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View Full Version : Does Neck Twist after build mean ukulele is ruined?



lancemanion
03-23-2015, 06:28 PM
I good friend of mine has a problem that I hope one of you Luthiers could help with. Although I have done minor uke repair and modification this is way beyond my expertise. My son's ukulele instructor ordered a ukulele with his name inlayed in the headstock from a luthier in Vietnam. It arrived straight and playable. After a couple of weeks in the dry California air the neck twisted to a point where you can see it with the naked eye and the first few frets are unplayable. Is there anything that can be done to fix this or is this uke toast? Thanks for your advice in advance.

77783

sequoia
03-23-2015, 07:21 PM
I'll jump on this thread... First of all it is not clear in your picture that there is any twisted neck. Is it possible that the neck isn't really twisted, but has moved in the neck to body joint? In other words, the neck is straight, but is no longer parallel to the top... I think it might be possible to compensate for some small neck problems by compensating with the nut and saddle, but obviously this in not ideal but it would work. If indeed the neck is actually twisted because it was unseasoned wood or abused... then there is a major problem. Would it be possible for you to measure this twist?

Oh and by the way, and just mentioning this as an etiquette thing, but it is really not cool to identify the ukulele builder's name when seeking solutions to problems. They may be entirely blameless for the fault, but their name tends to get dragged through the mud with a fault that was entirely unrelated if you know what I mean. Simply "a luthier" or "a ukulele maker" works just fine.

lancemanion
03-23-2015, 09:22 PM
I'll jump on this thread... First of all it is not clear in your picture that there is any twisted neck. Is it possible that the neck isn't really twisted, but has moved in the neck to body joint? In other words, the neck is straight, but is no longer parallel to the top... I think it might be possible to compensate for some small neck problems by compensating with the nut and saddle, but obviously this in not ideal but it would work. If indeed the neck is actually twisted because it was unseasoned wood or abused... then there is a major problem. Would it be possible for you to measure this twist?

Oh and by the way, and just mentioning this as an etiquette thing, but it is really not cool to identify the ukulele builder's name when seeking solutions to problems. They may be entirely blameless for the fault, but their name tends to get dragged through the mud with a fault that was entirely unrelated if you know what I mean. Simply "a luthier" or "a ukulele maker" works just fine.


Thank you sequoia for the advice about the luthier, I edited the post. Not here to bad mouth anybody, just looking for advice. You are totally correct and I won't make that mistake again. I appreciate so much the advice the luthiers on UU have given me in the past.

The neck to body joint appears to be solid and no trace of movement can be observed there.

The twist is easy to see by holding the uke up to your eye. At least 1/8th of an inch between saddle and nut. I can't imagine fixing this by modifying the nut or saddle. I have included a closer picture that hopefully makes the problem clearer to see.

I assumed that the twist is due to using unstable wood that was not properly dried.

My two questions are:

1) If the neck is twisted because the neck is unstable and the humidity is so low in California is there any way to repair this other than replacing the neck.

2) Is there any thing else that could cause this to happen? The uke wasn't damaged in shipping, it played nice upon arrival. This damage happened gradually. First a slight buzz, then totally unplayable.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Mahalo

77785

Inksplosive AL
03-24-2015, 12:56 AM
You bought a ukulele from Vietnam and didn't read anything posted on these forums about them. You didn't humidify a solid wood jungle born ukulele knowing and admitting your area has low humidity and then its somehow still the builders fault this jungle uke isn't doing well in bone dry CA.

My advice buy laminate instruments. My KA-SEM is much more stable in low humidity living. My Vietnam ukuleles live in a jungle box when not being played. Plastic box with open sandwich bags holding wet sponges, real simple.

Ive had luck rehydrating my Vietnam ukuleles with cracks closing but I dont think a neck will untwist itself. Everything Ive ever read about twisted necks involved planing the fretboard level again and refretting the instrument. I'm a tattoo artist though for what its worth.

Good Luck

Sven
03-24-2015, 01:54 AM
I would send it back. A neck shouldn't twist like that. Of course the humidity could be higher in Vietnam but the builder should keep it down in the workshop and make sure all pieces are properly dried before assembly.

If sending it back is out of the question then remove the fretboard, plane the neck flat and take the opportunity to install a cf rod before putting the fretboard back.

Mutantmoose
03-24-2015, 03:48 AM
Contact the seller, send a picture, and th chances are good that a replacement will be on the way.

ksquine
03-24-2015, 05:20 AM
Send it back if you can....Although customs issues might make that very expensive. Shipping into Asian countries is usually a major headache with duties, VAT, bribes, etc. This guy is probably not set up with customs to receive return goods.
If you can't send it back, you can try re-humidifying it. Might work, might not. Can't hurt to try a box with a damp sponge.

Rllink
03-24-2015, 05:23 AM
Contact the seller, send a picture, and the chances are good that a replacement will be on the way.That is what I would do. Not being mean spirited here at all, but it surprises me how it seems that is the last thing a lot of people think of. Anyway, contacting the builder/seller is a good place to start.

Timbuck
03-24-2015, 09:19 AM
I've got a soprano twisted more than that one ...So I adjusted the saddle to compensate for the twist... And now it's been a good player for the last 3 years...I wouldn't put it up for sale tho' ;) I call it " Old twisty".

lancemanion
03-24-2015, 01:02 PM
I've got a soprano twisted more than that one ...So I adjusted the saddle to compensate for the twist... And now it's been a good player for the last 3 years...I wouldn't put it up for sale tho' ;) I call it " Old twisty".

Thanks for the advice Timbuck, it is very twisted, would you try to adjust the nut and saddle?

Somebody else mentioned popping the fretboard and planing the neck, is that an option?

The uke belongs to my son's ukulele instructor and I would really like to help him out. He has contacted the seller but I don't think the seller is willing to pay for shipping to repair the uke.

Mahalo to all who replied.

Sven
03-24-2015, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the advice Timbuck, it is very twisted, would you try to adjust the nut and saddle?

Somebody else mentioned popping the fretboard and planing the neck, is that an option?

The uke belongs to my son's ukulele instructor and I would really like to help him out. He has contacted the seller but I don't think the seller is willing to pay for shipping to repair the uke.

Mahalo to all who replied.
If he doesn't want to pay for the shipping he could pay for the owner to have it professionally repaired by a local luthier. If he doesn't agree to do that, maybe naming and shaming is an option. If people don't buy from him after reading that his instruments are sub par and the return policy sucks, much grief will avoided.

anthonyg
03-24-2015, 02:39 PM
I've got a few ukuleles with neck twists. Some are very slight and some are more dramatic. Some of these are expensive brand name instruments. Its unfortunately common. If you adjust the nut and saddle to compensate then they play just fine.

If you buy ukuleles made in a humid climate then you have to be very careful when shipping them to a dry climate.

Anthony

Inksplosive AL
03-24-2015, 03:04 PM
My tenor ukulele of Vietnam build is awesome after cracking due to dry gas heat over one winter. After sitting in a humidity box I call the jungle box, a little tightbond tapped into the crack and its a very sweet sounding instrument for $18.50 before the then $60 shipping charge for a tenor sized uke.

My recent purchase of a $99 soprano with the now $60 shipping for a soprano sized uke was giving me troubles buzzing. Once I realized one side of the fretboard was drying as I could see the fret ends starting to poke out I corrected the issue with my jungle box. I expect the buzz to disappear. My 20's era banjolele was also starting to show sharp fret ends and once the wooden tuning pegs let go I decided to humidify it as well.

I think if you research the builders description of any ukulele he sells you will see the wood used is air dried not kiln dried. Nothing is being hidden. Like buying from Harborfreight its a lottery, its not worth sending it back. You do need to know what you are buying and have to baby the instrument a bit. As others have stated this goes for any solid wood instrument even the name brands.

My Wei Wei
77797 77798


~peace~