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6 String Bass Neck Build Information


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Doing a build in the next few months for a friend who wants a 6 string Bass. Anybody doing these builds and what are you using as neck dimensions, radius, width at nut, 12th string fingerboard width, neck thickness you know the usual stuff only bigger. A 34" string length.

Any feedback on your experience would be appreciated on the neck. He says he likes a 12" radius but I said I am not sure with a six string it would be possible, but I will check with the crazies here first and get back to you. He may want both a fretted and fretless if that matters at all.

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12" will be possible if you make the fingerboard about 3/8" thick. 16" is cutting it very close, I would recommend a 20" radius for a 6-string bass.

The spacing all falls down to what the guy prefers, basses range from 15mm to 20mm spacing at bridge and 7-10mm spacing at nut. So any 6-string bass can have completely different neck width. If you'd like, I can measure my 2 6-string basses and post their dimensions. The neck thickness is no different from a 4 string bass or a 6 string guitar. My 8-string single course bass has about .740" neck thickness at the nut, so larger bass necks can be thin just like guitars.

Edited by Jon
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12" will be possible if you make the fingerboard about 3/8" thick. 16" is cutting it very close, I would recommend a 20" radius for a 6-string bass.

The spacing all falls down to what the guy prefers, basses range from 15mm to 20mm spacing at bridge and 7-10mm spacing at nut. So any 6-string bass can have completely different neck width. If you'd like, I can measure my 2 6-string basses and post their dimensions. The neck thickness is no different from a 4 string bass or a 6 string guitar. My 8-string single course bass has about .740" neck thickness at the nut, so larger bass necks can be thin just like guitars.

I will be milling my own boards so the thickness is not an issue I can do 3/8". Cutting it close meaning cropping off the board or playability or both? I can also do a compound radius.

I didn't even think about checking his favorite bass and measure the distance between strings. That was a good point. I have to send him a Micrometer. You don't have to send me dimensions that pretty much answered my spacing question.

Have you added any additional reinforcement, double truss rods anything out of the ordinary?

I have to get out my building only guitars rut.

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Basses are great fun to build - far more creativie scope as bassists are a much less conservative lot.

have a look round the TalkBass forum for some informed views on bass designs.

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=57

+1 on that. I have a list of dream basses that I'd like to build some time. :D And definitely check out the Luthier's Corner on TalkBass, there is a lot of information over there, and plenty of great looking basses.

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Cutting it close meaning cropping off the board or playability or both? I can also do a compound radius.

Cutting it close meaning you're about to slot through a standard 1/4" thick fingerboard, it's too round for a wide neck. Making the radius 12" on a 6-string bass make be very uncomfortable to play on.

Have you added any additional reinforcement, double truss rods anything out of the ordinary?

No, I use multi-lam neck construction. My necks are pretty stiff, a 6-string bass with a single truss rod will be fine.

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Cutting it close meaning cropping off the board or playability or both? I can also do a compound radius.

Cutting it close meaning you're about to slot through a standard 1/4" thick fingerboard, it's too round for a wide neck. Making the radius 12" on a 6-string bass make be very uncomfortable to play on.

Have you added any additional reinforcement, double truss rods anything out of the ordinary?

No, I use multi-lam neck construction. My necks are pretty stiff, a 6-string bass with a single truss rod will be fine.

Just curious what Wood/Woods are you using on your neck Jon?

As a habit I always book match two pieces for the neck so yeah it will be laminated some how. Maybe even some carbon fiber. But this is a close friend of mine so I kinda gave him Carte Blanche on the build. Of course within reasonable limits.

He is a member of talkbass so I have also asked him to check for any information he can find out. Then when he finally has a design in mind then we can go over what will work. He is also going to check with a builder he has bought from and see if he can get some info from him on his 6 string, I think it was Rob Allen.

The build is fairly straight forward I just want to make sure the neck comes out playable.

I will check the talk bass forum myself and see whats going on there, its a good idea.

So I guess no one has done a compound radius?

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Not I, I'm moving toward flat fingerboards for basses. They're much more comfortable for my playstyle.

Just curious what Wood/Woods are you using on your neck Jon?

Hard Maple, Padauk, Wenge, and Purpleheart. Given these woods aren't "insanely" dense, but adding another 35 pounds of string tension to an instrument wont require more stiff or dense woods. Here's a crappy shot of my 6-string neck, I love this bass.

6-string%20Fretted%2018.JPG

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