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Thread: Roasted necks and the aridity of winter

  1. #1

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    Roasted necks and the aridity of winter

    Every electric guitar I have owned, regardless of quality, winds up with fret sprout from the damned heating needed to survive the winters comfortably here in Chicago. The problem is so inevitable, that I learned how to file the fret edges down myself.

    This is fine for lesser guitars such a my beloved US G&L fallout, or my Ibanez, but the sheer beauty and perfection of the RS Cutlass's neck has frightened me from taking any action at all. In fact, because of this anxiety, my cutlass spent most of last winter in its case in a closet, secluded and insulated from any vent.

    While this has kept my cutlass in like new condition, I would like to enjoy it year round.

    So I began to wonder - does a roasted maple neck expand and contract less than its non roasted counter parts? Has anyone in a dry climate had any experience with fret sprout on their roasted EBMMs? If you did have fret sprout, how did you manage it?

  2. #2

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    I find the MM roasted necks as being more stable.
    If you do develop fret sprout the only way to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to file down the fret ends.

  3. #3

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    Roasted necks are more stable for sure, but don't be afraid to file down the fret edge. Just take your time and easy peezy.


    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)

  4. #4

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    Humidifier.
    '14 GC HSHP
    '14 ASS Semi HHP - Black Cherry Burst
    '14 ASS Semi MM90 - Honey Burst
    '16 Axis - Trans Gold Quilt

    Fractal AX-8
    Bad Cat 2x12
    Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170
    Headrush FRFR-112

  5. #5

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    My experience has varied from year to year, just based on the weather, I guess. I've experienced mild fret sprout on roasted necks some years, but it hasn't been bad enough to drive me to do anything about it yet. I do have a humidifier on my longer-term plan for the music room to help manage the issue.
    ---------------
    Hunter Hayes Cutlass in Lake Tahoe Blue
    Valentine BFR in Three-tone Burst
    Luke 3 HH in Starry Night
    Valentine in Trans Maroon
    Reflex Game Changer HSH with Piezo

  6. #6

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    A humidifier is a must in the winter.

  7. #7

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    Often times there is no need to file the fret edges. A humidifier will do the trick if you are patient. We have major humidity (or more specifically lack of humidity) issues here in Utah. Quite dry climate and the winters are cold so your furnace is running all the time. Drys out a guitar something fierce. I got a JP BFR and within a couple of weeks the frets were poking out in a ridiculous manner. I put a couple sponge humidifiers in the case with it and after a month or two all was back to normal. Very different climate in Utah than in San Luis Obispo.

    There are times when a humidifier will not do the trick and then you need the fret ends addressed. If you go the humidifier route I recommend a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels. Typically want to keep them around 40-50%. People often think you don't need to humidify an electric, but man are they wrong....depending on the climate you live in. I know some people have to use a dehumidifier.

  8. #8

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    I find it very easy to keep my guitar room at a stable humidity. I learned that the accuracy of the humidifier is typically off by 5-10% compared to a decent, but cheap ($15), hygrometer, so would recommend buying a separate hygrometer to gauge the performance of the humidifier and set accordingly. In my experience, the sonic humidifiers with distilled water are best, but depending on your situation might require a lot of distilled water--I have a water distiller, so not a problem for me, but I do use a lot when it's really cold. I usually only have to check it once a day while I'm there anyway and that's it.

    I have used this strategy in winter, with a dehumidifier in the summer (which is a much bigger problem for me here in the swamp of D.C.), to keep the humidity within +/-2% of 45 for about two years now and it has made a huge difference. No tuning or stability issues at all, no sprout, no tweaking the relief, nothing. Prior, with a good thunderstorm or on very cold days, things could get wonky quick.
    '14 GC HSHP
    '14 ASS Semi HHP - Black Cherry Burst
    '14 ASS Semi MM90 - Honey Burst
    '16 Axis - Trans Gold Quilt

    Fractal AX-8
    Bad Cat 2x12
    Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170
    Headrush FRFR-112

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wahoonc View Post
    Humidifier.
    +1
    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.

  10. #10

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    I keep my guitars in a cabinet... similar to a trophy or display case you’d see in a school or shop.

    I have repurposed a Cigar Oasis II active humidifier to keep me at 45% R/H. In summer (Chicago) it can drift up to 50ish, which has not been a prob... but the winters without it... not good!

    Inexpensive option would be a case humidifier and just keep it in there.

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