My bass cannot be adjusted

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fleathedog, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. fleathedog


    Dec 15, 2007
    I have a USA made Fender p-bass. I bought it second hand about 18 months ago, but it is quite new. No more than 5 years old from my investigations, and it had barely been touched when I bought it.

    I'm in Japan and there are very dramatic seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. So every time the season changed it needed to be readjusted. I know nothing about the hardware aspect of bass guitars so I just let the guy at the shop do his thing. It looked like all he was doing was adjusting the truss rod.

    When I took it in recently though, I was told that it could no longer be adjusted. The only way to stop the strings rubbing on the frets was to file the frets down.

    Does this sound right? The price I was quoted for filing down the frets is about 180USD (equivalent).

    This sounds like bull. This is supposed to be a quality instrument and only a few years into it's life I can't even adjust the ******* truss rod?!

    I said I wanted it back and I'd think about the fret filing option. It's barely playable now though.

  2. woffle


    Mar 26, 2008
    Swap the neck for a mij neck,I've put one on and am totaly happy.Picked it from reliabe fender in US,sent over to Germany for about $300.complete.Just awsome.
  3. fleathedog


    Dec 15, 2007
    Thanks woffle... I'll consider it in future but don't have any money to spend on such things at the moment.

    Apparently the truss rod is full extended (or whatever you say when it's been turned as far as it will turn).

    My point is that I shouldn't have to be dealing with this. I had a piece of **** samick for 10 years and never had any problems like this.
  4. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    You could learn to do the adjustments yourself. That way you can double check and make sure the guy at the shop isn't 1) an idiot or 2) trying to screw you.
  5. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    If the strings are hitting the frets,you probably have no relief.Back off on the truss rod and get just a bit of bow in the neck.Then try a setup.
  6. Agreed.
    If the strings are too low then all you need to do is raise the action at the bridge.
  7. ByF


    May 19, 2009
    Yep, time to read the stickies at the top of this forum. There's not much that can wrong with a new bass that you can't fix yourself.

  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Another vote to read the stickies, loosen the truss rod slightly and do a basic setup. Sounds like you need less tension in the truss rod, not more.
  9. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Yet another vote in favor of the suggestions to read the sticky tutorials and try to adjust the thing yourself.

    If you really aren't keen on learning to set up your instrument yourself, take it to another luthier and get a second opinion.

    I am surprised that the person who worked on your bass didn't explain what was going on in more detail.
  10. ibnzneksrul


    Feb 2, 2007
    So Cal
    And another. You'll be pleasantly surprized at how liberating it is learning how to do it yourself.
  11. Hi.

    Yet another vothe for DIY approach.

    While some may not agree, Fenders (at least the ones coming over here) are POS. Some are DOA, some need major work. PITA for the price, for both the importer and the customer.

    You can live with a POS neck though. Just learn how to do the full setup Yourself and do it often. As often as it takes to keep the damn thing playable.

    +1 for the strangeness of the "strings hitting the frets and truss rod is maxed" claim. Sounds like You're been had. Badly.

    +1 for getting a second opinion, whether You decide to learn how to do it or not.

  12. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    I think folks here are missing the key gist of your question --

    It DOES sound like BS on multiple fronts. First, it's highly unlikely that a relatively new, modern MIA Fender -- it should have graphite rods in the neck, I think. Anyway, under normal treatment, I can't imagine it becoming un-adjustable after 18 months in Japan.

    Second, releveling and recrowning the frets shouldn't cost 180 -- that's nearly the cost of a refret. 50-80 would be more realistic...

    IF all he was doing was adjusting the truss, then he may not know what he's doing. Seems odd that someone would be doing that for a job, and be that bad at it, but it's possible.

    Here's the scary thing about taking the DIY road NOW -- if this guy maxed out your truss, and has it all f'd up, then you would be diving into a BAD situation, without a good reference point, and if you snap that truss nut off, you just cost yourself 300 bucks.

    So, yes, read the stickies. And maybe your best bet is to find a new tech and get a second opinion. But go ahead and post some info, and let's see what's up:

    - where are the strings touching frets -- low frets (e.g. 1-7), middle , heel, everywhere, etc.
    - are all the saddles really high -- are the adjustment screws pushing the saddles up as high as they can go? are they bottomed-out and touching the base of the bridge?
    - what gauge strings are you using
    - do you have the tools and comfort-level to adjust the truss, and to take the neck off the bass?
  13. ByF


    May 19, 2009
    No, I got that and I'd bet others did too. But unless the OP comes back with more information about the condition of the bass, saying the repairman is delivering BS seems a bit hasty. The guy needs to check out the bass and find out for himself whether or not the repairman is telling the truth. Without that, we're just guessing.

    The OP just said he had been TOLD that the truss rod couldn't be adjusted. He never came back and said he'd actually TRIED to adjust it.

  14. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Just a quick reminder, open discussion is always encouraged here in S&R. Just be mindful of rule #1...