In cabinetry and furniture woodworkers will all agree that taking time to layout joinery, oversizing the stock, and sneaking up on the finished dimensions is a must if you want success in the final result. I may go overkill with the layout on my bass neck, but when you consider how many times the dimensions change from the nut to the last fret you will see why. As you can see I’ve marked this neck up pretty well, a roadmap if you will. The tolerances are zero for the most part, and I’m truly living out the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once”. To begin, I established center, and using a mortising gauge, I scribed a nice deep straight line. Since the neck is mostly Tiger Maple, I trace the scribe with a permanent marker with a fine point.
Next is establishing my desired scale length. This bass will be a 4 string, 35″ scale. So from the fingerboard side of the nut, I take a measure down to the center of the 12th fret slot, multiply that number by 2, and wa-la! Scale Length! Next its time to determine the hardware, and pick up configuration. Starting with the bridge I’m using a Hipshot Style “A”. The pick ups will be two EMG JVX (Active since I have to compete with two guitars, and drums). The tuning machines are Gotoh. Most suppliers feature specs for their products that can be used in determining placement, stock thickness, width, and length. My layout on the neck begins with the center line of the bridge measuring 2 3/8 to the center of the bridge pick up. Then from the bridge its 5 7/8 to the neck pick up. The scarf joint begins somewhere close to the 2nd fret, and is set at approximately 15 degrees. The inlay in the neck is Walnut, & Cherry, with a matching inlay in the scarf. There is a ton of shop math involved, and I hated this subject in school. I still hate it, but this kind of math shows it’s purpose right in front of me.