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tilted back headstock

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by barroso, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i am a 27 years old bass fanatic. i am a totally gearhead and after spending too much money in basses i realized that the only way to cure my excessive G.A.S. was starting to build intruments by myself. this not to have cheaper copy of hi end machines, but to keep me busy making the basses. you know that making a bass requires much more time than buy one. so i started with the usual books and during my free time i built some basses. actually i am designing my personal bass, something that would be quite peculiar. i think that the bass will be a mix between the spector ns design which i love (but in the warwick streamer higly carved top, which i prefer) and some aspect i have seen around such as a bigger horn. when designing the headstock i went for something really minimalistic and basilar, similar to elrick i have to admit. it will be my first tilted back headstock. here starts my actual dilemma.

    which is your opinion on the tilted back headstock design?

    which is your favorite way to build a bass this way?

    i mean there are different building school, one piece, glued headstock. i know the theory of each school, but i'd love to know more.


  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I never want to have to deal with a string tree, so tilt-back headstocks are the way to go for me.

    A scarf joint will be more wood-efficient, and possibly stronger (if you do a good job). But, for me, cutting the headstock from one continuous neck blank is just easier, and strength has never been an issue.
  3. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    you hit the nail. these are 2 ways to go. i have had different basses with tilted back headstock and they were made in these 2 ways. i guess that the strenght is related to the wood used. i have visited your website. you use some laminated maple too on the neck.
    i suppose that the scarf joint is a must for a good luthier (i maen that a good luthier has to be able to do that on request), but i am not that sure that it's the way to go.

    just for exemplei have a warwick with ovankol neck and no scarf joint. is this due to the quality of ovankol?

    to use the wood in the right direction and to achieve the maximum strenght (as read on some guitar building books) i made some instruments with the tilted headstock in this way:


    as you can see i was not perfect enough and you can still see the scarf joint. it's only a cosmetic issue but it bugs me...

    but now i am more interested in making a completely new bass with a new neck with a more C shaped profile (the one showed above is REALLY thin and flat!!!) so i'll have a bigger amout of wood where the headstock is tilted so more strenght. i am trying to find some bubinga and ovankol to experiment with them too. thanks and keep them coming, i think that this feature is one of the most difficult and interesting to make a bass in which the luthier is really satisfied.

  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    To be honest, not one of my customers has ever even mentioned a scarf joint. I doubt most non-luthiers know what a scarf joint is or if their bass has one. I hazard to guess that some luthiers are not very familiar with scarf joints. A friend of mine has a real POS Peavey with a scarf joint. Many high-end basses do not have scarf joints.

    The bottom line is that most well-constructed necks, and even some that aren't, are strong enough without the scarf joint. Unless you do this joint right, you can introduce weakness at the glue joint for a very slight increase in stiffness due to the orientation of the wood fibers in a such a joint.

    As a result, for most modern bass builders using multi-laminate necks of maple and even stiffer woods, the decision to do a scarf joint often comes down to economics: you can build necks with [marginally] less waste if you do the scarf joint.
  5. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i agree totally. infact i am starting to make some necks without that scarf joint.

    thanks for the replies!!
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Interesting, Ken. How much difference do you notice between the stiffness of the front and back of a typical maple billet?

    Are you floating the straight edge with the blank somehow under tension, or is this more a test of how much movement the neck is undergoing after machining?
  7. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    Mr. Ken Smith, i am honored to see your interest in my question. I am honored to see FBB interested too, but i have never played a FBB (you know i live in italy...) and i have had the pleasure to play 3 Smith basses and i have been very impressed with the build quality of these wonderful piece of art.

    I read the posts and found a lot of interesting informations. I am an hobbyst and i will never be a professional luthier. I do not intend to sell the basses i make. I make them for fun and i make them for some friends only. I ask the money i pay for materials only and i make basses for me. For me it's hard to find a lot of woods and i have a limited experience with them. I am not here to spread my word in how to build a bass nor i want to sell them. i am here to learn and to make what i do for fun more interesting for me.

    so compared to you both i have no experience and i am sure i have done a lot of errors building my basses. and i'll do some big mistakes in the next future too. You both are much better than me for sure and i have a lot to learn. since i have been pleased by the results i achieved with my efforts, i decided to go on with learning this wonderful job.

    i sincerely thank you both for your posts and comments. as said i am an hobbyst and for me your words are really precious.

    with much respect

    Marco Melillo aka barroso
  8. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    what do you think of this unusual headstock design?


    and what about this uprightesque design?



    thanks again
  9. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    This is an old thread. But I was hoping to hear from the luthiers about these neck designs.
  10. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    At first guess, I'd say the open headstock design would help to kill dead spots in a one-piece neck; certain headstock designs with too much wood on the "north" side of the nut have been noted to inflict certain resonances on the rest of the neck. Witness Billy Sheehan's use of those brass "Fat Finger" clamp things on his Fender-style Yamaha headstocks; he uses those to add mass in certain areas of the headstock to kill those resonances.

    I can't speak to the other design; I've never seen one.
  11. .....io già sapevo che tipo di persona eri, ma questo 3D chiarisce un bel pò di cose, caro barroso,

    salvato e distribuito, vediamo che ne pensano altri di certi tuoi atteggiamenti, alla luce di questo.....

    Chissà come mai in Italia non lo hai mai dichiarato, e non hai mai mostrato i risultati di queste tue ABILITA,

    è un peccato però, vediamo di rimediare subito.....

    :D :D :D :D :D
  12. .°))razzo((°.


    Oct 29, 2005
    ha! ha! ha! ha! :D :D :D .......non ci posso credere!!! :D :D

    Barroso è un Gliutaio!!!! ha! ha! ha! ha! :D :D :D

    .....mi crolla un mito!!!! :crying: :crying: :D :D

    Dai!...facci vedere un po la ciofeca!!! :D :D :D ha! ha! ha!

    da non crederci!! STRAMEGALOL
  13. M2wood


    Oct 29, 2005
    D'altra parte siamo noi gli hobbysti o meglio I MIEI lavori sono solmanente di basso Bricolage.

    Facile nascondersi oltreoceano!!!! :bag:


  14. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    ? O_O
  15. Mr.Colly


    Oct 29, 2005
    Forse è proprio quello che porta in signa nei lidi d'oltre oceano


    vai barri rispecchi proprio l'ideologia del tricolore viva il meidi in itali viva l'EKO!


  16. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Povero Barroso... nessun rispetto... :scowl:

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