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Set In Necks

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Worshiper, Jan 30, 2005.


  1. Worshiper

    Worshiper

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    Just finished basic sanding of my new bass body (will post pics soon) and I began to think. I was originally going to put LEDs as fret markers using a bolt on. However, my body is increadibly small so I figure that a set in with a neck that extends beyond the end of the fingure board will better suit me in this case. Here's my question. I have no experience with set ins. How do I do it? That is, how do they differ from bolt ons both in shape and assembly? Do I need anything other than glue to hold the neck in? And most importantly, will it last over time?
     
  2. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Good start! ;)
    How:
    You make a neck end that you find suites its purpose, make a pocket in the body that fits the neck and glue it in. OK,OK, I am ironic,OK, no offence intended, but I am indeed a teaser...
    Anyway, it is actually that simple and straightforward!

    The heel can be similar to the neck of a bolt-on, or extended to add some glue area. Personally, I'm a bit suspicious to those joints that are extended all the way to the pickup. Others, like JP, are not.

    Is glue enough?
    Yes. There is no need for any other part to keep it together, but you need to make sure that you clamp the joint well while the glue is not yet set!

    Will it last?
    Yes. Well, if you use white PVa glue, it will yield a little and may end up with problems. But there are instruments that have been out there for almost a century, glued up with hide glue in similar joints. And a lot that have been used for 30-40 years with aliphatic glue joints, showing no yield.
     
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I was under the impression that most of the older set necks use a dovetail or mortise-and-tenon. I always thought that the recent set-neck builders (like JP) who were not using the more sophisticated joinery were just that -- recent.

    Am I wrong?
     
  4. any joint that has sufficient glueing surface will work perfectly. I just use a regular 'bolt-on-like' pocket just make it fit a little snug.

    I also don't like leaving the heel as on the bolt-ons. I like to carve them like neck-through guys do.
     
  5. Worshiper

    Worshiper

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    so now it will last then? That's the big thing. I do intend to have this bass for a while.
     
  6. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    just make sure the frets and fingerboard sit the right 'height' off the body for the bridge and saddles BEFORE you go about glueing in the neck!
     
  7. Worshiper

    Worshiper

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    good call! I would have forgotten that. Thanks
     
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I guess that's half of my question, then. Have you got a sufficient gluing surface with a typical Fender pocket. The other half of my question is whether or not the older set-neck examples Suburban refers to are the same kind of joint that we are talking about here. Offhand I can't think of any that old that do not use dovetail or mortise and tenon. But then again, I don't really study up on these things. Alembic does a set-neck with their Orion but it is not clear what's going on inside the joint. Gibson has done many set neck guitars but the SG I believe is mortise-and-tenon.

    There are a handful of contemporary examples of instruments done using this technique. It seems like they all extend their necks pretty deep into the body.
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    As far as I know (which by all means is not too far), Gibson made both motise-tenon and flat joints in the "jazz guitars" in the '50s/'60s. Both types known to hold up!

    Re. the glue area that would be needed: it would be less than a bolt-on, if you use good glue and precise methods. The most important thing is to avoid any kind of cracks in the neck end of the pocket, or in the glue in that area. Then you need to make the joint deep enough to manage the bend, due to string pull (like 40 mm). If you then glue up all of that, you're home free (using epoxi, you might even make it with a 20mm glue joint (of the 40), providing the body wood is hard). Add extra area to withstand road forces...
     
  10. Worshiper

    Worshiper

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    so what is the best glue to use then?
     
  11. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Well, I assume you will do a full joint, about the size of a Fender pocket. In that case, or with more glue surface, aliphatic resin like Titebond will do nicely. Hide glue might also do the trick, but I'm a bit doubtful about the cracking resistance...
    If yo make a smaller joint, you need to consider epoxi or some variant of cyanoacrylate.
     
  12. Worshiper

    Worshiper

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    a simple wood glue wood not be sufficient?
     
  13. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Aliphatic resin (Titebond) = yellow wood glue.

    I would worry about the hide glue since it does not do so well in hot temperatures and I'd hate to see the joint slip if someone left the bass in a hot car in a black case for an afternoon.

    Epoxy or Titebond. Epoxy would be safer, IMO.
     
  14. any yellow wood glue would be good enough for the joint. On my first I used local (dominican republic) hardware store yellow glue which was more than 2 years old. It worked out great!