Traditional truss rod vs dual action
There is not much I can find to dislike about my Lakland basses, but one thing I don't care for is the old fashioned truss rod, especially with the 5 string fretless.
The 5 string simply does not have enough adjustment to bring the neck dead flat, which is my preference for fretless, and this is with the stock Lakland strings. Using my favorite flatwounds would probably make things even worse. There is simply not enough thread, so washers, etc are useless in this case. The rod adjusts easily, but when you get to the end, you really know you are at the end, and any more torque would simply snap off the end of the rod.
By contrast, some of my other instruments with dual action rods adjust really well even with the very heavy LaBella "Jamerson" flats. I wouldn't dare put them on my '82 G&L L-1000, for fear of breaking the rod.
I'm curious, given the issues, why do they even make new instruments with other modern refinements, but use the old single truss rods that seem to have so many issues?
Am I in ignorance of something important?
The only reason I can find to have a traditional truss rod is to maintain the vintage vibe. Like in a fender vintage p bass
In your case a dual action truss rod wouldn't help much.
The main reason for having a dual action truss rod over a traditional one is to correct back bow.
It sounds like the wood behind the adjustment nut on your bass is compressed slightly. This could have been prevented by a dual rod system. (They look like dual action truss rods, but are threaded on only one end.) This is because the adjustment rod doesn't rely on compressing wood to work, it compresses the passive steel rod.
Adding washers sounds like a fix for your bass, though. If the threads are bottoming out you need to "lengthen" the neck. This is what the washers are for. They will add material between the nut and the neck.
Have you tried calling Lakland? I think they might have a good idea as to how to help... beyond all that, you don't actually want a fretless neck dead flat. Relief allows the strings to get as close to the neck without buzzing too much.
This is why I would like to have a range of adjustment for all seasons that goes just beyond what's needed, and not maxed out.
I guess theoretically, with the old single rod, if it's slack, and you still have too much back bow even with the nut loose, there's nowhere to go. With too much forward bow, you can tighten the rod.
It seems, however, that due to the tension of the strings, over time you would see more issues with too much forward bow, hence the number of threads here regarding the use of heat, clamps, washers, etc. to get more back bow adjustment.
Unfortunately, you often see rods on converted necks that have snapped off from being over-tightened in trying to get them dialed in. I always figured that without the frets, the design specs have even less back bow adjustment range.
I recently came into possession a nice Levinson that was damaged like this, and instead of a washer, there was a thick metal piece embedded in a slot against which the adjustment nut moved, making the Stew-Mac truss rod tool useless. There was no recourse but to pull the board, and route it for a new dual action rod.
Since these are nice basses, but not collectors items, I'm also going to route an adjustment cavity, like the Laklands have. It's ridiculous to have to remove the neck just to adjust the truss rod.
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