Levelling neck before fretboard reglue

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Bjarke15, May 13, 2019.

  1. Bjarke15

    Bjarke15 TDPRI Member

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    I recently got a 70’s japanese tele copy with a lot of mojo but sadly also a lot of neck relief (even without strings). The truss rod is not enough to tame the relief, so I’ve taken off the fretboard and was hoping to level the neck (not the fretboard) before regluing.

    I’d just like to clear it with you guys, before possibly screwing up the neck.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've not tried that but I suppose it would work. Loosen the truss rod first then level the fretboard?
     
  3. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    How much relief did it have?
     
  4. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    If i understand you correctly, you might also have to tweak your truss rod channel at the nut and the heel since you’re taking away material there thus shallowing the channel.
     
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  5. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

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    Are you saying that even without the strings on it, that the neck has a bow in it that the truss rod can’t straighten?
     
  6. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    That is why I asked the OP how much relief did it have. But he hasn't posted yet.
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Pictures?

    I recently did this project on a 1960s Teisco having back bow and a single action truss rod. I have pictures for a mini-thread I'll post soon.

    If it's like mine, you'll need to glue the fretboard on while clamping in the bow you want then use the truss rod to adjust for the strings after.

    .
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    When one assembles a new neck, the truss rod is at a neutral position and the glue surfaces are dead flat. That's where I'd direct my energy. MIJ 60's and 70's truss rods were not noted for actually doing anything back in the day. You may want to investigate the truss rod's action within the neck before you glue on the fretboard.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  9. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Meister

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    The real question is why the neck bowed in the first place and what's to stop it from bowing more after it's been sanded?

    In many cases the bow is in an area of the neck that the truss rod has little or no effect on but people max out the truss rod trying. This type of bow happens when the neck "kinks" in the area near/past the 12th fret where the neck joins the body and causes the condition typically called a "ski jump." That kinked area is permanently weakened (some wood fibers have been crushed while others have been stretched) and while it may have temporarily stabilized, there's no guarantee it won't kink more over time unless it's reinforced.

    A great illustrated discussion on the subject and practical remedies is over on the talkbass forum and I would read it before I started sanding: https://www.talkbass.com/threads/getting-the-facts-about-ski-jumps.1111265/
     
  10. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Holic

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    I have a Teisco Bass that came to me with severe neck problems.

    Someone tried to straighten it and waaaaay over tightened the truss rod.
    Then they put a huge shim in the pocket.

    When I went to loosen the truss rod it broke! :(

    So I removed the finger board and fixed the rod.
    Glued the FB back on and did all the leveling on top of the FB. (pulled the frets first, it needed a fret job)
    Sanded in some "fall-away" after the 12th fret too.

    Got it all done and you can get the action extremely low with no buzzes!

    Amazing low action and plays excellent!

    No-one was more surprised than me! :D:D:D

    Sorry about the fuzzy pic...

    100_2582.jpg
     
  11. Bjarke15

    Bjarke15 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the input!

    With the strings off, the truss rod can just about make it straight, though it might exhibit a bit of ski jump effect. With strings on, I got to around 1 mm of relief before the truss rod broke (which I have now fixed).

    I have considered levelling the fretboard instead of the neck, but as the frets are in good shape I think it would be easier to just level the neck.

    Here are a few pics:

    IMG_0072.JPG
    IMG_0074.JPG
    IMG_0073.JPG

    By the way, could that be mold at the headstock end of the truss rod cavity?

    These pictures show relief without any tension on the truss rod:

    IMG_0076.JPG IMG_0077.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  12. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think I misread the question. Leveling before regluing the fretboard on the neck? NO..
     
  13. Bjarke15

    Bjarke15 TDPRI Member

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    Why not? Seems easier than pulling all the frets to level the fretboard. There is some excess depth in the truss rod channel so it shouldn't interfere with the rod.
     
  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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  15. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess I still dont understand... are you:
    -leveling the fretboard, back side?
    -leveling the neck side mating surface to the fretboard?

    I guess you really need to level what ever isnt flat so it depends on that. But I assume it's the neck wood, so yes level that.
    At first I thought you were refretting and leveling the fretboard flat, before or after re-gluing.
    :>)
     
  16. Bjarke15

    Bjarke15 TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, that's what I'm going for :)
     
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  17. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    So if your relief was 1 mm. you have about a half or three quarters to go. I read somewhere that adding a washer under the nut will provide more relief but that is pretty much moot at this point being that you already have the fingerboard removed.
     
  18. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Can you tell if that truss rod even does anything while you still have access to it? May want to put a modern replacement in there at the same time you're doing the work.
     
  19. Bjarke15

    Bjarke15 TDPRI Member

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    The truss rod should be enough if I can remove the unstringed relief of the neck. If it isn't enough I'll look into replacing it, tough in that case I will probably also need to modify the truss rod cavity.
     
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