Is this bass salvageable?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrtanner42, May 13, 2012.

  1. I have an opportunity to buy an EBMM Stingray 5 at a good price. ($800 with OHSC). However, the wood on the neck looks like it has been dried out and the frets protrude over the ends making it impossible to slide your hand up and down the neck without getting jabbed by them.

    It seems like a bad refretting job, but the owner insists they are the original frets (Did the wood "pull back" and the neck get narrower?)

    It sounds great, but is currently unplayable.

    Based on this (over)simple description, does anyone have any advice on if this is one to pass on, or if there is a cost-effective remedy?
  2. It sounds as if the fret ends just need to be filed, thats not a big deal and it happens to a lot of instruments over time , feel free to look it up, its commonly called "fret spout".
  3. jamzilla


    Mar 28, 2012
    pass. 800 bucks is way too much to spend on a project.

    At that price point, you can find a fantastic bass that feels like butter.
  4. How far are they sticking out? It shouldn't be hard to file them a little, but I'd be worried something else is up if it's as far out as you describe.

    Oiling the fingerboard can help too if it really is just a little dried out.
  5. On second thought, this is your best advice. I just picked up a great sr5 for 900. Keep looking.
  6. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    I've never seen that problem on a MusicMan before. I just played a '88 SR5 a couple days ago. It didn't have a problem. The neck felt great.

    The fret ends can be dressed down, but it'll cost you. I don't know how much.
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Fret ends can be dressed down with a file and a dremel tool with rubber emery wheels and the miniature buffing wheels for polishing. If you do it yourself it's cost-effective if you you can handle the tools without creating a disaster (slips etc.)

    Or you can pay to have it done. Probably around a hundred bucks, maybe more maybe less. But before doing that, be sure to take some time to clean and oil the neck and fretboard. something like Fret Doctor:

    this stuff.

    Then once wood is nicely treated get the frets trimmed back. Otherwise they may pull in too much.

    For me yeah or nay on the bass would be OTHER fret issues. If there are high frets or loose frets indicating that a full fret job is needed I'd go with a strong nay. If the neck seems very nice otherwise with nice low action then if the rest of the bass looks decent you might consider it.

    But I rather agree that given the price and the number of really nice basses out there in this price range, I'd be inclined not to try to fix it unless it was a really special "keeper" worth the effort.
  8. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada

    I agree ....although it's not terribly difficult to fix .....but ...if the frets are not in there level that's just a bunch more work ...the price is way to high!
  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Guitars or basses, especially those with maple boards, will be prone to that type of "fret sprout" when they come from a more humid climate to an extremely dry one like we have here in Colorado. Some work on the fret ends can easily resolve that problem once the neck has stopped "shrinking" from the dryness. I'm having that done right now on one of my guitars which came here from the Midwest.

    If all other factors are a go I wouldn't let that stop me from buying an otherwise great instrument but since that type of work can be costly if done professionally, $50-$100 here, you may want to factor that into the price your willing to pay. Once it's done it's very unlikely it will ever need to be done again.

    It's not a manufacturing flaw it's a simple matter of physics. Wood expands and contracts at a far greater rate than metal so when it contracts, or "shrinks", the fret ends are exposed and the neck becomes difficult if not impossible to play. It's stuff like this that helps keep tech's and luthier's in business.

    If you like the bass mrtanner (was a cleaner from a town in the midwest) I would simply get an estimate on the cost of doing the fretwork (anywhere up to $100 would be reasonable depending of the severity of the problem), point the problem out to the seller and factor that into your offer to purchase. Good luck to you sir.
  10. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
  11. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    Personally, I'm not very handy with power tools so I'd either pass on it altogether OR have the seller bring the bass to a neutral tech with you there and find out what it would cost to have things fixed and adjust the price from there.

    His reaction to bringing the bass somewhere for an inspection can also give you an idea of the seller. If he agrees, the bass is probably otherwise OK except for the fret sprout. If he refuses, it COULD mean that the bass has other issues that he didnt disclose or that you didnt notice. OTOH, it could also just mean that he's too busy/lazy to bring it somewhere.

    Good luck!
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