By Cynthia Tobias. Electric Bass Guitar. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 13:40:46 PM.
The neck, the soul of a bass! For this bass I'm going with a maple neck and a walnut lined maple fingerboard. I like the brightness of the maple and the crazy glue epoxy finish (more on that in another section). Normally, a maple neck tends to get all gunked up with finger oil and dirt because maple tends to soil easily, however with an epoxy finish I will not need to worry about that. Again like the body, you want to make the neck smooth and supple! A 400 grit rub down with the grain works great but make sure (and I can't stress this enough) to not press hard. I order my necks unfinished so I can color and finish it anyway I want (which we will in this tutorial with Tru-Oil) plus it's way cheaper (about $50 to $80 dollars more) which really makes a huge difference especially when you are on a budget and who's not these days! Just like the body it is important to let the neck hang between coats in a well ventilated area. You will finish the neck much like the body. Use a rag and rub in small circles with the finish covering the sections of the neck. Let the neck dry an hour at a time and buff lightly with with steel wool. Again you are aiming for about 10 to 15 coats. Like on the body,
That way I'm always working on one of them and they are both done around the same time. Its also good to add a coat right before you are on the way out to school, the store or work, that way it gets a nice long undisturbed drying session. Once everything is sealed, buffed and drilled, assemble the neck. I will go into further finer drilling and adjustment in another section as I know some of you will have a neck with no holes drilled, but this is a very easy extra step! After the tuners, and string trees are mounted the final step is the string nut. I have found that it is best to take this to a professional because it takes practice and a skilled hand to file the nut blank. If you mess up you have to buy another nut and uncool it off the finger board and that's a waste of time and money. It may cost a little bread but the tech can slap on a nice new custom nut and have the bass growling with new strings the same day, which is always a nice ending to a custom job well done! I would also encourage you to watch (if you can) the tech install everything and learn all you can. I know after a few questions and watching, I was able to nail this delicate step, but take your time!
Remember, on a top mounted adjustment turn your allen wrench clockwise to tighten the neck and straighten it, or counter clockwise to loosen it and curve the neck. On heel adjustments its the exact opposite! The more curved the neck the higher the strings will be from the fingerboard, the straighter the neck the closer. On a fretless neck you want the action to be as low as possible to allow for the pleasant buzzy "Mmmwah" sound. It is possible to set the action too low in which the "mmmahh" will be squelched. A good indication of where your neck is at is either a buzz at the first 5 frets which indicates a neck that is too straight or a buzz at the 7th fret and up which indicates a neck that is too curved. Holding the bass at eye level against a strong light and looking at the very edge of the fingerboard will indicate the status of the neck curvature. You want to set your neck as straight as possible until you get buzzes on or about the 5th fret or lower, then back the neck off with quarter turns until the buzzes go away.
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