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Separated neck...online how to?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mjmeneley, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. mjmeneley


    Mar 25, 2004
    I have a 1939 Kay upright bass that belonged to my grandpa that I am hoping to repair/ restore. The neck has pulled away from the back about 1/16" and this is the main thing I want to fix. I have been told I need to separate the rest of the joint using heat, and then reglue it. Can anyone direct me to any online how-to's that could help me do this myself? I'd like to save the $400 or so it would cost me to have it professionally repaired, but I do want to do it RIGHT. Any help would be greatly appreciated...Thank you!
  2. I'm no expert, but I think any luthier here will tell you that a neck reset is extremely critical and is something that should be left to an someone who's had ample experience.

    Sounds like the bass has some sentimental value to you. Might be worth the investment to have it done by a professional.

    Just my $.02
  3. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.

    I agree with Mike about the pro. Probably worth it in the long run, but...

    If you are an experienced woodworker you should drop in on www.mimf.com. (musical instrument makers forum). There you will find a ton of info on things like this. Very good resource if you are interested at all in tings of dis natchah. (best arnold)

  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hopefully Arnold and JefeJeff will chime in here in a second.

    Now I'm just talking out my a** here, because I don't even touch my bridge (I did look inside my bass once). BUT I am given to understand that the neck joint on Kays is an especially heinous repair job cause they weren't fitted real well to begin with. There's LOTS of wiggle room in the pocket.

    It may be that you have some woodworking skill that is more to the George Nakashima side than the building-a-spice-rack-for-Mom side, but I still think the decision of exactly how much sweat equity you are willing to put into the project. There may be a lot of "Crap, gotta do that again". And if what you are doing is restoring Granpa's bass, the time spent may be part of the investment you want to make. But if teh idea is that the bass has got to be ready for a gig next Thursday, well I'm sure you can add 2 and 2 ....
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I think I'd take my chances with that transmission before I'd mess with that bass.

    Seriously, $400 is not a whole lot of money if the '39 Kay is otherwise in good shape. A wise investment aside from the fact it was once grandpa's.
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    I never thought I'd read George Nakashima's name on Talkbass! Ed, you are truly a world-class knowitall, and I say that with the utmost in respect from a fellow knowitall! As far as this Kay neck reset, my humble opinion is that a $400 neck reset is likely to be done in an incompetent manner. The amount of skilled work required to remove the neck without damage, repair the joint, reassemble, get it on straight, and then cosmetically make everything nice-nice is huge! However, that said, if you have a qualified luthier who has a good deal of experience with Kay necks who is willing to do the job for that price you should run there with the bass and get it fixed! By the way, if you want to bow the bass, you'll need to have a piece added to the heel to give proper elevation, otherwise the bridge will be too low for steel strings. Of course adding to the heel will loosen the neck in its dovetail, necessitating shimming the joint. There's a lot of potential for error here.
  7. mjmeneley


    Mar 25, 2004
    Thanks for all the input guys. I think you've convinced me to get it professionally repaired.

    Gotta run, I've got a transmission out in the garage that needs work. ;)
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    AHNOLDT - re:knowitall - my standard answer around the daygig for awhile was "...and if I don't know, I'll be more than happy to make something up." What can I say, I read a lot and poke around a lot.

    One of my favorite "havens" from the real world for awhile was that little room in the Met, right before the Japanese wing, that was full of Nakashima furniture that you could actually sit in. Quiet, beautifully proportioned, I could just sit in a Conoid lounge in the corner as tourists cycled themselves through. On one hand I couldn't understand why more people didn't take advantage of the space, but on the other I was happy to have it, more or less, to myself.

    I was reminded of Nakashima's philosophy about woodworking (that while trees may live for hundreds of years, they do eventually die and a well constructed piece would extend that tree's "life" for centuries more) when I read a DOUBLE BASSIST piece on Horst Grunert. Apparently he has an old woodcarving in his atelier that reads something like When I stood in the forest, I was mute. Now I sing through the ages.
  9. Interesting discussion…

    reminds me of a quote by Spike Milligan:

    They chop down 100ft trees
    To make chairs
    I bought one
    I am six-foot one inch
    When I sit in the chair
    I'm four foot two.
    Did they really chop down a 100ft tree
    To make me look shorter?

    PS - at this time, Arnold & Ed both had exactly the same number of posts… curious eh?
  10. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003
    Sorta looks like you ran over to Rockabillybass to post the same question. Maybe you'll get an answer you like better over there.
  11. mjmeneley


    Mar 25, 2004
    Just trying to gather as much useful info as I can!
  12. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Man, this confused the c^@* outta me.
    I was gonna say this was quite a dilemma - cause I'd like to fix 'em both. The truck I could deal with but, the bass I'd take to a pro.

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