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alomst maxed out TRUSS ROD. help!!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by torza, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. torza


    Sep 20, 2005
    hey all. well, i took my Fender Precision bass to get set up this winter. the guy said that the truss rod was almost maxed out. because of the warm/dry radiator heat in the nyc winters (and Fender's diminishing quality..ahhemm)... the neck keeps bowing, and the tech said that there is only so much more that he can tighten the truss rod before it's maxed out.
    he told me to use a humidifier, not store it in a room with radiator heat and to also get a small humidifier for my bass case. i really hope all this works out! does anyone else have any suggestions? if i'm not being clear about the problem, let me know. also.. how much does it cost to replace a truss rod (worse case scenario)?
    thanks all.
  2. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Find a couple small washers that will fit the rod and the hole. Remove the truss rod nut. Drop on the washers. Carefully thread the nut back on to avoid stripping threads. The washers give you a bit more purchase so you can adjust the neck enough. I've used it on several Fenders and others. Always worked for me.
    Velocibasser likes this.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    For all practical purposes you get a new neck rather that a new truss rod.

    Another thing to try...

    remove the neck from the bass
    loosen the truss rod
    clamp the heel to a table
    clamp the head stock to something a bit lower thant the table. (You are now holding the neck in a slightly bent backwards position. )

    Aim a heat lamp at the neck and leave it for several hours, checking periodically - you want to heat the wood, not burn it. Start with the lamp a some distance away. THIS IS A SLOW PROCESS!

    unclamp the neck and re-tighten the truss. You should have additional play in the truss at this point. You may need to repeat this process a number of times to gain the play you want.

    You may need to string that bass with lighter guage strings. Maybe a .40 to .95 set - I have a bass like that and it's a great player now. Damned near to unplayable a few months ago...
  4. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The heat works well when you have a particularly bad neck. I combine it with the washers. I did this on someone's 67 Jazz that had been sitting in a warm closet strung up and drying out for over 10 years. it worked great. Rather than clamp the heel of the neck to a table i make up a jig with a straight piece of 2"X3" and a couple blocks of wood to hold the 2X3 off the fingerboard, then use a C clamp to pull the neck into a slight reverse bow and apply heat from a couple heat lamps. You have to be very careful with the lamps or you can burn the finish. After it's heated for a few hours, turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, then remount the neck and string it up. You'll probably still need the washers, but this is a really good fix.

    I did that once on an old Martin flattop acoustic guitar with no adjustable truss rod and it turned out great.
  5. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Banned

    Nov 20, 2005
    Do you have a Mexican or USA Fender?
  6. I have a 76 P-bass that I'm having this same problem with. It has the cross style truss rod adjustment at the neck joint, will this solution work with this style of truss rod? I've never tried backing it all the way off and was a little scared, to be honest :meh:

  7. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Yes, I did this on a couple Fenders with that style truss rod nut. The nut comes right off if you back it off enough. It's not tough at all. You do have to be careful when you reinstal the nut that you start the nut properly to avoid stripping the threads on the rod.

    You'll notice that the threaded hole in the nut doesn't go all the way through it and this is why you can't get any more turns to tighten it. The washers give you a few extra turns and also cushion the wood in the neck that probably has compressed a bit.

    While you're at it it you might want to replace the nut with a new one. They're cheap. The X slots get mangled pretty easy from using a screwdriver.
  8. Thank you! This has been my favorite bass for close to eighteen years and I was beginning to worry that I'd have to replace the neck. They don't finish them like that anymore and I've gotten to where I like the way it feels.:D
  9. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Let us know how it worked out.
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You should get the climate under control and the bass's environment properly humidified before you start messing with any of the other suggestions here.

    If the neck is really dry and thus has shrunk, it is going swell up again this spring when the humidity comes back and all that stuff you've done to it will come back to haunt you.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Certainly get the climate under control as much as you can.

    The repairs I've done this way have stood the test of time and are used by many pro tech guys. It's nothing new or revolutionary. They won't come back to haunt you. Naturaly, when the weather gets humid you'll have to back off the truss rod some and when it dries out again you'll have to tighten it a bit. This is common with almost every wood necked bass I've seen. Some basses change faster or more than others.

    My Stingray was the worst I ever had for that.

    It's just a fact of life.

    However, I can bet that the wood under your truss rod nut has been compressed over time and that's probably the major problem. The washers will take care of it.
  12. mariner


    Feb 18, 2005
    Front Royal, VA
    I have a used MIJ Jazz that may be at the end of it's truss adjustment.

    Did you use flat washers or split washers?

    You are right about the mangling of the truss nut.
  13. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I used flat washers. They may be a bit hard to find. but a well equipped harware store should have them, The first ones I used were slightly toolarge and I had to grind them down holding them with pliers against a grinding wheel. Then I finally found a large stash of them. I still have a bunch left over somewhere.
  14. mariner


    Feb 18, 2005
    Front Royal, VA
    62bass, you were right on the money with the washers.

    I added 3 and was able to get as close to factory as I think I can get.

    Kudos to you sir!
  15. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    You're welcome. Thanks for letting us know. I should have mentioned that at times you may need 3 washers.
  16. I just finished up with the repair and it plays like a dream. I don't think it was this good after the last pro setup I had done. Thank you again for the suggestion. :hyper: :bassist: