Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

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Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:10 pm

… Literally.

My LB-100 had developed a little ski jump over the years and I finally decided to do something about it. I decided to take the easy experimental home remedy and thought I’d share.

LB100 Ski Jump.jpg
LB100 Ski Jump.jpg (85.89 KiB) Viewed 970 times


DISCLAIMER… should you choose to try this with your own gear, do so at your own risk. Read as much as you can online, watch videos, etc. and make sure you’re comfortable working on your instrument. I’m happy to answer any questions based on my own experience, but remember I’m just a hobbyist, not a pro, and certainly make no representations that this is the best way to go about things. Now to the fun.

I was doing some research on heat treating a neck to straighten it, and there are varying opinions on whether it’s a viable or long-term solution. Prices for a heat treatment seemed to run anywhere from $75 - $250, depending on where I called/went, and some cases would require shipping the bass or neck, so factor that in. Enter the cheap DIY’er in me.

I found some videos of people doing similar things on youtube, so I thought I’d give it a try.

First thing I noticed in checking after removing the neck was that there was a crack at the heel, and the heel itself wasn’t flat. This would make sense to me, as the ski jump did appear worse on the E side of the neck.

LB100 Cracked Heel.jpeg
LB100 Cracked Heel.jpeg (92.23 KiB) Viewed 970 times


Looking at the heel, it would appear that at some point, someone had overtightened the microtilt (I swear it wasn’t me) and had actually pushed the metal pad into the wood about 1mm. I’m assuming this caused the cracking.

LB100 Pressed Disc.jpeg
LB100 Pressed Disc.jpeg (107.13 KiB) Viewed 970 times


continued...
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:14 pm

To get this pad out, I had to cut away a little of the wood at the heel just deep enough that I could get a flathead screwdriver on the side of the disk, have a little leverage on it and tap it out.

LB100 Removed Disk.jpeg
LB100 Removed Disk.jpeg (89.8 KiB) Viewed 969 times


Once that was out and taken care of, I clamped the heel of the neck flat on a board using two clamps, with the thought of being able to apply pressure to both sides and take out the distortion. I laid a flat piece of metal across the frets on the section of the neck that I wanted to heat. Yes, that is a saw blade. It was all I had on hand that was the right size, and it worked just fine. Then I clamped the saw blade down between the 7th and 9th frets. This way I wasn’t pushing into the fretboard with the clamp. (The clamps I used on the back of the neck were straight onto the last fret, and did conveniently have a small groove on the pad of the clamp that fit the fret perfectly.) I used the C clamp for this because it was easier to adjust the pressure I was putting on the neck. I used a towel under the section of the neck where the bend in the neck was. This allowed me to apply back pressure at the point where there was an issue, and using a towel allowed me to not have anything that would mark the finish or damage the neck. Plus it was easy to adjust the thickness (and subsequently amount of pressure in the back) by how I folded it. I didn’t get it perfectly straight out the gate as I didn’t want to force anything. Then I ironed.

LB100 Iron Jig.jpeg
LB100 Iron Jig.jpeg (105.86 KiB) Viewed 969 times


I applied heat on medium-high for about 20 minutes. Apply the heat to the metal of the saw blade, which in turn distributes the heat to the frets, which heats the neck. The pain of it is, my iron automatically shuts off when left horizontal for like 30 seconds, so I had to sit there and baby it the whole time.
The metal will be hot (including the frets), and the neck will be somewhat hot to the touch. Take care not to overheat and damage the finish. After the heating, I did put a turn or two on the C clamp to add a little extra pressure to flatten it out more. Checked everything with a straightedge. Then I let it cool for about an hour before taking any of the clamps off.

I did this whole process twice, and the neck is currently pretty darn straight.

LB100 Straight Neck.jpeg
LB100 Straight Neck.jpeg (148.9 KiB) Viewed 969 times


I’m going to let it set for a few weeks to see if anything happens before I install it. Not sure if I’ll just leave the neck tilt pad out (probably) or what. I’m optimistic that this will hold once I get it under string tension…
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby deltafred » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:31 am

I'm watching this with great interest (and hoping it is successful).

Please keep us posted on the stability of it.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:00 pm

TDR1138 wrote:Looking at the heel, it would appear that at some point, someone had overtightened the microtilt (I swear it wasn’t me) and had actually pushed the metal pad into the wood about 1mm. I’m assuming this caused the cracking.


Adjusting, even over-adjusting the Precision Tilt (Micro Tilt is Fender's name), doesn't cause skijump. Over-tightening the neck screws with tilt dialed in, either via adjuster or shim, is what does the dirty deed. My El Toro has a bunch of tilt set and the neck screws are snug but not hellishly tight. No skijump to be found.

Ken...
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:21 pm

Frankly, I’d disagree that the ski jump on this one had anything to do with the Precision Tilt or the tightening of the neck bolts. The bend in the neck was around the 14-15 frets, away from where the neck attached to the body. I do think the overtightening of any/all of it led to the pad being pushed into the neck, which in turn cracked the heel and prevented it from being flat. But the real problem was where the neck was free of the body and not impacted by the screws at all. Not to say that ski jump can’t happen because of the bolts being too tight, just wasn’t the main issue in this case.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby bigtone23 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:01 am

I will be watching this to see how it works out!
July 1983 El Toro. Rosewood, black, alder? body. 10 pounds.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby deltafred » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:37 am

There is a thread on TB about ski jump necks, it's well worth a read.

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/gettin ... s.1111265/
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:43 am

Yeah, I did read that talkbass thread...

So, assembled the bass on Friday night, strung it up. Gave it a good setup on Friday and then gave it some final tweaks on Saturday morning. Played it Saturday night at my regular gig. Played amazingly well. Our guitarist (a professional jazz guitarist) tried it and actually commented on how well it played. Everything seems to be holding straight so far, so it’s a short-term win. I’ll keep this updated over the long haul for stability reports.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby daveplaysbass » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:29 pm

Nice work. Bookmarked. I hope I never need it.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:08 am

Just to circle back on this topic, things appear to be pretty stable so far. Played it this weekend and everything is still feeling really good. Tiny bit of buzz at the 18-20 frets, but it's minor and nothing a little fret leveling wouldn't cure. Far cry from how it was a couple of months ago.
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