bass? Warmoth is making 24.5" replacment necks for Strats, and they're direct bolt on replacements. So, I was wondering, why not a P-Bass (or a "J" if your little heart desires).

    I can't think of any reason why it couldn't successfully be done. However, I'm not a luthier so there may well be some issues that I"m simply not aware of.

    How about those of you who are knowledgeable in this type of arena let me know what you think.

    Thanks.
     
    ICM likes this.
  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    you could make a neck that is 30" scale to fit the neck pocket - it'd be kind wide at the heel, but you physically could do it. BUT ... you will need to relocate the bridge towards the neck to meet the 30" scale dimensions.

    remember that the scale is measured from the nut to the bridge in relation to the G-string. If you set a new neck into the pocket, you'll have a bridge that won't have enough saddle adjustment travel towards the nut - and your bass will not play in tune except for open strings.

    why not have a 30" scale body made to suit the new neck? it wouldn't be a radical reduction in size, but you'd be able to properly locate the neck and p/u arrangement.

    all the best,

    R
     
    T. Brookins likes this.
  3. :cool: Why can't you simply design the fret spacing to work with the existing bridge placement? You know, design it so that the bridge to nut spacing is 30", or maybe as much as 31". The object here is to use an existing P-Bass body with a replacement neck.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  4. Holmann

    Holmann

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    I've built baritone guitar necks before using my bass fret templates but calling the second fret the nut. Came out to around 29.75 as i recall. that would get you around having to move your bridge, etc.
     
  5. What Holmann mentions hints at one issue, if you keep your standard bridge position, my rough (and possibly flawed) estimation is that you may only end up with 18 frets on your 30" scale neck - and those last couple of frets are hard to reach. It all depends on how much you use the upper register. I play my pbass all the way up...

    The closer you get the bridge to the neck rout, the more frets you get on your neck. Given the same body, this will of course shift your reach to the lower frets a little.

    I know you wanted to use a full size bass body, but If you use a strat guitar body which has about 3" less distance from the standard bridge position to the neck rout, you can end up with a 30" scale neck that has 23 to 24 frets. USACG will make you such a neck. It is also possible that a neck from a danelectro longhorn reissue may work on such a body but I have not actually tried that one.

    Peace,
    S
     
    Aaarn likes this.
  6. Holmann

    Holmann

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    ok, look. Tune your p-bass down a full step to D. now capo at the second fret. you are now playing a short scale standard tuned bass, with all of the hardware in it's original position. make a neck to match & done you are.
     
    T. Brookins and Flad like this.
  7. That's kinda' what I thought when I came up this idea. I looked at the neck on my AmStd P, measured the distance between the nut and the second fret, and thought: WALLA! Build a neck starting there. It sure seemed that it would work.

    Yeah, I know, there would only be 18 frets. But, for me anyway, it wouldn't really be any loss. In the almost 44 years I've been playing, I don't think I've ever ventured above the 16th fret, and those times were very very rare. So, I really think that it would work for me. If I really wanted a 19th I could always get it made with an extended fretboard, but I doubt if I would.

    Thanks for the validation of my idea. I didn't think I was that wrong.

    If I can get this neck made, I don't plan on selling the original neck. That way, when I finally get to old to play, I can always put it back to 34" and sell it.

    I think I'll work a little more with Greg on this and just see what he can do for me. But, like I mentioned above, he's busy with my custom as well as others.
     
  8. It's a completely workable idea.
    My ex girlfriend has a J-bass clone for which she had a custom short-scale neck made (by Vox Humana, right here in this little country) which left the bass otherwise intact.

    I myself hardly missed the upper registers even though I normally frequent them a lot. But I guess that's partly caused by the lower registers being so much fun :p
    But that kinda thing is all down to personal preference.
    And the bass sure improved a lot from having a well made neck! Hm, I wonder if she ever wants to get rid of it...
     
  9. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    it wont sound just like a P, if im not wrong, because the pickup placement relative to the scale would be different - a bit nearer the nut relatively, and a lot nearer the nut objectively. but since i think fender just dumped it there without looking for specific harmonics, i think it will be playable. let us know how it turns out.
     
  10. 2 many axes

    2 many axes

    Apr 4, 2006
    Don't know exactly your going for BUT...there are loads of Mustang Bass parts on ebay. I've owned several (& bought on in January off Ebay) & they are great medium scale basses. A Mustang neck just sold on Ebay for around $50.00 & $13 s&h.

    2 many axes
     
  11. Capo away, but don't forget about the pickup position ratio!!
     
  12. CPR4LIFE

    CPR4LIFE

    Mar 3, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    Sometimes Google leads one to some really old threads. Anyway, this one was a bit depressing to read through. I have a full scale Austin P Bass that I refinished, but I just can't play the full scale very well. So I end up playing my Epiphone EB-0 instead. I was hoping a short scale neck replacement on the Austin would be simple. Yeah I know it's a cheap bass, but I like it, like the way it looks, it's lighter than the EB-0, and I would like to play it...but that 34" scale throws me......
     
  13. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yeah, that's an old thread, with old news. What you want is commonly called a "Conversion Neck". There are a few Luthiers, including several here on Luthier's Corner, who can build you one. It's not a big deal. It's a special neck which has the shorter scale length, and is laid out to bolt onto a longer scale body with no modifications. In the case of a 30 1/2" scale conversion neck to go on a standard 34" scale P-Bass, I think you lose 2 frets. It becomes an 18 fret neck, if I remember correctly. No changes to the bridge or pickups or anything on the body.

    I've made several of them for customers over the years. I'm not in the custom neck business myself any more, but I may be able to refer you to somebody if you are interested. Or one of the other folks on here may step up.
     
    Matt Liebenau and CPR4LIFE like this.
  14. CPR4LIFE

    CPR4LIFE

    Mar 3, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    That's fantastic...yes please if you could refer me to someone that would be great!!!
     
  15. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I just PM'd you the contact info for Anthony Tirado.
     
    CPR4LIFE likes this.
  16. CPR4LIFE

    CPR4LIFE

    Mar 3, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    Thank you!
     
  17. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Supporting Member

    Hey, did you ever get the SS conversion neck? How did the cost compare to, say, a MightyMite replacement, and what did you think of the neck once it was installed?
     
  18. CPR4LIFE

    CPR4LIFE

    Mar 3, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    No I did not. For a cheap bass bought from Craigslist I couldn't justify the price of a custom neck. I had never heard of Mighty Mite. I just checked their website and I only see 34 inch scale necks listed, so I reached out to them to see what they may say.
     

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