Who can fix a twisted vintage neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wehner, May 24, 2012.

  1. Wehner


    Mar 13, 2007
    I took a chance and bought a Feb 1964 Fender Jazz neck in pretty bad shape but at a good price. However, when it arrived at RS Guitarworks (who are currently doing their 3rd restoration project for me - 1969 Jazz) they gave me a very honest assessment: The neck is badly twisted and they would not spend any money on it were they in my shoes.

    They are probably right but... I am still reluctant to give it up. I want to find a matching body and have it restored to its former glory.

    So who would be the absolutely best people to contact for straightening a basket case neck as well as doing possible truss-rod work?
  2. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Wow...RS Guitarworks said it was scrap? They're very reputable, as far as I understand.

    That's a pretty brutal assessment...either it's REALLY screwed up, or maybe someone thinks it'll cost too much to fix.

    Did they mention doing a heat treatment? My guy here in Chicago heat treated the neck of a crappy Japanese guitar I have from the 60's a few years back. The thing was unplayable. He actually did 2 rounds under the heat lamp it was that bad. Turned out perfect, still plays like butter, and from what I understand will actually be more structurally sound for the years to come.

    I'd look into that option. I think it ran me about $100-150 with the setup.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Yeah, if Roy and Scott say it's toast, it probably is...but you might look into heat treatment. It needs to have a functioning truss rod, too, for that to be effective.

    I have had three necks treated by Eric Anderson at Sky Guitars in Denton, TX.
    They came out perfectly! http://www.warpedneck.com/ http://www.skyguitars.com/
  4. Wehner


    Mar 13, 2007
    It was Roy, and it is not that I don't trust him - I absolutely love their refin work on several of my basses over the years. It just... y'know.. a 1964 neck! Kinda hard to give up on when you have had dreams of a Sherwood or Surf Green pre-CBS for years :)
  5. lovenotfear


    Aug 15, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    Dude they are right, don't waste your money, buy a new neck or have a new one made, I know that sucks but that is reality.

    I have an American Fender Jazz V Deluxe, the neck twisted, The tech said no prob, I will heat the neck and straiten the neck out, he did so at a cost of $200, It felt great I was so happy, 4 months later I went to Change the Strings, and Wammo!!! the neck twisted as soon as I took the strings off, I then had him heat it again, he said sometimes the wood develops and Memory and you have to have the neck heated a few times to get it to stay so $200 AGAIN, THIS TIME HE TOLD ME TO LEAVE THE STRINGS ON FOR 6 TO 8 MONTHS!!!!!! I did as he said, and then went to Change them one at a time, and it twisted again!!!!:rollno:, I then tried another luthier who sia dhe could fix it, but did not tell me how he was going to do it, $175 later it twisted again, and I found out he heated the neck also.

    So I finally came to the conclusion :mad: that I could have used all of that money I spent on a new neck ordered from the fender factory from a Fender authorized repair shop.

    Eventually I opted for $ 480 to Have Vegas Guitars build me a custom neck, with graphite support rods, and to have the neck made to be similar in action, feel and spacing to a music man stingray 5, I love it!!!! feels perfect in my hand!!!, that Fender V nevk felt like holding a log anyway:bag:

    I am Sharing this because I don't want you lose and waste money like I did.;)
    JIO likes this.
  6. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Cornell , IL.
    The point of a bolt (screwed) on neck is to make replacement easier. They don't last forever. Replace it and go make some music.
  7. According to my tech, there's no guarantee when it comes to fixing twists. He said he's repaired some necks that played fine for years, whereas others have twisted right back to where they started, and you can never predict what will happen in the long run. My tech is currently in the process of straightening the neck of an 80s-era Ibanez that I bought last month. He said the twist is coming out slowly, but is cautiously optimistic.

    This guy is pretty willing to tackle just about any mess that comes into his shop. I've seen him bring instruments back to life that I thought were completely beyond repair. OP, if you're interested in shipping your neck to Pennsylvania, I can ask him if he'd be willing to take a crack at it.
  8. Wehner


    Mar 13, 2007
    Thanks for all input. I will contact warpedneck.com - seems like they are the specialists on this.

    BBox - I would also like to have contact information for your guy, so I can mail him as well with some pictures and hear his opinion. Could be the right guy. Best of luck with your Ibanez.

    I'll let you know how this develops.
  9. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    This makes sense and points to problems inherently in the wood, not necessarily anything that was done to it by a person. Organic torque is relentless. The wood will eventually do what it wants to do.

    Very interesting thread. Curious to know the outcome.
  10. Wehner


    Mar 13, 2007
    Erik from www.warpedneck.com was enthusiastic to give it a go, so I'm having it sent to him. We'll see how it turns out.
  11. Good luck. Were I in posession ofa neck worth more than a number of whole guitars I have owned, I wouldn't want to give it up either.
  12. BowserBass


    Jan 18, 2012
    I'm interested to know how this works out. Keep us posted.
  13. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Johnny at Elderly Instrument is the best
  14. smcgov

    smcgov Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Northshore Mass
    Wehner what ended up happening?
  15. Wehner


    Mar 13, 2007
    I ended up shipping it to Erik at warpedneck.com. After assessing it he is confident he can fix it. Should be ready later in July.
  16. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    True, the modular design allows ease of manufacture and maintenance.
    Without 'perfect' wood and near perfect treatment, all wooden instruments will become unstable. Necks with truss rod issues or warping issues will likely have those issues for good.:bassist:

    Good luck!
  17. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Twisted neck can be repaired.

    On a 64, I would not replace the neck. I would have the existing neck repaired. That would involve having the frets pulled, having the fingerboard planed and the bass re-fretted. Depending up on how much wood needs to be removed, there is a possibility that you might need a new finger board. That probably is not the case, however it is possible.

    The thing is to find that right luthier. There are many in the USA that would make that repair, no problem, can't help you with a recommendation for Denmark.

    It would be cheaper to buy a replacement neck from Warmoth or Fender but it will not be a 64 neck.
  18. smcgov

    smcgov Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Northshore Mass
    thx man, I'm quite curious to hear how this goes.
  19. Yes indeed. Maybe if WarpedNeck is interested in some potential business, they will take some photos and let you post them here of the process they use in the treatment of your neck. Please, keep us posted.
  20. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I had a neck that was horribly bowed and left the action sitting about 1/2" if not more with the rod fully torqued down.
    Even the little bit of bend I could get to go away with tightening the truss rod, it was so bad within minutes it would just pull itself back again.

    I didn't have extra cash so I had two choices, wait and send it off later.
    Or figure it out, take some chances, and apply some ingenuity.
    Granted mine was just a Squier jazz neck I happened to really like before it got bad.
    I'm not real sure I'd have been so brave w/ a vintage.
    None the less I figured out a few different techniques and spent the next few days very carefully alternating heat and steam and counter weights.

    This was about a month ago, it worked incredibly well, so much so that now the truss is perfect and everything functions exactly how it should.
    It sat for the first 2 weeks strung up on the bass, and then I randomly decided to refinish the bass so now it's been off and had no string tension almost 2 weeks and it's not gone back or moved since.

    I honestly could not have asked for a better repair and thanks to my lack of patience it cost me absolutely nothing.
    Wallofbasses likes this.
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