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How much should I expect to pay for a neck adjustment--and should I try it myself

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dbull, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. dbull


    Feb 26, 2009
    North Carolina
    This sounds like I am posting a chiropractor question, but it is actually for my "new to me" Rickenbacker 4003 that I have. I am hitting the fret a great deal with the E string and I have raised the action to the max. I think it must be the neck. Should I try this myself, and if not, how much should I expect to pay at the local guitar shop, if anyone has any experience with this. Thanks.
  2. My feeling is, anyone that's serious about playing a bass should be able to set one up and make adjustments. Have someone show you how to setup a cheaper bass and practice yourself......OR ask the person you take your Ric to if you can watch and learn. Years ago, I had someone spend a day with me setting up a guitar and a bass. It included making nuts, setting the string spacing, a complete setup, bridge and truss adjustments and finally intonation. It was the best one day investment, I could have made :)
  3. IbanezATK


    Feb 24, 2009
    Monroe, LA, USA
    I don't do setups on my guitars or basses, period... 1. I've never been taught the proper way to do it and 2. I have an AMAZING tech that is the only person I'll let touch my instruments. He knows what I want, and gives it to me, regardless of the instrument I take to him.

    I'm sure he'd have no issue with me spending a few days with him learning the ins and outs of what he does, but I still don't feel I have the "mechanical" skill to do it as well as he does... or the 40 years experience.
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'm gonna kick this over to set up and repair.
  5. IbanezATK


    Feb 24, 2009
    Monroe, LA, USA
    By the way I spent DAYS setting up an old Stratocaster to Fender's specs, so I guess maybe I do have the mechanical ability... but it sounded so bad that I was about to ebay it.

    I gave it one last shot with my tech, and an hour later it was the best sounding and playing Stratocaster I've ever played.

    There is an art to setup, and I don't have the knack for that art unfortunately :(

    By the way... he even strings my guitars and basses and resets the intonation on them. Yes... I don't even string my own electric instruments. It got really, really expensive when I was gigging guitar and changing 2 sets of strings every show... sometimes 3, but it was worth it.

    I CAN restring and set intonation, but I don't. Why?

    I'm supporting a local business, and getting a top notch pro job done every time... I don't regret it a bit. My cars sport his business bumper stickers. Know what they say in BIG letters? SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSICIANS! His business info is in much smaller letters below that.
  6. Chuck King

    Chuck King Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2006
    I agree with FL Knifemaker that any serious player should be able to do basic maintenance on his or her instruments, including general set-up stuff. There are lots of resources to explain how, although I think the best advice would be to get a copy of the book "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great" by Dan Erlewine. The information applies to bass too, and it will hopefully give you enough understanding of what's going on that you will not risk screwing up your bass (which can happen if you're not careful adjusting a truss rod).

    That's general advice. However, Rickenbackers are sort of a special case. Almost everything about them is unique to Ricks, including the fact that they have TWO truss rods. If you're just doing minor adjustments they're not that bad, but, if a prior owner or tech who worked on it before you got it screwed something up, it might take somebody who can recognize subtle symptoms to identify that problem and fix it. So that recommends taking it to a tech, but, there are a lot of techs out there too who are not real familiar with Rickenbackers so be careful you don't take it to someone who will not know how to deal with it.

    The Rickenbacker owner's manual (downloadable from the Rick web site) discusses how to deal with the two truss rods, if you want to take a stab at it yourself. Just be very careful not to over-tighten them. And, be sure that your bass really is a 4003 and not a 4001, because they changed the design, and the 4001 cannot be adjusted the same way as a 4003 or just about every other bass. RTFM! (Read The F'ing Manual.) Many, many 4001 necks were screwed up (to the point of, fingerboards popping off in some cases) by people who tried to adjust relief without knowing the peculiarities of Rickenbackers.
  7. brachal


    Jan 7, 2006
    New Orleans, La
    In my town, $40 or $50 seems to be the going rate for a setup. It's not that hard to do yourself, but you want to be careful and go slowly. "I have raised the action to the max" kind of scares me; you shouldn't have to do that. As a rule of thumb, if the buzzing is from the lower frets, raise the bridge. If it's on a higher fret (nut end) adjust the truss rod. If you don't want to do it, that's fine. Support your local luthier. I have a friend who calls AAA when he gets a flat tire. IMHO, adjusting the action and setting the intonation are two things we should all be able to do ... but if you're just not comfortable, take her to the shop.
  8. You should learn its not hard at all, buts its priceless knowledge, separates the men from the boys.
  9. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    for whats it worth adjusting the truss rod for buzz above the 8 or 9 fret is bs......... has more to do with your neck stability...... not ur neck being whacked,,,, adjust ur bass and if it doesn't work call fender!!!

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