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Thinning a neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BryanM, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I've got an SX P-neck to play with and was wondering if it would be a ton of work (read: worth the effort) to reshape the taper so that it's got more of a J feel, maybe even thin down the profile similar to the Geddy Lee. I've done limited woodworking and would be doing this primarily by hand. Whether I reshape the neck profile, I'm going to be stripping, defretting and satin-staining the neck one way or the other.
  2. sofnlo


    Dec 29, 2004
    i`ve got a squire j neck ,black headstock with rosewood fingerboard, if you want to trade,each pays their own shipping
  3. It might be an interesting project for you and you may enjoy it but it would be a lot of work, especially if you did it correctly. The simple thing would be to swap the neck for a jazz. Then you would still have the old neck if you decided that you did not like the slim neck afterall. To do the project it would mean conforming to a lot of measurements the entrire length. I'm not trying to discourage you, I like projects like that.
  4. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Rocky: The neck is actually going on a squier VM jazz fretless body, I put the fretless neck on my SX P bass.

    Sofnlo: I think I'm gonna hang on to this one and try to do it, because it'll be a fun learning experience on shaping out a neck and getting the taper right. I figure if I do it poorly, I'm only out the cost of an SX neck, but if I do it right, I've got a neck that's suited to exactly what I want.
  5. Hey, I say research it, be careful and go for it!
  6. What woodshaping tools do you have? How are you going to reshape it?
  7. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    After defretting it I was probably going to mark off a taper about 1/8" in from each side, starting from the end of where it couples with the body and use a hand plane to work it down flat along that taper, then I was going to use some files and rasps (and possibly the plane if it's not too drastic) to shape and round the neck and thin the front to back taper about 1/8" as well. After that's all done and it's pretty much the shape I'm looking for I'll step sand it until it's smooth, use a 10" radius on the FB with maple veneer filling the fret slots and refinish the whole thing in tung oil. (As I said, I've some experience with woodworking, albeit fairly limited. If any of you know a better process I'd love the tips.)
  8. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    it sounds like you have it pretty well figured out. you might want to use a straight edge to ensure that the taper is straight. Shaping a neck is like sculpting wood - go slow w/the rasps you can get into trouble fast if you take off too much wood. Some people like templates to determine the shape of the neck. I go by eye and feel. Run your hand over the neck frequently to determine high/low spots. After filing I sand the neck w/a thick piece of leather instead of a sanding block. The leather conforms to the curve but will remove high spots, this ensures a nice flat, consistent neck profile
  9. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    SX necks are pretty inexpensive, buy a replacement as a contingency plan, in case it doesn't turn out well, and try it...
    Could be a great learning experience!
  10. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    I've changed the taper of a Squier P before to make it Jazz bass width. Check out the thread over here:


    You'd be better off changing the taper with a follower bit and a straight plank of wood for guiding it, all you need to do after is round it out. Doing it by hand with rasps will be very hard + you'll be sure to have plenty of bumps here and there.
  11. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I would love to go that route, but as of right now the power tools I have at my disposal are a jigsaw, drill, circular saw, and a 30 year old router that hasn't been used in half of its lifetime. I've done woodworking by hand but haven't used power tools for anything other than cabinetry since middle school, so am a bit nervous about them.
  12. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    id go this route too.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    A quick and cheap tool that I have found to reshape a neck is a simple single edge razor blade. It gives you good control, and removes faster than sandpaper or a file, while not requiring as much smoothing afterwards as a rasp would. More control than a rasp as well. I've done a couple of necks this way with good results.

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