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Experienced Advice Welcome...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by redsky, Jan 30, 2003.


  1. redsky

    redsky

    Jan 30, 2003
    UK
    (*- Ive done some through searching on the Boards seen as Im new here; some things are pretty clear, others arent...)

    Small intro firstly: Ive been a semi professional bass player for 8yrs; been playing 15. In all this time Ive never had to set up the relief or allen key a neck.

    But you gotta learn sometime right ?

    Myself, I play an old Vintage Fender Jazz, this bass is not the problem. Ive just bought a very good quality copy of the same model for my 14y/o nephew. It was brand new when I bought it & since day one the top three frets at the nut end have been buzzing (esp. the A & D strings), even with the action way down this buzzing is still very audible. This buzzing is not caused from an open played string, its when the A# & B on the A string, & the D# & E on the D string are held down against the frets in normal play.

    Ive done some basic research into this & from what Ive come across it says that the neck needs its allen key ¼ - ½ turning to rectify this. Then it proceeds to say that the relief needs to be set up using precise Feeler Gauges [it goes into good detail about proper set up & measurements etc]

    From what Ive read on these Boards, the first part (Allen wrench turns on the neck) is totally wrong for this situ.

    Obviously Im more than apprehensive about performing this 'fix', but I dont think Id find it too difficult if I get the right advice [Im a Period Cabinet Maker/Furniture Designer by day so Id say Im more than qualified with my hands]

    Id really welcome some good experienced advice on this if anyone has any...
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Try playing one of the dodgy notes. While it rings, try flexing the neck a little bit forward. Better or worse? If it's worse, try flexing the neck back a little. Better or worse?

    Under the tension of the strings, the neck wants to bow so that the headstock can come up and towards the body. If pulling the neck foward helped, the truss rod is keeping it too straight and you need to loosen things off a little. If pulling back helped, the truss rod could do with a little tightening to make the neck straighter. If there's no difference, you may have a different problem - stop reading here.

    Assuming you hear a difference, that's where the allen key adjustment comes in - find the truss rod and give it a 1/4 turn (sorry - can't remember which way... and I don't know if it's universal anyway). Play the note - better or worse? If it's fixed, you're done, although you may need to check again in a few days; if it's better, give it another 1/4 turn and assess again; if it's worse turn back and then go 1/4 turn in the other direction.

    I'd be wary of turning it too far, especially if it's not making any perceptible improvement - in that case, I'd reset to where I'd found it and find a local luthier.

    A little while after getting my Sei bass, I noticed it was buzzing a bit at the 7th fret on the C string, so I took a trip over to see Martin Petersen, the builder. He made the adjustment as I've described and it was fine for a few days. The buzz returned so, I repeated (just one more 1/4 turn, as I recall) and it seems to have settled down to perfection; moral - even the best bass may need occasional adjusting and even the most expertly done adjustment may need minor tweaking as it settles in.

    Wulf
     
  3. redsky

    redsky

    Jan 30, 2003
    UK
    Thanks Wulf, I'll give it a try & get back later this evening; btw Ive read in several places that you need to 'loosen' the tension of the strings while making truss rod adjustments, is this info correct do you know ?

    Thanks again...
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    No, I don't think so - if you're making it tighter (pulling the neck straighter) I suppose you could loosen them a bit, and you'll want to check your tuning again later, but you definitely don't need them so loose that they're flopping around. After all, you won't be able to hear if you've made a difference if the strings aren't at pitch.

    Wulf
     
  5. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Redsky, There are two things (at least) that can cause the problem that you describe.

    One cause can be a misadjusted truss rod and the other cause can be a high fret. In your case the third fret would be the high one.

    A high fret is much less likely than a misadjusted truss rod.

    Since the tension of the strings in opposition to the truss rod tension is what makes the system work to straighten the neck, simply tuning the bass up a fret or so will tell you whether the truss rod needs adjusting.

    To put it another way, increasing the string tension by tuning higher has the same effect as decreasing the tension on the truss rod.

    If the buzzing on the first three frets decreases as the tuning goes up in pitch, you can rest assured that adjusting the truss rod will have the desired effect.

    If the diagnosis indicates that a truss rod adjustment is in order, the direction that you need to turn the truss rod nut is counterclockwise. 1/8 to 1/4 turn at the time will keep you from going too far with the adjustment.

    Adjust it, give it some time to settle in and recheck the action.

    When you apply pressure to the neck, it doesn't bend immediately.It will continue to move for a period of time after you make the adjustment.If you go too far it's not a big deal. The adjustment can be easily brought back by simply turning in the opposite direction.

    If the nut feels too tight, the nut may need to be lubricated.Simply remove the nut on the TR and apply some light machine oil to the threads on the rod. If the nut resists loosening, have a good repair shop reapair the frozen nut.

    I recommend loosening the strings for all truss rod adjustments, particularly when tightening the rod. Just be sure to bring it back to standard pitch after each adjustment.

    If I've confused you let me know and I'll clarify.

    Pkr2
     
  6. I agree with what was posted and wish to reinforce some points.

    Let your adjustments settle in. It is quite common for it to take a number of hours for any noticeable difference to be heard/felt etc. I tend to adjust my truss rod at night and leave it over night. Remember only a 1/4 at a time.

    I loosen my A and D strings always with a truss adjustment.. why? Because the blasted cover has three screws and i have to loosen the strings to get to the cover. ;)

    I have also found a good quick indication for the relief is to hold the bass and put your chin behind the bridge. Hold the guitar like a violin, sometimes (my bass is heavy.. ok ok i'm a big girl hmm) i rest the head stock on the floor but even still... and look down the neck.

    Does the neck curve slightly upwards from the body to the headstock? A slight curve is good. Does it curve too much. This is pretty easy to tell as the curve can be quite sharp. It should be gradual and even. Is it too flat? If so loosen the truss (turn to the left).

    Is the board tilting to either the left or the right?

    While we're at looking down the neck, back away your chin from the body and look at your action of the strings. Do they follow the curve of the neck from left to right. My B and E strings are fairly level as they are thicker, my A is then a little higher, then my D string lower and G lower still. to give a faint Arc. Is the action consistant? If its lumpy, raise and lower the correct strings at their saddles.

    This although takes a while to read (and type!) can be done/checked in a matter of minutes.

    :D:D

    Merls
     
  7. redsky

    redsky

    Jan 30, 2003
    UK
    Excellent advice Guys ! [Glad I came in here now...]

    When Ive made my necessary adjustments & given them time to settle [& re checked them] I'll give you an update on progress.

    Sincerly, many thanks...
     
  8. No worries and keep coming back until it's right. The members on this forum have the such a combined knowledge you cant really go wrong. ;)

    Oh and its free... thats why i am here hehee

    :D:D

    Merls
     
  9. hey i did what you said about tuning the string up and see if it still buzzes... right now my A string buzzes on 12th and higher... but when i tune it up to a B... its pretty much all gone! so how can i make it so that it will be tighter and i can have it tuned on A? do i have to mess around with the truss rod because i don't want to strip it... what about raising/lowering the action.. or doing something with the bridge? it's REALLY annoying and driving me crazy:eek: ...
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Andy: If you have a buzz on the 12th fret and higher, chances are that it is not a truss rod problem.

    Your problem is more likely to be that the bridge is adjusted too low.

    Try raising the bridge saddle on the string(s) that are buzzing.

    If adjusting the bridge doesn't correct the prob, give us a shout and someone will be able to help you.

    Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

    Pkr2
     
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  12. thanks. but i have one question... i'm really new to bass, this is my first. i know it probably sounds stupid, but are there two ways to adjust it? because i see on the back of the bridge (badass II) that I can move it forward and back... but then i see on the actual saddle that there are two more tiny tiny screw-like things... and that that E and G have them sticking up, and those saddles are much further down on the bridge, while the D string is higher... and the A is very high... are those little screwy things something i can adjust... or do i just adjust it with the big ones running through the back. finally, to try and remove the frett buzz should i move it forward (toward the pickups) or back... or like i mentioned before, possible up and down:confused: :confused: ?

    thanks again:)
     
  13. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    To raise and lower the strings, turn the two small allen screws -not the ones that are at the back of the rollers.

    The ones that are at the back of the rollers are for intonation adjustment.

    There is a lot of good info on the web site that JMX suggests. It would be to your advantage to open that link and get a little overview of what you are doing. It will make it a lot easier to understand what I'm advising if you have some pix to help explain.

    Do you have an electronic tuner? Any and all adjustments need to be done and the tuning checked after each adjustment. If you make the adjustments at anything other than standard pitch the adjustments will go out when you tune to standard.
     
  14. thanks, i really appreciate the help:)... but one last question, i promise - so i should raise or lower the strings to try to get rid of the buzzing? or should i jsut try both and see what works? thanks.
     
  15. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Raise the strings. Screw each screw in an equal amount so the roller stays level. Turn just a bit at a time. about 1/4 turn.

    Ask all the questions that you need to. :) I'm bored today anyway.