1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Trying to figure out neck scale

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Just J, Jul 31, 2007.


  1. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    Newbie, so don't crucify me if this is the wrong forum please. :)

    Anyway, my first bass was a Squier P/J. I modified it a bit with better pickups and electronics, and shielded the cavity, but the tone left a bit to be desired. I managed to find a new body that had the proper pickup orientation and was made of better quality wood. The tone is exactly what I was looking for, however, the scale of the body is incorrect. The Squier is apparently a 34" scale, but the neck is maybe an inch or more shorter than it should be to fit the body properly, so the guitar's intonation is all mucked up.

    My question is simple. How can I figure out the proper neck length for when I get a replacement?
     
  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    measure the distance from the body side of the nut to the center of the 12th fret and multiply by two. this is the neck scale length.

    now take and measure from the body side of the nut to the witness point on the G-string bridge saddle. you should find this to be pretty close to matching the scale length of your neck that you determined in the previous step. it is important to reference the G-string, as the other strings will have been compensated longer than the scale length for your specific set-up (ex: the E-string will be about 1/4" - 3/8" farther from the nut than the G-string)

    if your bridge saddle is able to be adjusted into this location you should be OK. also check to verify that your neck heel sits tightly against the leading edge of the neck pocket (i.e. no big gaps)

    drop a note back with what you find and we can help you take the next steps

    all the best,

    R
     
  3. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    Thanks. I'll do the measurements once I can find my measuring tape. :meh:
     
  4. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    For this type of measurement, a metal yardstick seems to work best for me, as it is straight, doesn't flex, and is still fairly thin (1/8" or less). Tape measures work in a pinch, but can be difficult to manage around the strings, IMO...

    Metal yardsticks can be had a Home Depot for about $2, and will be invaluable for checking neck straightness (when the strings are off), or laying out straight lines if you ever decide to build from scratch. :)
     
  5. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    Thanks for the tip. I'm a tinkerer, so this is my first "project" guitar just to mess around with. I'll probably put together something a bit nicer when I'm a better player. :p

    P.S. I checked out your site, wicked stuff. I didn't know anyone else used fanned frets other than Dingwall. Also, on you're "Possess" page, there's a typo. Says "5-atring bass:". ;)
     
  6. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    It took me forever to find a ruler, but I got some measurements.

    From the nut to the middle of the 12th fret, 16.5". From the 12th to the break on the saddle 17" (it's important to note, the saddles are as far to the base of the bridge as they can go and the notes are still really sharp at the 12th fret). Total scale length is 33.5. Doubt this is right.
     
  7. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    You need to measure to the middle of the actual fret line. I am almost certain that a squire p bass is 34" scale.
     
  8. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    The guitar the neck is from is a Squire P Special (P/J), the Body is NOT a squire body, it's a MIM Fender with P/J and active electronics. The neck is just there temporarily until I can track down a proper scale.

    I'll remeasure tonight... hopefully.
     
  9. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    The Squier P bass' all have 34" scale, to my knowledge... my first bass was a squier P, as was the first bass of my best buddy... both were exactly 34" scale.

    34" scale should be exactly 17" from the brake-over point on the nut to the center of the 12th fret. But whatever the distance *is* from the nut to the 12th fret, double that and you have your scale length.

    Thanks about the note about the typo... I'll have to get on that eventually. ;) I'm working on a new site, and it should correct a lot of issues I'm having with the old site right now.
     
  10. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    Yea, the site lists it as a 34" scale, but the neck is just too short for this specific body. Not sure how to figure out what type of neck I need. Don't really want to drop the dime on a neck to finish up this guitar only to have it not work.

    At the 12th fret, with all the bridge saddles as far back as they can go, the note is quite sharp, easily over a half step. I'm having a hell of a time tracking down info on the body as well... I just know it's a MIM fender with active P/J pickups. It sounds great, I just can't play up and down the neck. :(
     
  11. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    Ok, flip those number around. From the nut to the 12th is 17", from the 12th to the break in the bridge is 16.5".

    The neck is easily about an inch too short, maybe more. It's a 20 fret neck... think the guitar is designed for a neck that has more? Seems logical.
     
  12. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    How much travel do you have on the bridge saddles? If they are all the way forward (toward the nut) you may be able to move them back far enough to intonate it correctly. It's possible that the body was designed for a neck with 21 frets...
     
  13. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    They're all the way to the bottom of the bass, can't lengthen the strings any more.

    I'm thinking it was designed for a 21+ fret neck as well, but all the Fender replacements I'm finding are 20, or if they're 21+ it's an extended fingerboard. :(
     
  14. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    According to Mighty Mite's website:

    P-Bass® 9.5 20 / Medium Jumbo 1" & 11/16"
    J-Bass® 9.5 21 / Medium Jumbo 1" & 11/16"

    Fender's site says that the P-bass neck is 1.625" (1 5/8") and the nut, and that the J-bass neck is 1.5" at the nut...

    Warmoth makes their Jazz necks at 1.5" and their P-bass necks at 1.6875 (1 11/16"), and anything over 20 frets uses an overhang (which makes sense, since the Fender basses all have 20 frets as standard).

    So much for consistancy, even among licensed manufacturers. My recommendation to you would be to either make a body, have someone else make a body, or look on eBay for a Squer bass body... they are all over on there. You could probably put the body you have up on eBay and get almost enough to pay for your replacement. You'd have a better chance of getting the right fit that way.
     
  15. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Do you have any room to move the bridge farther back (away from the neck)?

    Another option is to position the neck in the neck pocket so it's at the proper distance, and reattach it. You'll have a gap between the end of the neck and the body though. You can have that filled in with wood.
     
  16. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Just moving the neck back would require modification of the neck pocket, because the neck (and the pocket) taper. Move the neck back, and the pocket will be too narrow. Getting that right on an already finished body will be a real pain, and may require refinishing of the body. Just as easy, at that point to make a new body, or get a different one, I'd think.

    If he can move the bridge back .75" - 1" then I'd say go for that, but once again, there is finish repair that would have to be done if the original screw holes get exposed...
     
  17. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    I agree.
     
  18. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    The Squier was my first, but I really grew to hate the tone of the wood. The new body has a much better tone, so I'm digging the sound, just a bit peeved about the intonation problem. I think I'll take a look at moving the bridge, the body is sunburst, but I can deal with holes [insert "Jaco's bass looked like crap yet he's awesome" comments].

    I'm wondering if I could track down a 34" neck with more frets that's not a Fender licensed replacement. I thought about hacking in the neck from my Yamaha P-Bass... the screw holes are a bit different though (the top screws are at an angle). Since there's so much stress on the neck if none of the holes line up I might end up breaking the neck.

    I may end up picking up a body from a shop if I can't figure out another solution. I can mount all the electronics and such. Thanks for the help guys.
     
  19. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    haha, oh man, talk about a coincidence.

    I got the body on Ebay, the seller sold the body and neck seperate, so someone else got the neck. Amusingly enough he had contacted me with the same fittiment problems but I never saw the message until today. Hopefully we'll be able to work out a deal so I can get the proper neck.
     
  20. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Never try to match up the screw holes!

    Always fill the holes on the neck with wooden dowels and glue, and then once you have the neck in the right position on the body, clamp it in place and drill through the body to make new holes in the neck.

    You have to mark your depth on the bit to make sure you don't drill through the fingerboard! And use the right size bit. The bit should be the size of the shaft of the screw, but not the threads.

    This is the same procedure used on a new bolt on neck.

    If you try and match up existing holes the neck will likely end up in the wrong location.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.