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Does this sound like a Trussrod issue?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ack, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    I have an older SX 34" scale fretless neck that is making a crazy noise, but only at the first fret.

    Here's the issue: across all 4 strings, if I hold down the string at the first fret-line and pluck, I hear a terrible metallic rattle that resonates throughout the neck. The rattle sounds like it's coming from inside the neck right behind the first fret. If I move my fretting spot 1/2 step, there's no issue.

    I have tried this neck on several bodies and the problem follows the neck. I know it's a cheap neck, but I'm curious as to what other hardware is part of the truss-rod system that could possibly be loose/broken, etc. I can add/remove relief using the truss-rod, so the truss-rod is at least functional.

    The nut is solidly in place. I even put a spacer under the G-string (to bypass the nut temporarily) and the noise is still prominent on the first fret.

    I'd be interested to hear what someone here thinks could be causing this rattle.

  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    First, make sure all the hardware is tight. Then, loosen the rod until is flopping around in there and tighten it back up. It may be that it's just buzzing in the channel and a repositioning will help.
  3. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    Thanks for that.
    While attempting this, I found something curious to me (please excuse that lack of proper terminology as I explain).

    After getting the truss-rod to neutral (floppy), it doesn't matter which direction I then turn the truss-rod hex-nut, it will only add relief (upward bow)- meaning that I can never add back-bow.

    Is this normal? I'd suspect that there are several different kinds of truss-rods and this might be normal for this type.

    BTW, if I start at neutral and turn the hex nut counter-clockwise, I can get the rattling at the first fretline to stop at some point. The action is way too high, but if I back off the truss-rod nut, the rattling comes back. I can shim and lower the saddles a bit to compensate for this.

    Thanks for the reset advice. I'm going to continue to mess with it, but I'm curious to know if I might have a defective truss-rod, or if what I'm seeing is normal.
  4. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Could be that the TR is broken and the noise you're hearing are parts rattling around. I think that neck is toast.
  5. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I'd say that what you are experiencing is not normal and my gut says that you may have a problem that may not be worth pouring money into. However, odd vibrations on a bass are not uncommon and sometimes the solution is simple. For example, I have a bass that I thought had a truss rod rattle issue, but it doesn't. Every time I played certain double stops, I'd get this horrible rattle. It turned out that what I was hearing was sympathetic vibration of the non-active portion of the strings between the nut and where I was stopping the notes.

    So try this: while fingering at the first fret, take your plucking/picking hand and damp the string behind the nut to see if you are getting a vibration between the nut and tuning post.

    Since your problem has followed your neck from bass to bass, it's pretty clearly the neck. So, we have:

    1. Truss rod
    2. Fret level
    3. Nut
    4. Tuners
    5. String tree (if applicable)

    All of these should be considered as the possible source, starting at the top as the most likely.
  6. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    Thanks for the responses.
    I should have mentioned that I attempted to alleviate the nut as being the issue by trying a few things: damping the strings behind the nut and removing the D & G strings from the string tree. The problem remained.

    The one thing about this nut (this is my only fretless neck) is that the string grooves are cut much closer to the fretboard than my other fretted necks, leaving very little clearance. However, there are no buzzing or rattling sounds with open strings.

    I've also swapped tuners from stock to Wilkinson to (I think) Schaller and the problem remains.

    So, that being said, it still could be a broken truss-rod, or still possibly the nut. I did try to eliminate the nut as a problem by bypassing the slot(s), but there may be other tests I can do to fully eliminate it.

    Like I said, it's a cheap SX neck, but it's an interesting problem and I really like playing fretless once in while. I can just pick up another fretless neck somewhere and hopefully alleviate the issue.

    Thanks for all the help so far...
  7. i've had some high-end basses that did this

    as long as it doesn't come through the amplifier, forget about it, its no big deal.

    it's not worth loosening / retightening truss rods and stuff.

    not for me, at least
  8. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    SX has one way truss rods. If you can't straighten it out, truss rod is toast. Eveyrthing else is irrelevant when the truss rod is broken.
  9. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    That seems to be the case. Thanks.
    I'll find another fretless neck somewhere online.
  10. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Yep. Sounds like the truss rod came out of the anchor and is hanging loose inside the neck.