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Jazz neck build - Now a full Jazz build!


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4 hours ago, GarethFlatlands said:

I've had mixed results with sawdust and glue on other DIY projects around the house, but it's probably the simplest option. I'm sure I did something wrong before.

Sadly, the spray can of purple paint ran out while doing the body. Shame, as a matching headstock would have looked great.

Hmmm...another can of paint? ;)

Veneering a headstock like this is pretty straightforward, but matching, as you say, would look pretty good...

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I'm leaning towards a veneer, mainly to cover the multitude of sins you can see on the previous batch of pictures. With that in mind, I've ordered a 325*200mm sheet of Crown Walnut veneer that will hopefully complement the rest of the neck once glued and oiled. I didn't do any research into the wood before I ordered it, so hopefully I won't find out that it's notoriously un-gluable or something equally catastrophic 😄


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So I think I'm going to try, in order;

1. Sawdust and glue tearout fixing, then tru oil. If that doesn't hide the repair, then;

2. Black painted headstock. I still have some primer spray left and there are some acrylics on my wifes crafts shelf I can help myself to. I wasn't sure about any other colour than the purple, but the black might complement the pickguard/pickups well.

3. If that all fails, then the veneer will cover everything up nicely.

Edited by GarethFlatlands
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8 hours ago, GarethFlatlands said:

Hi Phil! It is indeed me. Old username seeing as Flatlands the band split up years ago, but I can't be bothered changing it. Who else you know is doing a build? There might be some good tips if there's a build page for them.

Chap posting under the name of Dread Bass who's build diary is just a few lines down on this forum.

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  • 2 months later...

Looong time since the last update! Apologies for the blurry pictures, they look OK on my phone screen but like hot crap on my desktop screen where I'm typing this.

The tearout was 90% fixed by building a masking tape dam around the edge of the tuner holes and using the glue and sawdust method. The face of the headstock was sanded up through the grades again to 400 grit, then given 8-9 coats of tru-oil. Looking OK if you don't get too close!


I also used an old beer can to cut out some pickup shaped plates and a thin strip of aluminium. The plates will go under the pickups (largely pointless as the cavities are already shielded with copper tape) and the strip will run from the bridge to the neck pickup cavity and make contact with the plate. A ground wire will then be soldered to the plate for grounding purposes.


Time to level the fretboard. A piece of square edge steel should be dead straight, so I cut and stuck several strips of 80 grit paper to one of the narrower edges of the beam using double sided sticky tape. I alternated between the raidus block and my new straight edge sanding beam, using pencil marks over the fretboard until it was all sanded off evenly and checking using the non-sandpaper covered edge of the beam until I was happy it was dead straight. This took a long time, but should be worth it in the long run. The 'mwah' sound from fretless bass comes from the fretless equivalent of fret-buzz, and needs a dead straight board to sound.


All done. Now for the side dots. I clamped the neck to the fretting template and used a 90 degree square to mark off the location of the dots. Then I used a 2mm bit to drill a few mm into the side of the board, inserted the plastic rod dipped in a tiny amount of superglue into the hole, and then cut it as close to the wood as I dared using a small pair of cutters used for delicate electronics. All done, I sanded the dots level with the wood using 400 grit paper. Why not put 2 dots where 12th fret should be? Because my sleep deprived brain forgot that was a thing.


All done, I used the radius block again and sanded up to 400 grit on the fretboard, wiped the dust off with a damp cloth and then gave it a coat of lemon oil once the water had dried. The lemon oil dried pretty unevenly which told me I'd have to do another coat or 2. Turned out to be 2, but the oil looked great and dried evenly after the third coat.


Time for assembly. You can see the grounding strip installed here, along with an annoying scuff I stupidly did while re-drilling the hole between the pickup and control cavities, as the first one wasn't wide enough to pass the wires through. Everything is soldered into place here.


Time for some strings. Without a set of nut files, this is as close to finished as I can get for now. Nearly there though!



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  • 4 weeks later...

More slow progress for a few reasons. Once everything was assembled, I decided I didn't like the neck. This led to a sanding down, re-shaping and then 6 or so days spent re-oiling it with gun oil. During the re-shaping, the post on the E string tuner fell clean out. No problem, that'll go back in right? It did not, and the main assembly is rattling around and seems properly broken.

Now, I have some Fender style tuners, but they have no bushings.

I could buy some bushings, but the existing holes are the wrong size.

I could dowel and re-drill the tuner holes, but the Fender style tuners and bushings need a 3/4 inch hole and 3/4 inch drill bits are weirdly expensive compared to metric ones. 

Another option is try to find some tuners that will fit a 12mm hole, but that's also expensive.

Lastly, and I think this is the route I'm going to go down; use the neck template to make a template of just the headstock, and use a bottom bearing router bit with one of my other bass headstocks to make some holes the correct size in this new template, then transfer these over. A wrong move and I've taken a chunk out of a perfectly good bass neck, but I think it's actually the easiest option, and the only cost is the new bushings.

Also, there are some nut files on the way, kindly loaned to me by ForbiddenWytch. They should be arriving any day now, so at least that's a job I can get done.

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