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Fretboard lifting from neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by wingnutkj, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    The fretboard on one of my basses is beginning to separate from the neck at the headstock end, on the g-string side. I think it's taken a knock to the headstock, because the nut has come loose as well. The gap between fretboard and neck is currently less than a millimeter, and only extends to about the second fret, but it's enough to cause the strings to rattle against the first fret.

    I'm looking for some advice on the best way of repairing. If I take the neck off the body, loosen the truss rod, scrape/sand out as much of the glue that's in the gap as I can, then squeeze some glue in and clamp it tight until it cures, will that do the trick, or am I liable to run into trouble down the line?

  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    That is the basic idea.

    Scraping out the glue can be frustrating. You can make a micro scraper by turning the edge of a razor blade in the same way the you would turn the edge of a cabinet scraper. Reaching down toward the second fret is even tougher. Using a piece of shim stock about two inches long helps. Turn one of the short edges just like above.

    Clamping is pretty straight forward. Either an F or a C clamp will work. The hard part here is forming the clamping cauls. One each should be shaped to the back of the neck and the fingerboard respectively to spread the clamping force to do the most good. This is important. It is easier to dent the neck than most people think.

    Titebond (yellow wood glue) aliphatic resin glue is the best choice for the job because the clean up is the easiest. Only water is required. White glue (polyvinyl resin) can also be employed.
  3. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    Thanks for the advice, 202dy - I hadn't thought about using clamping cauls, and would probably have made a mess of my neck.
  4. 202dy is spot on.

    Dan Erlwine also promotes the idea of getting a syringe and injecting glue as deep as possible into the split/crack.

    Don't forget to mop up after clamping :)
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Syringes work well. The glue should be diluted by 10% with distilled water for it to move through the needle. It is imperative to experiment with the mix before starting. It is a major pain to find out that the needle gauge is too small to move the glue from one end to the other.

    An alternative is to use a long palette knife to move the glue through the opening. Both work fine. Just remember to use enough glue so that there will be some squeeze out. If there isn't, it is a good bet the joint will be starved.
  6. dbcandle


    Jan 30, 2008


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