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My frustrating truss rod...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by funk_engineer, Dec 26, 2001.


  1. I've been thinking about tightening the truss rod of my MIM Fender standard Jazz bass. According to Gary Willis on his website, if you lower the height of your strings and the frets above the 12th fret rattle and buzz, then you need to tighten your truss rod. Well, unless I keep my strings really high, I get buzzing and rattling above the 12th fret. I adjust the truss rod once before a couple of weeks ago with a 5 mm allen wrench, though it was hard to get the wrench to fit snugly enough to turn. After looking at the screw with a flashlight, it looks a little worn, but still vaguely hexagonal. I haven't been able to get the rod to turn this time at all, either tighter or looser. Do I need a different sized allen wrench than 5 mm, or is this some problem with my screw? Is there anything else I can do?
     
  2. I gave it a go with a 6 mm allen wrench, but that just seems to be too big. I think the screw is either misshapen or worn out. Not sure what to do about that; I'll try adjusting it again later.
     
  3. bizzaro

    bizzaro

    Aug 21, 2000
    Vermont
    If a 5mm is to small and a 6mm is to big you probably need and american instead of metric. I don't know the equivilents off hand. And I am hoping that the reason that it will not turn isn't because it is so tight already that is on the verge of breaking. Have you adjusted it before, or any other truss rods?
     
  4. Since you've seem to come to the end of the easy movement in the truss rod there is a technique that can be used to help make sure you don't snap it. Only do this, of course, if you determine that your neck really does need a truss rod adjustment:

    Sit down in a firm chair (preferably on carpeting) and place the bass between your legs with the back of the bass against one knee and the front against the other. Put your feet together and hold the instrument firmly. Now, if you want to adjust the truss rod to create relief (slight bow towards the fretboard) then grasp the neck and pull it slightly in the direction of the fretboard then do a ¼ turn on the truss rod. What you are doing is taking some of the pressure off of the rod so that it can be turned freely. After you've done this, let the bass sit for a couple of days, retune and then see if the problem has gone away.

    I wouldn't recommend doing this any more than once to begin. I suspect that with your previous adjustment and this new one that you'll have what you need for decent neck geometry.