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Guitar or Bass Headless Conversion 

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Guitar or Bass Headless 


Written By: Colombo 



Anale arinder (1) 

1/2" screws m 

Blowtorch (1) 

Steel flat stock (1) 

Drill (1) 


• Drill bits (1) 

Jigsaw (1) 

• Router (1) 

Screwgun (1) 



Here you will learn how to turn an electric bass or guitar into a headless version. In this case 
it was done out of necessity due to a cracked headstock. 

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Page 1 of 4 

Guitar or Bass Headless Conversion 

Step 1 — Guitar or Bass Headless Conversion 

• A friend of mine gave me a beautiful Dean electric bass that would have been perfectly 
serviceable save for the giant crack in the headstock. He had tried to make a crude repair 
with a bolt and a washer which obviously did not hold. 

• Not wanting to see such a nice instrument go to waste, I decided to swap the head and the 
tail; thus a new project was born. 

Step 2 

• I lopped off the headstock as close to the truss rod as possible to prepare the bass for the 
neck plate. 

• I traced the contour of the neck's end with a Sharpie and cut a piece of steel with an angle 
grinder to match the shape. 

• I marked where the strings terminated and drilled holes to pass them through. Make sure 
you de-burr these holes so the strings don't break once you start playing. 

• I drilled a hole in the middle of the steel plate to have easy access to the truss rod, then 
screwed the plate into the neck itself. 

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Page 2 of 4 

Guitar or Bass Headless Conversion 

Step 3 

• To mount the tuning heads on the bottom side of the bass I routed out about 3/4" of 
material. Make sure you mock up the tuning heads beforehand to ensure a proper fit. 

• Go slow with the router. Take off only a little bit of material at a time or the router bit will 
get too hot. 

• After drilling holes through for the tuning heads, I found they didn't quite fit. I took a little 
material off the top to fix this as I was planning on refinishing the bass anyway. 

Step 4 

• Now that the tuning heads were mounted, I needed a guard for them so I wouldn't knock 
my bass out of tune while I was playing. I set the bass on a piece of paper and sketched 
out what I wanted the guard to look like. 

• When I had a shape I was satisfied with, I took a piece of of steel flat bar and got to work 
with my rudimentary blacksmithing skills. 

• Using only a hammer, blowtorch, and a cast iron vise as an anvil, I was able to pound out 
the shape I wanted pretty nicely. 

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Page 3 of 4 

Guitar or Bass Headless Conversion 

Step 5 

• Once I had the guard made I realized the clearance for the tuning pegs wasn't to my liking. 
To remedy this I stacked some washers and covered them with guitar amplifier handle 

• To fill in the gaps between the washers and the bass body I molded in ShapeLock then 
painted it in black acrylic. I think it makes for a good look and gave me the opportunity to 
work with a new material. 

• I put on a strap and experimented with where it would sit the best for optimal balance. 
Then I drilled into the tuning peg guard and bolted in a strap button. 

Listed above are the basic tools and parts you'll need for this project, but as you'll see I threw in 
some other pieces mostly for cosmetic reasons. 

This document was last generated on 2013-01-10 11:09:50 PM. 

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