Neck warped or truss-rod?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Wolzly, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. Wolzly


    Oct 16, 2005
    I've only owned my bass for a couple of months (I'm an upright player). I just bought some flatwound strings and after stringing up the bass decided to finally set my bass up properly. I've done an intonation adjustment, and I'm not in the process of trying to get the action the way I like.

    I'm not sure if the neck of my bass is warped, or if I just don't quite understand the way the truss-rod is supposed to function. It appears that the string gets higher off the finger-board around the 6-8th frets, then comes back down near the end of the fingerboard. I'm trying to eliminate this "swell" but I'm not sure if I should be tightening the truss-rod, loosening it, or getting a new neck/bass :p

    Thanks for your help :)
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    You have too much relief or "bow" in the neck, so you need to straighten the neck by tightening the truss rod. Just remember:

    -1/4 turn at a time
    -Let it sit for 24 hours before you make any further adjustments

    Loosening the strings a bit before you tighten will help as well.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    No warp, just a ruitine truss rod adjustment is needed.
  4. Wolzly


    Oct 16, 2005
    Holy crap 1/4 turn at a time and let sit 24 hours!??!

    Oh man, is it possible to damage anything by not adhering to these guidelines :|

    Also, is it 24 hours between 1/4 turns (I should really have found out the rules before i started DIY-ing everything) :p

    I only ask because I've been cranking the hell out of it trying to see if it makes a difference... maybe I busted it? :'(
  5. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Well it depends, how much did you turn the truss rod in what amount of time? Turning the rod to add relief won't do much damage, but tightening it too much, you risk breaking the truss rod. If you turned it too much and you didn't hear anything snap or crack, probably the worst that would happen is the neck would be too straight. You could always add some relief if you feel you turned it too much, and then let it sit.

    Yes, a 1/4 turn or so and then wait 24 hours. You don't have to wait EXACTLY 24, but atleast give it a fair amount of time to adjust.
  6. RaTTeR

    RaTTeR Don't forget your towel!

    Dec 25, 2005
    Riverside, Ca
    Thanks for the tip. My weekend project is to take the tweak out of my old Series10 bass neck. I knew about the overnight settling time but I was told that I could go as much as a full turn.

    It's a cheap bass but it's still my baby... Nice sound for a 20 year old PJ -
  7. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    You may be able to go as much as a full turn, but I think most people generally don't just in case. There is a truss rod sticky here that you can look at to verify.
  8. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Also keep in mind that your neck may need a day or so to adjust to the new truss rod setting, if you've done a bit of adjustment and still feel it wasn't enough, wait a day or so and check if there is still buzz/bow.
  9. Keep in mind that you need to be adjusting the truss for a certain amount of relief, not cranking on it just to try to adjust your action. It's not hard to pull a backbow in the neck by tightening too far. This is not an overly dangerous or serious condition, but will make the bass very unplayable and make your setup almost impossible.
    It's a good idea to start off by reading the sticky FAQ at the top of this section. The Gary Willis site will give you a better overall understanding of neckbow/relief, and why it's needed.

    Grab your bass and look down the neck with your eyes close to the body. Turn it sideways and look. This is a good way to get an idea of what the neck is doing without doing a bunch of measuring that you might not be familiar with.