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Help with adjusting truss rod...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kwan, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. Kwan


    May 14, 2004
    I want to adjust my truss rod, because the strings are too far away from the fingerboard...

    But the "hole" for adjusting truss rod is located at the end of the neck!! I can see the hole but cannot turn it with a normal hex-screw. The only way I think of is to take the neck off, adjust the truss rod, then put the neck on again.

    My bass is a Fender American Deluxe Precision Bass V.

    Any suggestion??
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    You can cut the short end of the allen wrench even shorter. I did this for my Godin which has the truss rod in the same location. if it is shorter, it will fit i believe.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Adjusting the truss rod because the strings are too far away from the fingerboard? This may be the wrong approach. You generally adjust the truss rod to set the correct amount of neck bow. Adjust the bridge to control the height of the strings from the fingerboard.

    Of course, excess neck bow will result in the strings being higher off the fingerboard to a degree. But the approach should be to adjust the neck for straightness first, then adjust the bridge for string height.

    Excuse me if you already know this. But I have repaired too many instruments where a badly-informed player tried to make adjustments and really screwed things up.
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Put a capo on the 1st fret. Now fret at the 12th fret. Can you slide a nickel under the strings at the 7th fret? If yes, you might need to tighten your truss rod. But if a nickel fits without much more space, or doesn't fit, the truss rod is fine (for diagnostic purposes at least- you may want less relief in the end, but right now you'll know it's not contributing to your setup problem).

    Now, leave the capo on the 1st fret. This will eliminate nut problems from anything else that could be wrong.

    Lower the saddles. If you can't lower them enough to lower the string height to your liking, then you may need to shim the neck. A search in this forum will turn up lots of threads on that.

    And I recommend Dan Erlewine's book, "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great." Think of it as the owner's manual that should come with any guitar or bass guitar.
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    How thick is a nickel? (not used to US money) :)
  6. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    US Nickel = 1.95 mm thickness :eek:


    Maybe I'm wrong but...

    Using this method, sliding a the width of a business card
    between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret
    is an average height.

    On my bass, it moves about the thickness of a credit card.
    -Gary Willis

    Mine is lower, about the width of a hair.

    Here's official Fender specs.
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004

    That's about .077"

    I use around .015" to .020"

    But in Dan Erlewine's (sp?) Guitar Players Repair Guide, Ken Smith recommends 1 to 2 mm relief (.039" to .078")... seems like a lot to me, :meh:

    Ken posts here sometimes... maybe he'll comment?
  8. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I was saying that if he had more than a nickel's thickness (2mm, roughly), then the relief would be contributing to the overall high action, but that if it were 2mm or less, then the relief wasn't part of the problem.

    I do agree that 2mm is a lot of relief, and the "biz card test" is a more ideal relief (depending on playing style). But I doubt his problem is caused by too much relief.
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Dan E. called me one day as he was writing his book and asked me about the Relief on our Basses. I told him that I go by feel only as tension varies on every Bass and player. Depending on how you pluck or pull the strings, etc. I had a Bass on my bench so I grabbed a ruler and measured 'one' Bass. It was between 1 and 2mm from the top of the Fret to the bottom/underside of the E string. I like more height on the E than the G. So I just told him from 1-2mm is around where we set it. Melvin Davis likes about 1mm and Freddie at least 2mm as he DIGS in kinda hard. As long as you control the relief for the type of playing you do, any height will be fine. The Strings should also be matched for your playing style along with the relief.