Stripe on the back of the neck is coming apart

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Eon_V, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Eon_V


    Dec 30, 2014
    Hi all,

    I recently bought a used 2003 Fender MIM Jazz bass off of eBay. After looking it over, I noticed the stripe on the back of the neck of the bass is coming apart in a couple of spots around the middle of the neck. The spots feel rough when moving your thumb over them. Is this something that can be repaired?

    Also, there is some space around the neck where it meets the body that I'm a bit worried about, in addition to some what I guess is corrosion on the frets. I've attached pictures of the things in question. I'm not experienced at all with guitar repairs or set ups beyond changing strings, so I'm just trying to get a feel of is this bass worth keeping or returning. Thanks!

    Neck stripe.JPG


    Fret corrosion.JPG

    Attached Files:

  2. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Many basses have no 'skunk stripe' to come unglued.
    Most of them also don't have "space around the neck where it meets the body" either.
    It's all in the quality of the design and construction, dependent on the QC of the Manufacturer/Seller.
    Not in the 'Name' on the headstock.
    Sometimes you 'get what you pay for',
    other times, not.
  3. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    Unless you paid a premium for a "perfect" bass I think you're in good shape. The frets will polish right up with a scotchbrite pad (mask the fingerboard with tape and polish away). The neck pocket gap won't hurt anything, just keep the screws tight. The small splits at the skunk stripe are not that big of a deal, it's not going to fall apart. Use a little fine sandpaper with the grain if it bothers you, or get a little sanding dust and thin CA glue in there. Make sure the truss rod works (should feel tension when you turn it) and play it.
  4. Those cracks at the base of the neck are pretty common on Fender guitars (both basses and 6 strings.) One of my P Basses has them on both sides and the other one does not. Almost always they are just finish cracks and don't affect the guitar structure. Mine have been on my bass since I got it (I bought it used) and have been stable for the 5 or 6 years I have owned the bass. BTW , my main player is the one with the cracks and the one with no cracks is my back up.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Most Fender basses DO have a bit of space around the neck where it mounts to the body. It doesn't matter, nor does it affect the sound quality. Just keep the mounting screws tight.

    If the skunk strips actually comes loose, you can easily glue it. Do some searching here on TB for discussions of loose skunk stripes.

    If there's gunk on the fretboard/frets, use a damp (not wet) cloth to wipe it off.
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I don't see anything wrong here. Finish cracks around the skunk stripe are fairly common. It doesn't mean that the stripe is coming unglued. The finish crack at the body is a common cosmetic issue, as is the space in the neck pocket. Some really hate the neck pocket gap, but as long as the neck doesn't shift in the pocket, my opinion is that is doesn't really matter. The dirty frets will polish up if you want to; that is another this that doesn't matter.

    Enjoy the bass! It was used, so try not to get too hung up on a few cosmetic flaws.
  7. Eon_V


    Dec 30, 2014
    Thanks for all of the suggestions and input everyone! Seems I was just stressing out over minor things. I can say this bass has some character for sure :laugh:

    That's a good point about the price. I paid a pretty standard used price from what I've seen online. This bass being as old as it is (2003 or so), I certainly didn't expect it to be flawless, but I just wasn't sure if the issues I was seeing were going to turn into big problems later on down the road or not.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Looking at the stripe I wonder if the neck has just been exposed to a low humidity environment for a long time and the wood is just shrinking. The frets can be polished easily, and the neck joint isn't bad, nothing to worry about (but could also be related to low humidity).
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Typical Fender - variable QC, unlike Rickenbacker, which has the highest QC, has more demand than they can produce, and overall produce a significantly superior instrument.
    line6man and JustForSport like this.
  10. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Thanks for the unsolicited opinion which had nothing to do with the OP. You're right, of course, and tens of thousands of Fender bass owners must be delusional. :rollno:
    Tbone76 and Obese Chess like this.
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    You're welcome.

    Seriously, I had a Fender neck about 20 years ago that did the same thing. It isn't a structural issue. It is a cosmetic issue.
  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Maybe. Maybe not.

    If it is a traditional truss neck it bears against the stripe. When the rod is brought into compression it forces the stripe out of the neck. The fingerboard and neck will not respond to adjustment.

    Biflex rods are not a problem.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  13. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Wood movement certainly exacerbated the problem. But that is why the glue was applied to the joint.

    The problem is glue failure. Either the glue is/was faulty or the joint was starved.
  14. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    Nothing personal mind you, but a Ric is the only bass I'v ever tried that I just could not find a comfortable way to play. I had one for a while and I just never could find a place where my right hand rested that felt natural, or comfortable. And the tone was never my cup of tea either. Tinny was the best word I can use to describe it.

    Oh and demand outstripping supply usually just means low production numbers. Now if all that demand was pre sold to end users it might indicate a big demand, but since most of their production winds up in dealer stock, it usually just means low production numbers, not inordinately high demand, and take if from someone with many years of production experience, high quality is not automatically synonymous with low production numbers.
  15. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I was looking for your endorser disclaimer for Ric and I just can't seem to find it.
    DiabolusInMusic and Obese Chess like this.
  16. Other way around actually. The rod (which has a slight bow) is under tension and tries to straighten itself the tighter it gets. Its curved against a routed curve in the neck that forces the routed curve to straighten and thus the neck into a backbow. In practice it has, with just the right amount of user adjustment, enough force to counter the forward pull of the strings.

    Other than as a means to get a truss rod into a one piece maple neck (as there's no separate fretboard for access) the skunk stripe issue is cosmetic. If the neck has a separate fretboard then the skunk stripe is merely an affectation.
    Have a look at the following link.
  17. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006

    The neck is brought into compression via tightening the truss rod nut. It doesn't matter if the channel is curved or not. What does matter is that there is more material on the fingerboard side of the rod. When the truss rod nut is tightened the neck bends into a back bow because there is less material beneath the channel to resist the force of the rod.

    Cosmetics? Not in every case. Not on every neck. Not in every year. Don't believe everything you read.

    As far as the link goes, the idea presented is correct, even though the drawing is not particularly accurate.
  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I can respect that. I sold my 4001 in favor of my 4002 for the same reasons. I will respectfully disagree with the rest of the post. But I also sold my '75 Jazz bass for the same reasons. Yes, the same one that has been reissued and everybody fawns over. I had the real deal, and I just never could find a place where my right hand rested that felt natural, or comfortable. And the tone was never my cup of tea, either. That was both with the stock pickups, and when they died, the only after-market pickups available at the time in the early '80's where I lived were DiMarzio Model J pickups. Great growl, not enough bottom end. Moreover, the nut was too narrow and the heel too wide, so my left hand was never comfortable, either.
  19. The curve matters a great deal. It's the only way that the force of a tightening, straightening rod can exert it's pressure on the neck.
    The truss rod type in this discussion is of the vintage/single action type common to Fender.

    The original link, although somewhat exaggerated, accurately depicts the concept and mechanism of work.
    Here's another site explaining and showing the forces involved more fully.

    About the skunk stripe...meh.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    The Warmoth illustration is of a "vintage" truss rod installation. I don't think many manufacturers use a curved channel any more. As 202dy said, the truss rod puts the lower half of the neck in compression which causes it to bow. No need for a curved channel.