View Full Version : Straightening a Neck

01-06-2012, 05:11 PM
Father gave me a 50+ year old Hy-Lo baritone uke. First thing I did was stick some new strings on it. After changing strings, the action seemed a lot higher. I placed a ruler on the frets tonight and the neck is bowed. Did I possible cause this changing the 50+ year old strings? Is it possible to straighten? It is not an expensive uke so I don't want to spend a lot of money but if there is a cheap fix, I would like to try it. It would mean a lot to me to be able to make this playable since it was my dad's. Thanks.

Liam Ryan
01-06-2012, 10:09 PM

01-07-2012, 05:55 AM
Turns out I am equally bad taking pictures as I am at playing the ukulele. Laying a ruler along the frets, there is about a 2-3 mm gap from the middle frets to the ruler. Measuring the distance between the 9th fret and the string is 6-7 mm. I will try to get some pictures up when the wife gets home. She takes better pictures than I do.

mm stan
01-07-2012, 08:14 AM
Sorry to hear the bad news... I wondering if the neck joint failed due to over tightening...Never heard of a Hy Lo uke before....I have never known a neck to warp immediately from changing
strings...could you may have put on thinner strings and it may seem to have changed... or higher tension strings.. hard to tell without seeing the uke..until then it's all speculation..

01-07-2012, 08:51 AM
I have a friend who acted on the rumour that you can straighten a neck like that by changing frets. I thought he was insane, surely it was just an urban myth? But he got it to work, the trick was to find frets with a fatter tang without being much bigger in the crown. The neck of his guitar, an oldie with no truss rod, got straight (or even a little back bow) and kept straight with strings back on.

But to be clear, I have no personal experience with this. Had I not seen his guitar I would still consider it a myth.


01-07-2012, 10:09 AM
Straightening a neck is a bit of a challenge repair wise, but can be done. I've had to do it on a couple of occasions.

The way I did it was to support the area at the nut, and at the heel on small blocks. Fret board down. Then use a clamping caul across the neck so that pressure can be applied to reverse the amount of relief you have. Now slowly and gently heat the neck / fret board with a heat gun or big hair dryer or any other method that you can think of that might suit your equipment. You can get the glue between the fret board and neck to slip just that tiny bit. When everything cools and settles down the neck will hold it's new shape.

I found that I had to have a few goes during the procedure to get the necks back to where I wanted. Let sit clamped up overnight. Several years latter, both those necks are still spot on.

01-07-2012, 03:25 PM
You could pull out all the frets, plane the fretboard, and install new frets. It is the way that old classical guitars were adjusted to make them playable again.

You could remove the fretboard, straighten the neck, route a channel in the neck and insert a piece of carbon fiber rod.