Picked this SG Special and noticed two bumps on the 16th and 18th frets that are slightly raised. They look like possibly a truss rod pushing through. Has anyone seen this before?

the guy a bought it from I trust and he said his luthier was not concerned about it. I also took it to a luthier who said it wasn't concerning.



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Hi Chris,

Not something I've seen before, and I've seen a lot of Gibsons. Nothing on the web that I can find either.  I cannot imagine that it's the truss rod actually displacing the fingerboard wood in  that local area without moving the adjacent frets or the pearl that sits between the two bumps but on the other hand it stumps me what it can be. 

If it plays OK, and the truss rod works in the correct manner with no rattle or fret issues I suppose it's OK and leave it alone regarding shaving down the bumps.   Put it down to "Gibson Charm" and ask for $350 off the price on spec (insurance)  that it's a fault and may need the fret board lifted at some later date.  

Apart from laying hands on it that's the best I can do for you.  Anyone?


I have seen truss rods push through the the top of Fender Bass boards, but this is weird. Looks like it may just be an anomaly in the wood or building process. If two pros say it's not a problem in their hands, that may be? I concur with Rusty.

Thanks Rusty and Thomas, I actually didn't notice it until I took a picture of it. it shows more in pictures than when you look at it directly.

Hi Chris,
Is it possible that the fingerboard is cracked in that area and someone tried to repair it by filling the crack in between the frets? It's hard to tell from the photo but if you look closely in between the 19, 20,& 21st frets it looks like there may be a crack running through the middle of the board.
Just a thought.


Yeah that's a weird one.

Has the guitar been refretted?


I don't know the age of this Instrument.

But the earliest SG's were absolutely notorious for instability in the neck/body joint.

For this reason, perhaps quite unjustly where later years of production were concerned, I always avoided owning this Bestselling Gibson Model.

So what I'm wondering is what its Action is like when its Strung and Tensioned? Without Strings on it could have many problems that are easily overlooked, and missed entirely.

My immediate hunch would be that at some point in its life, an owner had overtighted the truss rod, putting greatest strain on the wood surrounding the anchor points at either end of the device.

Examining Cross Sections of this Design show that the anchoring block and the truss rod itself are closest to the surface of the vulnerable wood at just the points affected on this Guitar, I can't see that fact as a coincidence.

Possibly realising they had gone too far, by virtue of a loud cracking noise, but too late, the pressure may have been quickly taken off the truss rod before drastic damage was done. Leaving this artefact of the event behind, as lamentable evidence of its occurrence. In regard to the frets and the wood, it's just that the weakest material has given a little at the most vulnerable point whilst the stronger material spread over a wider area has stayed in place, possibly even glued in.



That would be my hunch as to what had happened.



I'm wondering if you have obtained this Instrument as shown without the advantage of observing it Strung and with the Neck/Body Joint fully under tension? 

Until you do that you won't really know what you have, what you are dealing with and how serious and costly the issues are that might be required to bring this Instrument back to a happier condition.

One thing's for sure. If it was sold without pickups and other hardware, and was not Strung, it's entirely possible that the easily sold parts were salvaged for monetary reasons and the costly and difficult to fix parts, disposed of separately.


If you obtained it very cheaply, then the cost of fixing this issue is built into the price you paid.



It may be that when you have bought and fitted all the parts you need to get it working, there are no problems at all and you are in good shape, despite the fretboard anomaly.

My concern is that this merely may be a vain hope. What if there are real neck problems with this Instrument that you have never been able to properly assess? Buying Instruments stripped of their parts in the belief that you will eventually have a Superb Instrument for Small Money, is Clearly a Gamble.



This question remains.

If the truss rod was overtightened and caused this anomaly.

Why was it needed? What else was wrong that required such intense corrective adjustment and action?



Quote: "Has anyone seen this before?"



Though it was over forty years ago.

And what precisely we did about it that particular Guitar, is lost to my memory.

As far as I can recall, there were additional problems with the neck Body/Joint, Rubbery Neck and Extremely High Action.


My advise would be to get some Strings on and tensioned, and then see what you've got, until that is done I don't think you can clearly be sure about anything.



If you have already enacted this scenario and all is well.

Then it's really down to what the Luthiers have said already to you.

Though for me personally it's something that I would want to have addressed.



I'm fussy like that.

But for sure, not everyone is.

Try and Wick some Glue in, Clamp Up.

So it doesn't get worse, Clean Up and Make Invisible.

Whether to deal with this or not as it stands may be a matter for judgment and that can at times be subjective.

It's possible that when this was sold that the words used were true but carefully chosen, and selective disclosure involved, rather than full disclosure.

If you spill the beans you open up a whole can of worms. How can you let you let sleeping dogs lie if you let the cat out of the bag? Bring in a new broom and if you're not very careful you find you've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If you change horses in the middle of the stream, next thing you know you're up the creek without a paddle. Then the balloon goes up. They hit you for six, and you end up with an own goal!



That perfectly describes how I see the purchase of this Guitar.




It does make sense to string it up before doing anything else. May I pontificate on some other matters?

1) These guitars' necks were usually bound, but usually is a sometimes thing with Gibson.

2) This guitar originally had a combination bridge and tailpiece. You'll probably see large holes in the pick guard for the studs. The tuneamatic and stop tailpiece are modifications. You may wish to make sure the tailpiece is grounded.

3) Its interesting that the guitar is factory routed for humbuckers, even though it came with P-90s. The P-90s had an adapter to allow them to height adjust like humbuckers rather than with shims. Gibson was looking for some cost cutting, leading to the large pick guard (and the same routing for the SG Standard and special.

I've always liked these guitars, though, as Peter points out, they are terribly frail and fragile. But I grew up watching Mick Abrahams, Pete Townsend and Carlos Santana.

I'd like to see the guitar once you've put it back together.


This is a 2002 SG Special, I'm fairly sure this model came with the stop tailpiece and bridge and were not made with bound necks. The older ones probably did. It came with humbuckers, some of the newer models have P-90s like the future, or tribute. I bought it strung up and complete, I just took it apart to replace a worn pickguard, the raised bumps aren't really noticeable when looking at it directly, I only noticed when I took a picture and it showed clearer.

Thanks, I actually bought it complete, it played fine. I took it apart to replace the worn pickguard when I noticed the bumps in the fretboard. It did play fine so I'm not too concerned, but it did seem strange enough to ask if others have seen this before.

I stand corrected.


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