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is it bad if my neck looks like a camel's back??

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:D I found a hump around the 13th fret of my washburn bass.....I haven't done any fretwork to speak of, so this is all uncharted territory for me. My first thought is that I need to remove 5 or 6 of the frets to level out the fingerboard. After I'm done with that can I turn around and just put the old frets back in, or will they be too misshapen to put back in the guitar. I don't use the bass much (primarily a guitar player) and I don't have much money for tools and all of the stuff you need to do most refrets.....couldn't find any answers....hoping that someone out there could help me.....


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Howdy mmm-pousto,

First things first: A hump in the middle of the neck is a bad thing.

I don't know how to remove the hump, but I do know that once you have removed a particular fret wire, it will most likely be unusable. So you will need new fret wires there.

This might also be a situation where it is cheaper to pay somebody to do the job right rather than buying all the tools and doing it your self. B):D:D

Good luck,

Guitar Ed

Advice worth what you paid for it. Nothing.

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I was given a no name classical that had that characteristic hump around the 12th fret. Since the guitar was worth next to nothing, I opted to yank the frets in that area and sand the bejeezus out of the fret board. Then I reset the frets and did a quick levelling. Your straightedge never lies. Check the neck over with a steel ruler and try to envision the profile you have and what it would take to get it flat again. If the hump is a gradual thing like Brian mentioned then you might just need to adjust. Otherwise, you can try a bit of heating and clamping, or go the route I took with the classical.

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In an ideal situation you could buy a good straightedge around 16" long and an already notched one like Stew Mac sells that let you just check the neck and not the frets. You can get by cheaper for the moment by buying a good draftsman T-Square and take the T off and use the Straightedge to check the fretboard. Place it on the neck and take a marker and draw lines on the straightedge above each fret. Next, using a small file, file out about 1/4" at each mark. Now you can check the fretboard out to see exactly what's going on. Hold the straightedge directly all the way down the middle of the guitar neck and try to adjust the fretboard as straight as you can by moving the truss rod some. If it doesn't come completely level or doesn't get even close then you'll want to pull all the frets after you get it as straight as you can and use a fret leveler with some 320 grit sandpaper to get the fretboard straight again. note: cut you a slot into a wide tip solder gun and heat up the fret as you pull it out with fret pullers or something similar. You can take some chalk and mark lines across the fretboard all the way down the neck so when your sanding it down you can see what hasn't been touched yet so you can keep going until you knock everything down to the same level. You can use a carpenter's level if that's all you have money for, just make sure it has a good flat surface on one side so your sanding is level. Now use Naptha on the fretboard to raise the grains back up. Next, you'll want to go over the fretboard with a radius block to reestablish the radius of the neck with progessively finer grit until it looks good. Then check your slots with a 6" steel ruler to see how deep they are after sanding down the fretboard just to make sure your new frets will have room to press in. Clean out the slots with a Xacto #11 blade and use a shop vac to get out any old glue and fretboard dust left in the slots. Next, either hammer the frets in or arbor press them in with fretting cauls. Just make sure you clean the fretwire with Naphta(lighter fluid) so that if your gluing it will hold alot better. I didn't mean to get into all this. But basically, just wanted you to know you could do the job with cheaper items.

Carpenter's Level



x-acto knife

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Frets can be carefully pulled out and put back in later, but you need a tool and the experience to get them out in good shape, and the right tools to prep the frets and board for the frets to be hammered or clamped back in. If you are clever, you might be able to make variations of such tools from what you already have around the house.

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