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Help! Truss Rod + Dead Notes issue

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by faulknersj, Dec 18, 2018.


  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    truss won’t turn clockwise and I have some dead notes in the upper frets. Any advice would be welcome as I love this bass!!

    Here is a more detailed demonstration:

     
  2. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    you may have a high fret there , I would check it with a straight edge and maybe give it a gentle tap with a fret hammer or similar material hammer . Seasonal changes can bring that on .
     
  3. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    It is physically impossible for the truss rod to change the shape of the neck above where it is bolted to the body. You have a fret problem, not a relief problem.
     
  4. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Got the neck off...got the truss nut to spin off loose...

    I must have put this business card in with a shim at some point...I think this is when I couldn’t get the truss rod nut to spin..

    I’m going to remove the shim (and biz card) and see what happens...

    Maybe this will fix the upper fret issue..
     
  5. Seems that all your note issues revolve around the same 21st fret. That fret may have become raised up a little over time. It may need filing.

    Or....

    If you're in the mood to DIY to save money you can try the old guitar tech trick first....gently tapping the high fret back down with the butt end of a screw driver. Emphasis on "gently" and stay near the center of the fret, avoid tapping near the ends of the offending fret. Again, only very light little taps with the screw driver. If that doesn't work (it often does) then filing may be in order.

    The max'd out truss rod....never a good sign, but you may be able to squeeze out a bit more travel by adding a washer. Pull the neck, unscrew the truss rod nut, slip one or two little washers over the exposed rod, screw the nut back on. The best washers I've found are tiny alloy split lock washers at the hardware store. Cheap and they drop right in.

    Or, if it's something serious, take it to a trusted, experienced tech/luthier.

    Better still, start a thread in the Luthiers Corner. Good luck.
     
  6. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    88745BC8-A1EF-496E-AE85-91B3C8DCD966. 517F94B0-D5EE-4FD0-B082-8C87A3D68493. EF01D703-3B85-4998-81B8-EC49D95CE0B7. DCD83B3D-58DB-4ACD-9862-BF48C9ED0866.
     
  7. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I just tried tapping the fret gently with a screwdriver...that is a great tip!

    I believe I had a guy add a washer a few years ago...any other options with a maxed out truss?
     
  8. Well, I'd remove the nut to see for sure if there are already washers installed previously, and if adding more washers might work.

    Another option is a neck heating jig to attempt to move the neck wood back toward its original shape (assuming the neck having changed shape is the issue). My tech buddy has one, he's straightened out a couple necks for me in the past. Sometimes it works great, sometimes not as much.

    There may be more drastic measures employed by luthiers, but that's way above my pay grade. That said, if it comes down to serious surgery, I'd only send it to a renowned builder/luthier. You know their names, worth any extra $$ they may charge to avoid having some hack tear into it.
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  9. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Thank you so much for chiming in! I just got it strung back up and am having the same issue...Im going to take it to my local shop and have them assess it...
     
  10. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    The 21st fret has popped up in the middle, enough to choke out the 20th fretted note on the E and D string and completely fret out the A string to the 21st fret when on the 20th fret. A simple job for a good tech. The truss rod has little or nothing at all to do with the action or setup in that area of the neck.
     
    lz4005 likes this.
  11. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Be careful chasing the truss rod issue too much at this time as it has nothing to do with the problem you revealed on the video... the truss rod adjustability may be serviceable for now even if it's maxed out. The truss rod gives you the relief needed in the middle of the neck and helps with first position action... the upper register is affected very little by truss rod adjustments.

    Also, adding a shim does one thing for you only... that is it allows you to get the bridge saddle height in an acceptable range. No matter what the neck angle to the body is, the string will still be a perfectly straight line over the fretboard from the bridge to the nut. The neck pocket shim cannot help alleviate any issues with neck relief or un-level frets.
     
  12. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Thank you for taking the time to offer great advice!

    I took the bass to my tech today and he is going to level frets 19-22. Additionally, he is going to heat and straighten the neck. His bass is one of my lifers, so I need to just suck it up and get it done right!
     
  13. I'd ask him to level the frets, string up and set it up for you, before he does anything else. If it sets up fine, why bother fixing what's not broken, until you really have to?
    Fishheadjoe
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
    Double E likes this.
  14. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Because he's become obsessed with the truss rod, even though it has nothing to do with the problem.
     
    arbiterusa and Fishheadjoe like this.
  15. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I don't see an issue addressing the lack of adjustment of the truss rod at this time.
    The bass is disassembled and at the shop for repairs, why not avoid future downtime and get the rod working now?
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  16. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Exactly!

    Not to mention, this bass is very special to me and about the best sounding 5 string I have ever encountered. It will be with me forever and I’d like every part of it to function properly. My tech is going to reset the neck and get her back to where she should be. With this bass, I am not concerned about cost.

    The best sounding 4 string bass I ever owned had a neck that went bad. Fender swapped it out for me, but it dramatically effected the tone. I learned the hard way thru that experience that when you have some magic in a bass, sometimes more extreme measures are required to keep that magic intact...
     
  17. My only concern and why I noted what I did; is there any chance that your tech could mess up that neck by heating it? I would hate to see your lifer get buggered up when you aren't sure if the rod is functional.
    I hope you get your bass back and it puts a smile on your face!
    Fishheadjoe
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  18. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I have heard tell of the repair not working, but I have never heard that an attempt made anything worse than before.
     
  19. I make it a personal policy to not tell the devil my business! LOL
    Fishheadjoe
     
    charlie monroe likes this.
  20. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    My tech has been working on guitars for 30 years and after taking a look at the instrument expressed full confidence that he can get it back to where it should be. Only time will tell, but he seemed really confident that it could be restored to its former glory! The frets will also be leveled do that will be a huge help with setup, and fixing the dead notes issue.

    Thank you for the kind words!
     
    Fishheadjoe and charlie monroe like this.

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