1969 Fender Jazz bass - neck advice
I was gifted a vintage jazz bass by my boss (see thread for back story):
The neck is unplayable to me due to some warping above the 12th fret. JohnK and Dan Atkinson graciously did some work for me in regards to setup and repair, but the truss has given up the ghost and I'm not sure what to do. I'd like to play this gem, but the action is crazy high and just isn't working for me.
Shimming and heat treatment didn't do much.
Many of you would be adverse to refretting, planing the neck, or carving the neck pocket, but I'm willing to listen to any advice for how to get this bass in playable shape.
I'd even consider having a replacement neck built so that I can play the darned thing.
Here's some info from JohnK that he wrote when I shipped him the bass just over two years ago:
"...it's pretty lightweight for a j bass at 8lbs 14.1oz (w/o the chrome covers). it's also in very good shape for an all original & unmolested '69 jazz bass with the exception of the 'rash' around the edges from the previously installed body guard, alot of grime on the finish and control plate. i addressed all of those issues and it looks great now.
the neck had an excessive front bow so i removed the adjuster, installed a stainless steel washer, lubed the truss rod nut (with a dry lube) readjusted it to max straightness and shimmed it, since the saddles were bottomed out on the bridge plate and it's action was still way too high. all of the action adjustment screws were spinning loosely and one of them had half of it's slot head missing (common) so i replaced it and used blue loctite on all of them. the nut was also way too high, wasn't an original fender cyclovac nut, and i wasn't thrilled with the string spacing, so i replaced it with a genuine fender one and cut it to the proper height and spacing. i also cleaned all of the pots with caig deoxit gold and the electronics are working perfectly and sound awesome.
unfortunately, this bass has the same issue as 80-90% of vintage jazz basses that i've serviced, where the neck curls up after the 14th fret and the rod is most effective from the nut to the 12th fret. so, i heat treated it, and was able to remove about 70% of the curl, then dressed the frets, cleaned and re-oiled the fingerboard and it's now playing great with very good action (about 2/3rd's lower than when it arrived!). i just have to let it settle-in for a couple of days, strobe it on my peterson and it should be good to go for another 40 years. i plan to ship it back to him this friday.
BTW, the bass's tone is to die for! congrats, she's a real beauty."
do whats needed. the board has to be trued. end of story. ive had it done on vintage basses that needed it in the past because at the end of the day, playability is the name of the game. and if value is a concern, a playable instrument is worth more than one you can only look at. id recommend mo mina who works at nordstrand. hes got his own repair shop. turnaround time should be reasonable and probably in the 300 dollar range for the work.
Not trying to pass myself off as a tech by any means, but I'd agree with Narud. Have the ski jump planed so there's the necessary fall-off in that part of the neck. AFAIK, this isn't an unusual repair.
I had a '69 P bass with a warped neck. Had some bowing at the 8th fret and the classic ski jump at the 14th.
I had a guy in Long Island take the bass, remove the fingerboard, re plane the neck, added some washers to the truss rod, reattach the board, and refret it. Plays like new.
It's worth it. Get it fixed and play that sucker.
I would contact JohnK who did your work the first time. Explain to him what happened and discuss your options. Especially because he has seen the bass. After two years it may just be time for another professional setup.
By the way, killer looking jazz.
a professional setup isnt going to fix a ski jump. it needs to planed out. the fingerboard doesnt need to be removed. theres lots of quality repairman that can do the work and truing the board would be part of the process before refretting anyway.
Nothing to contribute, just like to say that is beauty of a bass. One question: Why is it that vintage Jazz Basses seem to have more neck issues than vintage P-Basses...is it because of the thinner neck or is it just not true?
Might be that the wider neck is stronger. Dunno'.
M Basses... Give Jon a call he very good with this kind of stuff.
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