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Thinning out a neck?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BellBottomBlues, Jun 19, 2007.


  1. BellBottomBlues

    BellBottomBlues

    Feb 21, 2007
    New York
    Endorser:Fender User:Rotosound, LaBella, Ashdown, Lindy Fralin
    Hey all, I've decided to experiment with thinning out the neck on my RI P-bass.

    Basically, I was thinking of just running a very light sandpaper up and down the neck to gradually make it thinner. However, it has a skunk stripe.

    Would doing this with a very fine grade of sand paper ruin the neck? I want to get it a lot slimmer.
     
  2. If the bass is a '57 or '62 reissue, I'd think twice before I did what you're suggesting. You'd probably be better off selling it or trading for a P-Bass with a different neck profile.
     
  3. BellBottomBlues

    BellBottomBlues

    Feb 21, 2007
    New York
    Endorser:Fender User:Rotosound, LaBella, Ashdown, Lindy Fralin
    its the 57. I own a vintage 58 and the neckis slimmer than this!
     
  4. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    You will be sanding for a long, with fine sandpaper, before you get enough material off to be noticeable.

    The precision of the taper in the neck determines how accurately the neck can be set up. If the neck has thick and thin spots, the smoothness of the bend in the neck wont be consistent.

    A scraper would probably be your tool of choice. as you expose the raw wood on one side of the neck and the other side is sealed, moisture being drawn into the raw side will cause the open surface expand. The side that is sealed is dry and the wood is stable, so the wood draws into a bow. The quicker that you can get the cut made and resealed the better off you will be.

    You will be removing wood from the back of the neck that has been in balance with the wood in front for a long time, and when you relieve the tortured wood, it could warp.



    You described it as an experiment, which means you're willing to write off the ones that go wrong. Wrong, in your case, meaning a ruined bass.

    The odds are against your being happy after it's done, but bottom line is, it's your call.
     
  5. I would strongly recomend against thinning a neck. As pkr mentioned, it could easily warp, crack, or even snap alltogether. if you want a thinner neck, it would be better to buy a replacement jazz bass neck and swap it for the precision neck. This is also means that if you ever wanted to sell the bass, you could just put the p neck back on and sell it as "all original"
     
  6. BellBottomBlues

    BellBottomBlues

    Feb 21, 2007
    New York
    Endorser:Fender User:Rotosound, LaBella, Ashdown, Lindy Fralin
    I hate the taper on jazz necks which is a problem. The reissue has a thicker neck than my original, which i dont like. At all. :-(
     
  7. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    No kidding. Maple is hard wood and doesn't sand quickly. Don't ignore the risks pkr2 talked about - they can all happen. However, I've had pretty good luck thinning a few necks - probably in part because I've sanded them more or less in one sitting, then gotten the first coat of sealer or polyurethane (rubs out easily to a dry, fast satin). Some caveats: The older the neck, the drier it is, therefore more likely to absorb water and warp (also more likely to be higher value). I'd say, in general, don't thin any neck you can't afford to replace.

    All that said - First, figure out where the truss rod is (The thickness of the wood between the back of the neck and the rod in its pocket, really.) The Warmoth site says a minimum of 1/8th" of wood must be left over the truss rod ends (where pressure is greatest on the wood) to prevent failure. I'm a bit more conservative than that. Also, if I can't map out where the trussrod actually sits inside the neck - I won't mess with it - too risky. If I am going ahead, I use coarse paper (80 to 100 grit) on the back of the neck and make an even flat spot from the top to the bottom (Do not sand the heel or it won't fit the neck pocket.) judging the depth occasionally with a decent ruler or micrometer. Once I've removed the depth I want, I sand out each side to a comfortable shaped U. The advantages to doing it this way are: (1) You can keep track of how much you've taken off (you can just take a little and repeat the process if you want to remove more); (2) It's relatively reliable for avoiding winding up with a dangerously uneven neck, prone to instability. I don't subscribe to the opinion that minute changes in shape or thickness have dramatic effects - I guess they could, but wood is often pretty forgiving unless you go overboard.
     
  8. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Would changing the profile of the neck change the way the truss rod behaves? IOW, would a fret leveling be a good idea at the same time?
     
  9. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    The neck needs to settle down all over again after a change.
     
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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