neck hump, unused neck storage



Hey guys,

I haven't been here for a long while. Glad everyone's looking well. Enough small talk.

I took the baritone neck off of one of my Warmoth projects and replaced it with a regular neck. (I needed a spare guitar for a gig.) The replacement was a Mighty Mite maple strat neck that that fit fine, but there was a lot of buzz or choked bends on frets 13 to 18. I checked it with a smaller straight edge, and sure enough, there's a hump where the neck meets the body. I was able to fix it good enough for the gig by filing down frets 14 through 22, recrowning and polishing. When the next recrown time comes, though, it will mean sanding down the fretboard, refinishing and refretting that part of the neck (translation: get a new neck instead).

My question is: How did that hump occur? I got the neck out of a guitar shop's junk bin. It was used, but had almost no fret wear. Was it improperly shimmed? Did it hang on the rack too long? Bad luck?

Thanks in advance.

And my follow-up: Since I have a baritone neck now with no string tension on it, should I loosen the truss rod or anything like that?

Yeah guys, $20 for a neck with a problem I was able to fix. Would you rather I teach myself this stuff on expensive necks that don't have anything wrong with them? Seems kind of pointless.

Also, I've seen the same sort of hump on allegedly good quality necks on allegedly good guitars that cost tall dough. It's not an uncommon problem. My question is: what causes it, and what can I do in the care and feeding of my guitars to prevent it?
jackthehack said:
Seriously, no clue; you have a picture of the "hump"?

I wish I had a digital camera that was good enough for the job. It's real subtle. If I had a slotted ruler I could show just how much it rises from fret 13 to 18. Before I filed the frets down, I went over it with a small "fret rocker" straightedge. From 14 to 18, each fret is successively higher than the previous. by fret 19, they level out. There aren't any raised frets, and there's minimal fret wear.

I wonder if it wasn't because the neck, when it was last on a guitar, had some backbow for a long time, and then someone finally loosened the truss rod.

Honestly, I was pretty jazzed that I was able to fix the problem. Granted, it was a brute force solution, but it got me through a gig.

I had a jazzmaster years ago that ramped up from about the same point but kept going up until the 21st fret. When I got the neck off I found a matchbook cover being used as a shim by the previous owner. That was a real shame, because everything else with that guitar was all right.

Off to stewmac to buy a slotted ruler.
There is a phenomenon that happen with necks... called a rising tongue.  What it is... the upper frets "appear" to rise, but in fact what has happened is the neck has bent about 1/3 of the way down its length, from string tension... causing the illusion of a "rising tongue".  This is a not uncommon occurrence in acoustic necks, but also happens in electric necks, either glued or bolt on.

The best quick fix is a leveling of ALL the frets, with recrown as needed.  Next thing, as you rightly point out, is pull all the frets, level the board, give a slight "cast off" to the upper frets (very slight, about .010-015 dip from fret 12 to 22/24.  Then you reslot, and refret.  That should "hold" it for a long time, or forever, as sometimes the neck will take a certain shape and move very little more after that.  Sometimes it just keeps on moving.... like the oaken planks of a beer barrel (or politicians)... they start straight, but under tension get very crooked.
-CB- said:
... like the oaken planks of a beer barrel (or politicians)... they start straight, but under tension get very crooked.

Very colorful metaphor.

Thanks for the explanation. When the day comes that I want to do my first fret job, I have the neck.