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Can this neck bow be fixed?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Razman, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    Just acquired this very nice U.S. Masters bass, but the neck has a strange bow to it - well, the pics explain all:




    When off the bass and with the truss rod released of tension the neck is pretty straight. I read one posting where someone clamped the neck to fix anomalies like this. Finding another neck is not an option (or an extremely remote one) so fixing it would be ideal, if possible.

    Please help with any suggestions!!

  2. eban3

    eban3 Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Palm Bay FL
    ugggh is this a bolt on?....if so i'd just replace it ,if not youve got a major repair may not be worth the effort
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    That's called relief. Albeit maybe too much. Tightening the truss rod (if it is in operable condition) will flatten it.

    From the pics it's hard to tell if there are any issues other than need for a basic setup.

    Learn about setups from the stickies at the top of this section or take it to a knowledgeable tech that has a good reputation: ask around your local music community for references.
    RSBBass likes this.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Poppycock! Impossible to make this diagnosis from those pictures!
    RSBBass likes this.
  5. eban3

    eban3 Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Palm Bay FL
    Poppycock?!?! .......its got a dip and a twist ,not likely to straighten without a re fret & replain of the fingerboard ,if its a bolt on cheaper to buy a new neck
  6. eban3

    eban3 Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Palm Bay FL
  7. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Supporting Member

    May 25, 2003
    Studio City+Redlands, CA
    Endorsing artist: Nordstrand - Genzler Amplification - Sadowsky - Dunlops Strings - DR Strings
    +1 (pretty severe 'S')
  8. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    Try switching to the lightest strings possible, before you make any adjustments. That bow isn't a big deal. My Fender Jazz Plus Deluxe had the exact same kind of relief, and it wasn't an intonation problem at all. Some necks just bow that way.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    If you still have a bow after adjusting the truss rod all the way, you might consider having it heat-treated. In the last 3 and a half years, I have had a guitar's neck and 3 bass necks treated, with very good results. Here is the guy I've used: http://www.warpedneck.com/

    Cost under $80 plus shipping for bolt-ons. Not a shill, just a happy (local) customer.
  10. Their literature says " Ever-Tru neck structure using our patented neck reinforcing truss rod system and linear carbon fiber reinforcement". That should have precluded this bit of weirdness...but obviously not. Have you tried contacting them to see what they will do about it?
  11. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Sometimes an S curve can result when the truss rod is too tight.
    Sometimes people continue tightening trying to get the "bow" out.
    Can't tell from the pictures whether the rod is tight or loose.

    What does it look like with the rod fully loosened, strung up and tuned to normal pitch (i.e. normal tension)?
  12. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    It's hard to be 100% certain judging just from a pic, but this neck looks severely twisted...much more to worry about than a minor relief issue and cannot be corrected through simple measures, if at all.

    OP, is it possible for you to take a pic sighting straight down the neck, either from the nut looking down toward the bridge or vise versa?
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Yeah, that's right. You're advising a new neck based on a picture. The first thing to do is look at it in person. Then take the strings off and loosen the truss rod and see what's up. So yeah, poppycock.
    RSBBass likes this.
  14. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    I'll take some more pics with the strings removed and the rod totally loosened. IIRC it's pretty straight that way but I'll validate.

    It's a bolt on; US Masters is now out of business as of last summer so no hopes of contacting them. And, if you do some research, the neck pocket is counter-sunk; the base of the neck actually fits into the body a mm or two, will have to take a pic of that rather try to explain with words.

    Thanks for the link for the warped neck site - I'll check that out. Regarding the strings, setup, etc. - I'm well versed in performing setups. When the truss rod is tightened, the part of the neck closest to the headstock angles down even more, making more of an 'S'. Loosening it helps, but raises the action significantly.

    The S starts around frets 6-9; down from there to the 24th fret is concave pretty bad. This can be seen in the pics. Planing the fretboard isn't going to fix this.

    Okay, done for the night. Thanks to all who have responded and offered help. Hopefully there will be a happy ending.

  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    That neck definitely has a bad "S" to it, I would try a less tension to see if you can get it playable.
  16. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    More pics w/o strings, first one with truss rod tensioned, latter ones loosened:



  17. Hi.

    To me, the sometimes dreaded S is perfectly visible in the "without the strings" pics as well.

    Quite a few people I know actually prefer the S over an uniform curve BTW.

    If You can make the instrument playable as-is, I wouldn't worry about it looking strange, but if you can't acchieve the setup you prefer, ther's a few possibilities I've used to consider.

    Those frets may just be beefy enough to lessen the possible problem by leveling them under string- & TR tension.

    If that's not possible for some reason, removing the frets and leveling the FB -again, under tension- and re-fretting will solve the issue.

  18. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I'd remove the neck, toss a shim in the bottom of the neck pocket (at the body end), reinstall the neck, and get it as straight as I could tightening the truss rod, and then see what you got.
  19. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    The underlined part -Totally agree with this. Those frets are huge, a lot of leveling could be done on those. The "S" is often more of a psychological problem then a functional one, each string only has to have a straight path unto itself from nut to saddle.

    The heat-treatment is another idea: the wood on most musical instruments is never kiln dried, only air-dried. Heat-treated wood is much stabler than air-dried....there's a reason better ax and sledge-hammer handles often proclaim "flame hardened".

    Personally I'd take off the strings, loosen the truss-rod and let it sit for a few weeks. Then restring and start from there. That poor thing may have sat somewhere with a couple of the strings cranked high, others low for years. You know, like an unused bass in the corner of a basement, kids coming down there and playing with it because dad hasn't picked it up for years :eyebrow:
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  20. Have you tried letting it sit without strings and the rod loosened for a few days? Also consider lubricating the nut a bit.
    Flad likes this.