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Help With Adjusting a Fender P Bass Neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by AndyMan, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. AndyMan

    AndyMan Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 17, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio
    Hi All--

    A bit of advise please. I have a new (2 months old) Custom '59 P Bass with a maple neck.

    I have taken the neck off several times and tightened the truss rod fully. This gives the proper relief--3/32" at the 8th fret (acutally a shade tighter/smaller--that's the way I like it).

    About 3-4 hours after that, the neck moves back to its original relief which is not to specs--i.e., greater than 3/32 at the 8th fret holding down the string at the 1st fret.

    My question: Is this just because it's a new bass and the wood needs to season and settle in? And how long would that take--a year? Less or more?

    I've never owned a brand new Fender bass, and the used ones I've owned never had this problem, I suppose because the neck wood was fully "broken in."


    How long should I wait before taking the neck off and tightening the truss rod again? Is it the winter weather (I'm in Ohio). I hate taking the neck off several times, worried about the holes where the long neck screws set in to bolt the neck on getting loose/too big for a proper tight fit.


  2. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    As I understand it, you're supposed to make adjustments with the strings on, in tune, and properly intonated. What you're describing is natural, the force of the strings bows the neck over with a little time due to simple tension.
  3. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    When you say "fully tightened" I get nervous. It is not hard to snap a truss rod or split a neck by overtighening the rod, so you migh consider reading the Guitar Player Repair Guide before proceeding. Knowledge is your most important tool. Also, I think you are saying "relief" when you mean "string height". the relief on that neck should be about .010" to .015" while the string height should be about 3/32" on the bass side. First the bad news. If the neck keeps "relaxing" or bending in the direction of the string tension over a period of time, you may have a weak neck. Once you make the truss rod adjustment and string to pitch, the neck should move a little in the direction of the tension, but it shouldn't keep moving over a period of time. If this movement continiues, you got a weak piece of wood, and it is probably not going to get stronger with age. The good new is, it should be under warranty if you bought it new two months ago. I would strongly consider bringing it back to the retailer. Also, the comment about how you should adjust the truss rod with full string tension does not apply to your bass. You can't do it and you shouldn't try to figure out how to do it. You need to loosen the strings and at least partially unscrew the neck screws so you can get at the truss rod nut without carving up the body or the base of the neck.
  4. AndyMan

    AndyMan Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 17, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for the advice. Right now, the truss rod is fully tightened and I have about .10 relief. I'm going to keep an eye on it, and I may have to file a warranty claim on the bass later.



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