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help with fret board set up issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by PhatRon, Oct 12, 2013.


  1. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    Hello TBer's, need some help/advice. A recent pawn shop find has scored me an '81 G&L L1000. The neck is in incredible condition. I took it home and performed a routine set up on it. Neck responds well to truss rod adjustments. set relief at .015" and action at 4/32" at 17th fret. nut height is just barely below .022".

    here's the issue; when I get to playing from 16th/17th frets and up it's fretting out on the remaining frets. Is this an issue of these frets not being as worn as the others? Or is it a neck pocket shim issue? finger board issue?

    If I raise action up higher it merely moves the fretting out issue up a few frets.
    what do you think?
    thanks, -PR-
     
  2. Not that your bass is experiencing what mine was, I have a L2000 fretless from the late '80s and it had a similar issue. I set the neck as flat as possible but there was an obvious hump where frets 15,16, etc would be. I had a pro re-level it by planing out the hump. Good as new.

    Someone who makes more sense will chime in eventually. Out of curiosity, does yours have the 3 bolt with micro-tilt?
     
  3. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    it's a 3 bolt. I don't even know what the micro tilt is? can you enlighten me?
     
  4. If there is a small hole in the plate, inside you'll find a small screw. Its there instead of having to shim the neck and helps during setups to align the neck angle. I've never had to adjust mine because I was able to find the hump in the fingerboard with a straightedge and knew the micro tilt wouldn't help. I DO know that if adjustment is needed, loosen the neck screws a little first.

    If I were you, I'd adjust the TR to get the neck as flat as possible and use a straightedge to determine if the board has a hump and go from there. If it does, the only fix may be defret and re-level then re-fret. A skilled luthier may be able to dress/level the frets enough to make the humorless noticeable.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: I just Googled "G&L micro tilt" and the first result was G&L owners manual in PDF form. It has great instructions (I think on page 9).
     
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Read the instructions carefully, especially regarding how much to loosen the three screws before you start twisting the allen key in the hole on the neck plate. It's a great invention, and it was very well executed by both Music Man and G&L (and quite unlike how Fender executed the design) but if you don't do it correctly you'll cause more problems. MUCH better than the trial-and-error process shimming requires.

    John
     
  6. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    thanks for the info. guys. It does have the little hole on the neck plate. I will surely look into it (the manual that is).
     
  7. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Learning how to adjust the micro tilt is all fine, but that's not going to solve the problem that you have with this neck. From your description, it has what I call the 12th fret kink, also often described as the "ski jump" problem. Over time, the neck has bent slightly in the 10th-14th fret area, effectively causing a ramp at the heel. It's a common problem on older bolt-on necks.

    The frets need to be re-leveled, or in the worst case, the frets need to be pulled and the fingerboard resurfaced. Playing around with the truss rod or the micro-tilt isn't going to solve it.
     
  9. humorless = hump less

    Darn auto correct.:D
     
  10. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    I'd try to adjust the micro-tilt first, then maybe the relief if it helps: it's free.
    Then neck work only if that doesn't help enough...
     
  11. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    gonna have some time tomorrow to mess with it. I'd like to learn how to utilize the micro tilt as I have another '81 L1000 as well. thanks for all your inputs, keep em coming.
    My gut feeling is what Bruce Johnson posted. I'm thinking that if it's a neck tilt issue it would affect more than just the last 6 frets. I used it at rehearsal Fri. night and it played really nice (below 16th fret).
     
  12. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    read, thanks. I will give it a try.
     
  13. Don't bother trying it. The micro tilt is better than a business card, and your problem is more likely to be a hump, or ski jump.

    Before you mess with the micro tilt, adjust the relief out to make the neck as flat as possible and straightedge the board. You'll see the hump more clearly then. Read Bruce J's post.
     
  14. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    will do that too.
     
  15. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    Ok, did a lot of messing around and here's the result(s).
    no real noticeable "ski Jump" going on. Performed adjustments with the micro tilt and it's considerably better. raised action slightly and fretting is gone. What is noticeable is it will require a little bit of fret filing at 18/19 and the action will be able to get back down where I like it.
    thanks for help everyone
     
  16. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    If it requires fret filing at the 18/19th, then that probably is the 12th fret kink or "ski jump" condition that I described. Unless the frets are actually raised up from the fingerboard.

    When you put a straightedge on the fingerboard, if the maximum relief is around the 12th-14th fret, then that's the 12th fret kink condition. A neck without the kink will have the deepest relief around the 5th fret, and will be nearly flat from the 10th to the 20th. That's what you really want to see for the lowest action.
     

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