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Thread: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

  1. #1

    Default What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Is this a normal amount of curvature, is it in need of a truss rod adjustment, or is this some deeper issue?

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  3. #2
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    From the perspective of your photo, it looks like a hump at the neck/body join. I would take a side view photo of the neck, If you have a 12" rule, lay it on the fingerboard between the strings for the photo.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  4. #3

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    That’s what was bothering me but then i was wondering if any relief in the neck occurs in the section between the headstock and the body meaning this is normal.
    Here are a few photos from the side with ruler.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    as an added note, the ruler definitely rocks back and forth across hte neck joint fret.

  6. #5
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    If it's pitching downward from the neck joint to the bridge, this may be fine if you don't fret up there. A little relief can be okay. I think I would check the truss rod/neck adjustment. I would then do a fret level and re-crown. Unless you're comfortable doing this sort of thing then I would take it to a qualified luthier/repair person. How does it play up and down the neck? Are you getting an buzzing or anything?
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    A lot of mandolins with elevated fingerboards start dropping off like yours with age, I have two that have the same thing.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  10. #7

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    "If it's pitching downward from the neck joint to the bridge, this may be fine if you don't fret up there. A little relief can be okay. I think I would check the truss rod/neck adjustment. I would then do a fret level and re-crown. Unless you're comfortable doing this sort of thing then I would take it to a qualified luthier/repair person. How does it play up and down the neck? Are you getting an buzzing or anything?"

    I really don't play past the 12th fret very often. I don't think I've ever been past the neck joint other than plinking around goofing off. I recently dusted it off after 2 years playing bass exclusively. I decided I liked playing Mandolin and Banjo and Guitar better than I liked the higher pay I was getting on the bass.

    It wasn't buzizng when I got it out, but after 2 years in the case, and 2 years of gigging it 1-3 times weekly before that, I figured it was due for a setup. It has a bit of a buzz now but I'm pretty sure that has more to do with me lowering the bridge when setting it up. I just need to bump it back up a bit. But while I was working on it I decided to sight down the neck, which I'm not sure I ever did before. I noticed the compound curvature and and got freaked out.

    I wouldnt attempt any kind of fret work myself, but I am very comfortable with adjusting the truss rod on my basses and electric guitars. I follow the 1/4 at a time and let it settle rule of thumb. Does that same rule apply with Mandolin or is 1/4 turn a much larger adjustment on such a small neck?

  11. #8

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    "A lot of mandolins with elevated fingerboards start dropping off like yours with age, I have two that have the same thing."

    When you say with age, what kind of timeframe are we talking? It's a KM-1500 and was brand new at the beginning of 2014.

  12. #9

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    A lot of mandolins with elevated fingerboards start dropping off like yours with age, I have two that have the same thing.
    Also, when you say dropping off, are you talking about the section past the neck joint? If so that doesn't really bother me because I don't really think I'll be playing up there any time in the forseeable future. Is that drop off whats giving it that double curved appearance that freaked me out in the first place?

  13. #10

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    The dropping off of the section past the neck joint is sometimes called "fall off." Fall off is less of a problem than if the fretboard end curves upward, which requires raising the bridge to clear the last frets, making the action too high. In your case, the neck looks ok from the nut to the body, which is where you do most of your playing. I'd adjust the truss rod with that in mind. You should be ok, sounds like you know to take it slow when adjusting the truss rod.

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  15. #11
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    As most mandolin truss rods don't extend to that area of the fingerboard,it's very unlikely that adjusting it will make the ''drop off' section of the f/board any better = it's won't raise it back up.

    I recently asked 'how to check my Weber mandolin's 'neck relief' & was told to fret the G string at the first fret & also at the 12th fret & look at the gap between the bottom of the string & the frets. If the gap is around .005" / .010" the relief is ok. However,many builders set the neck 'dead flat' - NO relief. The fingerboard between the 1st & 12th frets is where i'd be looking. If that's ok,don't worry about the 'drop off' area,
    Ivan
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  17. #12
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Every movement has its reasons....
    Drop off on mandolins usually originates during gluing the fingerboard on. There is large glue surface and the support is typically weaker than fingerboard so often the forces of moisture and clamping result in slight drop off. Maker can adjust his clamping procedure to minimize this so mandolin can start it's life with perfectly straight fingerboard (and some minimal drop off can be just sanded away from top if needed). If things move later there is something going on. In this case I wouldn't call it drop off but rather "neck joint bulge". This happens when the upper part of neck joint slips under string tension towards body. The force on fingerboard is huge and it compresses the board so it bulges up (sometimes the board separates from neck at the neck joint) and the fingerboard and the riser block push against the support which has no other chance than going down.
    You can see the tiny cracks at the neck joint that are witness of the movement.
    Why this happened is hard to tell... the neck joint could be poorly fitted and filled with glue (I've sen putty in some cases like this) or the mandolin was exposed to high humidity or temperature.
    It can be stable now and the hump can be flattened by sanding OR it can come back again and haunt you (if the neck joint still has room to go)
    Adrian

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  19. #13
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    The truss rod only affects the middle of the neck, frets 5-9 more or less. Adjusting it would not help this problem at all.
    Don

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  21. #14
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Here are few pics of F-9 that had similar symptoms... the neck moved forward and even that rubbery finish did check at the joints. The third pic shows the putty inside the neck joint at the most critical point where one wants wood to wood contact.
    If your mandolin is still under warranty I would call Saga...
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    I had the same problem with a 1937 F-7 conversion, it was fine, nice and straight no drop but then I lent it to my Dad in Alabama for well over a year and when I got it back it had this problem, "High humidity in Bama or silly putty in the neck joint? it still was set up and played great everywhere? I sold it because I needed the $ but the current owner was aware of that and hasn't reported any problems.

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  25. #16
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    I see this sort of "double curve" in necks quite frequently.
    If the action is good and there are no buzzes, I leave them alone.
    If not, I adjust the rod straight, or nearly so; take care of any high frets, and adjust the bridge height.
    If there are still buzzes and the action is high, the instrument generally needs to have the board planed and re-fretted.

    In some cases, it is possible to remove only the frets in the humped area, flatten that part of the board with a sanding block, and re-fret only that part of the board.

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  27. #17

    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Thanks for all the input. I’m not particularly bothered by the drop off area now that i have seen all the responses. It was just affecting how I perceived the rest of the necks curvature. I did tighten the truss about 1/16th of a turn or less just to take a little of the curve out as it seemed like a bit much to me even after taking the drop off out of the equation. Raised the bridge back up just a hair and it’s playing fine woth no buzz.

  28. #18
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Perfectly fitted dovetail joints are the best, poorly fitted dove tail joints are trouble.
    -Newtonamic

  29. #19
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s going on with my Mandolin neck?

    Mojo - I had the truss rod in my Weber adjusted abour 6-7 years back. There was barely a 1/4 of a turn in it. Bruce Weber told me that all his mandolins went out of his shop (original Weber shop) with a 'flat' fingerboard. If yours is playing fine - just enjoy it,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
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