Bad neck on an otherwise nice jazz bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SwitchGear, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    I recently acquired a nice jazz bass, with a bad playing neck.

    I took the bass to my local tech, a Fender authorized repairman, for a pro set-up. He found it had a shim installed and worked to adjust the neck. The verdict from him & another Fender dealer/repair guy is - you got a bad neck. He could only adjust it so much.

    Verdict is high fret bump around the 3rd fret on the G string side, and a ski jump at the neck heel.

    Options are to -

    • play it as is, which I don't care for

    • fret file/dress for $150

    or ~

    • fret removal, plane the board, install new frets for $400

    My question is will it play well with just a file/dress, or go the full monte with the fretboard plane?
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    If they say a fret level will take care of it, I don't see why you'd need to go further.

    The cheaper alternative to a replane is replace the neck. I have no affiliation with this company: Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Showcase
    sissy kathy likes this.
  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Or get a genuine replacement neck directly from Fender.
    /\/\3phist0 likes this.
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I agree with @96tbird. It looks like for some reason the tech gave you a 'go away' price. $400 will get you a nice neck from Warmoth, nearly anything you desire.
  5. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Just get a different neck out of the classifieds for way less than $400. I have purchased four MIM necks here for less than $150 over the years.
    96tbird likes this.
  6. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    I failed to mention the bass is an 64 AV j in lake placid blue with a matching headstock. So, I'd like to keep the matching neck. Perhaps the fret level/dress would be the way to go.
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Well, it sounds like the neck has two different problems:

    The high area around the 3rd on the G is a relatively minor problem, if it isn't severe. A fret leveling and dressing will take care of that.

    The ski jump (I call it a 12th fret kink) is a more serious problem. It's a structural bend in the neck that develops over time, and it may continue to get worse in the future. If it's not real bad, you can level the frets up at the high end, to flatten out that area, and add a neck shim to correct the angle of the neck. The last few frets will be lower in height, but it will make the neck functional. At least for a while. The neck may keep bending over time.

    If the kink is more severe, that will require pulling the frets, re-cutting the fingerboard surface, and refretting. And again, the repair may only be temporary. The neck may keep bending.

    The permanent repair is to add a reinforcement to that area of the neck, to keep it from bending farther. The simple way to do this on Fender necks is to mill out part of the skunk stripe on the back, from about the 6th fret to the heel. Then I lay in a small bundle of carbon fiber strands in epoxy, and replace the section of the skunk stripe. That permanently reinforces that area on the back of the neck, around the 12th fret, and prevents any further kinking. Then, the frets/fingerboard can be leveled, and they will stay there.

    The total cost of that repair, including the fret leveling, will be in the $300-$400 range. That's what my buddy Keith Horne and I would charge, anyway.

    We have a long, detailed thread about ski jumps here on TB up in the Pro Bench section:
    Getting the Facts about Ski Jumps
    SwitchGear likes this.
  8. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    Yikes. Maybe I'll take the neck off my classic 70's jazz and mount it to the '64 AV body, for now.

    I don't know what value of the '64 neck is in its current condition. Perhaps someone has an inkling..
  9. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    I fixed it.

    Now, back to that value question..
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  10. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It's worth very little. If the bass was a real 64 then it may be worth the trouble. I would contact USACG or Musikraft with an order for a replacement.
    SwitchGear likes this.
  11. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    Jeff, tell me more about this Bruce you recommended.
  12. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I know a dude that can help. Check your inbox.
  13. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I'm not Jeff, but Bruce replied to your thread in post #7. He builds custom instruments, he's based in SOCAL and provides a LOT of information to builders and people with questions here. He is one of the more knowledgeable people on this site. He's has developed parts for companies seeking to market something new. I am aware of three different projects he has taken on in my short time here, everyone was pleased with his work.
    Jeff Scott and SwitchGear like this.
  14. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    @SwitchGear here is Bruce's web site:
    Johnson's Extremely Strange Musical Instrument Company Home Page

    Here he is on Youtube:

    You can IM him by clicking on his avatar in post #7 and select "Start A Conversation". You can invite a member to join a thread by typing "@" followed by the user name you want to invite, (like I did you for this post.) There is more contact information for him at the top of his home page (incidentally the last time I checked parts of his web site are not up and working yet. But he's a luthier not a programmer.)
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    Primary TB Assistant

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