Sunday, 24 June 2007
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I bought a Super J about a month ago, and for the most part I like it, but there's an issue that I've been trying to ignore thats bugging me a little. There's a decent sized gap on the bass side of the neck where the neck joins the body. It's not a huge gap, but I can easily fit a business card in there throughout the whole pocket. Now, normally I would let something like this go, but this is the most expensive instrument I've ever bought, and yet it's the only one that has a gap in the neck pocket. I live in New Orleans, which goes through some rather abrupte climate changes, and I also tour the country playing over 200 gigs a year, and I'm a bit concerned of the neck moving around in that gap with all the abuse that my instruments go through. Also, I know that there has to be a small amount of resonance lost there. Is there something I can do to fix this problem? Is this something I can do myself?
15 years ago
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#6257
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Mmm. The ABII-5 I purchased a year ago has a very tight pocket. A piece of paper barely starts to go in very tightly. A buisness card doesn't even begin to go in. The fretless ABII-5 I received about a month ago has a bigger gap. I can feed a buisness card in 1/2 way in on the bass side from the top. The treble side I can fit a buisness card in all the way down and slide it 1/2 way down. The neck is perfectly aligned. I try not to over analyze because it's sounds so good and plays very well. Your climate is about the same as Houston's, under water.
15 years ago
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#6258
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[quote="Benjamin Strange":3q5icc0s]There's a decent sized gap on the bass side of the neck where the neck joins the body. It's not a huge gap, but I can easily fit a business card in there throughout the whole pocket. Now, normally I would let something like this go, but this is the most expensive instrument I've ever bought, and yet it's the only one that has a gap in the neck pocket.[/quote:3q5icc0s] Every bolt-on I've owned had a gap to some degree. You need some gap, because the body and neck both are going to swell. Too tight a neck pocket can make it a bitch to reassemble the thing, and the finish along the edge of the pocket is easily chipped when this is the case. Let both pieces swell while the bass is apart, and good luck getting it back together without having to remove some wood. My best sounding and playing regular bass has a decent sized gap on both sides of the pocket, but a little drywall sanding screen in the pocket holds the neck firm. I checked my SJ and I am able to double a sheet of printer paper and insert it easily on both sides of the neck, but I figure this is normal. Sheldon? Mark
15 years ago
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#6259
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Ben, grab the tip of your headstock, hit each string open, muting as you go to the next string. What do you feel? Do it again except grab the body with your right hand after plucking. Try it on your other basses and then let us know what you find. If I was manufacturing basses, I would cheat the neck pockets a tiny bit too big because everytime the neck pocket is too narrow it would invlove more detail labor.
15 years ago
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#6260
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[quote="Funkshwey":8io18bws]Ben, grab the tip of your headstock, hit each string open, muting as you go to the next string. What do you feel? Do it again except grab the body with your right hand after plucking. Try it on your other basses and then let us know what you find. If I was manufacturing basses, I would cheat the neck pockets a tiny bit too big because everytime the neck pocket is too narrow it would invlove more detail labor.[/quote:8io18bws] Well, I can't... my other basses don't have headstocks! :wink:
15 years ago
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#6261
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[quote="Funkshwey":30ag4a1t]If I was manufacturing basses, I would cheat the neck pockets a tiny bit too big because everytime the neck pocket is too narrow it would invlove more detail labor.[/quote:30ag4a1t] Well, on the other hand, isn't detailed labor what you're paying for? I mean, my 900 euro Warwick had a perfect neck/pocket fit. If I had a 2-3000 euro bass with a gap there I would be disappointed... Dunno, maybe it's a weather/humidity matter? BTW my Prima is tight like an arsehole (both sonic- and neck-wise!).
15 years ago
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#6263
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[quote="Dragonlord":nn8oybjl][quote="Funkshwey":nn8oybjl]If I was manufacturing basses, I would cheat the neck pockets a tiny bit too big because everytime the neck pocket is too narrow it would invlove more detail labor.[/quote:nn8oybjl] Well, on the other hand, isn't detailed labor what you're paying for? I mean, my 900 euro Warwick had a perfect neck/pocket fit. If I had a 2-3000 euro bass with a gap there I would be disappointed... Dunno, maybe it's a weather/humidity matter? BTW my Prima is tight like an arsehole (both sonic- and neck-wise!).[/quote:nn8oybjl] Agreed. Neck swelling isn't that big of an issue to concern neck pockets. I've got cheap Squier guitars with tighter neck pockets than this $3000 Dingwall. If I were a small builder, charging multiple thousands for a unique, boutique product, I'd make sure that EVERYTHING was perfect.
15 years ago
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#6267
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The first run of Super J's with California bodies had neck pocket tolerances that were slightly higher than normal. One of the reasons we brought the body manufacture back in house was so we could solve problems like this quickly. This is of course no longer an issue. We still leave a .005" - .010" gap to avoid cracking problems under extreme climate changes. i.e. a Super J in Las Vegas with a .012" gap on either side of the heel will have Zero gap if flown to New Orleans. Will a tight joint keep the neck from shifting? Only half-way. Toward the bass side yes but not the treble. Designing the bolt spacing properly (my job) and then keeping the bolts tight, but not super-tight (your job) is a better solution. While we're on the subject it's a good idea to check the neck bolts when moving to a dry climate and loosen and re-tighten them when things get really humid for extended periods. Are you losing tone if there's a gap on the side of the pocket? Not that I've ever been able to detect. It's kind of a moot point though as a .00001" gap is still a gap. Wood will move that much just taking it out of the case. Is there anything you can do yourself? Not that I'd recommend. If you have a good local luthier you could have him wax the heel and bolts well with paste wax. Slather on a layer of 5 min epoxy around the perimeter of the pocket, then quickly bolt the neck into place, double checking to make sure it's correctly aligned. After 1 hour, pop the neck out of the pocket and cleanup the squeeze-out. Keep in mind, this increases the risk of developing hair-line cracks around the joint.
15 years ago
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#6268
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On a handmade instrument tolerances will vary, simply because they are made *by hand*. As a small-quantity instrument builder, I can attest to that. Granted, many of the parts on the Dingwall basses are machined to CNC tolerances, but there still has to be some kind of variance, especially given hand sanding/finishing and different finish thicknesses, etc. I honestly don't think that it is going to affect your tone or playability by any stretch... I have heard nothing but amazing things about Dingwall playability from everyone I have spoken with aobut it.
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