Issues with MIM Jazz bass action

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Strat Hater, Feb 10, 2014.


  1. Strat Hater

    Strat Hater

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    Here is a 2013 Jazz I bought a few weeks ago used for $450.00. This is as low as I can get the action. The truss rod is maxed and the bridge is almost bottomed and there is lots of bow in the neck.

    Do you agree, or am I just paranoid? The action is a bit higher than I care for and I am afraid if the neck shifts it will get even worse.

    The first 3 photos are of the MIM Jazz, the second last is my Aerodyne, and the last is a $40 Squier Affinity jazz I bought.

    1. MIM Jazz shot 1
    [​IMG]

    2. MIM Jazz shot 2
    [​IMG]

    3. MIM Jazz shot 3
    [​IMG]

    Next is my Aerodyne with lots of adjustment on the rod

    [​IMG]

    Last is my $40 Squier J Affinity

    [​IMG]
  2. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Do we agree with what? You sound like a noob.

    Truss rod maxed out is not a good sign (if that is really true).

    You want to be able to set the proper (like a couple of Visa cards max) relief in the neck bow with strings under tension. (press a center string at first and last fret simultaneously and peek under string at center)

    At that point, you lower the saddles until you get the action you want. If they won't go low enough (Yes, God Fenders DO sometimes come this way) then you have to shim the neck to tilt it back slightly.

    For more detailed instruction go to Hardware and setup forum. They will help you with specifics.
  3. HawldieMPB

    HawldieMPB

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Portland/Eugene, Oregon

    Not sure I understand the attitude conveyed in this post but yeah, check hardware and setup they'll set you straight. (Puns)
  4. Strat Hater

    Strat Hater

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    I am far from a noon, I have been playing since 1980. If you noticed the setup on the Aerodyne in particular that's how I like them low as possible without buzzing (Yes I did the setup on it and all of my basses). I know about shimming the neck, but how much would that buy me in this case. I think that might work but I will still be maxed. And the rod is truly maxed. I am afraid to turn it any more because it feels like it might start to strip, and I defiantly don't want that.

    I don't really want to return it, I love the Lake Placid Blue, but I am thinking the neck is the reason it was returned by the first owner.

    I am not asking because I don't know what to do, I just want a second opinion before I decide on returning it.
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  6. Strat Hater

    Strat Hater

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    Sounds like he thinks I don't know what I am doing. I don't mind, he don't know me or my experience, partially because I never mentioned it. So I don't mind what his attitude is I just want some of you guys to look at the pics and see the differences are like between setups.

    The MIM I think is horrible and can't get it an better. The Aerodyne is like a stick of butter and the Squier J is almost on par with the Aerodyne. I also have 3 other basses with excellent setups that I never photographed because I thought it would be too redundant.
  7. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    Yes, seems too high- I've had a Jazz not too long ago, it shouldn't be that hard to adjust so it makes me think you've got a truss rod problem.
    I've adjusted my own basses (I've had 60 in the past 3 years) and can get the action to as low as possible, there is a certain point though at which time I would take it to a Tech, and this may be one of them- try checking out some posts of things you can try first to perhaps loosen the rod.
    Could be something that can be rectified simply by adding lubricant. Here's a thread (no pun intended) on this issue. You've adjusted your other basses pretty well, so I'm sure you know all about how not to force the truss rod etc. What's surprising to me though is that your bass is a new model 2013-strange it's already got some neck issues. Wonder how the previous owner did this?

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f18/i-think-my-truss-rod-frozen-471625/

    Here's a tool if the threads are damaged: (once again, highly recommend talking to a tech, but just wanted to provide the link below to let you know that there are tools available online for this problem but you should really know what you're doing, and this is probably something the tech can also do)

    http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Repair_tools,_specialized/i-5680.html
  8. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Not a bad attitude. Just trying to help. The problem was just your wording which seemed like you didn't know what you were looking at. If you do know and just had trouble with writing it down that's OK. We can just discuss it until the problems become clear. Others thought that sounded snarky but that wasn't it at all.

    I own a MIM and it's like butter! So it's not just the model. The point is still the point I made. If a truss rod is maxed (which means came to the end of it's threads etc.) then this is clearly not good and needs to be looked into. As you say, attempting to force it can strip it and then that's serious trouble. If it's just compressed wood, sometimes washers, spacers, etc. can give you more adjustment range.

    Since you DO know about neck shims that's great then you understand how to tilt the neck back to deal with bottomed out saddles. But the point is that before you do that you have to get the relief in the neck correct under string tension and then do the shims if needed. In fact, you'd like to see the truss rod to have enough adjustment range to go from NO relief to no tension. If there is a truss rod problem that must be dealt with first. And in the repair forum there are guys with a LOT more experience with fixing MIM truss rods than I have even though I own one. OK?
  9. thumpguy123

    thumpguy123

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    northern nj
    you'll probably want to shim the neck if you plan on keeping it. i've never owned a fender yet, but i know some of my ibanez's need it. i've heard of good fenders and fenders, so i hope you didn't get a bad one. definitely get a professional opinion on it. might be easily fixed
  10. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    I don't think a shim will do, the op mentioned the neck is bowed. As mentioned by bassbenj in the post above yours, a shim is to change the angle of the neck but that's assuming the neck isn't bowed or has already been corrected. You've got to fix that problem first.
    Funny but I've also had to shim a few Ibanez basses I just bought to get it just right so I could lower the strings as low as possible. This was after I had adjusted the truss rod on the neck to get it as straight as possible first of course. Now those basses play pretty darn well.
  11. spaz21387

    spaz21387

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    Portland oregon
    I have an 04 mim j and it needed serious neck shimming to get the action low. once all that got worked out its a great bass.
  12. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    If the neck is really bowed and the truss rod is as tight as it will go, then you have a major problem. Action is obviously way too high. I would take it to a good tech to see if the neck can be saved. You might have to replace it. Shimming it might help, but won't do anything for the bow.
  13. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    not to be condescending, but I need to ask since you didn't mention it ... are you able to loosen the truss rod? making sure that it indeed is maxxed and not frozen ...

    .. Maxxed truss rods and excessive relief used to be an issue with some of the older MIM Standard J's, and I even have seen an early Hwy 1 Jazz with maxxed truss rods (same neck) .. there are things you can do to obtain more truss rod usage (as mentioned above), and you can also put the neck in a 'fixture' to change the wood 'memory', but if you have the option of returning it, that may be the best bet ... you paid top dollar for a used MIM Standard, there will be many more availble in that color down the road ... you could actually get a brand new one for $100 more with a little leg work ... I wont go into lighter guage strings etc .. that is just masking your problem ... send it back with issues and start your hunt over again for one that wont haunt you as you go forward .... JMHO
  14. fabubass

    fabubass

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    take the bass back. I have 4 Jazz's, 2 MIM, a, MIA and a MIJ, all set up perfectly, they play effortlessly, never had to shim with business cards
  15. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Gastonia, NC
    You may have done this or it may have been mentioned and I missed it, but the first step in setting up your bass is checking the straightness of the neck. Every other thing that you do or don't do revolves around that. A number of ways to check, but the one I've found most reliable is this. You'll need a capo and a feeler gage (or something like it,) with a flatness blade of .015. Capo the first fret, literally across the fret itself. Hold the bass in playing position. Take your right (or free) hand and depress the fret that is located where the neck joins the body. Hold that down and take your other hand and use the feeler gage blade and slide it under the top string near the 11th/12th frets (where the double markers generally are) and check clearance. The blade should slide under the string and frets in that area freely, but with just a touch of rub or resistance. Too tight, neck is too straight. Too loose, neck is not straight enough. Once the neck is correctly straight, then moving to saddles is next in determining string height (action.) If after working on these 2 segments and the action is still too high, time to start looking at things like shimming the neck pocket, nut slots, bridge height and etc. Shimming can be full neck pocket or back half for more tilt. An experimental thing. Advice on the truss rod function is above. Make sure the nut is free moving backing out. If you do get it loose or off, consider putting some lube and penetrant on it for better movement. Shimming the truss rod nut is finding washers that fit and building them up to get more turns on the nut. Be careful and go slowly in this area. :)
  16. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    Being that you can return it, that might be the best option unless it's an issue that can easily be remedied -(read some of the suggestions above).
  17. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    I never buy a bass with a bowed neck. What if it can't be fixed?

    Judging from the pics, you probably should take all of your basses to a good set up/repairman.

    On a positive note...some Fender basses sound best with high action.
  18. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Sometimes, when it seems a truss rod is maxed out, the nut is dragging and not turning as smoothly as it should. Try loosening the strings, and the truss nut. Then tighten the truss nut before tightening the strings. If this is what's happening with your neck, you'll find that after tuning the strings back up you have to back off the truss nut a bit. That may or may not be the problem, but it's free to try.
  19. Strat Hater

    Strat Hater

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    1. The first 3 are pics of the bass in question.

    2. What's wrong with my Aerodyne, I have the neck as straight and action as low as possible with out any clank, unless I want clank then I dig in a little harder.

    3. The last pic is a $40 used Squier that I have not touched yet. Even the setup on this one is decent COMPARED to my MIM which I brought back to the store for them to fix under warranty!

    If you want I can show you pics of the setups on my Ibanez 5, P bass and Raven West if you doubt my abilities?

    BTW I don't know if this is preferred or not, but I set up all my basses by sight and feel. I don't used feeler gauges or measurement tools of any kind.

    I do miss not having a fretless around thouh they are fun to play with ultra low action :)
  20. jazzonlyjazz

    jazzonlyjazz

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C
    My mim is like that too but I came to like relatively high action. It is normal for the neck to have some backwards bow. I rather have high action than constant fret buzz. Oh God that drives me nuts.
  21. Strat Hater

    Strat Hater

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    I don't get any buzz cause I am a light player unless I want it then I dig in and clank is born ;)

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