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Brand new neck with backbow

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Willicious, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    After a 10 week wait, I just received my new P-Bass neck from Musikraft. It's a one piece maple neck. Gorgeous.

    I get it unpacked and lay it on a flat, level table surface, and notice it's got a pronounced backbow to it. I go to release the trussrod tension, and discover there wasn't any from the factory—the nut was just barely snug. I back the nut out a few turns, just to make sure it's not imparting any tension on the rod. ( it isn't )

    So, what I've got is a new neck exhibiting backbow under a no-load trussrod condition.

    Every other neck I've dealt with (Fender, AllParts, etc.) has laid flat in its "at rest" state, with the trussrod very lightly snugged. My current assumption is that this is the way a standard Fender-style neck should behave.

    I've recently read a couple of threads about this no-load backbow characteristic being the result of neck makers failing to dry their woods properly prior to milling.

    My questions:
    Do you agree with my assumption, or is my assumption incorrect?
    Do you think I have a defective neck and should send it back?
    What would you do in my situation?

    Will post pics if needed.

  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Send it back as defective.
  3. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    A neck without "load" should be flat. I'd send it back. You don't want to compromise with a neck.
  4. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    thanks for your replies, fellas.

    i've had the neck in my possession for about 36 hours now,
    and at this point the fretboard section of the neck has relaxed
    and the frets lay nice and level against my straightedge.
    the headstock still shows a bit backbowed, but i could care
    less about that.

    the wood is drying out pretty rapidly (it's really dry here year-round),
    and settling down, so i reckon i'm going to watch it another 3–5 days
    and see if it moves around anymore, then decide if it's worth keeping.
    at least with musikraft, i've got up to 90 days to decide.

    after paying nearly $400 for this neck, this has really freaked me out.
  5. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    None of this addresses how the neck will react under load
    Mount it, string it up, and see how it works in the real world.
  6. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Thanks JLS.
    I'm leaning towards proceeding with assembly.

    The risk is, if I mount the neck and it doesn't behave well with string tension, I'm basically screwed, as mounting the neck voids Musikraft's return policy.

    So I'll give it a few more days / week to acclimate to Central Oregon, and see how much more it moves.
  7. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    I'm no luither but I have built a lot of basses.

    That neck does not know what it is like to have constant tension on it. So even after setting it up I would not expect it to be this urber neck right away, right now it does not know what it is like to be a bass. It might take days and then another adjustment.

    I would do this before sending anything back.
  8. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    IMO that's pure BS. What kind of policy is that? It prevents you from actually knowing whether or not the product is defective. In this situation I would just send it off immediately, I would not be willing to take that risk.
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Before you load that neck up. Make contact w/the vendor & tell them what you encountered when you unpacked their product.

    It's a CYA for you and at the same time you're letting them know you're gonna give them the 'benefit of the doubt'...for now.
  10. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Agree completely.
    Gonna keep an eye on it for another few days as it 'dehydrates,' and whether I decide to mount the neck or not, I'm going to call them and put this matter on their radar, and let them decide if they'd like me to send the neck back, or, with their permission, go ahead and mount the neck and see how it behaves under string tension for a few weeks, with the caveat that if it behaves badly they will allow me to send it back.

    IOW, give them the 'opportunity' to stand behind their workmanship.

    I really appreciate the different viewpoints of everyone's replies—this has really helped me mentally sort this problem out. You guys are awesome.

    I'll report back with a wrap-up update in a week or two.

  11. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I would call them - Their necks might be funny that way.

    But normally, I'd agree with the crowd: send it back.
  12. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    My educated guess is that even if the neck will propely react under load, it will not remain stable.
  13. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    An update to this thread.

    It's been exactly a week since I received the neck. Overall, it seems to be acclimating to the dry environment here pretty well. The frets are all level against my long straightedge. The headstock still exhibits a bit of backbow, but I don't necessarily consider that a negative.

    Musikraft customer service update:
    Phoned MK last Friday; left voice mail.
    Scott from MK gets back to me today; he patiently listens to my story, and recommends I go ahead and mount the neck—that there's no other way to know for sure if it's going to be fine, and that mounting it will not void the MK warranty. He asked me to follow up with him and let him know either way how it went, and if the neck turns out defective, they will take it back and make the situation "right."

    Really great guy.

    Will post a final update once I get bass assembled, with pics, if anybody's interested.

    Thanks again for all of your advice—you guys are great.
  14. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Okay, a final update to end this thread.

    With Scott's blessing, I mounted the neck.
    In short, it's very stable, and required just a bit of truss rod tension against the TI Jazz Flats I'm using. The wood's doing 95% of the work.

    Despite my original freak out, I have to say that based on Scott's customer service, and the overall quality of this neck, I would definitely order again from Musikraft. Finish and fretwork are top notch.

    Big thanks again to all who weighed in with their advice!


  15. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Good fer you!

    That's just about exactly where I like bass & guitar necks to be.
  16. Bevo1995


    Nov 8, 2009
    Heart o' Texas
    Beautiful bass. Nice case too.

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