Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stompfrog, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Hi, :)

    I have recently bought a 2nd hand 93 thumb NT. :bassist: It is great but has had a serious lack of TLC over the last few years. The wood has begun to dry out (but no cracks thankfully) and you can feel the different laminates in the neck. I presume this is due to where some woods are more prone to drying out that others and have shrunk faster.

    How can I solve this problem? Is it as simple as sanding the neck and rewaxing it or is there a better way?

  2. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    it depends on the wood. I use lemon oil to keep my unfinished rosewood/rosewood neck finished. It hydrates it and seals it and brings the grain out.
  3. Thanks for the info fenderx55!:)

    It is a 7 piece through neck made from wenge and bubinga IIRC, I already have the warwick wax (equivalent to lemon oil i imagine) to prevent it from drying out any more but it has got to the point where some of the "stripes" of wood are higher than others so you can feel them sticking out slightly when you run your fingers accross the back of the neck.

    My question was...

    Is it sensible to sand all the laminates flush or will this damage/devalue the bass or have a detrimental effect on sound etc...?

    Hope this is clear now.
  4. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    Congratulations on the new bass, stompfrog.

    I have a '96 Streamer Bolt-On with a 5 piece laminate neck that has the same issue, especially during winter. I just step up the wax applications and it minimizes the difference in expansion/contraction of the neck woods. My neck is 3 pieces of maple and 2 pieces of walnut, so YMMV. If the problem is really bad, you might want to apply the wax with fine steel wool, or even better, plastic mesh abrasive pads. 3M makes them but the name escapes me right now. I wouldn't touch the neck with sandpaper though.
  5. Thanks, I am enjoying the new bass very much! After about 3 hours of playing last night i picked up my old bass (which I used to love) and it felt like a toy, very strange, quite upsetting!!

    Will numerous applications of wax/oil rehydrate the wood and get the layers back to their initial sizes or will it only prevent the problem from getting worse?

    Thanks again.
  6. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    I think the best you can reasonably expect is to reduce the size difference in the laminates, and to keep it from getting worse. That's just the nature of unfinished wood. On my neck, I only really notice it when I'm not playing the bass, like between tunes I might just sweep my thumb from the bass to treble side and I can feel the ridges. How "bad" is it on your Thumb?
  7. I wouldnt bother sanding anything smooth. The wood is just as likely to shrink again as it was to expand in the frst place. This is a common problem with laminated necks that are not finished with laquer (and some that are eventually do it as well)

    But regular applications of wax are a good idea to keep it feeling sleek. I use clear briwax (prepared beeswax) applied with 0000 wire wool. With a new guitar i recommend doing this every 6 months but you should need to do it less as a patina builds up.

    i like the wire wool but obviously it creates metal dust which needs to be kept away from pickups. You can get synthetic versions instead. Dont think you can get away with 0, 00 or 000, it needs to be the fine stuff. A good place to get the supplies, (the wire wool can be difficultto find) is at axminster.co.uk. they also sell lemon oil i think.

    About lemon oil: I have seen lots of info on other websites (mimf.com for instance IIRC) that suggests lemon oil doesn't do as much as people think. I think it seemed to suggest that it just provided a short term shine to the wood but quickly evaporated, again i may be remembering incorrectly but i know i read something that made me think it was a waste of money.

    I know it seems quite popular on this site and was just wondering if anybody else had heard this, or did i have lemon oil nightmares that are skewing my judgement. :confused:
  8. I would've thought wire wool would remove the layers of wax that have been applied previously?? :confused:
  9. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Wax and lemon oil aren't the same thing by the way. Most builders using wax, usually oil the wood before waxing it.
    I dunno if your warwick wax works as oil as well. If I were you, I'd get some lemon oil, and then use the wax. I dunno if it's going to help your current situation, but I'm pretty sure it'll prevent any more trouble.
  10. 0000 wire wool will apply and polish wax and help it pentrate deeper than merely applying with a cloth. A pad of the stuff loaded with wax is not really abrasive at all. Anything rougher will scratch the wood and help to remove any wax so dont do it unless you can find the 0000 steel wool
  11. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    I agree. I think lemon oil provides a short term shine, and then evaoprates quickly. I have better success with "boiled linseed oil".
  12. Moo

    Moo Inactive

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    This is common in older Warwicks and is caused by wood that is conditioned to a different environment or improperly dried. There will be a little back & forth fluctuations in the seasons but most of what you're getting is the wood acclimatizing to your area. Wood does not dry out completely but maintains a balance with the atmosphere. Change the climate and the balance moves to adjust. Also I think Warwick would use wood that wasn't well seasoned as that's common on all the earlier ones I've seen.

    If the bass has now spent a couple years in your climate you could block sand the neck to smooth and then try to finish it. Oil and wax help but if it's a real breather you might want to have it sprayed with something more plastic with words like poly in the name.
  13. Thanks for all your advice guys...

    I have only had the bass for about a week so far. I imagine it has been kept in a similar environment for many years as the guy i bought it from got it from new. He lived in scotland but it can't be that dissimilar in a centrally heated house up there and down here.

    Is it still worth sanding it moo or should i leave it in my house for a couple of years?

    On a different note... If it has been waxed many times (which it has) is applying oil wether it be lemon or linseed going to penetrate the was and get to the wood?
  14. When you say its been waxed many times, does that mean you were told it was regularly waxed, or have you actually applied some wax yourself? I wouldnt expect it to be that dry if it was regularly waxed.

    If you have only had the bass a couple of weeks you definatly need to wait a few more months before trying to sort out your lamination problem. No point sanding it smooth and then having the opposite problem in a few months time. Dont under estimate the climate differences between Reading and Scotland. It may be a centrally heated house that its come from but you dont know the differences between your system and his, what are the chances that they are both set to the same temperature and are both as efficient as each other and turned on for the same amount of time each day and that you both keep the bass the same distance away from any heating appliances. What about when he took it out of his house - how often, how long for, how cold outside? Its not particularly important what he did, i aint saying he mistreated the bass, or that you got a bad deal, but its all going to be different to what you do so the bass needs to aclimatise, especially with a unlacquered neck. I had real problems when i moved from Chester to Burton with one of my oiled neck guitars (probably 1/3rd of the travel your bass has had in the same direction). I spent ages doing set-ups to get it playing the same as it did only for it to settle down after a month or so anyway. That neck still changes noticably throughout the year, most are not that bad.
  15. I was told that it used to get regular waxing back in the day but i dont think the bass has not been touched for ages. I have waxed it three times in the past week. The neck differences are not that bad really it is by far the nicest bass i have ever played so I am pretty happy regardless :)

  16. Dont take sandpaper anywhere near it then. You would probably end up regretting it.