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Twisted Necks

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by seamus, Mar 13, 2001.

  1. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    **I originally posted this in 'Basses' but decided to move it here.**

    Just the other day I was in a store looking at a particular model bass I am after. I was going to buy it until I inspected the neck pocket(was kind of sloppy) and the neck appeared to have a twist in it. You could see a spot where the fretboard took a turn to one side. Maybe it was just uneven frets, but it looked like a twist to me.

    What causes this to happen to a neck? I think I've read that having no tension dialed in on the truss rod can do it.

    Can having *too much* tension do the same thing? I play a low action, so I have a good deal of tension on most of my necks. I've yet to see any of them develop this 'twist' though.

    Is it a manufacturing defect? Can it happen if the woods aren't aged or treated properly?

    Finally, what can an owner do to prevent this from happening?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The main reason for neck twisting is due to insufficient wood preparation, and perhaps poor wood quality and a finish that doesn't allow the wood to 'breathe'.
    The wood hasn't been dried properly and still contains too much moisture.
    Over time the wood dries and starts to warp.
    In general one-piece necks are more instable than laminated necks (5 or 7 pcs. necks).
    I know that Drum Workshop provides a service to dry drums to improve sound and tunability, so that may be a way...

    In theory, you could strip away the paint and dry the neck, but it might warp anyway and I doubt you could save or improve the neck that way.

    It can happen to any bass, low budget or boutique. But one piece necks with a paint finish and on a factory bass might be more prone to warp than laminated necks with oil/wax finish on a custom-made bass.
  3. I spoke to a luthier about this once, and he said he had to replace heaps of Fender Jazz necks because of twisting. Apparently it was cheaper to throw the bad one away and fit a new one than to repair it. He thought it was because the Jazz neck was so thin, and had such an ineffective truss rod.

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