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Replacing Fender truss rod

Q: I have got a Fender Jazz Bass '68 reissue but I have got problems with the truss-rod and I need to remove the fingerboard from the neck, I would like to know if there is any particular product I can use to unglue the fingerboard or if not what is the best way to operate.

Thanks a lot.
Mirko Giaccherini

A: The glue that holds the fingerboard on is heat soluble. Take the neck off the body. Get an old electric Clothes Iron. Set it on high, and lay it on the frets at the body end of the fingerboard. The glue melts at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. I guess that's about 50 or 60 degrees Celsius. It will probably take fifteen or twenty minutes to get hot enough. Slide a pallet knife into the joint and work it loose. Keep moving the iron toward the nut until the whole board is cooked off. Some folks pull the frets and nut so that the iron will be in direct contact with the wood. Some think that the metal of the frets conducts the heat to the glue better. I say pulling the frets is just more work. Don't pull them. The nut is, however going to be in the way. Remove that before you start cooking. I say use an old iron because tar is going to boil out of the rosewood of the fingerboard and stain and foul the sole of the iron to the point that you wouldn't want to use it on your shirt.

     The job you are proposing is a big, time consuming, messy one. Once you get the fingerboard off you still have to dig down to the truss rod, replace it, make and fit a new trussrod filler and then clean and reglue the fingerboard. At that point you have to touch up the finish and you might have to refret the board. If you are the original owner you should talk to Fender's Italian division. They may replace the neck for free. That's what would happen if you were in America.

     I do Fender warrantee work and they never pay me to cut into a neck. They just ship me a new one, I slap it on and adjust it. Even if you are not the original owner a new neck might be the way to go. If you are just looking for a chance to get your hands dirty, go for it. It will probably make the bass less valuable for resale, but it should be very educational.

     By the way, the glue is also soluble in vinegar.

Steve Mason

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