backbowing neck - mustang bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by HateyMcAmp, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Hey everyone, I'm a DB player who is crossing back over to the "Light Side" by getting my first quality BG in a while, a MIJ mustang bass I got used. I really like the bass, but I'm having a little issue. My neck is doing a subtle backbow causing the lowest few frets to be a little buzzy. I took it back to the luther I got it set up at, and he said it was backbowing, probably due to the season change and the fact that is is a new-ish bass. It keeps reverting back days after adjustment, however, and won't "hold" the setup. I'm inclined to begin just adjusting it myself but loosening my rod a little, but I have some questions about truss rod care. Will I eventually reverse-max out the rod by loosening it too often? Is there the chance something else is happening with the bass? Thanks for the insight, guys.
  2. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Eastern Wisconsin
    I'd strongly encourage you to start learning the work on the bass yourself. Setups are not hard at all, and once you know how, you can set up better than any tech because you best know how you play.

    You don't need to worry about over-loosening your rod. You should stop seeing any change in the neck relief well before you reach the end of the threads. Stay mindful, of course.

    Check the neck for twists with a straighedge. If it is twisted, it's not as easy to deal with and an experienced tech should probably be consulted. If it's not twisted, chances are good that you'll be able to work it out yourself.

    Also, before touching the rod, check the neck relief with that straightedge. It's possible the inexperienced tech misdiagnosed it, and you have high frets instead of bad relief.
  3. Ok, all good to know. My tech (Ritchie and Richie's guitar) is a very good, experienced one here in NYC and has not diagnosed any twist and mentioned new wood sometimes absorbs moisture more readily than vintage basses, causing the neck to move around. He's widely considered a Fender-style bass guru by those people I know, who are primarily full time pro musicians.

    He does adjustments for free to I have been bringing it back, but this might be a good time to learn about neck adjustments.
  4. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Eastern Wisconsin
    For some reason, I read "because he's a new-ish tech" instead of newish bass.

  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    You can loosen it until the nut comes off without issue (except the rod will be rattling loose in the neck!) but if it still has backbow... There IS an issue!

    All the force of the strings are trying to pull relief into the neck ALL THE TIME. If you loosen the nut all the way and it's still back bowed, the wood IS warped in that direction.

    Please read the Jerzy Drozd setup guide and learn the physics behind a truss rod neck and learn to setup your bass.