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Does taking off all string to change pickups harm the neck?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Pickftw, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Pickftw


    Jul 23, 2012
    I was looking into changing the stock pickups on my fender p and it seems almost impossible too do unless you take off all the strings but I also read some where that taking off all the strings damages the neck. So I guess my question is does taking off all the strings damage the neck?
  2. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Its fine. You just don't want to leave the strings off for a long time.
  3. How do you think the pickups were put in to begin with?

    Usually the only reason not to remove strings is with floating tremolo bridges on guitars. Removing all of the strings at the same time means it takes a good while to retune with the bridge moving constantly. It does no harm to the instrument to remove the strings, however. Especially when you consider that you're only doing it for a couple of minutes at most.
  4. Chico16


    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    I haven't learned how to switch my own strings, so I've had a guitar tech do it for me the past 2 times and he removes all strings before applying the new ones. I asked the same exact thing and he said it only damages the neck if you leave them off for a long time. So just hustle it up man! Lol
  5. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    Why not?

    There is nothing wrong with taking all the strings off. The only issue with doing so for a long time means you might be neglecting the regular maintenance the neck needs with seasonal weather change.
  6. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    You can't change your stings?
  7. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    I said taking all of them off at the same time if fine; I don't know what you did not understand.

    From what I have learned neck settles over about a 24-48 hour period. That is why you don't do more than a quarter turn on a truss rod in a 24 hr period. So if you take the strings of to clean or work on the bass, its fine. I just personally would not leave the strings off of my bass for more than a few hours.
  8. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I have always done that so I can clean and oil the fingerboard. Never had a problem.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    You are fine to remove all the strings from the bass to change pickups, how else would you accomplish it?

    Just be aware that when you remove tension from all the strings the bass will need fresh strings and a proper setup after the job is complete as the neck will have adjusted.

    When changing strings always leave one string on, the truss rod is under such tension that if you remove them all you will need to do adjustments to get it back to proper playing position. When basses are shipped from the factory they ship them tuned up because the tension is necessary.

    You do not need to remove tension from the truss rod unless you are leaving the neck off for seven days or longer. I would still recommend to back it off a little just to loosen it when you remove all the strings, but that is just me.

    Also, do not be afraid to adjust the truss rod more than a 1/4 turn in 24 hours. If you do this it will take you weeks to get the bass back into playing condition after the pickup swap.

    Please ensure to properly shield your pickups and cavities while you have the bass open, unless you have active or noiseless pickups, even then I still would.
  10. 254 stringer

    254 stringer Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    I left my '96 jazz bass disassembled for about 6 months and it has no neck problems. Also did the same with a tele and it was fine when i put it back together.
  11. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    I did not mean that if you take the strings off for a long period of time it will destroy the instrument. I only meant that if you want to be able to restring it without having to adjust the truss rod and do a full setup. And yes you can also do more than a 1/4 turn on the truss rod if your bass is way off, but it will take 24 hours for the adjustment to fully set it. But I'm sure the next guy will say I'm wrong...
  12. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Well, long answer short, nope. You will want fresh strings and a fresh setup after for after the swap as the bass will require it, even if the strings come off for 10 seconds in most cases.

    Good luck with your swap.
  13. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Okay your right. Basses need a full setup after taking the strings off for 10 seconds...if they have necks made of balsa wood.
  14. Rodger Bryan

    Rodger Bryan Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    No worries when removing all of the strings on a bass. I do this when I periodically clean my fingerboard.
  15. sadasar


    Jan 21, 2012
    Dallas Texas.
    endorsing artist hard luck king guitars and knuckle head strings
    Honestly buddy I would say after you change your pups that's a perfect time to learn how to change your own strings. It's really not hard and you'll want to do it as I would assume your new to the instrument and that means you're going to be trying out all different strings to find the ones you like. There are tons of good videos online and if you are looking to buy instructional videos on scales alot of them have videos that show you how to string the bass up.

    In my opinion I change strings all the time and haven't needed to make huge adjustments if any to my neck. I do periodical adjustments for weather changes and the like but I live in Florida so we only have two season hot and not as hot.

    Also I saw this was your first post. Welcome to the community and never be afraid to ask questions if you don't ask you'll never know.

    Edit I gues I misread and thought the OP said he doesnt change his strings lol sorry bout that valid point all the same.
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Dude if you try to change the pickups with the strings on then you might really hurt the bass.
  17. I swap pickups more frequently than I change strings, so I often leave the strings on. All you need to do is loosen them enough that you can pull the pickups up.
  18. As long as the truss rod is loosened I don't think it matters if the strings are off a day or a year,
  19. Chico16


    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    Embarrassing I know lol I'm actually gonna buy a new set of strings and try putting them on my back up bass myself. I know so much about strings except the most important part: putting them on. Haha
  20. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    I was not trying to make fun of you. I thought you were joking around. Well, there are plenty of YouTube videos that explain how to do it. You'll figure it out. If you have any questions shoot me a PM on here I'd be happy to walk you through it.

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