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fretboard rise at the neck joint

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mcontour, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Hi Folks,

    I am unable to get the action as low as desired on my G&L L2K due to a rise in the fretboard at the neck joint. I'm not talking about any kind of breakage or warping.

    Is this a common issue?

    My trusted repair shop tells me that I need to defret the neck, plane the fretboard, and reinstall new frets. This sounds kinda severe to me. Anyone gone through this before with a successful outcome?


  2. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's a common condition, sometimes referred to as "ski jump". Essentially the neck starts to bend right where the body ends. The only way to "cure" the condition exactly what you've been told. On the brighter side, this condition usually happens to instruments with some age to them, and when properly fixed is usually permanent.

    Happened to my Fender AV 62 RI Jazz. Got it fixed and that instrument became much better than it was. A very happy ending.
  3. I've had to have a couple of Fenders de-fretted from 12 up, re-planed, and re-fretted. They came out nice, I have a very experienced and talented tech.
  4. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Something to try while you decide...

    I've used a "reverse" shim to make some ski jumps more playable. The shim is placed at the headstock end of the neckpocket. You'll have to remove any other shim or microtilt adjustment and adjust the saddles.

    If the saddles don't go low enough you can try a flat full neckpocket shim (in conjunction with the reverse shim) to raise the neck heel.

    Afterwards I do a general setup with trussrod adjust.
  5. Thanks for the feedback.

    I appreciate it.

  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    you could just get the frets leveled without re-frettng, but you might end up with a paper-thin last fret.
  7. +1

    If the hump is small enough, a fret leveling will do the trick. But before taking the last few frets down to nothing, a good tech will recommend at least a partial re-fret and planing.

    I also had a tech take almost all the relief out of the neck, perform a slight fret leveling, and the hump disappeared. Kind of the opposite of the shim theory, but it worked.
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Please explain how fret levelling can be the opposite of shimming.
  9. I didn't say fret leveling was the opposite of shimming. I said that removing much of the neck relief was the opposite of the "reverse shim" outlined above by mongo2. As the neck gets flatter, the hump becomes less pronounced. Combined with a fret level, this can cure the issue on some necks.
  10. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I only resort to the reverse shim method if the trussrod adjustment alone doesn't do it and there's still a flip.
  11. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    If you have the means to do so.....I'd go ahead, get the fb resurfaced and re-fretted, especially if you want it fixed for the "long run", ultimately you'll be doing it later on........unless you're gonna sell it soon.
  12. Right. And I agree with you, it's a valid fix in some cases. Sorry, I wasn't denying your suggestion, it's a good one. :)
  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I just did the reverse shim on my 75' Musicmaster that has a slight ski jump. It helped enough to get the action down where I needed it with out buzz
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Cool. :cool:
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    This would be my first choice as I rarely venture beyond the 12th fret. The cost is realistic as well. A reverse-shimmed neck with wonky relief will still have wonky relief although in a different planar relationship with the strings and body. Think of it in these terms: the "lift" involves roughly 1/5-1/6 of the neck so we reverse-shim to establish a quasi-normal posture of that portion with the body / string profile. That action, in turn, throws the remaining 80% out of whack. What do we do to compensate? We tweak the truss rod to straighten out the balance of the fingerboard. Problem is that a properly installed trussrod has a more profound effect in the region of the 7th-8th fret and virtually none near the lift. Sidenote: this is one of the better reasons to check relief from the 1st to 17th fret instead of the 22nd...it removes the heel from contention. In some cases, once relief compensation is performed, you'll find segmental faux-relief still exists from 17-22 (should be flat) when assessed with a straightedge, with the balance of the fretboard threatening to form the dreaded "S" curve.

  16. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Agreed, entirely
  17. Koeda


    Aug 21, 2007
    Not sure where you are at, but heard this can be due to moisture getting in through the neck screws and swelling the wood of the heal forcing the ski bump. Have always put in a few drops of varnish in each neck screw hole to delay the process in my humid enviroment. Agree a defret and planing the only real way to cure once the swelling is done.
  18. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    No, that's not the cause.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I've heard several rationales as to why the "lift" occurs, including:

    *Aforementioned mounting screw / humidity theory (-).

    *Compression of the heel by truss rod hardware.

    *End-grain exposure coupled with the size of the heel itself in bolt-on configurations. Plausible but doesn't fully explain why lift occurs in neck-thru configurations.

    *Varying rates of contraction over prolonged periods amongst different wood species & cuts (i.e quartersawn, flatsawn) used in neck construction. A good example would be a slab of rosewood glued to a flatsawn maple neck. For that fact, even a multi-lam build of the same wood may demonstrate severe ridging over time for the same reason. Phil Kubicki has acknowledged this for some time and has a "cottage industry" re-treating his 37 piece Ex Factor necks.


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