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Concern about dark/thick grain on EUB neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GKon, Apr 2, 2014.


  1. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Dear Mod's. I've posted this here, looking for the experienced opinion of Luthiers. If you believe it should be moved to another sub forum, please do so.
    I've also posted this in the UB section.

    Hi folks,

    I've just purchased a Harley Benton EUB500 (basically a Palatino with the HB name brand on it).

    I just unpacked the instrument from its box and have a major concern about some of the grain on the neck.

    There are 2 very dark, vertical lines running up the center portion and on the right side of the neck. They follow the grain pattern. I can NOT feel them with my fingernail, but, I don't know if they are a crack waiting to happen or if this is ok and a natural phenomenon. They are much thicker and darker in color than any of the other grain lines.

    In the pic showing my hand, You can see one of the lines running from the tip of my thumb down the entire length of my hand. The second line is about 1 inch to the right of it, and slightly shorter in length.

    (In the same pic, at the "butt" of my palm, just to the right, there are 2 parallel lines, about 1/2" long, that are actually divots I can feel in the neck. These are not grain lines, but from something actually pressing up against the neck. Although I can feel them, I'll force myself to get used to them.)

    In the pic further down showing a small chunk missing from the fingerboard (again, something I'll live with), you can see the second, dark, vertical grain line. Any input?

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Any info and input will be much appreciated. Thanks, in advance.

    Kon
     
  2. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier Supporting Member

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    It just looks like a mineral line (natural colouration) to me. Nothing to worry about I'm sure.
     
  3. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thank you very much for your prompt reply and information.
    You've helped put my mind at ease.
     
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Houston Tx
    Nothing to worry about, it just adds to the overall flavor of the neck.
     
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  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

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    Sure, as far as the discoloration. But what about the fact that the grain is not well aligned with the axis of the neck, or that it has some sharp kinks?
     
  7. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thanks, to all, for their input.

    Hopkins: Flavor is a good thing :) I'm ok with it.

    pilotjones: You've got me wondering. Does anyone else have a comment regarding the alignment of the grain in regards to strength of the neck?
     
  8. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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  9. scojack

    scojack

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    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    These necks are quite thick and there's a fair chunk of wood in the FB that it's laminated too, ok it's not the best selection of neck wood but i wouldn't worry about it.
     
  10. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thanks, scojack. That's what I was hoping. I'm not a luthier, so I wanted a more experienced eye to give me their input.

    I have worked with wood, and it seemed to me that, as you said, although not ideal, there is enough body to it that it should be ok.

    Thanks again, for your input.
     
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

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    As far as I can see, the neck has three things against it:
    The kink in the grain
    The general off axis orientation of the grain with respect to the longitudinal axis of the neck
    The roughly 45° orientation of the growth rings and the radial lines to the front plane (it looks to be roughly halfway between "flatsawn" and "quarter sawn," which is a worst case)

    On the other hand, it may be heavy enough not to matter. But I'd be watching for it to move over time. Sorry, I don't have the experience to be able to say definitively what will happen. I'd value Bruce's opinion, if he stops by the thread.

    I can say that once when I was looking at buying an MTD Kingston a grain kink in the neck, I emailed Mike Tobias to ask whether I should pass this particular one up, and he replied that if I bought it he would replace the neck.
     
  12. Scoops

    Scoops Vagabond at large Supporting Member

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    Sugar Creek, Wisconsin
    IMHO,

    1) The mineral stripes should be OK
    2) The grain direction is less than desirable but should be OK
    3) The nick in the fingerboard is questionable.
    4) The strips in the pic below looks like rasp marks, and that the neck wasn't sanded out.

    If you paid big $$$ for that, I'd send it back


    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  13. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    I appreciate everyone's info.

    So far, the general consensus seems to be: "It's less than perfect/not ideal but should be ok, but, then again, it may not".

    That definitely doesn't make me feel over confident about the longevity of the neck.

    Scoops: I paid 349 Euro, after applying a 50 Euro gift certificate (regular retail price is 399 Euro). The neck is sanded smooth just above where those 2 divots are. They are not too deep. I can feel them, but it's not horrible.

    Your overall opinion seems to be that, although all is not ideal, it should be ok in the long run, correct?

    The company I bought it from (Thomann) generally has a very good return policy (30 day, money-back, 3 year warranty). If I call them, they'll most likely pay for the shipping back to them and send me a new one.

    The only reason I'm hedging on swapping it out is simply my enthusiasm in receiving it and wanting to play it. That's a dumb reason.

    Hopefully, Bruce, the gentleman you mentioned, will offer his opinion.

    Thanks again, everyone.
     
  14. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thanks for your info. Like I mentioned above, it seems like "it should be ok, but then again, may not" is the general consensus. Not what I want out of a new instrument.

    I'll hope that I get a bit more input, but I should just call Thomann and discuss it with them regarding a return/exchange. Oh well, I waited this long, I may just have to wait another 2 weeks.
     
  15. Beej

    Beej

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    If it can be returned, might as well get the best you can. If you were stuck with it, I'd have said it would probably be fine, I've certainly seen worse wood selections and orientations than that over the years that have held up fine. Just to reiterate the obvious though, I've also seen a few that were not so great over time, but never such a thick neck. The ones that I've handled that have "failed" have all been thin. Come to think of it, nearly all of them fenders and squiers. No failures have been catastrophic either, the worst was a neck with a "swirly" bit in the grain, probably a crotch edge or something, and it had resulted in a bend in the neck that made a rise in the fretboard from about the 3rd to 10th frets. The solution was to remove the fretboard, plane the neck down flat and then install a new thicker fretboard. As far as I know, its still going strong...
     
  16. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    The color line is, as others have said, nothing to worry about.

    The nick in the fingerboard is irritating. If I were going to keep it, I'd fill it just to keep it from irritating me.

    The grain is less than best case, but probably will end up being fine.

    The gouges that Scoops calls likely rasp marks are what would kill the deal for me.
     
  17. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thanks for your input.

    I have other EBs that have a knot, or a swirl in the neck and have been holding true for years. And these are very thin neck basses.

    Having no experience whatsoever with EUBs, I have no idea just how much tension will be placed on this neck (I haven't strung it up yet because, if I'm going to return it, I want it to be as new and unused). Most here mention that it's thick enough that it shouldn't be a problem.

    Yeah, I can return it, but I'm not 100% convinced that what I'll receive in return will be so much better. Although these Palatinos/Harley-Bentons have a decent enough success rate, given the research I've done, they are still, after all, a CCB. I have had good luck with CCBs in the past, however.

    Dang, I just want to play the thing and enjoy it. If I do send it back, in the long run, 10 more days to wait is nothing.

    I'll give Thomann a call and see what they say.

    Thanks again.
     
  18. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    It's funny because, I can live with the gouges. Ok, they're not an ideal scenario, but they don't bug me.
    If they were the only "issue" I wouldn't think twice about keeping it.

    Yeah, the fb nick is irritating as well, but livable.

    My biggest concern is with warpage in the neck, over time. Most seem to think that it "probably" will be ok, though.
    It seems I have to decide if "probably" is worth keeping it or sending it back to, hopefully, get something in better shape.

    I'll give them a call and talk with the rep. He's a good fella, has helped me out in the past.
     
  19. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    It's funny because, I can live with the gouges. Ok, they're not an ideal scenario, but they don't bug me.
    If they were the only "issue" I wouldn't think twice about keeping it.

    Yeah, the fb nick is irritating as well, but livable.

    My biggest concern is with warpage in the neck, over time. Most seem to think that it "probably" will be ok, though.
    It seems I have to decide if "probably" is worth keeping it or sending it back to, hopefully, get something in better shape.

    I'll give them a call and talk with the rep. He's a good fella, has helped me out in the past.

    Thanks :)
     
  20. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    Yeah, we're all different in what bugs us most. Certainly there's no structural issue with those gouges - they would just drive me nuts.


    Keep in mind that it is a bit of a crapshoot either way. Some really wild looking grain can stay perfectly straight, and most necks that warp "look" like the grain is fine. Wood is funny stuff.
     
  21. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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