Thursday, 18 October 2007
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All of a sudden my AB1 (#3785) has developed a very slight "ridge" running lenghtwise along the back of the neck - from the back side of the headstock all the way down to where the neck joins the body. I'm not sure but it feels as if the neck is constructed of two pieces of wood and that one piece has expanded or contracted at a different rate than the other. This is disconcerting as I don't know if it will "correct itself" or get worse. Has anyone else experienced this?
14 years ago
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#7516
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Yeah, and that's exactly what it is; the neck is indeed constructed with probably 3 pieces of wood and what you discribe is a common "issue". It's been discussed before, and I have also experienced it. After a while you get used to it. You could probably sand the neck a bit, but others with more experience than me will chime in about that. If you search though I'm pretty sure there was a similar thread a few months ago. Anyway, the good thing is that it's nothing to worry about AFAIK.
14 years ago
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#7517
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Don't worry, it's normal on a multi piece neck with a wax finish. Sanding the neck is not a good idea, IMO. Mark
14 years ago
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#7518
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Thanks for this feedback. I must admit I'm surprised that my AB1 neck isn't one solid piece of wood. I never looked at it so closely that I saw it was laminated. Are the necks of all models of Dingwalls constructed of multiple pieces? Are the more expensive models constructed with solid necks? I'm not a luthier so I don't know anything about designing necks but I'm wondering if a multi-piece neck is a quality compromise to meet a price point or is it intentional - like a neck-through vs a bolt-on neck? I'd like to hear from Sheldon about this and if he recommends sanding or steel wooling it vs leaving it alone. And what if it gets worse? Is there a degree of expansion/contraction along this lamination which would be excessive and indicate that it's defective? This is all new to me... and a bit dismaying. I've not experienced this on any previous basses I've owned.
14 years ago
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#7520
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I am not Sheldon and I am only speaking from my experience of my 40+ basses (most of them high-end). All of my Dingwalls (but one) are have 3-7pc necks. The phenomenon you describe is not uncommon (2-3 of my basses show that) but I have not experienced any structural problems, so far. One piece necks don't exhibit this and multi-laminate necks with heavy finish may not show this easily. I suppose that the satin finish allows for faster moisture balance with the environment thus exhibiting this behaviour. In general, multi-laminate necks are less prone to wrapping due to moisture changes
14 years ago
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#7521
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[quote="fullrangebass":3mzakl5o] In general, multi-laminate necks are less prone to wrapping due to moisture changes[/quote:3mzakl5o] +1. A 1-piece neck will warp more easily. In a multi-lam neck, different layers will absorb and shed moisture at different rates, warp differently and therefore offset eachother.
14 years ago
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#7522
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[quote="Valkyrie":2bafucy2]I'm wondering if a multi-piece neck is a quality compromise to meet a price point or is it intentional - like a neck-through vs a bolt-on neck? [/quote:2bafucy2] Laminating necks is a more expensive way to build due to extra labor involved in cutting, thicknessing, laminating, drying, re-cutting and then re-thicknessing. We do it because it gives the neck a more consistent structure that stays straighter through varied climatic changes. The disadvantage is that you'll feel the more extreme climatic changes show up as a ridge on the glue line. [quote="Valkyrie":2bafucy2]And what if it gets worse? Is there a degree of expansion/contraction along this lamination which would be excessive and indicate that it's defective? This is all new to me... and a bit dismaying. I've not experienced this on any previous basses I've owned.[/quote:2bafucy2] Has the instrument seen a lot of humidity lately? Has it been damp in it's case? There are a couple of options. If you can control the relative humidity where the instrument spends most of it's time, you'll solve all humidity related problems. The ideal RH is 42%. Admittedly this can be tough to pull off. If you're in a high humidity area year round, then you could look at lightly sanding the neck with 600 grit paper and applying some more gel finish or tung-oil. You can do this yourself, but it's better to take it to a luthier with experience. Lastly, you could have the luthier spray satin urethane on the back of the neck. We've done this in the past and it protects very well, but makes the neck less "woody" feeling.
14 years ago
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#7524
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Again, thanks for all this feedback and in particular from Sheldon. I keep my AB1 on a stand in my livingroom 99% of the time. I rehearse with my band in my garage about 4 hours per week where I'm sure it's more humid and probably around 60 degrees F. When I'm gigging, of course I transport it to and from the gig in it's hard case. We do occasionally gig outdoors but never in inclement weather. I've never measured the relative humidity inside my house but we're not aware of feeling like it's damp inside. We keep the temerature at around 68 degrees F. I live about 25 miles south of San Francisco, along the coast, so our climate has no real extremes from season to season -never gets extremely hot or cold for any extended period of time. I guess for now I'll see if the ridge along the glue line continues to get worse. If it does I'll cross that bridge when I get to it and figure out what to do. One last question: Is it possible or expected that the neck would "shrink" back to it's original allignment and thus have the ridge return to being undetectable, or is it a situation where once it forms it's there for life?
14 years ago
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#7529
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Hey Valk, I had this happen to me as well. When I got my bass from BassCentral in Florida (USA) it had come directly from Sheldon and basically turned around out the door. From there it made it to upstate NY, in the early summer and within a few weeks I noticed the seams becoming noticable. This, along with something else that I thought to be an issue made me sort of freak as this was the first bass I'd purchased in this price range and of course I contacted Sheldon about it since I thought my new bass might be falling apart. I also the same week purchased a dehumidifier (even though our humidity was sitting around 50% at the time) and kept the bass in my spare room with closed door and two different humidity meters (as I don't really trust a single one). The room held my 5 basses and the humidifier and was known by friends, roommates and bandmembers as "THE HYPERBARIC CHAMBER". Anytime I wasn't on stage, at rehearsal or playing at home the bass was in the chamber. For about 8 months I kept my bass in controlled conditions when not being used...and this is what I discovered: It won't get rid of the seams or really minimize them. They kind of do what they do and won't get any worse, and for the past year and a half or so, mine has been living without any climate control through all seasons and condition and there has been no deterioration or change. The feel of it was an unwelcome distraction for me for about 4 months when I first had the bass then I got used to it and now I don't even think about it.
14 years ago
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#7535
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Hey Burning Skies. I really appreciate your feedback. Sounds like your experience has some similarities to my own. It sounds like keeping my bass in a controlled humidity/temp environment won't reverse or prevent the ridge along the glue line. It's reassuring to hear from Sheldon and all the rest who've replied that a laminated neck actually has advantages over a solid neck. Of course after this has been explained it makes sense (duhh). I may consider sanding it if it gets much worse though I don't think I'd ever polyurethane it because I really like the "woody" feeling Sheldon refered to. I'm just "mourning" the loss of the perfectly smooth, silky neck that has astonished my band mates when they've tried it. If it gets a whole lot worse, y'all be hearin' from me again about this... Thanks,
14 years ago
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#7536
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Don't be too shy about sanding the neck. I had a few pits in the back of the neck of my AB - II when i received it - probably happened at the store. Annoying to see/feel. 600 grade sandpaper with a little fretboard/lemon oil and you can get the neck very smooth, without taking taking much surface off at all. clean everything up and apply the wax of your choice (or sheldon's choice) and you're good to go. IMO, YMMV, ETC.
14 years ago
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#7538
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Hmmmmmm...... this is definitely food for thought. Would you recommend waiting awhile to see if the ridge reaches some maximum and then stabilizes there before sanding? I'm wondering why Sheldon recommends having a luthier do it? Thanks!
14 years ago
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#7545
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There is definitely that strange feeling - taking sandpaper to your beloved bass. That lasted about 20 seconds. The light sanding was a nice way to get rid of wax and dirt build up on the back of the neck. The 600 grit is so mild, it really doesn't do much sanding. The oil was helpful to keep any dust down, like wet sanding paint. I think it would remove any ridges pretty quickly. I don't think you can run into much trouble - low risk, high reward. Go slowly and carefully and see how it goes. I wouldn't have the patience to wait. It would bug me, and I would try to deal with it ASAP. If it happened again, I'd sand it down again, since it was so easy the first time?! I don't think it is the type of thing to re-occur, though. The neck has probably settled in and done what it was going to do in your environment.
14 years ago
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#7551
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Hey reddavid and others, maybe this question is a no-brainer (but I'd rather ask than make a wrong assumption). If I sand the ridge does the direction of sanding matter? I'd assume I should sand along the length of the neck - this just seems intuitively correct, but what do I know. Thanks.
14 years ago
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#7552
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Yes, definitely up and down the neck, with the grain. you can use a soft sponge or something as a pad, or fold the sandpaper a number of times so it conforms to the shape of the neck and sand evenly (hopefully hitting the ridges.) some people use scrubbie pads for light sanding now, but I liked the 600 grit sandpaper.
14 years ago
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#7570
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May be late on this but I'd vote for leaving the neck alone for a bit. Monitor it for a full seasonal cycle, which will also give you plenty of time to really decide how much the ridges bother you, provided they are still there. I have a 9 piece neck, there are minor ridges except for the area of the neck that sees the heaviest playing, they're worn smooth(it's got a lot of mileage on it). I don't notice them anywhere on the neck when I'm playing, but will admit that if I was unfamiliar, or experiencing them on another bass I would be paying attention to them, at least on a minimal basis. My position is that I love the natural feel of these necks, I find that finished necks can feel great in many conditions, but sometimes feel gummed-up and sticky if I get sweaty or have to play in cold conditions. IMO, Sheldon's necks are the best in the business, both in performance and durability, and are a big part of what makes his basses great. I'm thrilled to have seams on my neck!! :wink:
14 years ago
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#7571
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Yeah..you get used to the ridges. I wouldn't mess around with sanding.
14 years ago
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#7572
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+1 on lowphatbass's comment about the necks being the best in the business. I have a Prima Artist and I am taking Sheldon's advice and using KIWI Natural shoe polish once a month and the neck is so smooth and fast and feels great. I love the natural wood with the wax. I wouldn't sand the neck at this point either. IMHO.
14 years ago
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#7573
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I would say my Dingwall Afterburners have the most stable necks I have owned.
14 years ago
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#7575
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When I first got the bass it seemed to take me a while to get to the level of relief I wanted. But once I got there it hasn't moved in over a year--we've gone from hot humid summers to dry cold winters with forced air heat and I've never touched the truss rod. Last time I adjusted it was probably late summer of 2006 I also have that ridge on my AB's neck
14 years ago
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#7580
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believe it or not, it's been something like 8-9 yrs that I have touched the relief of my Dingwalls
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