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Thread: Twisted and bent neck any idea's

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Twisted and bent neck any idea's

    Hi guys I was looking forward to building my kit a pit bull PRS-1Q. It arrived today but the neck has a very noticeable longitudinal twist and bend, plus quite a backwards convex bend. I do not see how I would be able to get a somewhat playable guitar let alone a decent low action out of it? Is this type of quality neck what people normally receive from pit bull? Or am I just lucky? Also the quilted maple top is full of scratches, tear outs and there's exclusive glue all over the place on the top and under the binding? I am a cabinet maker by trade and have been making high end cabinets, furniture and decretive veneer work for nearly 35 years and I know there is no excuse to have glue stains or excess glue like this?

    If anyone has any ideas if this kit is salvageable let me know? As at this stage I will be sending it back.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Hiya Razzerback.
    Sorry to hear of your troubles with your kit. You can get around the back bow to an extent with the truss rod adjustment, but the longitudinal twist is a killer.

    I would be emailing Adam at pitbull guitars with some photos demonstrating the issue. Their customer service is great and you will get a resolution.
    These kits are factory made to a pricepoint, QC is done once the kits get here, but they don't always catch everything. I'm picking this is what you've unfortunately received.
    Glue spots are common with the veneered kits, and the instances range from minimal spotting around the edges or at the book match, or some serious Friday arvo before knock off slapdash efforts.

    Before you do anything with it, get on to Adam and see what can be done.
    FrankenLab
    Hand crafting guitars, because Death Rays are expensive.


  3. #3
    It does sound like a reject.. I've had 3 kits and havn't had many problems other than my mahogany body being meranti.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit View Post
    It does sound like a reject.. I've had 3 kits and havn't had many problems other than my mahogany body being meranti.
    The only one I've really ever had any major quality issue with (That wasn't a factory second impulse purchase) was the Reso Kit and those didn't last long in the catalogue for that reason.
    All other kit related tribulations and disasters are entirely of my own design. (Bloody Ig0r)
    FrankenLab
    Hand crafting guitars, because Death Rays are expensive.


  5. #5
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    If youíve read any of the recent build posts, youíll find that most of the last batch of kits that arrived and went out just before Christmas have had issues. Some are inherent to the way theyíve been made, such as insufficient neck angle (e.g. ES-1 and PSH-1 among others), some are down to the use of lower quality woods, probably made worse by sitting in a container for months waiting for a ship, and others are just total lack of care or skill and subsequent QA failure at the factory (glue spots on veneer, drilled post holes in the wrong places etc.).

    The supplied kit hardware varies from adequate to good, though sometimes a different choice of bridge design on some kits (i.e. a much lower bridge) would help mitigate some other inherent faults such as too shallow neck angles.

    These forums simply donít get read by Pit Bull (otherwise there should have been apologies forthcoming directly), so the only way to let Pit Bull know there are problems is to email them and really say youíre not happy. They are very good at sending out replacement kits and parts, but I wish that wasnít necessary. I donít know what level of kit checking gets done in Perth, but I expect with the much delayed deliveries and the rush to get the kits out ASAP, some of the checks have been less thorough than in the past.

    As has been said, these kits are pretty much the lowest cost kits you are going to get, and as such, you can't expect perfection, but the percentage of kits with unacceptable faults seems to be rising sharply. I expect a lot of people donít realise things are wrong or bother to complain. Only a small proportion of kit buyers actually join this forum and ask for advice or start a build diary. E.g. there was a baritone kit on sale for a while that had factory drilled bridge positions about 25-30mm out from where they should have been and it was impossible to intonate correctly. I believe over 90 kits were sold, yet only three people complained!

    A few years ago, after a request from Pit Bull to list areas for improvement, and Pit Bull talking to the factories (the kits come from several factories in China making kits and assembled guitars for numerous resellers), there was a marked improvement in a lot of areas and glue spots were rare. Standards seem to have fallen again.

    There are some small faults that have become accepted on here with simple work-arounds i.e. the bridge pickup rout is really about 2mm too far back for the supplied bridge and the saddles have to be set as far forward as they can. Enlarging the rout with a Dremel drum sander (or a router for the more experienced) is an easy way to fix this (almost always necessary if you fit an aftermarket pickup with their larger baseplates).

    Some of these things help you engage with the kit and help you feel that youíve made it more your own, though some of them are just a PITA.

    As has been said, the neck back-bow should be able to be countered by the dual-action truss rod. Looking from the headstock down the neck, turn the truss rod anticlockwise. The rod may feel loose, but thereís a dead section of a few turns between the tightening/flattening forward bow screw section and the loosening/countering back-bow screw section. Once youíve levelled the neck, Iíd leave it for a day and see if the neck twist changes at all with the new tension applied to the neck. It probably wonít, but you really need to give it a chance, just in case.

    Warped necks are pretty rare and can occur even on high-end guitars. Obviously the kits donít use prime quarter-sawn timber, and some could probably have done with more seasoning before being cut, but in general the kit necks are pretty decent.

    I expect any replacement kit will still suffer from some glue spots on the veneer. Goof-off or acetone (and a brass bristle brush to get in the grain) normally removes surface glue. Sometimes it seems so much glue has been used that itís soaked all the way through the thin veneer.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys I was not sure if it had a 2 way truss rod I gave it about 1/2 a turn anticlockwise when I got it, It seemed fairly easy to turn and it straighten a bit but still very bent back. I thought about doing more but the bolt seems very hard to turn any further should they be that hard to turn? to me it feels as the bolt has bottomed out and I did not want to brake it? I have not had a guitar since I was a kid 40 years ago and I never played with the truss rod before anyway. But if I get it straight it still has a twist and say you were holding your guitar it has a bend down along the neck not a big one probably 3-4 mm along the length of the neck? As the neck joint is so loose you might be able to compensate when doing the glueing up? The glue is another thing like I said I'v been a cabinetmaker for 35years and have used wooden veneer quite extensively and no I don't mean premade veneer boards I mean guillotine cut gum taped the joints and glued whole bespoke panels of the stuff on flat boards and curved vintage and classic car dashes of cars for concourse show quality and I have never had glue seepage and glue spots like whats on this top it comes from complete lack of care and just having glue all over your hands or gloves and just using too much glue more glue dose not make things stick any better than the right amount dose it just gets everywhere, when it comes to veneer less is more.

    I ha tried to contact pit bull today by email at adamboyle@pitbullguitars.com and service@pitbullguitars.com but got no reply, dose any one know if these are the correct address I also tried their phone number but got the answering machine.

  7. #7
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    service@pitbullguitars.com should get a response. But they are a small part-time outfit, they don't go in to the warehouse every day of the week and with it being summer holiday time, it may take a little longer for them to respond than normal.

    A good neck should start off flat and shouldn't really need a dual action truss rod, but it does allow some correction when less than ideal wood is used for the neck and from what I've read, a dual-action truss rod is a bit stiffer than a single-action one, so makes the neck a bit stronger.

    Without having the neck in my hands, it's hard to say whether you've reached the truss rod's limits or not. It may be hard to adjust simply because the neck doesn't want to straighten. There should be that very loose middle section, and then you'll have a reasonably firm portion, and then at the end of the adjustment it will get very stiff. I'd wind the truss rod clockwise until you get that slack section, then keep going until it bites and you start to increase the amount of convex back-bow. Then wind it anti-clockwise again just to see if anything changes. If the truss rod gets really stiff, then don't go any further as threads are likely to snap.

    I don't think it's possible to get the nut off a dual action rod to grease the threads the same way you can a single action rod.

    If the neck's twisted by 3-4mm, it will need replacing anyway. A lot of necks have a very gentle twist, some of which can be compensated for by fret profiling, but only for very gentle twists. Anything like 3-4mm and the action will have to be very high (basically unplayable) to stop notes choking when bending them.

    The neck joint shouldn't be very loose. They are normally a reasonably tight fit, and you can sometimes put the neck in the pocket and it stays where placed. Others I've had were still pretty firm. There shouldn't be a 1mm+ gap in the neck joint area, though a lot of the base of heel to base of pocket joins aren't particularly even.

    It's all jigs, templates and routers for these kits (and some of the templates leave a lot to be desired). CNC machining would be nice but you don't get it with these kits.

    I don't know how true it is now, but when Trevor Wilkinson was setting up manufacturing for the Vintage brand of guitars in China, he despaired at getting good quality control and basic manufacture from the factories he tried. The workers were young and unskilled, teenagers to mid 20s, after which time then normally moved on to other factories and other jobs. You need to be able to install your own quality control and training on dedicated production lines to ensure a consistent product and for the number of kits that Pit Bull sell a year, plus the multi-factory issue where you'd need your own QA man in each one, it's never going to happen, so you are reliant on what the factories provide.

    100% agree on lack of care taken for the veneering process. But once the glue's dried, it looks good so it gets shipped, and never mind the poor person who has all the issues when trying to stain it.

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