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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2807
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post

This is painful,50.msg138.html#msg138
Seems like it was caused by a broken strap on a gig bag.

Intermediate Member
Username: wishbass

Post Number: 172
Registered: 5-2011
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1458
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 1:47 pm:   Edit Post

Ouch. on a set neck too... I wonder if they could make a cut on the volute and make a scarf joint? It seems like the neck through basses seem to snap at that scarf joint and that the repair isn't too difficult. Not sure how that would work in this case though.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10607
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 2:35 pm:   Edit Post

Here is a link to the post and to repair pictures. I was thinking the same as Toby; carve away the volute and do a regular scarf joint with a new peghead. But that's not what they did.
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 795
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 5:49 pm:   Edit Post

Subject should have been . . . "Not for the Squeamish"

ugh - that is miserable.
Senior Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 946
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 9:54 am:   Edit Post

that's why my thick leather strap is screwed into my bass
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 544
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:17 am:   Edit Post


Well, on the plus side, you can see the volute did it's job - the extra wood there isn't just a reference point for your fretting hand, it's intended to beef up the critical nut area which would be the thinnest and weakest part of the neck in the event of catastrophe like this.

Since the lower part of the headstock survived, it means that this kind of repair preserved all the original wood from the factory in the "business" part of the bass.

It looks like the repair that was done tried to preserve the neck and wood, which would have had more impact if a scarf joint were attempted. I wonder if the factory would have done that though - the surface area were the new headstock was added is small and, much worse, it's an end-grain butt joint which wouldn't be very strong. The scarf joint is a lot more work, but the gluing surfaces are along the length of the grain and there's probably 3x the surface, too. The new face laminates should help stabilize everything, but they probably didn't start life expecting they'd be structural members of the new headstock.

David Fung
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 10609
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:57 am:   Edit Post

David, my guess is that had a scarf joint been done, front and back multi-lams would have been done just as on a regular neck through. Is that what you are saying as well?
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 467
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 4:01 pm:   Edit Post

Here's a headstock repair that was at the factory when I toured it last summer. They rebuilt the entire headstock & spliced it onto the neck.

(Message edited by rustyg61 on March 23, 2012)
Advanced Member
Username: pas

Post Number: 268
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 7:13 pm:   Edit Post

This should serve as a graphic demonstration why a hard shell case is always preferable. I've heard many rationalizations why people use gig bags...but for the life of me, I'll never understand why someone would risk their Alembic.
Username: nnek

Post Number: 72
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 9:14 am:   Edit Post

I agree with David Fung,
I think if my neck broke at or relatively near the mounting of the nut (a typical break)
a scarf joint at the volute would be in order.
But if the break happened much higher up in the peg head, like the 5 string shown above,
I would rather retain all the original "meat" of the thru neck design by staying above the volute.
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1183
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 6:52 pm:   Edit Post

If I'm not mistaken, Kenn, Alembic only uses volutes on set-neck models (though I do realize what a good chance there is that some one will now post a pic of their neck-through with volute - 'cause there ain't no rules). For the reasons David mentions, I think I would opt for the solution in Rusy's picture.

Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 547
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 7:53 pm:   Edit Post

Dave & others,

The scarf joint is harder to execute than the fix here, but the reason it's more desirable is that it presents a larger gluing surface that's distributed rather than concentrated in one line. An endgrain-to-endgrain butt joint is much less strong.

In either case, the face laminates are helping distribute the string force across a much larger area, although I think they'll be "working harder" on top of the butt joint.

One of the other things that's happening here is that the glue joints are stronger when they are attaching on the long grain rather than end grain. With an Alembic headstock scarf joint, the long grain of the headstock piece is attached to the end grain of the neck piece (I think that's the way it works, anyway). Even that repaired headstock has a thin veneer in the joint, to present long-grain on both sides for the neck pieces to join to.

I'm sure the fix on the injured bass would work fine, although I guess it would have been nice to at least have done an angled cut (under the laminations) for the replacement headstock piece.

David Fung
Username: nnek

Post Number: 73
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 - 6:40 pm:   Edit Post

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't suggesting a butt end gluing of the head-stock end-grain.
If you create a new top of the headstock there is no reason why you couldn't do a scarf joint, as high as, a nice scarf angle allows, up into the tuning machine area of the above illustrated break.

After all in Rusty's repair photo above the entire head has been newly re-crafted in order to be scarfed on.

Isn't tone and overtone created by string vibration between the nut and bridge, balanced by the sympathy of the wood?

I would think that there is some considerable value in trying to preserve the mounting area of the nut, so as to maintain full continuity of sympathetic vibration of the complete neck-through design.

It seems a fat volute should be even more valuable to the protection of a through neck design, than to a set or bolt on.
When you consider the shorter sympathetic lengths of set and bolt on verses the continuous grain woods, The mid range punch of the set and bolt has a narrower range of harmonics.
There has to be some loss through the glue joint no matter how steep the scarf and anything that changes that continuity, potentially changes sympathetic harmonics.

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