Neck/truss rod stability & string gauges

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JazzCrazy, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Inactive

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    I play a Fender Marcus Miller Signature Jazz Bass that has had some ski-jump neck issues (frets 15-18. In the past I have used Fat beams 105 80 65 45,; Hibeams 105 80 60 45 (presumably close to balanced). At the point that the ski jump issue cropped up, it required extensive fret filing & leveling, & I was advised to go lighter with the Hibeams 100-40. So far no more ski jump.

    I have noticed in times of fluctuating humidity (in the Dessert) the TR needs tightening some day, loosing others. Howevrr, it seems that I tighten a little more than loosen, indicating it might be maxed st dome point. ould going lighter, say 100 75 55 40 make for greater stability? One advantage for those gauges is closer to balanced, but how about stsbiliy, & fewer TR adjustments?
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Wood takes many years to convert to a truly stable state. So it’s natural that shrinking continues for a ping period of time and therefore instrument necks will move in generally one direction As more moisture is lost in the cells, the more like hollow straws they act: they can really move water in and out aling the fibers rapidly. The more susceptible to minute changes in ambient humidity they become. The desert is a tough environment for anything. The only thing it is apparently good for is mothballed airplanes. LOL.

    You may well become maxed out at some point, but each piece of wood and placement of the trussrod in the wood reacts to life differently. Its possible you may reach equilibrium 2, 5 or 10 years from now. No one knows for sure.

    If I were you, I would use the strings I like and deal with each adjustment as it is needed and if it becomes maxed, deal with that then.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Wood never becomes truly dimensionally stable. I have a 200 year-old table with a crack that opens and closes with the seasons.
    96tbird and Gilmourisgod like this.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Sounds like it would make a great bass since it’s cracked and all.

    Yeah, seasoned is a better choice than stable.
  5. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Inactive

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    Actually you'd be surprised how both my bases have stabilized since going lighter, That's my logic for considering lighter gauges

    I developed the ski jump problem after 2 years of using 105 80 60 45 high beams. Frets 15-18 are filed down a lot. If it happens again I will have to take rather drastic measures I cant afford: 1) routing out the skunk stripe, reinforcing TR with graphite; defretting, refretting, matching amber polyurethane etc. 2) Getting new neck from Fender (like pulling teeth) 3) sending neck to Sky Guitaes in Yexas to straighten out using heat and pressure.

    So the ski jump phenominon has subsided (for now) & I'm concerned about warpage now. Again you even said that the neck will continue pulling in one direction & I'm trying to circumvent that. I prefer a more "balanced" configuration of 105 80 60 45 over 105-45, Now that I'm using 100-40. it seems the next step could be 100 75 55 40. Now I make maybe 4 tightening adjustment to every 3 loosening adjutments, maybe the 'balanced' 100 75 55 40 would make the adjustments fewer, with a 50/50 ratio between clockwise and counterclockwise.

    Lastly those skinny "vintage" TRs Fender has used must be factored in. The justification is that with more wood, less steel inside the neck, more of the resonance of the maple to contribute to the sound. After years it's not uncommon for skinny Fender necks to twist, thus making super low action impossible. Going lwith ighter gauges & as close to balanced as is practical may prevent twisting as well
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