neck myth?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by scuba steve, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. scuba steve

    scuba steve

    Dec 28, 2005
    Hillsboro, Tx
    i was told that it was bad for your basses neck to remove all the strings first and then put new ones on. i thought this was nonsence since you must remove all the strings when changing pickguards and pickups. tell me if im wrong and tell be the truth on proper maintenence.
  2. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    I never understood that "myth". This idea that a bass neck is some kind of eggshell thing that can't tolerate being unstrung is idiotic. Things like running a lot of tension, or uneven tension, are the real problems. If the neck is in good shape it should have no problem with being unstrung. If the neck was going to be stored unstrung I would back the truss off and then set it about a turn past where it just seats.
  3. scuba steve

    scuba steve

    Dec 28, 2005
    Hillsboro, Tx
    thanks for the input.
  4. This topic has been discussed alot around here. You should find some interesting points of view in a search.

    It's not exactly BAD, but there are good reasons for not removing all the strings if you don't have to.
    1. If you remove 1 string at a time and get the new one back to pitch, the neck's relief isn't going to change on you. You can easily be playing with very close to the same action you had when you started.
    2. If you do pull all the strings off at once and take your time getting the new ones on, the truss is going to be pulling some backbow in the neck (of course). This isn't considered harmful if not left that way for long periods of time, but When you get the new strings on and back up to tension, you'll sometimes find the action has changed considerably. Usually you won't have the relief you had when you started, because the sudden string tension might take some time to pull the forward bow back into the neck.
    Oh sure, the neck will settle back in, but it might not be back to normal until the next day, and if you start making NEW adjustments NOW, you'll end up making them again Tomorrow. This is a bummer when you had everything set just right and feel like playing right now, or if you have a gig the same night. These changes seem more obvious when you have a lower action.
    If you do one string at a time, you have the least chance of things changing on you.

  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've been doing that for over 20 years and never had a problem, including almost 13 with 7+ string basses.
  6. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Thats not to say that it will never cause problem. But why bother finding out? I don't think when changing strings that it makes it anymore or less awkward to do one string at a time.
  7. I never heard the myth, but I worried about this on my own. When I change my strings I usually do it one at a time just in case and that works fine for me.
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've never had a problem in 30 years of playing removing all the strings for fingerboard oiling, pickup changes, etc., but I usually change the strings one at a time just because it is easier.
  9. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I take all the strings off my Carvin LB75 fretless several times a year to clean the board with lemon oil and leave them off for a day to let a final coat soak in. No problems.
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    actually, when i change strings, i loosen em some, then i clip em all off. and i do it fairly often, on a lot of basses. any instrument i would have to be that precious about would be useless to me. :)
  11. i usually take off all the strings, because when i restring i always check pickups, oil the fretboard and clean up the area under the strings so not too much dust and bits of dead finger end up there. Never had a problem, but I never leave it for very long without strings.
  12. If your TR is cranked up tight and you leave it that way when you take off the neck, it might take a little time to come back into line when you restring but that's about all that will happen - if then.

    Hell, necks weren't made with the strings attached. They spent a LOT of their early lives unstrung. That's why they build adjustment into them.