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Rubbery J bass neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by skychief, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Recently acquired a '80's-something MIK Squire Jazz for free, basically (bartered with some consulting work in lieu of payment).

    Anyway, setup was horrible on it...the strings were almost 8mm above the 12th fret!! Ok, no problem, im thinking it just needs a decent setup.

    Truss rod works fine, so i tighten the thing to the point where theres actually BACKbow on it, i.e., theres now a hump on the fretboard.

    I tighten up the strings and the bow is back. :mad:

    Pulled off the medium gauge strings and put on some lo-tension lights. It helps, but still has an unacceptable action.

    I wouldnt mind dropping $130 on another Squier neck, but id be really miffed if I got the same result .

  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Well, first of all, the behavior of the neck has nothing to do with the rest of the bass, so it makes no sense to expect the same problem from a different neck.

    I'd suggest taking things in smaller steps. Tighten until you have a backbow with the strings slack, as you already did. Then tune to pitch. Then start tightening the rod further in small steps... let's say 1/4 turn at a time and see if you can slowly work the bow out. Wait a day or so between adjustments.

    If you run out of rod adjustment before you can get the neck straight, you might be able to pack a washer or two under the truss rod nut to get yourself some more turns. If that doesn't work, your best bet is just to replace the neck. It wouldn't pay to put any major repairs into a Squier neck unless it was on an instrument you were really, really attached to.
  3. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Sounds like the wood in the neck is compressed. Try washers on the truss rod. You may even want to consider a wooden shim to reinforce the neck wood.

    Check out this Dan Erlewine video. I don't think you've got much to loose here.

  4. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Thanks Lo-E & Bobster. Very infomative vid.

    I failed to mention i have reached the max rod adjustment. Another quarter turn and it'll snap, for sure. I reckon Im gonna need a new neck. *sigh* This one (maple/rosewood) is just too flexible.

    I may go for an after-market neck (stewmac, mighty-mite, etc,,) if i can find one to fit the neck pocket.
  5. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Most after-market necks are made to Fender specs. It shouldn't be a problem. You might even find a slightly used neck for an inexpensive price.

    No "runout" and consistent grain. That's what to look for in a neck. If there is "runout," or twisting grain, the neck will not be stable. If there is too much wide-to-narrow grain, it may not have consistent structural integrity.

    I look for an even line of end-grain "freckles" that run in a straight line parallel at the edge of the rosewood fingerboard on both sides. This is a pretty good indication of good, straight, consistent grain, because end grain shows inconsistencies more readily than a slab view will.
  6. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    You should definitely try a washer or two first. It may not work, but it's a whole lot cheaper than even a cheap neck, isn't a major time commitment and possibly keeps a neck out of a landfill.
  7. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Backclamp & add a washer under the trussrod nut.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Get a Mighty Mite replacement from ebay. It will be less than $130.
  9. F-Clef-Jef


    Nov 13, 2006
    Neenah, WI
    Musicians Friend $99
  10. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    I had a similar problem with a Squier neck. I put a couple washers in and got a lot more adjustment. Unfortunately, still not enough. I picked up another Squier neck for dirt cheap and it is an excellent neck with no problems......but still worth trying the washers first.
  11. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Just adding washers is not enough, you must clamp the neck into a backbow to achieve the results you seek.
  12. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    I was able to "lessen" the bow in a pretty bad playing MIC Squier just by adding washers, it needed THREE of them, but now it plays good enough for a "back up" Bass.:)

    Not saying it will work in this case, or that it might have worked better in my case, but it did work.
  13. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    ...another victim of the floppy neck syndrome.

    I cant even get the dang thing out to try the washer trick. the truss rod just spins when turning anti-clockwise. And im unable to get a purchase on with needle-nose pliers. :mad:
  14. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    is it "disengaged" from the threads?
    the nut just turns with little resistance, but does not come out further?

    if so, try inserting the hex wrench, pulling "sideways" and out simultaneously while rotating the wrench back and forth.

    on the one I worked on, I had to enlarge the access hole/slot with a rotary file and drill.
  15. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I had a Squire Standard neck that was exactly like you're saying. Mine was About 10mm at the 12th fret.
    It looked like a damn banana.

    I watched a bunch of videos, asked a bunch of questions, and just did as usual and went with what my gut told me to do.

    I placed the neck in a trash bag and placed it between two chair backs with the opening to the bag at the floor, and the bend in the neck facing up.
    Through the bottom of the bag, I strung weights from the 5th-7th frets where the bend was worst and let them hang. i kept it to where i could increase & decrease the weight from 5lbs. to 20lbs.I put a clothing steamer in the bottom and tied it closed. I did this changing the weights up & down for about 2 hours.

    After, I lost the bag & the steam, and switched to a heating pad, wrapped around the neck, with several towels around that.
    As well as the weights around the towels, same weights and position as before. I did the heating pad for 2 hours at a time, off and on for about 2 days. Each time gradually increasing the weight & loosening the truss rod.

    Sounds complicated and time consuming for a cheap neck, well it was, lol.

    But I'll be damned if it didn't work great, I was blown away and for well over a month I'd get out my Allen wrench expecting to tighten the bend out via the truss rod, & not once have I had to.
    The truss rod is still completely slack and the neck is completely flat and exactly where I want it.
    It's been 4+ months and its still in great shape.

    Was it a pain? Yes, are there easier ways to do it? Probably? But this worked for me. And I'd definitely do it all over if I had to, way before paying for repair or replacement.

    Good luck.

    If you decide to try heat, be careful, I've heard of people having their skunk stripes swell, fretboards coming apart, frets loosening up, and so on, this is NOT something I'd try unless you have the time & patience to keep a very close eye on it, at all times.

    Edit: mine also was like rubber, it didn't matter how tight I turned the truss rod and I went 3 full turns past my comfort level, it was creaking and virtually on the verge of failure and 2 hours later the bend was right back, and the truss rod was in need of tightening.
  16. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Ok, its been a coupla months, but after mothballing the Squier over the holidays, I decided to have another crack at removing the TR nut. After much finagling, I finally coaxed the thing out. :hyper: Apparently it was being strangled by a nylon sleeve insert in the TR access hole.

    I could see circular scuffs on the end of the TR, indicating the TR nut was bottoming out on the TR, so it couldnt be tightened anymore without stripping threads.

    I was gonna try the washer trick to make up for the lack of adjustment, but i realised (because of the dang nylon sleeve) there was only a 2mm gap between the TR and the walls of the nylon sleeve. No way was any washer gonna fit in that tiny space. Even a spring washer wouldnt fit (I tried).

    So, I made a small coil of 16 AWG steel wire and slipped it over the end of the TR. Re-installed the nut.


    Neck is perfectly straight with strings under tension. The bass plays great.

    sorry I didnt have the presence of mind to take pics.

    So the washer trick actually worked even tho washers werent actually used.
  17. 77 StingRayBass

    77 StingRayBass

    Sep 15, 2011
    I went this route with my VM neck, same as you, ready to buy a new neck. Found this:http://www.warpedneck.com/
    When I got my neck back, I WAS FLOORED! Arrow straight, and haven't had to adjust the neck since I put it back on. Give it a look!
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Good to hear
  19. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    That looks expensive for a $300 VM bass. I mean you could buy a mexican fender neck on the bay for less than $100.
  20. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    $75/neck + potential shipping. I'd rather pay about $100 to have my original neck straightened than $100 for a new MM neck (nothing against MM).