Scroll Headstock

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ThumpPlunkJunk, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. I'm doodling around, trying to whip up a nice-looking bass on the tablet and I'm wondering to myself if my proposal is feasible--a bass guitar with a scroll instead of a headstock?

    I love the upright and the orchestral strings so it would be so nice to be able to implement it.

    Anybody here ever carve a scroll for an upright or electric? I'm pooling money together so hopefully I'll be able to blow it all on a really nice bass, and I'm trying to figure out what's doable and what's not.
  2. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Did you search?
  3. I searched with Google--found some images of some '50s novelty bass guitars with scrolls instead of headstocks. The scrolls were misshapen and squat, like little dwarf scrolls, and overall just ugly pieces of disgustingness.

    From what I've seen it's not been done.
  4. Search the subforum for (the very talented) Scojack. (?spelling)

    He has detailed how to carve a scroll in his latest build thread.
  5. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
  6. I'm not looking to carve it myself, should have been more clear about that, sorry. When I asked about the carving I was trying to see if anybody had done it before and if it was an odd request, because there aren't many luthiers around here, even fewer who make basses and I can't imagine many out of that who've carved scrolls.

    I googled "electric bass with scroll instead of headstock", "bass guitar with scroll" and similar things in Images, mostly because I'm not looking to make the bass or the scroll myself and I was checking to see if anybody had ever done it before without it looking like an upright defecated on an electric bass' headstock.
  7. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Wow... Seriously? Defecated? That's harsh...
  8. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Neck dive...
  9. scojack


    Apr 1, 2009
    Definately a problem, this could possibly be overcome with an extended top horn and ultralite tuners.
    Then comes the problem of scale, bear in mind that DB's have a scale length of 41+ inches and a large area behind the bridge. The scroll is in proportion with the instrument.
    Scale the string length down to 35 inches, and a scroll which can be up to a foot long will look well ...odd.
    Thats why anybody that has done this has generally gone for a very much stylised scroll.
    Also its VERY time and labour intensive, not very suitable for 'knocking 'em out'.
    Burns/Baldwin used to do this kind of thing too back in the sixties im sure...

    PS thanks for the kind words Ruckus & Mikey
  10. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    You're welcome and I do love your carvings. Good luck with your sprelling, by the way. ;)
  11. What is "neck dive"? The first thing that comes to mind to me would be an imbalance in weight near the scroll of the instrument. Couldn't that just be counterweighted?

    I don't understand--are you saying a scroll of a double bass wouldn't fit on a bass guitar or are you saying a proportionate bass guitar scroll wouldn't look right?

    Is creating the scroll labor intensive? If so I'm sure I could find an appropriate sized cello neck on eBay or something along those lines.
  12. scojack


    Apr 1, 2009
    Yes that is neck dive and yes it may be counterweighted.
    The proportions would look awful i.m.o.
    Yes, yes it is.
    Cello's ...dont know enough about em to comment.
    Good Luck !
  13. I've got an 1/8th size bass lying around here, and while I probably wouldn't want to sacrifice her for a bass guitar, I measured her strings and my bass guitar's strings and they're nearly the same length--though my guitar's strings are a little longer.

    Honestly I think it would look good. The scroll isn't over a foot long, and comparing the neck of my bass and the neck of my guitar side by side--I think it'd look pretty good.

    I'll check this off the list for things I need to do to build the perfect bass.

    Thanks, fellows. ;)
  14. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX

    Attached Files:

  15. BassCycle


    Jan 6, 2006
    Temecula, CA
    Builder: Classic Bass Works
    My first bass build (in high school shop back in the late '70s) had a cello styled scroll and 1/2 size cello back for the top. It was very cool and I still have the neck. I'll post a pic later when I get home.
  16. It's closer, yes, but the scroll looks too wide. Perhaps it's the angle, though.

    Overall it's a nice-looking bass though. I'd like to hear it.

    Nice. ;D
  17. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    You can keep complaining about what has been done or you can commission a luthier to bring your idea to life.
  18. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
  19. If a short scale works for you, try Brandoni Guitars, London, England. They stock lots of NOS Eko and other vintage parts from the 1960s-'80s, and had some scroll-headstock bolt-on necks for Eko violin basses. Prices quite reasonable.