Truss Rod Problem?
So I did a string change last night and noticed something - there is a bulge in the fretboard above the truss rod (headstock end). It's not bad, the ebony board isn't cracked, but the nut rocks from side to side slightly over the bulge. The bass is a 1980 G&L - the one in my avatar. I've owned it for about three years and never saw the bulge until now but it's always had a bit of a wonky neck. If the truss rod is tightened it will back-bow the neck in the center like it is supposed to but it stays forward-bowed from about the second fret to the nut. It plays fine but the action is slightly higher than I would prefer because of this. It may have been like this for many years already.
So for now I've put light-gauge Sunbeams on it to take the strain off and released some tension on the rod. I'm wondering what the problem is here, seems like the truss rod is bending the wrong way at the nut end. Could the neck be clamped there to bend the rod back to where it should be? This is a first-year production bass and kinda rare so I want to at least prevent this from getting any worse.
Can't see from the pic, and haven't got enough experience about G&L's to even guess, but is the TR nut on the HS end or on the heel?
If on the HS end, the most common reason IME is that someone has soaked the TR channel with liquid lubricant that has deteriorated the wood between the FB and TR or under the TR nut washer, and the angle forces the TR upwards, bulging the FB.
That can be repaired IME by installing a hardwood "ferrule" onto a machined hole around the TR.
If the TR access is on the heel end, the anchoring has given away, and the anchor forces itself through the smaller TR channel and the weakest direction, ie. the FB side, gives away.
Repairable as well, but quite a bit trickier and possibly not as invisible as the first option.
Since it's a BO neck, why not just replace it?
You really should take your instrument to an experienced luthier for an evaluation. This is not a situation that lends itself to "arm chair" diagnosis... but needs a hands on real inspection of the actual instrument.
^True^, just thought someone else might have experienced this problem and would have some advice.
You can't "just replace" a G&L bass neck. Nobody makes aftermarket necks for them except Moses graphite. The only way to get an original-spec neck is to buy another complete G&L bass.
For example, this could be a condition that actually happened long ago and you're just noticing it now. And that it might be determined the neck and wood is absolutely stable. And that the fix might be to simply re-plane that end of the fret board, and re-slot for the nut.
Then again, it could be caused by the truss rod slowly pushing up against the fretboard making it bulge in that area. If determined that this is an active condition that would worsen with time it's quite possible that the fix would involve removing the fretboard and re-anchoring the truss rod end.
If this is "the" instrument for you, I'd probably get it fixed. My main player is an old fretless Stingray and I've had work done on it that many folks would say was too much to spend. But for me, this has been my only player for years, "the" instrument for me, so I have no problem spending whatever it takes.
I'm just a hobbyist DIYholic tinkerer after all, here's folks here who earn their living doing this kind of stuff on daily basis.
Neither of the repairs can be done by an average DIYer though, so of course the luthier who does the repair evaluates the job at hand.
I assumed (incorrectly?) that everyone would understand that.
I was only trying to say that IME a damage like that is in deed usually repairable without removing the FB/ST.
I guess Evilbay doesn't offer much help either?
In any case, no matter what the reason for bulging is, the problem will IME get worse rather than better over time, so loosening the TR would be my advice so the damage to the FB stays feasibly repairable.
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