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Thinking about building, but the neck freaks me out etc!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by odie, May 17, 2003.


  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I have thought about trying to build a bassic bass. Mostly to see how the magic works in building such a wonderful creation such as a bass is. My biggest fear is the neck, mostly the finger board and fretwork.

    Is there a place where you can can get premade fretboards, slotted and ready for frets?? Is it even possible to have a fretboard like this glued on to the neck after its been slotted?? Is it practical?

    Also what are some bassics that one can do to prepare. Suggestions for tools, designs(bolt on vs neck thru), books etc.

    Thanx!!
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most fingerboards go onto the neck slotted. StewMac sells them radiused and slotted (ready for frets), I think.
     
  3. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I would suggest getting Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock. This is a great book and an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to get into lutherie.
     
  4. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I was debating on which book to get either Hiscock or Koch.

    Is it possible to get a fretboard with frets from a supplier then glue it to the neck?
     
  5. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    FBB-By the way its a pleasure to have you answer my question(s)!!
     
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I think MusicKraft may also sell slotted, radiused fretboards.

    I don't think you could fret the board before attaching it. The frets are a press fit. I think an unmounted fingerboard would bend backwards in an arc when you inserted the frets, unless it was very thick.
     
  7. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I think your right. Is it difficult to install frets?? I looked at tools recommended for installing frets, and the list was pretty extensive even after taking into account the ones I dont need for a slotted board.


    Another question is that I have neck laying around I was going to use for my project(its a MTD neck). How do I go about finding the placement of the bridge and pups.

    Oh and yes Im ordering a book!! :) ;)
     
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Get that book! I liked Hiscock's book myself (never seen the other), although I never put it to practice.

    The bridge is placed so that the saddles, before intonation adjustment, lie twice the distance from the nut as the nut-12th fret distance.

    bgavin has a web page with a great spreadsheet that includes pickup positions from many basses.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Get that book! I liked Hiscock's book myself (never seen the other), although I never put it to practice.

    The bridge is placed so that the saddles, before intonation adjustment, lie twice the distance from the nut as the nut-12th fret distance.

    bgavinhas a web page with a great spreadsheet that includes pickup positions from many basses.

    the brid
     
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think you'll want to put the frets on after the board is glued down. The frets stay in as a result of the tangs being slightly wider than the slots. If you fret it before the board is glued on, the fingerboard will simply flex to accomodate them. I don't think you get a good fit & seating if you fret the board first. YMMV, but I don't know of anyone who sells them pre-fretted.

    Stew-Mac's boards are "unfretted and unprofiled, ready for trimming at your shop." You can get them radiused or unradiused.
     
  11. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Having studied both to depth, I'd choose Koch. More precise, more "production ready", while Hiscock is more "novelish".
     
  12. RobbieK

    RobbieK

    Jun 14, 2003
  13. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I have used the Hiscock book.

    I also have a few radiused boards from LMI.

    You know, if you want to avoid the neck issue you can always buy a neck from carvin. You can get a neck designed for a neckthru bass - you have to glue on the wings and install frets.

    Also, you can get the headstock predrilled and preshaped or you can get a paddle headstock and shape it yourself. They run
    around $275.

    Good luck...I'm working on a neckthu right now and am really enjoying it. It has not been withought it's problems but still cool.
     
  14. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    ...actually the neck through neck blanks from Carvin (4 string, 5 string, and 6 string, and all of their standard options - wide neck 5 string, 5 piece laminated, abalone block inlays, quilted headstock overly, etc.... are all available at the stand cost) come with frets already installed and dressed. You can also order them with a blank unshaped headstock so you could design/cut your own headstock and drill your own tuner holes.

    All you need to do is design and glue on body wings, then final shaping, sanding, routing and drilling for pickups and hardware and finishing.

    :^)~
     
  15. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    ...actually the neck through neck blanks from Carvin (4 string, 5 string, and 6 string, and all of their standard options - wide neck 5 string, 5 piece laminated, abalone block inlays, quilted headstock overly, etc.... are all available at the stand cost) come with frets already installed and dressed. You can also order them with a blank unshaped headstock so you could design/cut your own headstock and drill your own tuner holes.

    All you need to do is design and glue on body wings, then final shaping, sanding, routing and drilling for pickups and hardware and finishing.

    :^)~
     
  16. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I dont see an option under their necks for wide spacing, laminated or multi-piece or inlays.

    I want one with inlays, wide and assymetrical(sp?).
     
  17. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    So they can radius bass boards now. cool, I tried to get a board radiused about a year ago and they could not fit a board that long on their jig.
     
  18. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hi Odie,

    The neck options are listed under the actual basses themselves, so if you're looking for a 5 string neck, check the LB75 page (under custom shop basses, then LB75.... the wider asym neck is 3.0 inches wide at the 24th fret...)

    I'll list the options here as an FYI.

    5W - wider asymmetrical neck $40.00
    6100 - Dunlop Jumbo frets - .055 high X .110 wide $20.00
    6130 - Dunlop Low-Wide frets installed - .036 high X .106 wide $20.00
    AB - Abalone block inlays $120.00
    ABD - Abalone Dot Inlays $30.00
    BMF - Birdseye maple fingerboard with black dot inlays $60.00
    FI - Fretless fingerboard with white inlaid fret lines $20.00
    FID - Fretless fingerboard with inlaid fretlines and dot inlays $30.00
    MF - Maple fingerboard with black dot inlays $20.00
    MP - Mother-Of-Pearl block inlays $60.00
    NIN - No inlays on fret board (side dots only) $20.00

    5 Piece Laminated Neck Option
    5H - 5 piece mahogany neck with two maple stripes $100.00
    5K - 5 piece laminated koa neck with two maple stripes $150.00
    5M - 5 piece laminated maple neck with two koa stripes $100.00
    5MW - 5 piece laminated maple neck with 2 walnut stripes $100.00

    FPH - AAA Flamed Maple Headstock overlay $40.00
    KPH - Koa headstock overlay $40.00
    QPH - AAA Quilted Maple Headstock overlay $40.00
    WPH - Walnut headstock overlay $40.00
    ETR - Engraved Truss Rod Cover (personalized with your name) $15.00

    I have confirmed with Carvin via their online BBS that all of these standard neck and fingerboard options are available on their neck through neck blanks.

    Hope this helps,

    :^)~
     
  19. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Can anyone recommend a book to supplement the Hiscock book? Specifically, something to touch on those aspects that are unique to or more important in bass building? My guess is a book on finishing might be good, but I'd appreciate any suggestions.