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Neck relief seems stuck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by don21480, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. don21480


    Mar 17, 2006
    I bought a 1992 Fender Squier Korea Jazz bass because it was a cool turquoise color like a '57 chevy but the neck has a large amount of relief. The nut tightens and the relief will get down to about 20 but no matter how much I tighten it does not get lower. The threads do not feel stripped. I took the nut off and put a steel spacer in 1st then the nut and had same result. With the neck off the body using a straight edge I have .12 relief with no tension! I used a clamp and clamped the neck into a backbow situation while tightening the nut but when I release the clamp it goes back. I thought about clamping it in backbow overnight and trying again. I have not reached the end of the tightening but have backed off in fear of snapping the truss rod.Any suggestions?
  2. It sounds like you have a truss rod that is pulling loose, If so, your most economical fix is to purchase another neck. Did you ever tighten the nut to the point that it was hard to turn?
  3. Stop what you are doing and consult a luthier. A luthier, not the "set-up guy" at the local music store. He can tell you what is wrong and what your options are.
  4. don21480


    Mar 17, 2006
    Its a cheap neck so I have resigcned myself to getting a new neck but I don't mind trying to learn something with this one. Yes, it has gotten harder to turn to the point that it takes some real effort.
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the neck to hold relief when back clamping. Try it again.


    1. Make sure the truss rod nut is completely slack when the neck is at maximum deflection.

    2. If the neck is not cooperating, clamp the neck into an extreme back bow, not just a few thousandths. Look for a an eighth to a quarter of an inch of deflection before tightening the nut.

    3. Sock the nut down tight. If there is still some room or play in the nut, tighten.

  6. I bet that herein lies the problem. You've run out of threads on the thing.

    Time for more nut shims/thicker washers - but know this: something's slowly deforming or dying or has died and you're just prolonging your/it's misery. .
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Don, been there done that, and I have brought it back to usable every time, as long as the truss rod is still moveable ...

    .. for starters, I have learned to leave the neck in a back bow clamp, and forget it ... sometimes a week or two (truss rod nut backed off, completely free)... I have even mildly tweaked it another half turn or two throughout the process .. my objective is to return the neck wood to straight with no tension, upsetting the 'memory' that the wood has retained... I use the truss rod to hold it, not straighten it ... also, I have had luck moving the 'pressure point' in the blocking a bit in either direction during the process, to distribute pressure ...

    also, I have used probaby up to 3-4 washers on the truss rod beneath the nut at times(make sure they are free and not binding on the sides of the truss rod opening, I usually need to turn down the outside diameter) ... again, the threads tend to wear at the point of total lockdown, so I want a good solid thread, above that point ... it doesnt hurt to lubricate the threads ever so slightly either, just dont go overboard ... graphite or even soap would be fine here

    finally, once I have the neck in a very minor back bow out of the clamp and unstrung, I will usually use a lighter guage string, and give it a shot .. again, I will tighten the truss rod while no tension is on the neck in that slight back bow position, and then use (??) guage strings to bring it into straight or a very minor relief position to be playable ...

    with all this said, I adamently say, that I am NOT a luthier, or even a set-up guru ... but just a cheap schmuck who has managed to save some MIM Standard and Squier Jazz necks for folk that had either excessive up bow or maxxed out truss rods that they were ready to strip it and toss it away ... worth a try as long as you are looking for a project ... JMHO
  8. don21480


    Mar 17, 2006
    Great info - where did you get the washers? AT the hardware store I found aluminum spacers that will fit in the hole but they are not hard enough - the steel ones are not small enough!
  9. Be ye careful - as a possibility, the threads MAY be SAE, but usually not on MIJ, MIC, MII necks. Read the Stew-Mac statement here:

  10. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Don, I actually make them ... I will put washers with the correct size inner hole on bolt, tighten them up with a nut and then install the bolt into a drill ... I then 'turn' down the outside diameter as needed on a file or coarse sandpaper while rotating in the drill ...
  11. Steveaux

    Steveaux Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    The Wilds of NW Pa.
    That's why I said "ask Stew-Mac".
  12. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    In a pinch I had good success using split lock washers that I "flattened" using two pliers to twist the split closed. They're thicker than the washers usually used for trussrod repairs and the fit over the trussrod perfectly. The most I had to use was several years ago when I had to put 3 on a Mighty Mite J neck and it's worked well since.

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