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Hofner vintage 500/1 neck straight, truss rod loosened all the way

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wiremessiah, Jan 14, 2019.


  1. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    I have had the same TI flats on it for many years, tuned a half step down, so they are pretty loose, very little tension, so the neck is pretty straight. Acceptable amount of relief, but I do get some buzzing recently on the D# string. The problem is the bridge is already as high as it gets, and of course it has the 0 fret, so no nut adjustment. Should I put something under the bridge to lift it, or even put something under the 0 fret? because the truss rod is non-functional at this tension. Could the 0 fret be raised or replaced with a higher one? not that important or audible when amped, but i do like to play it unamped while watching stuff, and the buzzing gets annoying.

    As you can probably surmise, different strings are not an option.
     
  2. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Hi, why not different strings? If your bass is buzzing on D# which I assume you are playing on the D string then it sounds like the neck needs a little more relief
     
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You could put in a taller fret for the zeroth position, BUT that will only help with the open strings. Once a string is fretted the nut is no longer relevant.
     
  4. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    half step down, so E is D#. I have had the same set of strings on there for a decade, the TI flats. I'd much rather deal with a small annoyance than having to change the type of strings, because it will drastically change the sound and feel. Also can't tune it up, I tune it that way for a reason, a couple actually. So it's the bridge, or the 0 fret. But from what i hear, messing with the 0 fret height can mess up intonation, so I guess I have to raise the bridge somehow. and the relief is in the acceptable range, about .012-.014 at the 7th-8th fret. It's been like that for a long time, and tried to loosen the rod, but the relief did not increase and the rod nut was already tightened minimally, so it came completely loose quickly. I am not sure why the bridge has no more height, (sinking top perhaps? or why just now it has started to buzz. I wonder if there is any kind of thread extension I could put in the bridge for the thumbscrews to go higher
     
  5. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    from what I read, a taller fret will mess with intonation on the first 5 frets. So the bridge i guess is my only option. I need something like this:

    img-fd3fe45b0bb6c2853adbb11b8c4aa1d7.

    But smaller and the right size, but can't find it. Since it's only on the d# (E) string, perhaps I can just put some kind of shim underneath that side's bridge foot. Or try to get taller bolts for the thumbscrews, but I doubt I could find them in the right size.
     
  6. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Ok , fair enough, I would normally say buzzing on open strings is a nut issue but obviously with the zero fret it is not the nut that is the issue, have you checked that it is not a sympathetic vibration from the tail piece?
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Don't see how you would use that part. If there is an acceptable amount of relief as you say, there should be no problem getting the bridge height right. But you may be asking too much of the bass to accept low tension strings (TI's) downtuned. It wasn't designed to handle that. It's like putting oversize tires on your car then complaining that they rub in the wheel wells when you go over a bump.

    What is the current string height at the 12th fret, and the relief?
     
  8. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    Well it's a pretty thin flimsy neck, so it wasn't designed for high tension. The bridge is aftermarket, so I don't know how much height they accounted for. As i said, the relief is in range and the string height is fine. bass sounds and plays amazing, just started buzzing on the D#. I guess I will just shim the bridge, as no other options are available.

    the part would be to make the bolts for the thumbscrews on the bridge adjustment go higher
     
  9. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Have you checked that the frets are level? You may have a fret that has lifted slightly on that side of the neck.
     
  10. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    mainly open string
     
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    From here, it sounds like your Hofner has two different problems.

    First, the body has warped backward a little bit. That's why the bridge has run out of vertical travel. Over the years, the body has taken a backward curve overall. Or possibly, the top has flattened down in the middle. The usual fix is to put a reverse neck shim down in the neck pocket, under the neck. By reverse neck shim, that means that it is a shallow wedge that's thicker at the outboard end and thinner at the inboard end. It's usually cut from a thin piece of maple, maybe 0.025" thick at the outboard end, tapering to a feather edge at the inboard end.

    If you don't want to use the shim, you can also shave the heel, block sanding it to slightly change the angle of the bottom surface. Reduce the thickness of the back end of the heel by about 0.025", tapering to no change at the forward end of the heel surface.

    The effect of either the reverse shim or shaving the heel is to tilt the whole neck forward on the body, to get the bridge back in the right operating range.

    The second problem is that the neck is borderline backbowed. If it's operating with low tension strings, the relief relatively flat, and the truss rod loose, that means that it has warped a little bit backward over time. It may have developed a high spot somewhere.

    You aren't clear on where it's buzzing. You're saying that it's the open D# (normally E) string, but where is it actually hitting when it's buzzing? Is the string hitting at the 1st fret or at the 20th, or somewhere in between?

    Regardless, the fix is the same: Tighten the truss rod somewhat, enough that you see the neck begin to bend back. Then, with the truss rod like that, level the frets. Then string it back up, and back off on the truss rod to get the right amount of relief. This should get rid of the high spot, wherever it was, and leave the neck stable and adjustable with those light strings.
     
  12. Wiremessiah

    Wiremessiah

    Mar 4, 2017
    Thanks for your help. I think you may be right about the backward curve, the binding of the neck and body are slightly askew of each other.
    Getting the neck off is major surgery. I did it when I got it 10 years ago, and he had to drill a hole in it and put a piece of ebony in the joint and some kind of epoxy to plug the hole. That's a last resort option, if it's unplayable.



    The body is pretty thick plywood, and doesn't look collapsed but it could be. There seems to be a hump, with the bridge at the top and the middle pickup at the bottom, not sure if that's supposed to be like that. The bridge is a chinese aftermarket, and doesn't reach the full height of the original bridge, but yeah still too high.


    The latter option is doable. So if I level the frets , having .012-.014 at the 7th/8th fret, How much should I tighten past straight with the truss rod, would this equal the amount taken off the frets? it's just the open string, hitting the first fret. I am not really "fretting" about it too much. Give me a break, i probably have a mild concussion from the nastiest spill on my bike ever (and I have been hit by a car) a couple hours ago, flipping and landing on my head and hip without a helmet going 25-30 mph downhill. Then walked it off like it was nothing while people were cheering me on because it looked so bad. I will probably buy a helmet now, lest i make the most cliched guitar joke ever again.
     

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