'74 Jazz Bass Neck Repair

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Matt R., Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Thought I would share my bass surgery.

    I have a 74 Jazz bass that had a maxed out truss rod and had developed a slight ski jump on the treble side.

    Given the fact that it's relatively rare (all original, left handed and olympic white), and more importantly that it's my favorite bass/earthly possession ever, I was easily able to justify the cost of this extensive repair. Besides, it's somewhere comfortably between the cost of a comparable Warmoth replacement and what people are asking for 70's necks on ebay.

    This is probably one of the worst necks this could happen to- blocked and bound, and it's all one piece maple, so it of course has a finish on the fingerboard.

    To fix the maxed truss rod, the wood from the highest frets is sliced off and saved, allowing access to the end of the truss rod channel.
    A metal anchor (aluminum or steel, I can't remember which he said) was made to compensate for the wood that has been compressed by all the adjustment, so this should allow the truss rod to be backed out again, getting all its threads back and effectively returning it to its 'brand new' position.
    Of course, due to the ski jump, and the frets being worn down, it will be planed, re-fretted and the fingerboard refinished. It'll also get a Plek treatment.
    In all my years of playing I haven't heard of that type of repair being done to fix a maxed out truss rod, but apparently it's been done a lot. I'm pretty stoked about it all and can't wait to get it back. I've done a lot with this bass.
    Have any of you gone through a similar situation? Here's a couple pix :

    The guts-


    And the bass in its normal happy place:

  2. Ouch. I have to say I think I would have opted for pulling all the frets, truing the board and refretting/refinishing over slicing a piece of fingerboard off. it seems as if you'll still have a neck that's going to want to forward bow with the rod doing too much work. I'm curious to see what some of the repair vets here think!
  3. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    All of the above are being done to repair the bass, it wasn't one or the other.
  4. So washers under the the truss nut wouldn't have been enough? I guess I'm not quite seeing why fretboard is being cut off.
  5. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL

  6. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    Hey Matt! Sorry to hear about the costly repair, but I totally get why you're doing it. When you've got the bass that is "the one", it's worth it. Thanks for sharing the process. Much appreciated!
  7. Well my point was that washers under the truss rod nut will back the nut out to normal position compensating for the compressed wood after the board had been refretted. I've only seen a section of board curt off like that when the rod snaps at the anchor end.
  8. In your description you mention it's being refretted because of the ski jump, but when the board is trued during the refret, you're fixing the maxed rod problem by planing out the excess relief along with the flip.
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    I don't want to be a party pooper either, but if the rod is maxed, why do I see threads all the way to the wood which means there are more threads buried in the wood. Like this Strat neck cutaway. ImageUploadedByTalkBass1397535581.327815.jpg

    Where's the evidence of compression on your bass? If he removed compressed wood with that anchor rout, he has exposed plenty of threads that were still available!

    I would have tried two washers first (possibly a backbow clamping to get things freed up) and and a fallaway filed into the frets. Looks like some lube is needed too.
  10. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    True. Very true.
  11. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    I'm just going by what I was told by Glaser Instruments. The work is being done, so I'll see how it goes fairly soon. As far as evidence of compression, etc, I don't know. I do my own routine setup/adjustment stuff, but this kind of repair is not something I'm familiar with. First time I've ever dealt with this.
  12. I have a LH '67 Jazz that probably had a similar repair. They used some sort of liquid wood to seal the hole made from the back of the neck heel:


    Looks hideous, but the bass plays fine. No idea when it was done.
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    o/o Richard Bales Restorations, and Instrument Technician, Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    From the OP's photo I don't see why it was deemed necessary to cut off the end of the fingerboard. There must be more to the story.

    In this case, I think the writing says it all:

  14. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    There may be more to it that I admittedly missed or my explanation could be a little deficient, I'm not sure. I do know that the rod couldn't turn anymore, even with lubrication.
    Glaser Instruments has a tremendous reputation so I'm going through with this trusting that they're doing what needs to be done.
    In any case, this bass neck should have a new lease on life so I'm pretty excited about it.
  15. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    As has been stated above, there are much less intrusive remedies to these problems. Those techniques would have less affect on the value of the instrument that the method chosen. It would be instructive to find out why Glaser has elected this method and the advantages, if any, that come from using it.
  16. jlh60


    Aug 21, 2009
    Warren ,Mi
    Looks like the binding and new fret will hide all evidence of the repair.
  17. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL

    Yes indeed
  18. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    However, it must be disclosed in detail before a sale takes place.
  19. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL

    Um yeah, that's a given. I'm not having repaired so I can sell it though.
  20. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    If that's Glaser out of Nashville I think you're in good hands. I've heard their plek work is some of the best and they have quite a reputation with vintage guitar guys.