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What could have caused this damage?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JDGA fan, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    I recently received an eight string bass, the 4-paired octave string type, in the mail. This bass has a set neck (5-piece laminate) with an angled back headstock and a volute behind the nut. The fingerboard is ebony, bound (purfling) with MOP inlays starting at first fret. Strings were detuned until slack, but no adjustment was made to the truss rod. The hard case it was supplied in was undamaged and bass was well padded inside the case (it couldn't move up or down or side to side and was making no unpadded contact with the walls of the case). On inspecting the bass, I noticed that the fingerboard had a crack running roughly parallel to the neck, starting from the nut and almost through to the first fret (and either side of the inlay). On the top of the neck (when bass is held in playing position) there was some separation where the fingerboard is glued to the neck starting at the nut and extending an inch and a half. On the bottom of the neck there was a crack in the wood (not just finish) of the outer laminate of about the same length and running at approximately 45 degrees from the nut. What do you think, could the shippers have done this and how could you explain it from the perspective of making an insurance claim. The bass in it's case was well-wrapped in bubble-wrap. The outer box was scuffed and dirty, but showed no obvious impact damage. Any thoughts?
  2. residual torque from the trussrod pushing against wood, combined with no string tension, add a shock impact (no matter how well packed) and there you have your destruction.

    Had that trussrod been slackenned properly, I bet that neck would be fine right now. So I'd say a combo of sender neglect and shipper abuse beyond reason (possibly)
  3. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    Thanks Mon Rominee - I thought that the fact that the truss rod wasn't slackened after detuning the strings might have been the culprit. I specifically asked the shipper about this - dang, what a waste. Anyone disagree?
  4. I'm just sorry the bass is toast.

    I've seen this happen once, combined with being constantly reminded that shipping it like that is a no-no. Doesn't make it law, but it's gospel to me.

  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Bit wierd I suppose but I've ran across numerous debate regarding whether to ship an instrument with strings detuned or not (and finally settled for myself with half-tune).

    Not in the market for basses anymore so haven't had to mess with it for over a year. Maybe I just overlooked it, don't recall, or perhaps it was assumed in discussions, but I can't remember mention of loosening the truss rod in combination with detuning. Makes obvious sense do so however. In fact it makes sense to do if you're going to store a bass with strings detuned.

    Perhaps the argument (at least in part) for shipping tuned had to do with possible damage from strings being detuned combined with failure to back off the truss rod. I'd speculate that most of the basses shipped with the strings detuned, the truss rod hasn't be touched.