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Do fretless necks warp easily?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by winterburn69, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    So I have a problem, I bought a Squier VM fretless Jazz in January, noticed buzzing in September that gradually got worse (couldn't even play the lower notes in Roxanne), took it in to get set-up, where I was informed the neck was warped. There was no buzzing anywhere and played great when I bought it, so I don't think it was warped when I bought it, the warp is where the 16-20th frets would be if it had any on the A & E strings.

    I'm wondering how this happened, was it the weather? It's like -30 in January, I changed it from rounds (nickel Rotos, I believe) to flats (Chromes) in July, when it's like 30-35 degrees. I think I should've had it adjusted when I put the flats on. It was crazy hot here this summer. Was it the strings? Was the bass itself? I've heard lots of complaints about these, I can vouch for some fingerboards not being completely flat, with "bumps" where the lines are, it also has an ebonol fretboard. I've had it outside three times since I got it btw.

    I absolutely love playing fretless, so I obviously need another. Not sure what to do though. Do fretless necks need lots of TLC? Would a humidifier/de-humidifier help or make it worse? I don't want to invest a lot of money into another fretless if it's just gonna end up with a warped neck.

    Would a neck from Status-Graphite warp? I've heard they're quite stable and resilient to weather changes.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Fretless necks don't warp any more or less easily than fretted ones.

    Your neck warped because sometimes necks go bad. It happens.
  3. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I had a vm fretless as well, you likely read some of my posts on here about the fretline bumps. To me, it seemed to require about the same adjustments as a fretted neck.

    Later on though, I swapped out the neck for an unlined ebonol Mighty Mite P Bass neck and found that it was extremely sturdy - just as much as my MIA P Bass with the graphite rods. I think it has to do with being a solid plank instead of a plank with twenty-odd slots cut into it and filled with another material, frets or fretlines.

    I eventually sold that bass for an unlined Warwick Rockbass Corvette with an unlined ebony neck and found the ebony neck was pretty much just as sturdy as the Mighty Mite one...

    By the way, I'd highly recommend the Mighty Mite unlined neck as a replacement for your warped one. The only thing I needed to address was sand the nut slots a little bit lower, and mount the neck myself, but it was about $100, and the tuners fit perfectly. Plus it looked better, to me, being unlined. Don't worry about an unlined neck, if you haven't played on one yet. My ears developed pretty quickly as a necessity and found my playing only got more accurate since I relied on my ears more than looking at the fretlines, which aren't 100% accurate anyway.
  4. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    A change to flats from rounds can require a neck adjustment due to increased tension, but it may not have made a difference as far as the warping goes, even with the weather change. It seems possible, but it could just as easily have been a bad neck out of the factory. As stated above, it happens. Either way, that's unfortunate, sorry that happened to you.

    I can't speak specifically about status necks, but I have a 30 year old bass with a graphite neck and no truss rod, and it plays great to this day. I think it would be a good way to go for a replacement, but they're pricey so I'd at least consider checking out some other fretless basses, as there may be some around the same price as the status neck.
  5. lundborg


    Apr 8, 2008
    If truss rod or bridge height adjustment doesn't help, you might want to consider leveling the fingerboard.
  6. Chuck the neck and get another.

    I've had great success with MIA aqnd CIJ/MIJ necks. My CIJ Jaco Jazz fretless neck is the best quality neck I've ever seen. Fantastic consistent grain wood. I've always used 40-100 gauge strings on my basses so they are not running high tensions.

  7. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    As far as I'm aware, warping would be some sort of twist or bump that cannot be adjusted out with the trussrod. Refering to an increase or decrease in neck relief as 'warping' is probably a little strong.

    Frets can ultimately case a neck to develop a back or forward bow depending on things like tang-size, slot width and the general skill of the luthier fitting them. A garage-mod defret will probably cause an bow in the neck because most people seem to use wood filler to fill the slots, and this stuff can compress under pressure.
  8. Osprey


    Jun 20, 2005
    Status necks are great quality, and graphite is very stable. They do cost though. All the same, you have a serious temperature and humidity-level issues, and need a solution. You could start by mailing Rob at Status to find out his thoughts about your location: I expect he'll be intrigued.
  9. Does Mighty Mite's neck have a thicker fretboard than VM's? (I find the VM fretboard rather thin.) Also, what about the weight of the MM neck - was it roughly the same? I'm asking because the stock VM tends to neck-dive.
  10. The Moses necks are nice as well and not crazy pricey but maybe eBay
  11. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    The neck on my VM fretless Jazz is a bit of a flexi-flyer so I'm going to replace it with a goncalo alves/ebony neck from Warmoth. The new neck will cost significantly more than what I paid for the bass, but that's alright. It was my gateway bass to fretless and I want to hop it up. As-is it's a great sounding instrument, but with a couple of mods it will be a phenomenal sounding instrument.
  12. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    The short answer is "no, they don't".

    As you've read from others, wood will do what wood wants to do. Sometimes you'll see a thread in the Luthier's Corner where the builder feels like they're actually fighting the wood, and to a degree they probably are. Fretted or fretless doesn't matter when the wood does it's thing.
  13. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    If you bought the VM Jazz new in January, it should still be under the 1-year warranty. You would be responsible for the shipping to and from an authorized Fender repair center (many dealers are also authorized to do warranty repairs), but repair or replacement of the neck should be at no cost. I'd put the original strings back on before taking it in.
  14. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Maybe try raising the E and A strings a little with the saddles, if that doesn't make them too high?
  15. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    I bought it used in January for $150, so no 1 year warranty and it's not a huge loss. Looks like a Status neck (on a P body) might be the answer I'm looking for as I probably won't be leaving Saskatchewan anytime soon.

    OTOH, I played a new Squier fretless P last week and it played great. Thinking about picking one up until I can get the Status necked bass going.
  16. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    If I recall correctly, the ebonol slab on the Might Mite neck was quit thicker, but the overall neck was pretty much the same thickness

    The neck was roughly the same weight though. May even be a bit heavier due to it being a bit wider at the nut, but I didn't notice this.

    I'm surprised your getting neck dive on it though, I've never really had this issue with Fender style basses. When I played them, I used about a 2" wide suede strap. If you're not using something similar, I'd recommend it. Those thin nylon ones can work with guitars, not so much with a bass though.
  17. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    The Squier stuff isn't exactly know for high quality. I think you just got a bad one. If it's still under warranty then have Fender make it right. If they won't then you have the option of replacing the neck with some after market part, but that's more money than I would sink into a Squier.
  18. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Subscribing to this, I have the same buzz on my Squier VM Jazz and haven't really known what to do about it...
  19. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Has anyone played a Sterling Ray34ca Fretless? a real fretless EBMM StingRay really isn't in the budget and this looks like it may be a good alternative.