1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Routing a Spector Neck Pocket

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by nervous, Jun 14, 2014.


  1. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    As some may recall I currently have a Spector Euro 5 neck through that I broke the truss rod in and as things went from bad to worse I now have a valueless, (mostly) finished stripped piece of wood with no fretboard or truss rod. For a long time I have mulled many options, none of which I have been really motivated to execute. One of the more ambitious options was to install a bolt on Spector neck. Well, I finally found a nice used fretless neck, most likely from a Spector Legend 5 series which looked to be a pretty decent match to what I was to accomplish. This will now require me to lop off the current neck and route a new neck pocket in the body. I did this one time a long, long time ago with decent results and l'm pretty good with tools (at least enough so to get me in the mess I am now...) and I guess over the next few weeks, as time and motivation allow, I'll see about making this happen.

    But what I'd love is some feedback, tips and tricks from those who have done this sort of thing. I know I need to be very careful about measurements in three areas: depth, side to side and placement for proper 35" scale length. I think I will need to create a routing template first and make a test cut for general fit. Thinking with some micro adjustability to fine tune for width and angle. The biggest worry is that because you really only get one good shot at this I should think through as many details and pitfalls as possible.

    I look forward to any input you may have.
     
  2. I've cut a few neck pockets now, it is not exactly 1 shot, but yeah, you need to have your wits about you and do it once, do it properly.

    In all honesty though... I reckon your best bet is to install a new trussrod and then put on a new fingerboard. Really, that will be MUCH less hard work than routing a neck pocket etc. Also a lot less chance of screw ups. It will also provide you with an unmessed-around spector bass with 1. a fresh fret job, and 2. a fingerboard of any timber you like. That is worth solid money on the 2nd hand bass market. Routing a neck pocket will kiss any residual value goodbye altogether.

    A few pics of the bass will help us help you better. ;)
     
    iceboxbass likes this.
  3. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Thanks for the response. To address your value point once I got this far in I think I have accepted the reality that this thing, no matter how gloriously restored will never, ever return what I already have into it, let alone what is left to come in getting it playable. And, really, that's my primary goal right now. I have had a very expensive block of wood sitting around my house for some time and it's probably time to sh*t or get off the pot on this one. I have mulled the replacement truss rod and fretboard. All that and a refinish and maybe I have something nice, after sinking another $500-$600 in, and that's just an estimate. I have no idea if that's right or even who could do (or be willing to do) the work. Either way I want fretless for simplicity. Not sure I could do the fretboard myself. Looked into wood once but there's a learning curve there I don't have the time or patience for right now. Now buying a neck, fairly cheap, with a strong component resale value, that's a risk I'll take. If I eff up the neck pocket then I can finally throw the whole damned thing in the fire, Laugh as it finally stops haunting me, and sell of all the component pieces for what I can get for them. But, if this works, well then I am a pretty happy camper with a bass with still virtually no resale value but something I can actually enjoy.

    Here's what we have for raw material right now.

    Body needs some more sanding but most of the poly is off:
    Image020_zps38353c7a.

    Image010_zps1e7b3224.

    Image009_zpsdcb4baa9.

    Image021_zpsd81711cb.
     
  4. Torn Bassist

    Torn Bassist

    Feb 8, 2013
    Missouri
    I would make contact with PJ Rubal at Spector or Todd Cooke at Guitar House to investigate your options for fixing this bass rather than modification....naturally this is just a suggestion.

    pj@spectorbass.com

    todd@guitarhouse.net

    These guys might at least help set you up with someone that can drop a rod and fretless board into place, or maybe a few guys so you can compare prices....good luck!
     
  5. iceboxbass

    iceboxbass Living the Dream! Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    Michigan
    Do you believe the current neck-thru isn't salvageable is the reason you want to cut it off? If it's salvageable I personally wouldn't cut it off but put the energy and time into the refinish process of this beautiful Euro 5, IMHO. :) Burnt spots can be sanded out or painted a solid color even on the neck.
     
  6. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Thanks for that tip. When it first happened and before the top of my head came off and I started tearing into things, I did have some communications with Mr. Rubal and someone in the shop about the situation and the best way to get that rod removed. There was no easy way. I had a problem. The best they offered was to sell me a new truss rod. So I moved on.

    Flash forward to this week. I had an exchange again with a shop guy at Spector. More to ask if they could do my rout job since they are set up for such work already. The response was as I expected in that they are too big and busy to want to take on a hack project like this. They are backed up 8+ months on current USA production so this just isn't for them.

    They did recommend someone as well but IMHO they are also "too good" for this project. If I go back to new rod, fingerboard and refinish whoever I find needs to be willing and reasonably priced with a attitude for the adventure. I have no desire to put a lot more money into this because it just does not make sense. I have a neck now on hand that has resale value should this idea fail so that's safe for me. If it works than it's easier to find a reasonably priced painter which I could be willing to spend the money on. Or I'd attempt that myself. Right now it needs more sanding, then filling, prime and finish. No need to even think about that though until I know I have a viable, playable piece and that starts with getting neck and body mated as cheaply as possible.

    So that's where My head is right now.
     
  7. e.rich

    e.rich undersecretary of enablement Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    W. Newbury, MA
    If you decide to cut your losses at any point before you carve her up, let me know. I'm always looking for a Spector project.
     
  8. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Well, I have everything that came with it, pickups, electronics, hardware etc. And the case. I have plenty of pics as well. Make me an offer I can't refuse...
     
  9. is something wrong with the neck leading to a broken truss rod? pm sent.
     
  10. Dude, sell it rather than butcher it! ;)
     
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I am going to go against popular opinion here. I would cut the neck off and rout the body for a neck pocket, especially if you already have the neck. You just have to be very careful with your measurements and make sure you set your pocket at the correct location so your scale length is correct.
     
  12. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Now were talkin! I am fully on board with the measure 100 times, rout once. Working out all those details in my head now and on wood soon enough. Scale should be easy enough and I'll build a sturdy jig.

    Three current nagging questions are:

    1) what final depth and how to calculate

    2) do I make a pocket size allowance for final paint finish thickness or not? Every video I see makes no such allowance but they also make no mention of what final finish will be used

    3) do I needs pocket angle it not?
     
  13. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    But where's the fun in that? I would consider this at the right price to a rescue home. But honestly, there's no money in that option. I have one fair offer on the table that I am mulling though.
     
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    1) If you still have the fret board, measure that, and measure how proud the current neck sits above the surrounding wood. Add those two numbers together, and subtract them from the thickness of the bolt on neck. That will give you your pocket depth.

    2) If the neck is already finished, don't worry about it. You can always mask off the neck pocket before finishing. There is no need to paint the neck pocket.

    3) Most likely a flat pocket will be fine, if you happen to have trouble you can always shim the neck. With the way that bridge is recessed, I would guess that there isn't very much if any neck angle.
     
  15. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Another factor I'd be concerned about is how far into the body will the bolt-on neck sit, will there be enough body wood there to make a solid connection, and will the scale be right. Looks like your bridge position is already set, and unmovable at this point. Careful measurement of the distance between the saddle positions of the bridge, and the nut of the new neck will answer those concerns.
     
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    There should be plenty of meat in that neck through to rout a neck pocket and bolt the neck in. Looking at the two side by side, the back of the body is almost the same at the base of the neck. The shape is even the same which should make it quite easy.

    untitled.JPG
     
  17. jebmd

    jebmd Gold Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Lothian, Maryland
    Interesting thread.

    Find a bolt on body to use as a template. There has got to be a bolt on Spector bass owner in central NY who would be willing to help you.
     
  18. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    That should work well. I guess I should do the research before causing additional concerns. I'm not very familiar with Spector instruments, but that looks totally do-able.
     
  19. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I'm not either, its one of the few brands that I have never gotten my mits on to work on, or even play at a music store. I did a google image search for bolt on and neck throughs to see what they looked like.
     
  20. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    The google-fu is strong with this one :p
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.