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Serious qu: should I shave down the neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. K, so my 3 wood challenge, fanned fret(less) is mostly finished and is playable.
    In fact it's more than playable, it sounds sublime...
    It's the only fretless I've heard that is comparable is a Pedulla Pentabuzz, only it's a different animal in many ways. However, I have something of a dilemma...

    I think the neck is too thick and too wide. It's 24mm thick at the nut and has no fingerboard radius either (a specific design feature). Added to this is the crazy, trapezoidal, neck profile. So yes, it's an interesting thing to begin with. The point is, I'm finding my left hand is getting tired playing after a while and I put it down to the thickness.

    Now I'm happy to thin it down a few milimetres on either side of the neck and maybe even put a radius on fingerboard. However, I'm worried if I thin the back of the neck down, it's going to take away some of EPIC sustain that I love in the sound. Even with flatwounds it has piles of sustain in the upper registers.

    So, what should I do? Ideas?
  2. anyone? :/
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    If it is uncomfortable to play then I would say to go ahead and reshape the neck. I doubt it will effect the tone in a negative enough way to outweigh the playability gains.
  4. Triad

    Triad Commercial User

    Jul 4, 2006
    Luthier - Prometeus Guitars
    If you shave the back of the neck you'll notice a loss of low-mids. Of course if you don't shave it too much the loss won't be that big but I shaved a few necks down (expecially on the sides) and I know for sure how this affects tone.
    Playability comes first, though... so if it's hard on your left hand you better make it thinner.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Fantastic instrument!

    Heartily agreed.
  6. I don´t think radiusing will have an effect it your hand fatigue, neither narrowing (considering that it´s only a 4 string). Thinning the neck will definitively have a positive effect. The trapezoidal profile it´s imo opposite to ergonomics but you should be careful if you attempt to change it.
    You´ll be taking out material, hence the stiffness could decrease, so the tone could be affected. That said, depending on the woods used, the way they were cut (flat, quater, etc.), the neck construction and whether reinforcements were used, you can have a very thin profile and hell of a tone.
    Last but not least, playing technique has a lot to do with hand fatigue and further more with conditions such as tendinitis.
  7. mmm, have to think about it then...
  8. Love the sound!
  9. Ok, I may have a real answer to this. In the last week or so I finally did some real practice on the bass in question. And guess what? I think the discomfort I've been feeling was a lack of condition... :meh:

    This kinda makes sense coz I've been playing upright for years and the dimensions of the neck are much bigger than this fretless. So I'm gonna leave it for now and try doing some more proper playing. And yes, I feel pretty silly. :bag:

    Struggling through Pat Metheny's "Bright size life"...

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