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Neck Tilt? Setup Woes.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by herndonbassist, May 27, 2005.

  1. herndonbassist

    herndonbassist Low Down Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    I picked up a Peavey T40 from eBay a few weeks ago and before anyone makes any comments on the bass, I have to say that I LOVE it in terms of feel and mostly in terms of sound. Very booming bottom end.

    While I can certainly learn more, I am not a noobie in terms of setup. I am continually fighting this bass, and am wondering if anyone has any ideas?

    The neck relief is almost perfect (very slight backbow) as described on the Gary Willis site, so I am treating this as an issue OTHER than the neck relief. There is a little less than a credit card's thickness between the 10th fret and the string when you fret at 1 and 20.

    I cannot get the action very low without buzzing up and down the fretboard, but that's not a HUGE concern for me, but there IS a serious issue at the 17-19 frets on the A and D strings. There is not just a buzz, but the 19th fret is the only one that is heard, meaning that if I fret at 17, what you hear is the 19th fret note.

    I have adjusted the micro-tilt neck to a point that seems correct, although I am wondering if this is where my problem lies. I have not had a micro-tilt neck before, but followed the detailed instructions here to a point where it seems to be set correctly (or close to it). I have been messing with this a great deal and am terribly frustrated.

    Anyone who can help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    FWIW... I am running my standard strings which are D'Addario XL170's , which are medium soft long scales.

    Thanks! :bassist:
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Sounds very much like you have a high fret, probably the 19th. There is a slight chance that the 17th and 18th fret are low, but probably not.

    Get a precision straightedge long enough to cover 4 or five frets, and lay it on the 17th through 19th frets. Use a feeler gauge between 18th fret and the straightedge to check for a gap. If there is a gap, the 19th fret is high.

    To check for a low spot on the 17th and 18th fret, move the feeler down towards the nut a fret and check the 17th fret with the feeler gauge.

    There are more experienced guys here that can explain this better than me, and can tell you how to fix it. They will post when they notice this thread.
  3. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I don't mean to offend with this logic, but if you were guessing at a neck tilt problem for what seem like pretty common high-fret symptoms, you're probably best off letting a repairman do the actual fixing. With a professional fret leveling/dressing you should have improved playability over the whole neck too, not just the problem spots you mention. This can be pricey though, a setup with fretwork runs $70-90 around here.

    There are a variety of reasons why frets can bulge out and become high frets (some come that way from the factory), and while I've cured one in the past on a Les Paul by carefully hammering the offensive fret back down, that's not a very surefire or safe way to try fixing your bass.

    Embellisher gives some good tips for self-diagnosing this problem, but taking it to a pro for the actual work will yield better results and give you an opportunity to see how a professional would address the problem, so it's educational too:).
  4. herndonbassist

    herndonbassist Low Down Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    Well, there's some offense taken, but that's to be expected. I only mentioned the neck-tilt because that was one particular adjustment that I am not that familiar with. I've setup all of my gear for about 14 years, so I figured that I'd post a question here for my "peers" to just give a different perspective. The "PROs" around here have caused me so much pain and grief in the past that I don't feel like there's anyone who I can really turn to, but that's for another time.

    As for the high frets, I was kinda wondering if that might be the case, but before I started down that path, I thought I'd throw this out there. Thanks for the responses in any case.
  5. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    You could try removing the influence of the micro-tilt by turning out the allen screw, then loosen all the neck bolts and re-tighten them. I tighten the 2 lower bolts first then the 2 higher ones (if you have four bolt attachment). Then re-tighten the micro-tilt until it's just snug. This will at least give you an accurate idea of what your neck is really doing and if you can make further adjustments. A micro-tilt will raise the tongue of a neck so that you will definitely get more buzzing in the upper register as you increase the tilt.

    This is just me, but I've never liked the idea of relying in micro-tilts to solve a problem with a bowed neck or bad frets, so I usually avoid using them.

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