Glue Splotches at Fret Ends? (Carvin Content)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by selowitch, Jul 17, 2020.


  1. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Here is a Carvin bass I bought recently. I just noted these weird splotches at most of the fret ends that look like some excess glue or epoxy came out the fret ends and then got clearcoated over (so they can’t be easily removed). Is that an accurate assessment? I am talking here about the fret ends, not the side position marker dots. If so, this would reflect some pretty bad quality control on this particular bass, would it not? I don’t think this is something likely to happen as the result of aging.

    splotches.jpg
    splotches2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  2. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    those pictures aren't the best, but something seems to have soaked in through the gaps between the frets and the fingerboard and lifted the finish up at the fret ends.

    i have long pre-kiesel experience with carvin guitars and basses and their neck and finish work has always been excellent. they even used to surface grind their fingerboards for accurate geometry.

    i have however seen similar afflictions caused by people slopping on various liquid "things" such as elixirs, creams, snake oils, and whatever.. -penetrate down, under, and blister out the finish of the finger board right at the fret ends. often because people left the product on for too long or never fully wiped the product off, or it was just the wrong thing to use. like wd-40 for example.
     
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  3. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    I am guessing that’s what happened in this case. Some goop was put on the fingerboard and not wiped off thoroughly or soon enough and it seeped down into the fret slots and out the sides.

    I don’t suppose there’s a way to fix this other than sanding off the clearcoat (which I will not do)? Or removing the frets (which would be a pain), cleaning off the goop, and then reinstalling the frets. Nightmare.
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    No what's happening is that the fretboard has shrunken in width slightly and the fret ends have pushed out the finish a bit causing those blips. The solution is to remove the finish from the edge of the fretboard, trim the fret ends, then re-finish the edge of the the fretboard. I actually dislike finish on the edge of the fretboard so I wouldn't replace it - I'd leave the edge bare.
     
  5. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    So in essence it’s a consequence of fret sprout?
     
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  6. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    didn't think of that one. good call turnaround.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  7. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    It feels as though the clearcoat covering the neck shaft extends over the sides of the fingerboard, so there is no raw wood on the fingerboard edge to work with as there would be on, say, a Fender with a rosewood fingerboard. Smooth and glossy. I was surprised to see that as most non-maple fingerboard edges feel different than the neck shaft rather than the same, presumably because the fingerboard edges do not typically have finish applied.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  8. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Yep!
     
  9. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Is it reasonable for me to conclude that the clearcoat on the neck shaft also covers the sides of the fingerboard, making fixing this issue more challenging?
     
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Yessir - right on both counts.
     
  11. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Either the finish lifted from when the frets were pounded in, or the finish lifted from fret sprout (I have seen both) but either way, that's finish lift. If this was a nitro finish (it isn't) you could just touch a dab of lacquer thinner or retarder and it would soak down and reseal it to the neck. I don't know if that works with poly, never had a chance to try it before.
     
  12. Ohabanero

    Ohabanero

    May 17, 2019
    I'm thinking the only reasonably easy fix for that situation (which is strictly cosmetic unless you can feel the sprout and it bothers you) would be to carefully tape off the entire length of the neck with your tape edge at the fingerboard glue joint and then sand off all the finish on the edge of the fretboard and then refinish it with something easy like tongue oil or wipe on poly that can soak in a bit and seal the fingerboard edge from climate changes and dress it up a bit over just being bare sanded. Another option is to use a metal straight edge to help you cut a line at the glue joint with a utility blade and use a scraper to clean off all the fingerboard edge. if the finish is really thin trying the sanding first maybe but if thick then it might take a scraper CAREFULLY!!! and clean up with sanding. Unfortunately both methods are going to leave a less than perfect finish edge.
    IMO id just ignore it until you're used to it and leaving it alone would make the most sense. But if you can feel the bumps then that's a different story.
    Carvin dropped the ball on that one, or the previous owner just subjected it a hellish dry environment
     
  13. vid1900

    vid1900

    Dec 12, 2019
    Every piece of wood is different, but yes, the frets have **sprouted** at some point (probably during a winter when the air is driest).

    Right now it's nothing to worry about, but should you ever chip or sand that finish away, you will feel the familiar sharp edge of the sprout every winter.

    If it were mine, I'd just leave it alone; but if you are one of those guys who worries about stuff like that - mask off just below the tang groove, remove the finish all the way down the fretboard, then file off the sprouts.

    Obviously you have to do this in the Winter!
     
  14. Ohabanero

    Ohabanero

    May 17, 2019
    Funny to me that you mentioned the winter significance which is completely true. But...

    I live in PA and bought a fender bass last year in early July when under any sort of normal circumstances would have the least likelihood for sprout. It shipped from New York same basic climate as here. It was brand new a couple years old. I never brought it up to the seller because it was a super deal but it had the worst sprout I've ever experienced. Less than 3 weeks in my house the sprout had completely healed.

    I figured over winter I'd have to get the files out and fix it for good but even in my coal stove heated house it never came back enough to feel.

    All I can think is they must have had that music store so air conditioned with no humidity that every guitar in the store must have been sprouted to the max. It's been totally fine since!

    I was quite relieved I didn't have to work on it but I wonder how they are able to sell anything there with an environment like that. I remember when I first pulled it out of the box and realized how bad the sprout was thinking this is only going to be worse this winter with my dry heat. Maybe they were storing it in the freezer or a dry kiln! Lol.

    I guess what amazes me most is just how much a small piece of wood changes with humidity. And how I didn't need to adjust the rod except at the first day setup. The neck never moved but the fretboard grew a ton in width in no time.

    Back on track though I totally agree with just leaving the Carvin alone vs fighting the slight cosmetic issue only to wind up worse off than it is now. If you play it everyday for 2 hours maybe it'll just wear off nicely! :D
    Regarding Carvin bass finishes. I have 4 Carvin basses and my favorite finish by a long shot is the clear satin which is hard as a rock shows no wear in the usual spots after heavy play and feels amazing on the neck. The tongue oil is my least favorite with the ability to pick up dirt and oil and discoloration. Tongue oil also offers the least protection from moisture permeability. It is the only one however that can be "freshened up" The clear gloss is very nice but scratches easily and does the fret end separation you have pretty easily because it's brittle.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  15. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    With a poly finish, this can sometimes be fixed with a tiny drop of thin CA wicked in under the finish. Use a needle or a glue loupe to apply, you want a very small amount to keep it from running on the neck. Basically, you're gluing the finish back to the neck.

    That said if this were my instrument I'd probably tape off the neck and carefully remove the finish from the sides of the board - then deal with the fret sprout if needed, and refinish with a wipe of stewmac's colortone fretboard oil.
     
  16. wcriley

    wcriley

    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    I once bought a bass guitar that had been on the rack, unsold, for over 4 years in a local music store. When I got it home, I gave it new strings and a full setup. When I had time to get back to it a few days later - during which time it had rained almost constantly - it had developed so much backbow that the first 3 frets were unplayable! My assumption is that it had been repeatedly set up over the years as the rosewood fingerboard dried out and shrunk in the very dry climate controlled store, then swelled as it absorbed moisture in my house.
     
  17. Ohabanero

    Ohabanero

    May 17, 2019
    Yeah I was going to suggest that fix too as it can be a great one but I've also seen it attempted and wind up a real mess. I've been wondering for years if there's a better material to use for that same fix. Have you heard of any other glues or finish products being used that way? He's got it in the classifieds now so he said in the listing that you can't feel the bumps so it's not bad enough to fool with most likely which would make it a good candidate for the wicked in fix. Nice bass! More pics in the classifieds. Good price too.
    I think the botched CA fix I looked at may have been plain super glue. The CA comes in thinner consistencies. I've often wondered if lacquer would work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  18. Ohabanero

    Ohabanero

    May 17, 2019
    Yeah it kind of surprises me that music stores aren't aware that humidity is their friend at least in the right amount. I would bet bass guitars are the least of their problems . drums pianos hollow body guitars acoustics all that stuff suffers when you dry the crap out of it. My jazz bass was no worse for the wear but a semi hollow carve top with bindings all over would probably develop finish cracks or worse .
     
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  19. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    The advantage of thin CA is the ultra low viscosity which really helps it wick like magic. Not sure if lacquer would do that as well. I agree though that it's easy to make a mess with CA if you're not comfortable with it.

    I don't know if this is standard for the brand or not, but my local guitar center has a humidistat and humidifier/dehumidifier set up on the entire store, with separate controls for the room where acoustic instruments are kept (which they set at a higher humidity). Probably about the only thing they seem to really do right compared to the other local music stores!
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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