| Home Page || About This Company || Meet The Staff | Other Services Available:| Custom Necks || Restorations & Parts |Some Interesting Things:| Links & References || News & Notes || The Bass Banjo || The SWR Project |
New Instruments:| AEB-2 & AUB-2 Scroll Basses || SSB Short Scale Bass || The New Devil Bass || Instruments Currently Available || Prices & Options || Cases || Strings || AEB-2/AUB-2 Technical || Necks || Bodies || Paint || Hardware || SSB Technical |
Vintage Ampegs: | Overview || AEB-1 & AUB-1 || ASB-1 & AUSB-1 || AMB-1 & AMUB-1 || SSB & SSUB || Technical Info |

Custom Order Necks & Neck Blanks

Over the last two years, I've been making up custom order neck blanks for several luthiers around theLA area, including my friends Mike Lipe and Michael DeTemple. In the process of developing the Scroll Basses andthe SSB instrument lines, I worked out some interesting techniques for building necks. In the spring of 2000, I expandedmy specialty fixtures so that I can now make up guitar and bass neck blanks of almost any dimensions. Likemost specialist luthiers, Mike and Michael are limited in their shop space and don't have a lot of big machinery. So, it's convenient for them to have me make up partially completed necks for their various custom-orderprojects. They call me up with all of the dimensions, and can usually pick up the neck blank in a few days. I now offer this service to everyone.

I can build you a partially-completed custom neck, cut to whatever dimensions that you specify, including scale length, widths, thicknesses, fingerboard radius, etc. Normally, I radius the fingerboard and cut the fret slots, but leave the main length of the neck rectangular, so that you do the shaping. The headstock can be left as a rectangular"paddle", or I can rough cut it to a pattern that you provide and drill the tuner holes. I can do bolt-on, set-neck, neck-thru and multi-laminate styles of construction, in any combination of woods.

The truss rod and internal reinforcement of my necks is my own design, the same as I use on my Scroll Basses and SSB models. The truss rod is fully bedded in epoxy with tailored bundles of carbon fiber strands, so the neck will pull into the proper curvature under load. There are no big carbon fiber bars or air gaps inside my necks to disrupt the tonal character of the wood. I make up all the hardware, including the truss rods, nuts and washers here in my shop. The finished neck is quite a bit stronger and more resonant than most production instruments on the market today.

Because I make up these custom necks one at a time to special dimensions, they aren't cheap! Prices range from about$120 for a basic tilt-headstock bolt-on neck blank up to several hundred dollars for a complex custom project. If youjust want a standard P-Bass or Strat neck, you can get fine completed necks from sources like Warmouth, Allparts, and WD for less money. But if your project requires a neck with special features or dimensions that they can't provide, contact me, and I'll be glad to talk over the options and quote you a price.

Below are some quick pictures of various custom order neck blanks under construction in my shop. Also, here are otherpages covering some more complex custom neck projects that I've done recently:

A Replacement Neck For An Ampeg Baby Bass

A Rhodes Flying V Guitar

Here's a typical pair of neck blanks that I made up for luthier Mike Lipe. The 5-string bass neck is for a prototype of a new model bass that Pat Wilkins is introducing. Mike builds Pat's necks. The Tele-style guitar neck is for a custom order guitar that is Mike's own main product line.

I cut the heel bottom surface and radius the fingerboard on an adjustable fixture with a sliding router. These necks are 12" radius, but I'm also set up to cut 7 1/4", 9", and 16". The fret slots are cut on my special saw, and the bottom of the slots follow the radius of the fingerboard.

Here's a closeup of the truss rod nut area. The black "bullet" is black tinted epoxy which is cast in place in the neck blank around a special mandrel. It can be tinted other colors if you prefer. The truss rod nut is accessed through the opening with an allen wrench. On basses, the nut is 3/8" diameter, and needs a 5/32" wrench. On guitars, the nut is 5/16" and needs a 9/64" wrench.

This is how I commonly provide neck blanks; the neck is left rectangular in form, but is trimmed to size in plan and profile. The customer specifies the widths and thickness at various locations.

I can provide the necks with the headstocks left as rectangular "paddles", or I can cut them out and drill them to the customers' pattern.

Here's a neck block which has been routed, and the truss rod system hardware is about to be glued in. I machine up all the parts here in my shop, and fit them to each neck. I use hardened drill rod for the truss rod with an aluminum anchor block. Bass necks get bundles of carbon fiber strands, which are sized based on the design and use of the neck.