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Saving a banana neck?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by InstantEctobass, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Hi,

    I'm writing because my first own bass guitar, after only 6 years of "use", as gone with a bent neck, which has too much relief, without strings on it.

    Puting strings increases the relief of course... I painfully reach a "almost flat" neck with the trussrod screwed to the maximum.

    I contacted a 4,9/5 stars luthier of my region and said "there's nothing to do".

    The bass is a Cort GB34A, not very expensive; but that's the first... so!
    What should I try next?

  2. This video explains the process very clearly
    ELG60 and bearfoot like this.
  3. I guess I should buy all these tools!
  4. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Many people here have had success with straightening a necknusing clamps and heat and homemade jigs.

    The luthier looked at it? I had one bass that maxed out and took it to a luthier and he was able to get a lot more adjustment out of it and said that’s common. After that I had another neck that was maxed out and I was able to get a lot more. I took it off because it’s the old school bottom of neck adjustment and put it on the floor blocked up at each end and pushed against the back like crazy to reverse bow it. Then I tightened the nut.
    sissy kathy likes this.
  5. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    assuming that you actually need an almost flat neck neck, sometimes one can get a bit more movement by putting a couple of washers under the truss rod adjustment nut (if the nut unscrews off the threaded shaft it's a compression rod) we had a Cort once but it never needed any work so i'm not familliar with your particular model.

    fwiw, a lot of people assume that luthiers are nothing more then master repairmen which isn't really true. good repairmen often see so many more mangled instruments then a luthier will every see in their lifetime and it's often easier to build then it is to repair.

    regardless, the washer under the adjustment nut is a pretty common tactic that even a Guitar Center tech could handle and that 4.9/5 luthier should have discussed this with you. if not, subtract one star from their rating.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    sissy kathy likes this.
  6. The luthier said that it's not worth repairing because the bass is "cheap" and it moved too much, like the neck is not going to survive tens of years, for just being a "young bass". And for him, the only repair possible is removing the fingerboard, removing the trussrod and placing a new one, then gluing back the fingerboard, but the neck is maybe not strong enough to stay flat over time, so he told me I should look to repair that.

    I, myself, was thinking of the "clamps" method... The neck I have doesn't have stiffering rods or any "rosewood" tightening bar on the bottom of the neck like some other necks have (not sure how to call that).

    I tried removing the nut, but it's a two-way nut, so if I try to "unscrew" it, it bends the neck, adding more relief!
  7. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015

    got it -thanks. good luck with your bass :)
  8. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    Not a bad option. And, not as difficult as it seems. I replaced the rod in my short scale. Having zero experience in neck repairs, and primitive tools,(pics below) I turned to the experts...........Youtube :woot:

    I don't know why, but I put a steel ruler on the frets to put the iron on. But this is the technique I used. Also, I didn't heat the putty knife, just heat from the iron. Put the iron on and checked every few minutes , until the knife slid under the board fairly easily, and went as far as I could until it was harder to push the knife through. Then shimmed under the board so glue didn't re-stick when it cooled. Move iron and repeat until board is off. Once rod is replaced, I would suggest using band claps for re-gluing the board. They are like giant rubberbands. They self align the sides of the board and neck. They work great.

    Teisco fretboard removal 2. Teisco fretboard removal 4. Teisco fretboard removal 5. Teisco fretboard removal 6. Teisco trussrod replaced. Teisco fretboard replaced 1. Teisco fretboard replaced 3.
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  9. But what I don't get is that my trussrod is working, in both way. So why replace it? It's just than in the relaxing position of the nut, the neck is not flat, maybe because over the past 6th years, I've been keeping my bass with strings under tension, and never really know how to deal with stuff like this until last year
  10. Mordamir


    Oct 19, 2018
    What brand of cheap bass is it? Might be easy enough to get a replacement neck on the used market.
  11. It is a Cort, but the specs are uncommon. Heel width is 60mm (not 62 or 64); and it has 22 fret with a wonderful Rosewood fingerboard...

  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Let's gather some data:

    1. With the truss rod nut at maximum and the instrument at pitch, how much relief is in the neck?
    2. What are the string heights at the twelfth and last frets?
    3. Is it comfortable to play?
    4. Does the instrument buzz when played through an amplifier?
    Here are something to note about truss rods:

    The truss rod is meant to hold the neck at the desired relief. In a perfect world the truss rod will also allow you to adjust the amount of relief. But sometimes it won't. When that is the case, bend the neck manually into a bit of a back bow and then tighten the truss rod nut to maximum. The truss rod should then hold the neck into or near the position that it was before tightening. Then loosen the nut to allow the strings to pull the neck into the desired amount of relief. Sometimes you'll have to do this a few before it will work.

    Bending the neck can be done with the hands, arms, or in combination with the legs. Or you can get someone to help you. When working alone, a better method is to clamp the body to a bench, bend with one hand/arm and turn the nut with the other.

    Please collect the data, post it here, and someone will help you.
  13. Before I can tell you the data, and before I had your answer, I trying the trick "bending the neck then tightening the trussrod" and with the maximum setting, I can get a good "counter relief" (sorry, my English is weak here ^^). I removed the strings and I will let the neck the way for some time and try to see if it holds up.

    But some data I can still give: that bass is stringed with black nylon strings, so it has a very low tension... it's also comfortable to play. But that's the point, the neck couldn't support regular tension strings (45-100 roundwounds per say), and that's why I'm worried, cause I had plans to change the electronics of that sweet bass. Cause after all, that bass is light and the neck is a killer, it just needs love!
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It doesn't matter how the neck looks when not under tension (without strings at pitch) unless you plan to dress the frets or re-fret. The only thing that matters is how the neck responds when under a load. If you can place the neck into a back-bow (counter-relief) with the strings at pitch you should be able to adjust the neck for proper relief.
  15. Sadly, the back bow at the maximum trussrod maximum, is not enough when the strings are at pitch. I get a too big of a relief, and with roundwounds, it's not comfortable to play
  16. Does the truss rod nut come off? if so, put a washer or 2 under the nut and see if that helps. get the right size washer to avoid problems.
    Edit. Just saw in previous response
  17. No, sadly it does not. Anyway, I think I won't be touching that bass anymore. Fixing the neck and the electronics would cost more than the price of the instrument. (at least it has a wonderful 50 bucks bone nut...). I love it cause it's my first bass! and would never sell it or trash it. But in the end, I'm not in love with it's playability; for example the part of the body that rest on my chest (how do you call that part?) when playing on a chair, is pushing against my bones in that specific place, and it's not a good feeling really, haha! That's the only bass with which I have that issue.

    I'll let the bass how it is, with low tension strings, I can keep the neck in a playable relief. Thanks for the answers to everybody ;)
    craigie likes this.

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