So, I’ve got this bass. I love the way it looks, and sounds, but the neck has a twist in it. It’s straight as far as the strings go (so, like, the E bridge goes straight to the E nut, as does the A, D and G), but at the nut the E is higher than the G.
Anyway, I’ve looked far and wide and can’t find anyone who wants to take a stab at fixing it. I can’t sell it like that, and I wouldn’t want to sell it anyway. It’s “home”. So I was thinking of hanging it on my wall, sorta like a piece of art.
Anyone done anything like that before? If so, how did you do it?
The bass in question is the Carvin B4 I love so much that I bought it twice because I was an idiot and sold it in a moment of weakness. I’ve contacted Kiesel, they’ve told me I’m pretty much SOL; they don’t make those necks anymore and they are no longer are able to do that kind of repair work (which, based on the context of the email, I took to mean “we don’t eff with pre-Kiesel basses anymore”).
I did wind up buying a decent neck for it off of Amazon, but it uses a Fender style headstock and it’s drilled for the open, paddle-style Fender tuners. I didn’t realize that the Fender style tuners use a much bigger hole than the smaller, Carvin and Ibanez style tuners. I figured if I could use the Carvin tuners on the boat paddle of a headstock the neck has, it wouldn’t be that bad, but I don’t want to put a boat paddle headstock with 4 smaller boat paddles on the Carvin body. I tested it on the body (the neck isn’t drilled yet, but I put it in the pocket and set the tuners in place) and it just looks… wrong.
I’ve been scouring eBay and OfferUp for a Carvin B4 neck, but I’ve not seen anything close. And I’ve checked with anyone who even associates themselves with the word “luthier” in the Southern California area to get the neck fixed - I would spend a great deal of money on this bass if I could find someone who could fix the neck - but all I’ve gotten back is “we could try some truss rod adjustments”, “probably only need to replace the nut”, and “I’m sure that if we PLEKed it, it would turn out right.” I even asked one guy who once made my Squire Stratocaster fretless and added toggle switches to each pickup to reverse the phase, and he told me, and I quote, "you know, that’s something I really dont want to get in too. "
So, the long and short of it is that I can’t seem to get the neck fixed, and while I can replace the neck, it won’t have anything close to a Carvin headstock and won’t use the Carvin tuners, which is something I want to it to have. And while it still plays fine, I’m worried that the more I keep it strung in tune the worse it’s going to get, so I’m not going to be playing it in its current condition.
Past that there are folks that make custom mounts. Have one for a trumpet. They can get costly but there’s a guy in the Carolinas that isn’t bad, he requires the instrument though. Any metal fabricator could do it though.
You would be better off replacing the fretboard and sanding it level accounting for the warp in the neck, I’m imagining the twist is less than .250” as a heat press is unlikely to work. For hanging I would get two J hooks and wrap them in electric tape and mount the bass on a 45 degree angle. The metal T style drywall hangers are more than enough for this
Hey, thanks to everyone who recommended Warmoth. I did some checking there and found a neck in stock that would fit perfect and has a much more Carvin compatible headstock that will take the Carvin tuners. It’s very close to the headstock that was on the X44 I had for a while.
It’s WAY more expensive than I had planned to spend, but… for this bass it’s worth it. So, I’ve listed some other gear to get the funds to get the neck. Assuming it sells, I’ll get the neck and fix up my B4 so that it’s playable, and not a wall art candidate.
All ready to purchase the Warmoth neck, credit card in hand, I figured I should do some measuring to make sure. Turns out that the Carvin B4s have a 2 1/4" neck pocket, whereas the Warmoth necks follow the “vintage Fender” standard and are for 2 1/2" pockets. Called Warmoth, talked to them, their only feedback was to find a luthier who could rout the pocket and make it a bit wider.
So, I gave a call to 13th Street Guitars in Huntington Beach, the most “luthier” of all the music shops I’ve contacted for this issue. They said they could put it on the PLEK machine to measure it, probably correct it via the PLEK machine, and if not they could re-fret and plane the fretboard during the process to correct it. They could also route the body.
I love this little bass. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s gone through hell and back (long story short: I bought it used on Reverb, sold it a few months later, immediately regretted it, went on a quest to buy it back). But… I’ve already bought it twice. The Warmoth neck is going to be over $500 and routing the body probably another $50. A PLEK job is $200, a re-fret is $400 & up (including PLEK), a fretless conversion is $300 and up (again, including PLEK). At some point I have to wonder if I’m just throwing money away. I mean… this would be my #1 main bass, but, I mean, I can get a new (read: used, new to me) B4 for like $700.
So here are my options:
Get the Warmoth neck, get the body routed. Probably $600 or so.
Get the re-fret & PLEK, dunno if that would fix it or if planing the fretboard would be needed. At least $400, probably more.
Convert it to fretless (which is a cool option). At least $300, might still need a fretboard planing, but that would probably be less if I went fretless as it wouldn’t be too far afield from the work already being done (i.e. take the frets off and re-plane, vs. take the frets off, re-plane, put frets back on).
Buy a 2nd B4, swap the neck, sell the 2nd B4 with twisted neck.
Eff it, hang the bass on the wall and look at the pretty art.
It is. The action’s a bit higher than I like, but it’s playable. My worry is that if I don’t screw with it and just play it, it’s going to get worse and might somehow damage the body or something.
I did not know that. I guess I am a bit flighty when it comes to my basses. But yeah, this one - effed up as it is - isn’t going anywhere. It’ll hang on the wall in a framed case and I’ll go hungry before I sell it again.
I’m going to take it to 13th Street Guitars and get their opinion. I’ve called every other guitar/music repair shop in driving distance and 13th Street Guitars is the only one that’s had any credible answers. So a second opinion might be a bit rough.
But yeah, definitely going to get a professional’s opinion.