Bowed Neck Remedy?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rockindoc, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    I have a vintage Schecter that I hadn't played in years, and its' beautiful (bolt-on) solid birdseye maple neck developed a forward bow, so severe that neither a trussrod replacement nor "steaming" would fix it. It's not just bowed, its a very shallow V shape with the apex of the V at the 12th fret. It's playable up to about the 10th fret, but go any higher and it's all fret buzz.

    My "neck tech" says the only remaining option is to remove the frets, plane the surface flat again, & re-install the frets. Simply replacing the neck might be cheaper, but it's such a nice looking birdseye maple neck & headstock, I'd really hoped it could be salvaged. Maybe it's a lost cause :bawl:

    Any ideas?

    Could it more easily be converted to fretless?
  2. wow, thats weird, I also have a vintage (1982) schecter p-bass that is highly modified (all done by me), and my neck is also warped, pretty much the same way. The upper frets buzz, I did get it "streamed", and it made it better. But still not great, The E string buzzes slightly everywhere on the neck , and the upper frets buzz ever-so-slightly, I Think the best bet is to get a new neck. I'm planning to get a New warmoth neck for mine as soon as I get some money. Its such a shame, cause they are awesome intruments.

  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Let's see what the pros think... moved.
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works

    That is odd... so it's more of a "kink" than a "bow" - meaning it's less of a smooth curve and more of a kink with straight sides? I can't really imagine what would cause this...

    This sounds like something I would approach with heat. If you've had it "steamed" then it sounds like that's been done. In that case, you might be looking at a replane and refret. Even if you go fretless, the problem does not sound like high frets, so you will need it replaned. You'll save on not getting the refret, but a replacement neck might still be more cost-effective.
  5. I wonder if removing the fretboard and, first, checking the condition of the trussrod, then replacing it with a stiffer rod (larger diameter) and maybe installing some carbon fiber rods wouldn't be a good way to go. Then, replace the fretboard with an ebony one and that should be a stiffy that we could all be proud of! :D
  6. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    "Kink" describes it pretty well, though I may have exaggerated by calling it V-shaped. It's not quite so abrupt... U-shaped might have been a better description. But abrupt enough that it's lowest point can be seen at fret 12 or 13, before it begins to slope upward again toward the strings.

    Thanks to all for your input. If it's not cost-prohibitive, I'm leaning toward replaning, which may only need to be done from frets 12 to 20. Since it's a solid piece of maple, the birdseye figuring will still be there. The lighter color of the newly exposed wood wouldn't be too noticeable when it's all re-laquered.
  7. lashing


    May 15, 2007
    I've met very few necks with this problem I could not fix. If you are around Toronto I'd like to give it a shot.

    I do not steam or heat press them until I know I can get it straight.
  8. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Forward bow? You mean the strings are higher in the middle of the fingerboard? Or a back bow where the middle of the fingerboard is arched up?

    One thing to always remember, never try to use the truss rod to straighten a bowed neck. Always clamp it straight, and maybe even a little past where you want, and then while it is clamped, adjust your rod. Applying heat (not steam!) would also help while it is in this clamped position. It's possible the glue has crept over the years.

    It sounds like this is a defect in the design of the neck. Probably from a truss rod that doesn't work well. (Assuming it is a forward bow)

    If removing the frets and leveling the board is not an option, removing the board and replacing the rod, and also adding some C/F rods, would probably fix it.

    If it's just the upper frets.. the truss rod doesn't affect that area. Very often bolt on necks develop a rise at the end of the neck, over where it bolts to the body. I had to fix a Jazz Bass that had this problem last week. Leveling the frets, or fingerboard, will fix that.