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Setting a bolt on neck?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kyral210, Sep 14, 2008.


  1. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    Ok, here is my crazy idea. What would happen if I was to remove the neck of my Epiphone Thunderbird, score the 'meeting' surfaces, and then glue with very strong wood glue, using the screws to clamp the neck to the body while the glue sets.

    Would i have a set neck bass? How would it hold up to s shop purchased set neck bass? I am trying to get as close to the Gibson Thunderbird as I can through mods.

    Currently I have:
    • Replaced the tone pot with 250k Audio taper instead of 500k
    • Orange Drop 0.22 capacitor
    • Graphtech Black TUSQ nut
    • Gibson silver 'witch hat' knobs

    If anyone else knows of any more mods I can do please tell me.
     
  2. It'd probably be a better idea to use a large clamp to hold the two parts together, rather than just relying on the screws.
     
  3. GlennW

    GlennW

    Sep 6, 2006
    No, you'd have regrets.
     
  4. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    Why?
     
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Is there a reason for this mod (cosmetic, functionality, etc)? I doubt if it would enhance the tone or sustain in any way. You'll also be unable to remove the neck is service is required. Yes, it does happen.

    Riis
     
  6. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    So why is there a tonal difference between set necks and bolt on necks? If what you said was true, why would anyone go for a set neck or through neck (i with I had a through neck Gibson Thunderbird).
     
  7. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    The joint used in set necks is also different (a tongue and groove type thing I believe) and much longer. The bolt on joint isn't big enough to support being glued in alone. You could however try gluing and bolting, but I doubt you'll hear much tonal difference.

    You'll get more tonal difference by changing pickups than the neck joint. May be worth looking at this instead.

    As for other mods, Hipshot make a new bridge esp for 3 point bridges like the Tbird that you may want to consider:
    http://www.hipshotproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=264
    Although I don't know how well or if at all it works with the Epi model
     
  8. Energy

    Energy

    Jun 20, 2006
    Germany
    Sorry if this sounds too hard, but by modifying an Epiphone you'll never get close to a Gibson T-Bird. Never mind the neck joint. It's alder/maple/bolt-on vs. mahogany/mahogany/neck-through. Even if you put original Gibson hardware and pickups on your Epiphone, you'd still have a totally different instrument.
     
  9. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    The neck glue in is a stupid idea. You'll never be able to remove the neck if you need to later and you probably will; say, if you had to instal a shim to adjust the neck angle. The difference in sound will be minimal, probably not enough to notice.

    But it's your bass and if you don't care about what I said, clean off all the old finish from the mating surfaces, sand lightly and then use a very strong wood glue, like Titebond on both surfaces and you can then clamp it back into place with the existing screws. If your glue joint is clean and mates perfectly you'll have a very strong joint that you'll never get apart again without splintering the wood.

    If you want to improve the sound of the bass look at changing the pickups and using good strings. A good setup will help too. I don't know what pickup that Epiphone uses, but there are for sure going to be upgrade alternatives available from at least a couple companies. Look at what Seymour Duncan has to offer.

    You might think about adding an on board active preamp with tone controls.
     
  10. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    picard.
     
  11. lowtide

    lowtide Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2006
    Bradenton, Florida
    Owner: Buzzard's Bass Shop
    +1
     
  12. lowtide

    lowtide Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2006
    Bradenton, Florida
    Owner: Buzzard's Bass Shop
    I don't agree fully with the above statement. Most glue joints are reversible, although difficult. If a neck didn't need a shim to begin with, there is little chance of it needing a shim in the future. Shims are usually when a truss rod cannot correct a situation. But I do agree the difference in sound will be minimal. Also, the woods being joined in a set neck are usually bullsass tight to begin with aiding in the transference of tone. By relying on a glue joint for tone transference you will be disappointed. A glue joint, IMO, actually deadens tone.
     
  13. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I don't agree with lowtide on some points, but no matter.

    One thing I did which did offer some sonic improvement on my Fender P with a poorly fitting neck involved a bit of careful work but has resulted in a perfect tight fitting and stable neck joint. I cleaned all the old finish out of the neck piocket, then scored the wood slightly so epoxy would bond. I installed threaded inserts with machine bolts to get a very much stronger mechanical connection. Then I used plastic tape to mask off the edge of the body around the neck pocket and the neck sides and ends so epoxy run off wouldn't stick. I coated the part of the neck heel that would be inside the neck pocket with a good thick coat of furniture wax so epoxy wouldn't stick. I also used a Q tip to wax the inside threads of the inserts and put wax on the threads of the bolts in case any epoxy worked its way in there. Onnce I'd determined that everything fit perfectly, no shims were needed and I knew epoxy wouldn't stick anywhere i didn't want it, I mixed up a fairly thick peanut butter consistency goop of marine epoxy (Systems 3 and WEST are good) and fine wood dust from my belt sander bag, stirred it as recommended and coated the neck pocket liberally. (wear gloves) Then I re-installed the neck and tightened it down. Epoxy oozed out of the pocket. I cleaned this up with an old credit card so it wouldn't overflow past the masking tape. As the epoxy started to thicken up I pulled off the masking tape leaving a clean line. Then I left the bass in a warm room for a good 36 hours for the epoxy to cure. I then removed the neck bolts and with a good solid tap was able to remove the neck and re-instal it perfectly. There was as close to perfect possible contact between the neck and the neck pocket. There was a noticeable improvement in sound. Slightly stronger and more even bass. Smoother midrange and no dead spot on the G string, which I'd had a bit of before. In about a week the epoxy got as hard as granite. I did that over 8 years ago. No problems with it since. I removed the neck once a year ago to trim the ends of the frets. It came out easy and went back in easy. The neck hasn't shifted a bit.

    All this is a lot of work and probably not worth it on a bass you might not keep, but this P was a good one, better than most from that era. I think the results have been worth it. It's not something to try if you're not handy with tools and epoxy and can't do careful work.
     
  14. The idea of neck thru basses was so the bridge, pickups, nut and tuners were on the same piece of wood, or wood laminates. It was very popular with custom makers in the 70's. A glued net joint and good 4-screw, screwed in neck joint shouldn't be any different sound wise. I'd think pickups, wiring, cables have a lot more to do with the final sound of a bass than the neck joint (although still very important, it doesn't need gluing in.)
    Look at mid 70's Fender J-basses that went to three screws. Which made for a rather unstable neck joint. Now other bass makers are going for 5 or 6 screws.
     
  15. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I believe there will be somewhat a difference between a neck joint that merely "sits" on top of a neck pocket and a "set neck" joint, like a dovetail or a mortise & tenon joint. With either the dovetail of mortise set neck methods,
    would there not be more mass and vibration transfer? Me thinks so.
    Regarding a "bolt on" convert, that will set the neck right on top of the neck pocket? Maybe not too noticeable of a difference.
     
  16. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    You're right. Pickups, strings and electronics have a far greater impact on sound. But I can't help getting in there and fiddling with things to try to improve them. Usually the gains are imperceptible.
     
  17. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Uh ... no. Shims are to change the angle of the neck relative to the saddle/bridge. The truss rod is ONLY to fine tune the neck relief. Two different animals, although both contribute to the action.

    But gluing a bolt on neck isn't practical. It would be a flat lap joint and be weak. I can see it cracking just from the tension of the strings! True set necks use either a dovetail mortise and tenon, or plain M&T (sometimes with reinforcing dowels) ... either way, the joinery and the glue form a strong joint that is designed to withstand the tension of the strings.
     
  18. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Uh ... do you think you might have expressed your opinion without a personal jab? You just called that man "stupid". He's smart enough to ask, and deserves a respectful reply.
     
  19. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    True. I have an Epiphone Goth which is Mahogany neck and body. I know I will never have a thunderbird from an epiphone, but I can improve it to make it sound the best I can. Then I will have a good sounding and good looking bass.

    By the way, I have a 1st class design degree, work as a designer, and am about to start a PhD. I dont know everything, but I am not stupid :ninja:
     
  20. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Lighten up a bit. I called the idea stupid. I didn't call him stupid. I think most of us have had stupid ideas from time to time, usually from a lack of knowledge or experience. It doesn't mean we're stupid.

    I agree with you though one one point--I'm not at all politically correct.
     

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