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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i managed to scoop an Ibanez 540P for a whopping £285. Ive seen these listed on Reverb in the 4 figure range so needless to say i seem to have scored a bargain. The guitar also came with a Roland MIDI controller, RRP is roughly £160 new, it also came with an old hard case thats maybe worth about £50 aswell.

So realistically i can spend a decent bit of money on this guitar to make it right and not worry about spending more than the actual value of the guitar. For the most part the guitar is fault free, apart from heavy discolouration and chips in the paint and a missing bridge pickup all is well.

My only concern is the fretboard condition, the rosewood itself has a strange texture to it and shiny particles embedded in the grain. The fretboard has started to separate from the neck right beside the nut and theres also evidence the truss rod has been tightened at some point. Some marks on the face of the fretboard look consistent with a fret replacement job but the frets look original to me?

I would like some input on what i could or should do, because of the separation of the wood now would be a good time to change the fretboard if needed. If not then i have Titebond III on the way to glue it back down. I can take this to a trustworthy shop to have the work done but i want some input from users on here first.

I can take more pictures of the fretboard if needed, its hard to capture the shiny particles in the grain and texture of the wood accurately. The eBay seller i bought this from was not a guitar player, from the items they had listed they just buy and sell whatever they come across so i cant even ask what work has potentially been done in the past.

Any help appreciated

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Looks like a pretty good find to me, congrats on that! In terms of the shine and texture, I'm not seeing anything unusual for a well-played rosewood fretboard. Maybe it's just hard to see what you have in mind in the pics, though. The separation near the nut is concerning, and I wonder whether one can simply clamp that with some CA glue applied to fix it? Others on here may know better than I, but that's what I'd try first. The frets could use a nice level, crown, and polish, too, provided you end up keeping this fretboard. I find that quite easy to do with minimal tools, so if you don't already know how to do that you might look into some YouTube vids on the process. It's one of the best ways to improve the playability of any guitar, IMHO. Best of luck restoring this one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply.

Ive never had any rosewood fretboards that were older than i am so it might just be my lack of experience. It just seems heavily textured and uneven, theres small chunks of rosewood missing beside some of the frets but nothing too crazy, it looks consistent with the damage you might see on a fret replacement job but the frets look original.

I just dont want to glue it back down if its potentially damaged from being dried out, or water damage etc. If its purely cosmetic then il happily glue it back down and get on with it but im in a position where i can replace the fretboard if needed so im just trying to get a handle on it.

Ive taken some more pictures so try highlight it a bit better.

Thanks again :)

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Just to add,

This guitar neck is a 1987 but i have a 1984 Roadstar neck with a rosewood board thats in far better condition which is why im curious about its current state
As far as the actual neck goes, it certainly is not in the best condition. In my opinion it is fixable. I've seen worse return to a playable state. I would say your good to re-glue the separation in the neck. If your not confident in doing it yourself, take it to a professional so it gets done right the first time. Also, its hard to tell from the picture, but it appears you also have a nut crack of the back of the headstock. I recently just dropped some CA glue on my RG 470 with a wizard 2 neck that had the same cracks (Its super common). I'll let you know how the fix turns out. The crack on your guitar should be fixable.

As far as the fretboard itself is concerned, I would start by cleaning it really well and leveling the frets. After doing that you will be able to tell if you like the fretboard or not.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As far as the actual neck goes, it certainly is not in the best condition. In my opinion it is fixable. I've seen worse return to a playable state. I would say your good to re-glue the separation in the neck. If your not confident in doing it yourself, take it to a professional so it gets done right the first time. Also, its hard to tell from the picture, but it appears you also have a nut crack of the back of the headstock. I recently just dropped some CA glue on my RG 470 with a wizard 2 neck that had the same cracks (Its super common). I'll let you know how the fix turns out. The crack on your guitar should be fixable.

As far as the fretboard itself is concerned, I would start by cleaning it really well and leveling the frets. After doing that you will be able to tell if you like the fretboard or not.

Hope this helps!
As far as the actual neck goes, it certainly is not in the best condition. In my opinion it is fixable. I've seen worse return to a playable state. I would say your good to re-glue the separation in the neck. If your not confident in doing it yourself, take it to a professional so it gets done right the first time. Also, its hard to tell from the picture, but it appears you also have a nut crack of the back of the headstock. I recently just dropped some CA glue on my RG 470 with a wizard 2 neck that had the same cracks (Its super common). I'll let you know how the fix turns out. The crack on your guitar should be fixable.

As far as the fretboard itself is concerned, I would start by cleaning it really well and leveling the frets. After doing that you will be able to tell if you like the fretboard or not.

Hope this helps!
Well spotted, there is indeed a hairline crack starting to appear at the rear of the neck, considering some of the other examples ive seen i didnt think mines was that bad?

The fretboard was my main concern really, the crack on the rear at the nut isnt open enough to try put any glue in it so i was going to just leave that as it is and see if it progresses.

With regards to applying glue to the fret board and sticking it back down i have zero issues doing that, im a mechanic to trade so im technically capable with tools etc. Obviously guitar necks and cars are two different things but i can pull off most of the guitar work myself. If i feel its getting beyond my capabilities then i have no problems paying someone to do the job.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Looks pretty normal for the age. Fingerboards, regardless of wood, can get pitted from heavy playing, long fingernails etc. Yours appears to be fairly light, though the guitar saw some action. The rosewood Ibanez was using at the time seems to have had lots of open pores, sometimes with undulating grain. Most original Wizard necks also tend to develop cracks around the nut mounting bolts, particularly in the first few years of issue, as they were flat sawn, and there's very little actual wood in this area, also courtesy of the trussrod cavity.

As an example of more prominent pitting, this is a 60s Jazzmaster.


The amount of fingerboard separation seems to be small. Have a look here: https://www.ibanezrules.com/tech/setup/crack_neck.htm. Same principles involved for fingerboard. Some also use a syringe for this work to really get the glue into the crack.

Regarding the missing 'chunks', they could be dings too (hard to see from the pic), in which case it might be possible to steam them out with a damp sponge and soldering iron. If they're actual chunks, the best repair is a glue and rosewood dust mix.
 

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Well spotted, there is indeed a hairline crack starting to appear at the rear of the neck, considering some of the other examples ive seen i didnt think mines was that bad?

The fretboard was my main concern really, the crack on the rear at the nut isnt open enough to try put any glue in it so i was going to just leave that as it is and see if it progresses.

With regards to applying glue to the fret board and sticking it back down i have zero issues doing that, im a mechanic to trade so im technically capable with tools etc. Obviously guitar necks and cars are two different things but i can pull off most of the guitar work myself. If i feel its getting beyond my capabilities then i have no problems paying someone to do the job.

Thanks for your input.
I respect it! Love doing work like this myself! Here is an image of my nut cracks.
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The crack on the right is comparable to yours. It was too small to have CA glue seep in but I put some of the surface anyway. This should keep it from spreading, and CA glue dries to be practically invisible so I don't have to re-finish my neck. These Canadian winters spare no guitar :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks very much for the input so far,

My only real reason behind this is that the neck is currently off the guitar and the fretboard is already separating so i thought if it needed any major surgery then now is the time.
Visually i dont care much about the look, i just want to know its structurally sound, no point in gluing a fretboard back down if it potentially needs to come off in the future due to possible excess heat or moisture exposure.

The glue ive ordered doesnt turn up til the end of the week so i have until then to make a decision. I did buy fretboard oil and applied it twice sparingly and it has improved the situation slightly so far, the small chunks in the fretboard are minor but i did take note of it considering the current condition of the fretboard itself
 

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Thanks very much for the input so far,

My only real reason behind this is that the neck is currently off the guitar and the fretboard is already separating so i thought if it needed any major surgery then now is the time.
Visually i dont care much about the look, i just want to know its structurally sound, no point in gluing a fretboard back down if it potentially needs to come off in the future due to possible excess heat or moisture exposure.

The glue ive ordered doesnt turn up til the end of the week so i have until then to make a decision. I did buy fretboard oil and applied it twice sparingly and it has improved the situation slightly so far, the small chunks in the fretboard are minor but i did take note of it considering the current condition of the fretboard itself
In my opinion I would go for it! The separation looks fixable with enough glue. It does not appear to actually be a crack in the neck it is simply just coming off the surface of it. I would slap as much glue as I can in there, clamp her down, and presto!. The fretboard looks used, but certainly playable to me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also, I remember you saying that it looked like the truss rod was tampered with... It is very possible this caused the separation in the first place. Check the neck relief once the strings are back on :))
That was also my suspicion, the reason i know the truss rod has been messed with is the fact that only 1 screw was holding the truss rod cover on and theres also 2 slight impressions on the left hand side of the truss rod cavity. If you think about putting a wrench on the nut and turning it right, the wrench would land exactly where the 2 impressions in the wood are.

Ive backed it off very slightly with no drama, i wanted to make sure there was no real tension against the fretboard when i glue it back down. No creaking or stiffness with the truss rod, it also doesnt feel snapped as theres a decent bit of resistance to the nut.

Il keep this updated as i do the repair and let people know how it goes. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thought i would update this as ive managed to glue the fretboard back down with no real drama.

My tool selection was very limited, as some of you might have read in my other post im a vehicle mechanic to trade and woodwork isnt typically my thing.
The only clamping device i had available were vice grips, but obviously that would destroy the wood so i got inventive and found some old Nike shoe laces i wasnt using.

I wrapped them around the jaws several times and then used masking tape to secure them, i took quite a few test runs trying to figure out the exact pressure needed to clamp the fretboard. If you know how to use vice grips properly you can apply immense amounts of pressure very easily so i took time to see exactly how much clamping force was necessary without over cooking it.

Turned out quite well i think, a slight mark somehow appeared between the rosewood and maple at one side but it can only really be seen when the flash is used with the camera. Otherwise its invisible to the naked eye and wont cause any issues.

Thanks to everyone who threw their 2 cents in, much appreciated :)

Hopefully il never need to do anything like that again...

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