replacing neck in 49 kay c-1

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mike vaughn, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Hello, I recently found this place and would appreciate some expert advice. I saw in another thread discussion of replacing a neck in a kay.
    The neck of my kay has been broken off twice, both times about three inches below the nut. It didn't break in the exact same place both times but both times it was a jagged break, really splintered. Due to how the break was easy to fit back together thats what I did and glued it.
    This was quite a while back and the breaks have not given me any trouble, I refinished the neck and if you didn't know they are there you would never see them( well I guess you guys probably would but you know what I mean). I have it strung with black La Bella's now and have played it hard in all kinds of weather.
    I have another bass that I am playing most of the time now and I am thinking of working on the old Kay. Should I leave the neck alone or replace it. The front curl on the scroll has been broken off and sloppily reglued also but I think I could make that more difficult to see too. Could one of you walk me through a neck replacement so I could decide if I want to do it. Thanks a lot for any advice.Mike.
  2. Don't even think about trying to do this job yourself. Replacing a neck on a Kay is job for an experienced bass luthier. There are at least a dozen steps that have to be done exactly right. Mess up any one of these and you could have a bass that will be unplayable.
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Mr Vaughn-
    The neck joint is kind of the "center of the world" as far as the bass is concerned. If your neck isn't loose, and those repaired cracks aren't opening, and your bridge height isn't 3 inches in height, Don't Fuss With It. Setting a neck on any kind of upright bass requires the patience of even the best luthiers. Is there a playability issue that warrants this replacement? Or do you just have a curious mind, and lots of time on your hands? ;)
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    If you decide, against my esteemed colleagues' informed advice, to tackle this job, you can get a replacement neck from Engelhardt in Elk Grove Village, IL. You have to make sure it fits well, is aligned dead center to the body, and gives the right back angle for proper bridge height. If you are an expert woodworker, you MIGHT be able to pull it off. Oh yeah, don't forget you need to match the varnish, too. And cut a new bridge. And attach, graduate and dress a fingerboard. And set-up a new nut. And...
  5. And... Getting the old neck out without damaging something else in the process. And ... (this space reserved for Jeff, Pete, Martin, and any other luthiers with an opinion about this)
  6. I appreciate you fellows' replies. I think that since the repaired cracks aren't opening I will move on to putting a little bit of inlay in the fingerboard and repairing some of the dings in the veneer. I have already put a bridge on this bass with the guidance of a friend and mentor who makes mandolins and resonator guitars(he did the repairs on the neck).
    Can you recommend any books that detail specifically bass repairs, like replacing a neck. I have a fiddle book that covers some bass details but very limited. We set up the bridge using a template from this book and specs contained in it as a general guide and everything worked well. My friend is a highly accomplished wood worker and instrument maker. I have found that by combining his knowledge and experience with what I can glean from books works out really well.
    I would like to learn as much as I can about bass repairs and construction. I appreciate any info you can provide me. Mike
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Back to the realization that somebody needs to write a contemporary doublebass repair book. There was a previous thread, about a month ago, on this topic. If you want some great information on violin family repair/restoration (which can be translated into doublebass) buy, photocopy ;) , or steal the Hans Weisshaar Restoration book. There are some other written resources by H. Wake, and R. Elgar, but Hans is the man, for my money. Everything he does is broken down into logical steps. It's pricey, and chock full of information.

    If I just had more time, or maybe a twin...
  8. If you can wait a few more months, there is a book in prepublication that will be exclusively about double bass repair and restoration. It is written by retired former NY bass guru Charles Traeger. When I last contacted Mr. Traeger, he expected to have it from the printer and available for sale in spring 2003. I understand that Bill Merchant will be selling it thru his website and store in NY. Price will likely be in the same range as the Hans Weisshaar violin restoration book. I hope to get one of the first copies and will let the group know what I think of it when I get it read.
  9. Thanks again. I have been reading through the threads in here for a while and am amazed at the amount of information available right here. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.