upper horn/strap button extensions question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by craigb, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Hey Y'all,

    I'm looking at adding an extension my Steinberger Spirit XZ-2db ("full bodied" headless). It's a MusicYo cheapy but I like headless and I like using it for a backup and travel bass better than a full-sized bass. It doesn't hang comfortably as-is (the neck sticks out too far to the left which bugs my hand/wrist/arm after a while). I've experimented with pushing it to one side or the other, using my Strapture strap (lets you slide the bridge end strap attachment point up-and-down the body) and decided that extending the point where the strap attaches in the front is the best way to make things more comfortable (that will bring the neck back into "normal" position and allow the bass to lay "flatter" against my round belly).

    Most of the extensions I've seen (Bob Gollihur's extension to his LP bass, ASATman's ASAT strap extenders) attach via the neck screws and are "independant" of the bass body. I can do that but worry about getting the replacement screw size/length correct and holding the neck correctly. The Spirit has recessed individual screw grommets so I'd be replacing probably 2 of those with longer screws and the screws would have to go through the extension, the gap for the recessed grommet, the body and the neck - and I worry about whether this would compromise the neck-body attachment.

    Another method I'm considering is cutting a "horn extension" and wood screwing it directly to the body. I haven't seen this done anywhere but it seems like it would work. I do worry about whether that would mess up the body vibration at all and "deaden" the bass (it's a pretty lively little bugger).

    So the essence of the question:

    What is the best way to move the upper horn strap button out - an extension attached at the neck attachment, an extension attached directly to the upper horn/body or some other way?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my book here - I'm planning on using some thinner solid hardwood (oak, probably) that I've seen Lowes to make the extension from.
  2. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    This is a toughie. I'd go with extending the strap knob out several frets, but it doesn't look like the angle the screw goes in on the Spirit would put the end of an extension at a good place. Plus, you'd be extending by 3" or more (to put the knob around the 12th fret or so) and that would put a lot of stress on the screw holding the extension to the bass - too much stress, I think.

    Any body extension I can think of would really just be ugly, short of actually lopping off the upper horn and attaching a new one, with a full refinishing job.

    I'd just tie a string to the "head" and wear it country-gittar style! :p

    Seriously, I'd recommend a wider, grippier strap.
  3. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Yeah, there's no "ideal" way to move the strap button out. I guess I may try attaching an extension at the neck joint first - that's 100% reversible if I don't like it. If I extended the horn it would be "behind" the actual horn and I'd paint the extension black so it would blend in with the strap and my stage clothes (the bass is honeyburst).

    Oh well, some of the work is to determine exactly where I want the front strap button on a future headless parts-custom anyway (needs to be done).

  4. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    This may sound like a step in the wrong direction, but definately worth a try:

    Have you tried the lower strap button at the bridge end? I have a headless 7-string with a button either side of the tuning tailpiece thing, and I find that the bass sits a lot better when the strap is attached to the button on the lower side.

    You could also try the old trick of taping a little bag of lead shot or fishing sinkers in the electronics cavity to help the balance of your axe.

    But I think your best bet would be to attach one of those swivelling pairs of strap arms like the little rectangle Steinbergers have - that way you could tape it to the back in a few places til you find the best spot, then get a luthier to fix it permanantly for you.
  5. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I've got a strapture strap that lets me slide where the bridge end of the strap is (basically it puts string between the strap buttons and you can slide the strap end back and forth). That helps and I'm going to give it a good week or two trial after my band's next gig (don't want to risk setting off my wrists before the gig). But it's not as satisfying as the way my G&Ls (normal P-style bodies) hang.

    It balances fine - it's just too far to the left and if I push it over to the right the strap is across my body and the bass starts to be on my side instead of chest/belly and starts pointing too far out in front of me.

    I can see having some fun working on this over the next few weeks :D
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    hopefully within the next couple of weeks, i'm going to add an extension plate via the four bolts on my Warwick Corvette Pro 6. I recommend this because you can make you own extension any way you want.

    Don't be afraid to use a jigsaw to cut stainless steel - it's king of slow, but it works great.

    Some people use aluminum, but i'm going to use SS. Another thing you may want to consider is the use of threaded brass inserts on your neck. do a search for about three different post on this topic. fellow TB'er Hambone talks about using threaded inserts on the neck. he had me sold within a few paragraphs
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Hey that Strapture is kinda cute!

    I'd go for a beam connected to the bolt plate. It's reversable, aestetic, and it's quite OK to have a low strap point on the neck side.