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removing neck to adjust truss rod

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Oh! Henry, Feb 11, 2009.


  1. Oh! Henry

    Oh! Henry

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    I'm not an expert in this kind of thing, but I am able to adjust the relief on most of my basses except my CIJ fender P. In order to get to the truss rod I need to remove the neck. How is this usually done? Do I take off the strings and remove it completely, or just unscrew the screws in back just enough to lift up the neck to have access to the truss rod? Please Help, I'd like to be able to do this myself, but I also don't want to mess up a 20 year old instrument!!!

    This makes me apreciate my Musicman!!

    Thanks
     
  2. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Disclosures:
    MTD Basses, DR Strings
    I also have a fender bass that requires removing the neck to adjust the truss rod. This can be a very difficult process, but once you have it down, it should go smoothly. It's a matter of trial and error, just like everything else with bass set-ups.

    IMO, Yes, take the neck completely off by removing all of the strings. If you leave any string tension, there could be a chance that you could damage the neck socket by the extra tension ripping the neck screws out.

    After you made your adjustments, re-string the bass to pitch and make your bridge adjustments accordingly. You might have to repeat this several times before achieving you desired set-up.

    To be sure, this will be a time consuming process. It's much easier to just adjust the truss rod while the strings are tuned to pitch. But in the case of your particular instrument, you have to do it the hard way. :(

    The only other suggestion I could make is to have an EXPERIENCED luthier cut an access hole in your bass to allow easy access to the truss rod. But, of course, this will alter you bass from its original form.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Projectile

    Projectile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    What fenders are like this? What a complete PITA! I want to know what particular models are set up this way so I never ever end up buying one. If I bought a bass and found out I had to take off the neck to adjust the truss rod I would want to punch somebody in the face. Sorry man, that sucks.
     
  4. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    WAIT!!! You dont have to take the strings off or the neck. I own to classic P basses that need adjustment this way. There was a post last week on here on this very subject.
    Most of us only detune the strings so that they are loose ..not off, then back out the screws only far enough to get to the nut adjust, retighten, tune check etc.

    Some use screw drivers that will fit in after the pickguards are removed and adjust without having to ever loosen strings or neck screws. This is tricky and you need the right screw driver. I need to go out and buy one. All of mine are too big or small...try these tips ...you will be :hyper:
     
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  6. flewis

    flewis Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Fender Vintage Jazz and Precision Basses and , 62 Reissues to name a few.

    I have a CIJ 62 RI Jazz, CIJ RI PBass, Reggie Hamilton Jazz, and my 76 FrankenJazz. All need to have the neck remove to adjust the Truss Rod. I may have to tweak the TR once a year on either of them.

    I do remove the neck completely to avoid and stripping of the Neck screw holes. It's really not that big a deal once you have done it a couple of times.
     
  7. Projectile

    Projectile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    What year did they switch to the standard truss rod adjustment? I'm actually in the market for a vintage P, probably will end up getting a late 70s mij lawsuit, but I really like the 60s reissues with the maple fingerboard. I want to make sure I avoid these models. I am really anal about adjusting my truss rod and this would drive me crazy.

    Or is there a special tool that would let me avoid taking the neck off? I don't mind removing the pickguard, but I am a stickler for using tools correctly, and and I don't want some kludge that barely fits and might strip something.
     
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    Its not a big deal ...really :smug:
     
  9. jumbosilverette

    jumbosilverette

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Location:
    L.A. (the Valley)
    I think my CIJ 51 P is set up this way. I think I'll let a guitar tech do it for me.
     
  10. Projectile

    Projectile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Maybe not to you, but I've been doing my own setups long enough to know that it would be a deal breaker for me personally.
     
  11. Cutty

    Cutty

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Location:
    U.K.
    Loosen the strings,unscrew the neck screws around 3 turns,tilt the neck back so the heel of the neck comes up,adjust the truss rod,tighten neck screws,re-tune the strings,job done!OR,buy a 75 re-issue with a bullet truss rod adjuster at the headstock!!
     
  12. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    Yes Sir...:)
     
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I've been good-naturedly chastised for suggesting the addition of a body rout to accommodate either a hex key or right angle screwdriver. I certainly wouldn't do this to a vintage instrument and others have stated this will diminish the value of a re-issue.

    Riis
     
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    Central Illinois, USA
    A. It's how Leo designed the truss rod in the late '40s for the guitar, and he used the same design for everything after that.

    B. Fender/CBS moved the truss rod adjustment to the headstock for the higher-end instruments around 1969 or so. The Stratocaster, the high-end Telecasters (Thinline- I think-, Deluxe and Custom), Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Jazz Bass and Tele Bass. The P Bass and the Telecaster kept the neck heel adjustment.

    C. Any Fender that's a reproduction of a vintage style instrument will have the adjustment at the heel instead of the headstock if their historical counterparts did. That's the Vintage Series, the Time Machine Series, the Classic Series, and any Japanese ones that are emulating vintage styles.

    D. It's not generally that big a deal to adjust the rods on these. You may need to remove the pickguard if the cosmetics are important to you. On my own stuff, I didn't care if the scredriver chewed a bit of plastic at the neck. It's about funciton, not looks here. And often you don't need to remove the guard at all if you're careful. On my Sting I have to take off the guard, and there's a channel in the body that allows access. On my 1983 Vintage Series '62 P, there's plenty of clearance to get to the nut without removing anything. On my Classic Strat I have to take the pickguard assembly off, but that's more becuse it's a guitar with a pickup right at the end of the neck. My Jazzmaster had a stupidly stable neck- I only had to adjust that rod about four times in 15 years (I know,shoulda kept it!).

    The "problem" is in my experience highly over-rated, but it is a problem. The heel-end adjustment is easy and cheap to make, but the bullet truss rod at the headstock is more expensive to implement, while being a more user friendly design. Note that Leo's subsequent instruments both had the truss rod at the headstock (pre EB Music Man and the real G&L before he became the figure head instead of the designer- I don't know what they've done at G&L since 1985).

    jte
     
  15. bass player 48

    bass player 48

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    The Geddy Lee Jazz Bass is like this. As others have said, it’s really not a big deal.

    Yes, you have to loosen the strings, but there’s absolutely no reason to remove them completely (unless you want to, or you’re changing strings)

    The Fenders that are like this are all of them that don’t have a truss rod adjustment nut visible at the headstock, and also don’t have a route through the pick guard and body to access a truss rod nut at the heal end of the neck. How the truss rod gets adjusted is readily apparent at first glance. So, no offence man, but if you bought a bass and then found out that you don’t like how the truss rod is adjusted – well you’d have nobody to blame but yourself in that situation. Maybe you could punch yourself in the face?
     
  16. bass player 48

    bass player 48

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    P.S. - I love to bring this up when I run into those psychos that think that the world will fall apart and the sky will fall if they so much as detune all the strings at the same time - you know the guys that think you have to change one string at a time, or else the neck will move out of adjustment and you'll have to perform a complete set up starting with truss rod adjustment. LOL

    Now, if you play double bass or cello - then by all means, change your strings one at a time and never ever take them all off at once. If you do, you'll need a luthier to reset the sound pin and the bridge.

    Bass guitars are not held together by string tension in the way that cellos are. Bass guitars are built to handle huge ammounts of string tension too. So are guitars. I say, when you change strings on bass or guitar - feel free to cut them all off with wire cutters, clean the board, then install a new string set. Don't be afraid to take a neck off to adjust a truss rod. It's not a big deal.
     
  17. Oh! Henry

    Oh! Henry

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    Thanks for the replies, it seems like a straight forward operation, however long it may take. I may give it a shot. I already had it set up proffesionaly last year, so my guess is a couple of turns on the truss rod will bring the neck back where it should be without having to fiddle around with string height or intonation.

    Do I need to know anything about screwing the neck back into place? Is there a danger of over tightening? (I will obviously use common sense, I won't be using my massive masonary drill to do this!!!)
     
  18. Cutty

    Cutty

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Location:
    U.K.
    Just tighten it up till it's firm,don't over tighten,they don't need to be super tight,maple is tough,so unless your mr universe you won't strip the thread,tighten evenly,good luck.
     
  19. Projectile

    Projectile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Okay, I didn't realize that this was so common. I've never owned a vintage Fender so I wasn't aware. I don't mind loosening the strings a bit when I adjust the truss rod. I usually do this anyway. I DO mind loosening the neck from the body. Please don't lecture me about how easy it is to loosen the neck and tilt it back. It's not something I want to do every time I adjust the truss rod. There are a lot of mixed messages on this thread and I would like to get a few things clear, because I am in the market for an older P-Bass.

    Some people have said in this thread that you don't have to tilt the neck to adjust the truss rod, just remove the pick guard. Is this true in most cases?

    Does anyone know what year exactly they switched to the adjustment on the headstock for P-Basses?

    Thanks for your help guys. Don't worry I'm not going to punch anybody in the face ;)
     
  20. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    Central Illinois, USA
    It depends on which Precision you get. Back in the olden days (before 1980) when there was only ONE Precison, they all had the truss rod adjust at the heel. After that it depends on specific models. As said earlier, anything which is the reproduction of a vintage style will have it at the heel, because that's where the originals did.

    The American Standard, which became the American Series which became the American Standard again last year all have the adjustments at the headstock. But a Vintage Series Precision of those same years will have it at the heel.

    As for whether you'll have to remove the neck, just the guard, or nothing at all depends on the individual instrument. It's a function of how deep the neck sits on the body, and they vary quite a bit, at least on the original Fenders. After 1987 I have no idea what they've done.

    jte
     
  21. bass player 48

    bass player 48

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    I'm not telling you what to do, but for me personally, I'd much rather remove a neck. The neck attaches with 4 screws - the pick guard is usually attached with about, what, 50 to 100 screws? (give or take) ...also, it seems like every single time I've removed a pick guard I have to deal with stripped out holes or a broken wire when I put it back on, but I've never stripped a neck screw... and I have WAY over tightened neck screws... the neck plate "dug in" to the back of the body, but the screw holes didn't strip.
     

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