1. Welcome to TalkBass, the Premier Bass Player Community and Information Source. Register a FREE Account to post and unlock tons of features!

Bass truss rod

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by miky, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. miky


    Dec 2, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    First post, first question :).

    I have a little issue with an old Fender bass. I've noticed that from time to time (about 2-3 months) it seems that the neck needs some adjustments. I know that it's normal to adjust the relief of the neck from time to time but in my case, I always have to do it in the same direction: always flatter (less relief).

    I wonder how this will affect the neck over time because I imagine that the rod keeps bending in the same direction until the neck is going to crack (the part that I'm scared of).

    Is this possible? Or I'm just worrying too much?

    When the neck gains relief, is the truss rod unbending together with the neck?

  2. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    I don't think the neck would crack unless you have way too much relief in your neck. Necks are supposed to have a bow. My neck barely has any relief too. But still a little bow The truss rod is the part that creates a bow in the neck. The wood is supposed to usually "get used" to the setting you have. you only have to turn it 1/4 at a time. It's a very sensitive part. Look at the stickies in the forum. There is a set up guide. Good stuff.
  3. Sponsored by:

    to hide this ad and more.
  4. miky


    Dec 2, 2013
    Thanks for the quick reply.
    What worries me is that I always have to make the adjustment in the same direction. My bass relief is almost straight. My bridge setup is at minimum height and anytime I feel that the action is higher, the only adjustment I can do is to straighten the neck.
  5. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Hm. What type or set up are you looking for? Low action? You don't want a dead straight neck. Witch direction are you turning?
  6. miky


    Dec 2, 2013
    I like to have a low action setup. It's not dead. I have very little fret buzz on the first 3 frets, but it can't be heard when I play amplified. I turn the rod clockwise to straighten the neck.
  7. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Okay you don't want to over turn the truss rod because that could result in a back bow. You have to give the neck some relief and that could fix some of the buzz
  8. miky


    Dec 2, 2013
    Trust me, I am not exaggerating with the adjustments...
    So the question is: If over time I only have to adjust the truss rod in the same direction, what effect could that have on the neck?
  9. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Well it shouldn't have any bad effect if the truss rod needs a little tinkering. With the weather changes and stuff you have to do it every once in a while. Look at the neck once and a while and see if any changes has been made to it. It should have a bad effect. A proper set up is needed though. It depends on what you want and how much relief you need. If over time the neck loses relief then yes keep turning it but if it doesn't just leave it go.
  10. songwriter21

    songwriter21 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot, in a relationship with Roscoe (my heart is aflutter)
    Even though I have seen this numerous times with some of my guitarist's axes, I would repeatedly (1/8-1/4 turn per time) turn the rod clockwise to flatten the neck. The weather pushes the neck away from the strings, I turn the rod to bring it back. I'd think, right there, that the rod moves when the neck does (with weather), since the neck is correctable every time you tweak it.

    Perfectly normal, especially on older/vintage instruments.
  11. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    This! 1/8 to a 1/4 turn and no more than that at one time. I once saw someone turn a guitar truss rod 2 time all the way around, and the truss rod flew out the other side of the neck due to the tension they put on it. Pure genius I tell ya! They're lucky no one got hurt!
  12. Clockwise, from the Heel or the Head..................:bassist:
  13. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    23 ft below sea level
    Hmm, A neck which keeps bowing in one direction? I wonder if the trussrod stays in place. I remember the saddles of one of my basses was constantly on the move. I had to immobilize it with loctite. The necks of both basses I own do react a little on weather changes, but I seldomly have to re-adjust the trussrod. A relief between 0.01 and 0.015" will do for me.
    So, have you checked whether the trussrod stays where you left it last time (hex key in the same position)?
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Tighten (or loosen) your truss rod until the neck is in proper adjustment. That quarter turn per day thing is a myth. If this were true it would have taken me 3 or 4 days to do set ups on some of the basses that people have brought to me.

    Also the truss rod would have broken or the neck would have cracked before the truss rod could have possile had enough tension to become a projectile.
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    OP, it sounds like the wood is compressing where the rod is anchored. Maybe try a lower tension string to not put as much pull on the neck. If / when you run out of thread on the rod you can use washers to get more travel.
  16. Cimee

    Cimee Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2013
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Might be worth the thought of the truss rod itself slipping in the groove.
    Kinda like a slightly stripped nut. If it's and older bass that has seen a lot of action. Might be something to think about.
  17. miky


    Dec 2, 2013
    This is what I was hoping to hear :).
    It would be very reassuring if that could be confirmed as a fact. Can someone else give a second opinion on this matter?

    I will make a marker with a pen or something and check it next time I feel I need to make adjustments to see if the rod moved along with the neck.

    I'll certainly try that. Change the gauge from 130' to 125' (even tho I like the more fuller sound of the thicker strings).

    Thanks a lot for all the answers, this is a very nice community!:hyper:
  18. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I wouldn't wait. I'd add them now as a prophylactic measure and lube the truss nut while at it. I like to use a washer which is just large enough to comfortably fit within the recess. I've gone as far as to grind down the outer margin of a slightly-oversized washer for best "footing" when installed. Overall, the truss rod should adjust more smoothly and predictably without the god-awful creaking.

  19. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2010
    Manitoba, Canada
    Wood compression may be a problem. When you tighten the truss, it is best practice to bend the neck back by pulling on the head so the nut isn't doing the work, you want to relieve pressure from the nut, set it and release the neck to let it seat against the nut.
  20. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    The problem is usually at the anchor point of the rod, and the compression happens slowly over time. While your suggestion is a good practice whenever doing any truss rod adjustments I don't think It will help in this case
  21. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    It did. The situation I witnessed involved trying to get one more 1/4 turn out of a trussrod and neck that couldn't take any more. The fretboard popped up and the whole rod flew out and across the room.
    1/4 a turn can take up to 24 hours to really take effect. That's why I will only do 1/4 turn a day. Every luthier I know sets up basses with this method.

Share This Page