Hi all, this is my debut post on this very helpful forum and this may well have been discussed before in detail; if so, I'd appreciate it if someone could direct me to the appropriate thread(s)!
Common problem: my '66 P-Bass has the old "rising tongue", beginning around the 13th or 14th fret, i.e., it's possible adjust the rod for a near-flat board from the nut to the 13th fret or so, where the "kink" is located. The problem is a bit worse on the E side. I've been setting the action for easy playability up to that fret, but beyond there, of course, there is little else beyond buzzing when set up this way.
I've refretted a number of guitars that had this problem to a lesser degree, and have always simply radius-sanded the board flat before refretting, but this bass is in excellent condition apart from this and I'd like to keep it as undisturbed as possible. In addition, being a '66, it has the "veneer" board rather than a thick slab of rosewood, and one would have to sand right through the board at the heel of the neck in order to flatten it that way.
I've considered a compromise in which I radius-sand the heel end of the board just a bit above the 13th fret - as much as I can without decreasing the board's thickness too noticably - and then install the largest/widest frets I can find from the nut on upwards, followed by somewhat shorter/narrower frets onward to the heel, figuring those smaller/narrower ones would retain more of a crown after leveling and crowning. In this approach, I'd be trying to "make it up in the frets" to a large extent.
However, I know that steaming is a common - and controversial? - approach, and am intrigued by Dan Erlewine's Bass Player article on compression-fretting a vintage P-Bass
using a neck heater
on it. I'd prefer to try Dan's approach, but - and this is the main question - can anyone point me to a source for a neck steamer/heater? LMI used to carry one; I've been unable to locate one elsewhere. Barring that, does anyone have a good approach that doesn't involve using a specialized heater?
Thanks so much in advance for any help...