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Set neck basses


Nicklab

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I'm the owner of one set neck bass. It's an Epiphone Jack Casady signature. Very cool bass, but that's besides the point. Recently I noticed that the set neck was becoming not quite so set. A gap had developed between the neck and the body. Now the bass is at Gibson in Tennessee being repaired.

 

Have other set neck bass owners encountered issues like this? Is it common or expected over time for the neck joint to start seperating?

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It's largely the reason 99% of the luthiers and companies don't do set necks for basses. I've seen a luthier site that has a different approach to set neck joins, but I'm not sure too many other will pile on since neck-through and bolt-on designs do the job without needing to re-establish confidence anyway...

 

Sorry I can't be of more help.

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I have not seen this happen before, but I do not own a set-neck bass.

 

Carey Nordstrand makes set-neck basses and bolt-ons. If he weren't so busy completing his move to a new workshop and catching up on his building I'd suggest that you contact him to ask questions. I think he's pretty pleased w/ how his set-necks turn out.

 

There's a European builder (can't remember which one, now) that does a deeply set neck in a unique way. This may be the one GB is referring to. BP did a review of one of their basses over a couple of years ago. If I track it down, I'll post here.

 

Peace.

--Dub $$

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I might be thinking of Marleaux in Germany. They do a "through-glued" neck joint that supposed merges bolt-on and thru-neck ideals.

 

Here's a reprint of the BP review: .

 

It's from Feb 2003 BP mag. If you have the issue, I believe there was a diagram of how the neck joint worked. I'll have to pull mine out of a stack of oldies in the basement. Not sure now if it would qualify as a set-neck design.

 

Peace.

--SW

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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NickLab the main cause or set necks coming apart is leaving the guitar in a hot car for a ling time. Almost all glues start to soften significantly above 140 degrees. Add to that the constant string tension and perhaps a loose tenon and failure is more likely. Glue is normally plenty strong enough to hold the instrument together. The wood will almost always break before the glue does unless the joint was incorrectly fitted or was "glue starved" to begin with.

 

There are many makers doing some form of set necks these days and the failure rate is very low.

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86 carvin set neck hangin in there. :D

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Originally posted by David King:

NickLab the main cause or set necks coming apart is leaving the guitar in a hot car for a ling time. Almost all glues start to soften significantly above 140 degrees. Add to that the constant string tension and perhaps a loose tenon and failure is more likely. Glue is normally plenty strong enough to hold the instrument together. The wood will almost always break before the glue does unless the joint was incorrectly fitted or was "glue starved" to begin with.

Good lord, I would never treat an instrument like that! I would think that this is probably more a case of the joint being glue starved.

 

I'm actually wondering if the increased tension that bass strings put on a neck might be a greater cause for concern. While guitars have been using this method for ages, I wonder if this kind of neck joint just isn't as well suited to bass because of string tension. Info to that effect might make me seek out as low tension a set of strings as I could find.

 

Thanks everyone for the insights!

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A good glue joint should be stronger than the actual wood surrounding it. So like you said, it's either glue starved or not sealed correctly and humidity got to it.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Yes, a good glue is stronger. But where does a set neck break usually? Well, right NEXT to the glue, because that's a spot that takes a lot of tension, and since the glue can't give and only penetrates so far, the wood right next to it gives instead.

 

A typical 4-string 45-105 bass set has TWICE the tension of an electic gtr 9-42 set. Going to 40-95 or 40-100 can help a bit, but realize those two necks are about the same width so there may not be that much difference in surface join to deal with the tension at the at-risk spot.

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Nick, in my experience the only neck breaks I've had weren't on the glue joints; they were behind the nut, traditionally where the pressure of the strings against the neck is greatest. About 10 years ago a friend (Bill at Dave's Sound, PM me for the number if you'd like) repaired a broken neck joint on that spot of one of my basses using wood glue. That joint has never even split open since then.

 

Of course, things happen for unexplained reasons. Perhaps your bass was built on a Friday afternoon when the guy who glues necks came back from a liquid lunch. It just never happened to me.

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Originally posted by greenboy:

Yes, a good glue is stronger. But where does a set neck break usually? Well, right NEXT to the glue, because that's a spot that takes a lot of tension, and since the glue can't give and only penetrates so far, the wood right next to it gives instead.

 

A typical 4-string 45-105 bass set has TWICE the tension of an electic gtr 9-42 set. Going to 40-95 or 40-100 can help a bit, but realize those two necks are about the same width so there may not be that much difference in surface join to deal with the tension at the at-risk spot.

So if the neck wood is stronger at the glue joint but the same everywhere else, how is this different than a neck-thru? :confused:

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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So if the neck wood is stronger at the glue joint
How would the wood be STONGER at the glue joint? The glue itself is, but the wood actually is the same, other than glue penetration, which for these types of glue seems to be slight.

 

but the same everywhere else, how is this different than a neck-thru? :confused:
Set necks are not impossible. Never said that. But one has to merely examine at a busy repair shop how many set neck guitars that have fallen over have breaks right there. The glue didn't break. The wood right up against the glue DID, because the stress point is right there and it took a hit.

 

Better set neck joints with more surface area extended longtitudinally and channeled have made this happen less.

 

Still, there is no continuity of grain and fiber through that area as there is on a neckthrough. You instead have glue against cut fibers, and if the glue can't penetrate very far... Something's goota give. And it won't normally happen somewhere in a single piece of woood where the fibering/grain is undisturbed unless the area has been narrowed considerably comparted to the surrounding area.

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Take two good eight-foot 2x4 with clean grain, even density, and no knots {if you can ven find some of those any more ;}

 

Cut one in half. Glue the two resulting butts together after fine sanding them and use an incredible glue. Heck, if you want, instead of gluing at the butt, overlap them 6" and glue THAT surface area. Let it dry to hell and back.

 

Then take that and the uncut 2x4 and set them longtitudinally between two conrete blocks supporting the ends. Then jump up and down on them. 9 times out of 10 the glued one will break first - and break at the glue joint. The glue will be intact, but you will see shredded wood fibers there.

 

That's why load supporting trusses are laminated and interstitched.

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They don't have so many construction choices for those do they? To the good, there's a lot of join area there between the long neck overlap and the real long heel. That distributes the join over a lot of wood area, which seems to be the real issue, and not the glue itself.
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Conversely, one could extend the length of the neck about two or three inches, increase the legnth of the notch in the back of the body and make the joint. The solid body (theoretically) would make for a better, more stable joint than the joint block in the acousitc (if my terminology is correct) and quite possibly allow for an increased surface area, especially if one increases the width of the neck at the joint with the body. The increased surface area also, theoretically, would allow for better transfer to and from the neck.

 

I'm no authority on acousitcs or AEB's, but I haven't seen or heard withing the forum a lot of complaints of necks "unsetting" whereas I have seen two or three threads about electrics and set necks. Is there a possibility of some bias regarding set necks and electrics?

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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  • 1 month later...

The reason's most companies don't make set neck basses are purely economic. It takes a lot more time to built a set neck instrument, therefore they are more expensive.

 

Most neck breaks in set neck instruments are between the nut and the tuners which has nothing to do with a set neck, it's just the thinnest part of the neck.

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Nick - glad to hear that you are being taken care of !! Hope you can survive the month without your bass - you do have a few others...

 

Good news !!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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no. i don't follow him closely. when i lived down in ippississimi, i knew a guy in mobile, AL who had a plume 5; for a while i was into his general approach and quality, but when he ditched 4 strings, i lost most of my interest.

 

do tell, though. what are they like? are there images anywhere?

 

robb.

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I don't recall where I saw them. He's pursuing something that'll work well for fanning and ERB in general, headless, that'll make it easier for various scales of non-standard basses to have a good selection of strings.
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  • 3 weeks later...

The replacement for my Epiphone Jack Casady has arrived! I'm utterly amazed at how much louder this one is.

 

http://home.earthlink.net/~nicklab/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/wrblkepijackcasady.jpg

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