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Is this evidence of neck twist?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Grebnaws, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Grebnaws


    Aug 25, 2010
    Champaign IL
    I just received a Peavey Axcelerator with the 2-tek bridge and am attempting to set it up. I have allowed the bass to acclimate a few days and slowly adjusted the neck straight without tension. Now that it is straight I began stringing it with a new set of .90-.35 roto 66s. I am getting quite familiar with my own bass guitar setups at home, especially with these made in USA neck tilt Peaveys, and tonight two problems have presented themselves. Problems I haven't encountered on any of the dozen or so basses I've setup before.

    Issue #1 is that with the bridge saddles lowered all the way the E string is still above the 21st fret ~4-5mm while the A-D-G strings are directly against the 21st fret and arcing slightly down towards the bridge. I don't normally tilt the neck that far out of line for any reason but I kept adjusting further to see when it would meet the E string and it never did. For now I have the neck tilted normally and adjusted the saddles for even string height among all 4 strings, but it is clear that my action is severely limited by the E string. It takes about 4 turns of the A string set screws to equal the height of the E string resting on the bass of the saddle. These tests were done with a capo at the 1st fret to in order to remove the nut from the equation. The E string nut slot is cut higher than the others but that's a simple matter for later.

    Is this evidence of neck twist? I can't really see a twist in the neck when eyeballing the neck but I have never encountered a problem like this even on my cheapest instruments.

    Issue #2 is that I am also getting a ton of fret buzz on the D-A-G strings from frets 4-7. Almost every note in that range buzzes badly unless you press very firmly against the frets. The buzz is totally absent past those frets and then plays silently all the way down to the 21st with very light pressure. I have a light touch with heavier strings on my other basses so this is very annoying. My other basses are much older but apparently haven't been played as much, because I think this is just a classic symptom of worn frets. Still, I haven't had anything like this leap out at me on my other basses and it's buzzing badly even with the strings set up higher than I'd prefer.

    As delivered this bass didn't make any unwanted noises but there was excessive relief and the strings were too high for me. I did notice the E string saddle was touching or nearly touching the bridge while the others were raised further, but I noticed too late to make an issue of it. I've wanted one of these for a couple years and really hoped this would come together easier.
  2. Ashlyn


    Dec 21, 2012
    I'm not sure. I hope you can get the answer from others soon.:cool:
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    You dont adjust the neck for straight with no tension. Its supposed to be near straight with strings on and tuned. Sounds like having the neck looked at by someone who does god fret levels might be in order as well.
  4. Grebnaws


    Aug 25, 2010
    Champaign IL
    I began adjusting the neck with the strings off just to see how the neck behaved without tension and to start fresh with different climates and humidity and all that. The neck was then adjusted under tension with new strings and is very straight. The truss rod works fine :)

    I think a plek or fret level would be in order if that were my only issue. Just not sure how to proceed if there's a twist. Tomorrow I'll probably remove the neck and try gauging it off the body.
  5. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    It may be that the neck is straight, but not level in the pocket.

    Issue #2 sounds more like too little relief. Frets 4-7 are typically where not enough forward bow will give a slight buzz IME. Alternately it could just be one high fret.
  6. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Why? It's how it behaves with string tension, that's important.
  7. Grebnaws


    Aug 25, 2010
    Champaign IL
    There is already more string relief than I would like. Increasing the relief or raising the strings does band-aid the problem but I believe there are unevenly worn frets in the middle of the neck, though I have not used a fret rocker. I think it was played with a poor setup for a long time or by someone who hammered the frets.

    If it's better to judge neck twist with the strings then I will leave it together. I've contacted a local luthier for a professional opinion, and I appreciate the advice being given here.
  8. Grebnaws


    Aug 25, 2010
    Champaign IL

    The initial report came back from the luthier today and they have determined that the frets were worn and many were uneven from high to low, even in areas that weren't indicated as a problem. I asked about my setup and was told there were no issues with how I set the neck relief or string height, and also that they do not think the neck is twisted. This is good news. I can always take some material off the bridge saddle if necessary to tweek the E string further. They suggested that a leveling and crowning would solve my issues. The price was fair so I gave the go ahead and should have it back in less than 2 weeks.

    At another time I would buy the tools and learn how to do the job myself but it's also nice to employ a professional and see a good example first.

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