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Neck Reset Advice


juniorhifikit
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Hi there - hoping to get some advice on whether or not to reset the neck on this bass.

Backstory:  I'm a novice bass player at best, and a total newbie at instrument repair.  I was given this bass in pieces - top broken in 3 pieces, cracked ribs, peg box broken off, and no hardware.  I decided to give it a go as a hobby/learning experience, so I made some clamps, bought some hide glue and went to town.  This bass had dowels and many different kinds of glue just about everywhere!  Most people would consider it firewood.  I got the top back together and glued on, and the peg box and ribs repaired successfully.  Now when lining up the new bridge to get a rough idea, it looks like the neck is on crooked!  I marked things with blue tape and used twine to show the string path for the photo to make it easier to see.

I could move the string slots over 3/8" to get the strings to land on the fingerboard; or reset the neck.  Given that i'm a total novice, combined with the fact that I have no idea what I'll discover when I attempt to remove the neck, what would you all suggest?

NeckAlign.JPG

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Is the neck joint solid? What's the overstand and projection? Another option is to fit a new fingerboard and "cheat" it over to align with the bridge. When you sight down the length of the board, it will look curved along it's length when done right.

Also, just because your bridge is centered doesn't mean it's square to the plane of the top. I have a jig that sits on the edges to give me a centerline for neck work.

IMG_20190419_160933046.jpg

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Thanks for chiming in.  The neck joint is solid, and the angle seems to lineup nicely with a standard sized bridge for a 3/4 bass.  Since the bevel has been half-removed, and there's plenty of extra thickness under the bevel, I think I'm going to reshape the fingerboard to a more standard curve.  With the bridge centered on the body, and a 15/16" string spacing on the bridge, the strings will land adequately on the fingerboard.  The E string will be further from the fingerboard edge than the G string.

So for now, I'm going to try to solve this with the bridge & string spacing, and leave the neck as it is.  If it's super uncomfortable or weird, I'll look into resetting the neck.

I'll post a photo when it's finished.

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13 hours ago, chungviolins said:

I'd combine three things:

1. Take FB off and reglue but only correct the angle  half way 

2.  When you fit the bridge, cut bass side foot more so that the bridge swings to the bass side

3. At the same time, move the bridge a few mm to the bass side.

 

Great advice! This will get you most of the benefit with the least effort.

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I did the path of least resistance for the moment.  I cut the slots in the bridge at 15/16", but off-center.  This means the G string is basically in the correct spot on the fingerboard, but the E string has a bit or real estate beside it.  I used it on two recordings and took it to a back yard (social-distanced) jam last night.  It works pretty well!

I'll reset the neck and redo the bridge when I have some more down-time, and may attempt to finish the shellac job.  This bass will never be great (or even good) - even once I reset the neck.  But at least I have a bass to play, and it only cost me $300 in hardware, plus some sweat-equity.

Thanks for all the great advice!

p.s. Bass is a hard instrument to play!  Much respect to people who have mastered it!

IMG_8641.JPG

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17 hours ago, Joey Naeger said:

Hi Wood Butcher, let's not moralize the issue. It won't be perfectly centered. Whether that's right or wrong depends on the OP's skill level, other possible complications the bass has, and how much value the bass really has.

 

14 hours ago, chungviolins said:

Sometimes you have to find the best compromise.

 

I agree. Hopefully it is a workable solution here, the alternative is a lot of difficult work, and a lot of time.

I wonder if top misalignment has led to this situation, or if the body could have become distorted if it was not braced correctly while the top was off.

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On 8/26/2020 at 11:49 PM, chungviolins said:

I'd combine three things:

1. Take FB off and reglue but only correct the angle  half way 

2.  When you fit the bridge, cut bass side foot more so that the bridge swings to the bass side

3. At the same time, move the bridge a few mm to the bass side.

 

I'm not seeing how your #1 option would be viable, without doing some major hacking to the sides of the neck, to eliminate the resultant neck and fingerboard ledge on one side or the other.

Doing such a thing with a totally new fingerboard blank, which is much wider to begin with might be viable, but that involves a lot more time and money.

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It may seem like an unworkable situation,  but surprisingly it works on most misaligned necks.

( Neck height or projection is another matter.)

The diagram will help:

After taking off FB, move the top of FB to the LHS 1mm ( this is an example , maybe needs more movement) at the same time move the center of the FB 1mm to the RHS.

This adjustment will result 3mm movement of the end of FB to the desired direction.

In short, X amount of mismatch at the top of the neck and FB will result 3X amount of correction at the wide end of the FB.

Of course you have to shave off extra neck and FB edges.

PS: This diagram is not to scale and for demonstration only.

 

 

 

20200828_142222.jpg

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16 minutes ago, chungviolins said:

On this bass, using 3/8" ( 9.5mm ) OP mentioned, you want to correct 1/2 of it by re-glueing, which is 5.8.

This means you move FB to the opposite side on each end by 2mm.

On a bass, 2mm wouldn't look that bad at all.

 

It wouldn't look bad, if one is satisfied with the level of repair work one often sees on basses. ;)

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On violins, I sometimes compromise a crooked neck by setting the strings slightly off center on the bridge, but we're talking about much less crookedness than this example, which is severe, I would recommend getting the neck reset, and I would refer it too a professional bass shop, as the potential for you doing catastrophic damage is too great IMHO. The fingerboard reset Chung violins is recommending will involve damaging the neck which will ruin it if someone wants to fix it properly. That is the definition of a  hack job!! Or you could move the string slots over 3/8"  and see how that works.and the only damage you're doing is too the bridge.

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Since the blokes who made Schönbach Dutzendarbeit basses didn’t make any with a neck that crooked, the OP should wonder first how it became so crooked, before he tries to fix it. I could imagine that he made some bad decision glueing the body together, which can be difficult enough on Basses anyway. Generally when you glue a body together with a neck attached, it is essential to check where the neck is pointed before you have glued everything up.

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Since the OP hasn't provided any photos or descriptions of the edge margins, I don't know if it would be possible to separate the upper block region from the top and back, pull the neck over, and reglue it.

If this is possible, I'd expect this to have a better outcome for someone with zero training, than trying to do a first-time  neck removal and reset.

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