Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

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

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:56 pm

Sticky!

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

Postby derick » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:38 pm

A few years ago, I purchased an ‘81 Natural Mahogany L-1000 with an ebony neck. During the last 37 years I’ve owned 10 or so of these three-bolt precision-tilt G&Ls, and this is the only one that has displayed the classic ski-jump syndrome. While not extreme, I noticed the curve right away when the brown truck had left, and while loosening the neck bolts helped, it didn’t cure it.

The fact that neck stamp showed April of 1981 while the body stamp was December of ‘81, and remnants of red finish on the neck was enough to convince me that this body and neck did not leave the factory together. I attempted to “cure” the ski-jump with a fret-dress but was unsuccessful. I was pretty exited about getting this hog/slots/ebony with chrome plates and early black bridge bass, but it fell out of rotation because I couldn’t set the action as low as I wanted.

I’ve read multiple times on this board and others how the only way to permanantly fix ski-jump was a fretboard planing and a partial refret. I don’t know how exreme the condition has to be before that is the only option but, by comparison the heat and pressure procedure described here looked like a good and relatively simple experiment to try on this neck. So, I did.

iron.jpg
An aluminum square seemed it would transfer heat pretty well.
iron.jpg (136.25 KiB) Viewed 6658 times


It worked to straighten the heel of the neck, but I overdid it a bit and managed to introduce a slight hump at the 14th fret. Having heard how these fixes don’t hold anyway, I gave the neck a couple of months to revert to it’s prior state. It did not.

Now, two months is not forever, but I could detect no change in the neck over that period of time. Meanwhile a wunkay neck came up on Reverb that I decided to take a chance on. This “new” maple neck, while the truss rod works fine has a slight hump at the 10th fret. Interesting. It also has a finish crack the goes under the nut, which seems a point of concern. Since this new neck was one that someone had given up on already I didn’t expect it to be perfect, and it isn’t, but I still think that I can make it a viable neck as it’s not all that far off. But, that's not what I'm here to talk about.

So, this weekend I decided to try the pressure and heat procedure on the ebony neck to lay down the hump that I had overzealously created. Since the pressure clamp would have to be at the point where the heat needed to be applied, an iron would not work (and I am currently thinking that an iron may be overkill.) I decided instead to use a halogen lamp as the heat source. I actually did this twice as I was being much more careful and measuring everything, now having much more respect for the efficacy of heat and pressure on a maple neck. A halogen lamp at 8-10 inches for four hours seemed to do the trick, the frets were uncomfortably hot and the neck itself pretty warm, but not alarmingly so.

halogen.jpg
I moved the lamp down for this photo.
halogen.jpg (156.51 KiB) Viewed 6658 times


And… as of right now the neck is nearly perfect. I’m going to take it out to play tonight.

So, this is my experience. No guarantees expressed or implied, and maybe in a few weeks or years the defects will return. But at this point I am cautiously optimistic. Thanks to TDR1138 for posting his experiences in dealing with his imperfect neck.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:46 am

Thanks derick for the feedback and your experiences as well.

I agree that the iron is somewhat overkill. I did use mine out of convenience and also just not knowing what to expect. I've read that heating blankets could/would work, too. Since my iron has an auto-off feature and I had to keep monitoring it, I think that forced me to not just set it on and leave it for a while, so I was more aware of the heat that was being applied. But hey, whatever works...
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby derick » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:48 am

The iron did certainly do the job, I used it on medium for about 25 minutes, and it heated the neck significantly hotter than the halogen lamp. Although my (wife's) iron is the same brand as yours, it did not switch off by itself.

The real question now is, how long will the "fix" hold up? If there is a noticeable regression in the neck status, I will report it.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby jglunt2112 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:59 am

I am also interested in seeing how this plays out long term. I recently purchased a used Fullerton SB-2 through an online site. Once I received it, I discovered it had a ski jump problem. I asked to return it, but instead the seller and I came to an agreement that he would refund a significant amount of the purchase price if I'd keep the bass. Well, the worst that could happen is I could pay G&L $500 plus one-way shipping to install a completely new neck and do a factory set up, so I agreed with the seller on this. My regular luthier lives about 300 miles away--I moved--but I was going that way to visit a friend anyway, so I dropped the bass with him and he did this same treatment. (I didn't ask him if he used an iron and a saw blade, but who knows?) He did have to re-glue a couple frets because the heat caused them to loosen. Mine is working fine for now (about 3 weeks out), really well as a matter of fact, and he only charged me $120, so I'm still ahead of the game. I have a set of medium gauge strings on it (50-105), so even though these are new, I might spring for a lighter gauge set. I'll keep updating mine here as well. A side note: My luthier didn't put a shim under the neck, but I decided it would help, so I went ahead and did this after I got back home. I was very careful not to over-tighten the 6 neck bolts!
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby TDR1138 » Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:17 am

Well, we’re about 2 years and 4 months since I did my home ironing remedy, and everything is still holding great. I really haven’t adjusted the neck since - though as a disclaimer to that statement, I live in Southern California where temperature and humidity don’t vary too wildly. There is maybe just an inkling of lift on the E string side of the heel, but I really think that’s from me not getting it 100% flat when I did it and it only affects the E string above the 16th fret, and then only just slightly. Nitpicking here, really. I’m completely happy with how it plays. I’ll make the claim that it’s been totally stable, and feel that the heat straightening was a success.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby Russtron » Mon May 18, 2020 8:12 am

I’m so happy to have found this forum and this post. Recently bought an L-2500 on reverb, my first G&L. And you can guess why I’m here, it’s not terrible, the bass is totally playable. But it’s not right.....anyway, will post results if I get brave enough to try this fix.
Just out of curiosity does anyone know how much a new neck might run? That’s assuming they would even ship jay a neck?
Last edited by Russtron on Mon May 18, 2020 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Had to Iron Out a Little Ski Jump Problem…

Postby Ken Baker » Mon May 18, 2020 8:20 am

Russtron wrote:Just out of curiosity does anyone know how much a new neck might run?


About $500.00

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