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fret problem bass to dry

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassike, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Hi guys
    I do have a problem with my bass
    The neck got really dry so it shrank a bit; and the frets are sticking out so when I play they cut my hand.

    The thing is that I can’t make the room more humid cause is winter still in montreal and the hit makes the house dry.

    I did put lemon oil twice and no changes.

    Are there any solution?
  2. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
  3. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008

    I taught about it but i didn't think it'll make a diference
    but it was kindda dumb on my part.
  4. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    A fret dressing will take care of that. I'm not sure you can replace that much moisture into the wood unless you soak it :meh: If the frets aren't undercut (and the fret slot gaps filled) and dressed properly this can happen.

    I wouldn't sweat it though - get them dressed and you'll be fine now that the instrument has acclimated itself to your environment.

    BTW - Humidity is not *as* harmful to electric instruments as it is to acoustic instruments, but it's still a concern. I don't humidify solid body instruments, but I don't expose them to fast temperature extremes. They are all still fine after 20 and 30 years.
  5. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've never heard of a fingerboard shrinking that much (unless really damaged beyound playability. It sounds like the original fret work was poor to me. I've had this on a Squier once and had to file them.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    It will take a little time, but you can rehumidify your axe while it is in the case. Take a zip-loc sandwich bag and punch a number of holes in it. Insert a damp sponge (well wrung out, not dripping wet!) into the bag and put it in the case (near the headstock there is usually room), and close the case. Check every couple of days and replenish the sponge. In a few weeks you'll be good as new. DO NOT dress the frets or do any other structural changes to the guitar until you have properly humidified it! And in the future keep your bass in its case, and always humidify once the heat turns on in the fall, and continue until spring.

    You can get decent hygrometers and in-case humidifiers from these folks ... http://www.oasishumidifiers.com/case.html ... I keep one in each of my six acoustic six-string guitar cases (but use the baggie and sponges in my three bass cases) and rotate a couple of the hygrometers from case to case to be sure I'm not over-humidifying. When you open the case to play your guitar, be sure to immediately close the empty case to keep the micro-environment you've "worked" so hard to establish.
  7. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    If a neck got narrower that doesn't make it unplayable. That's very common, it happens all the time. Poor fretwork plus 1/2mm of shrinkage will give you sharp fret ends. It doesn't take much. I've felt this on new guitars in the stores, had it happen on some of my less expensive ones.

    Now, if they're sticking out 1mm plus on both ends then there may be someting else up there.
  8. There may have been some fret protrusion before the change in humidity - that's not unusual with instruments today. I suggest two things:

    1) Have the fret ends dressed - the problem will go away, and if you increase humidity later, it won't cause any problems.

    2) If you have more than one instrument and store them in a room, get a humidifier with a humidistat so it can be set to automatically maintain a given level of humidity. if you only have one or two instruments, use humidifiers in their cases.

    I have a number of instruments and I live at 5000 ft. in Colorado where it's very dry, so I picked up a large capacity humidifier at a pawn shop and I keep the instrument room humidity at a fairly steady level.
  9. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I think we may be splitting hairs...'cause if my frets were cutting me, I would consider that unplayable. :D
  10. This will happen to a bass made in the summer & checked in the winter.

    Get the fret ends dressed before the air gets humid again. It might want a mild re-do next winter; get it at it's worst then. That should clear the problem forever.
  11. After you finish your daily shower pop the bass into the bathroom and close the door, the air will be humid and will rehydrate your axe.

    Buy a humidifier anyway, a decent sized one. I live in the same town as you and I can easily pump 4-5 liters of water into the air every DAY in my apartment.
  12. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    yeah i remember one time I took my fretless to the luthier and he mention something about humidity so the neck would't move as much; but i didn't think it was so important, till the problem with this other fretted bass.

    so it is a good advice to buy the humidifier plus the frets dressed next winter.

    thanks guys.
  13. You can do the frets yourself after you buy your humidifier. You wont want to re-dress the frets, just file down the sharp tangs on the sides. Just use a small file or dremel and be careful.

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