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PBC 5 string bass with tension-free neck

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by namrok, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. namrok


    Sep 19, 2005
    Wayne, PA
    A local GC has a used PBC 5 string, asking $600. The neck has a bit of a bow, which possibly can be adjusted out. It has EMG pickups, and a unique bridge with fine tuning screws for each string. I also have a USATK 5.

    Would I be getting a better bass with this PBC (assuming neck can be adjusted) than the ATK. It is much lighter and the current Bunker model sells for anout $2000. Comparison of EMGs vs the ATK pickup? What would be a fair price for selling the US ATK 5

    Many thanks! D
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Assuming that they let you attempt a rough neck adjustment first to be sure the neck's OK, I'd be all over that PBC like a cheap suit... and I'd be offering them $450 first, and probably getting it for $500 or $525.
  3. namrok


    Sep 19, 2005
    Wayne, PA
    I checked the bass out and ave it on hold. I went in with my hex set and noticed the side hex screw is missing. However, I was able to straighten the neck with the hex adjustment at the heelof the neck. If I can find a replacement hex screw for the side, could BE A GO. $550 WITH HSC out the door. GOOD DEAL?
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Huh? If the hex screw / pin is missing (hole @ 19th fret), I would not attempt to straighten the neck. For the record, you have to use the handle end of a 1/16" hex key to reach the recessed anchor pin. I wouldn't mess with it unless the strings were removed and the tension-free neck adjusted to its "neutral" position. The tension-free neck rod is actually anchored at the string retainer, 19th fret pin, and at the heel where you can adjust the relief. Relief is artificially induced by warping the wooden components of the neck. Please remember that the string tension is carried by the internal rod and not the neck / fretboard. Sounds neat in theory but I'm not convinced that it provides much of an advantage over conventional necks.

    Mr. Bunker made both the Ibanez ATK and PBC bass lines in his Coopersburg, PA facility in the early '90s. The necks are essentially identical. Did you know you can actually buy the hardware to switch a headless to full headstock model?

  5. namrok


    Sep 19, 2005
    Wayne, PA
    I have a USATK at home and the hex screw is almost flush to the neck, not recessed. Does that mean its not inserted as it should into the metal rod? When I put the 1/16 allen wrench into the PBC bass at Guitar Center, it went in around 3/4 of an inch and didn't "catch" . Not sure whch is OK now. Like I sad, I was able to take out the bow of the neck at Guitar Center by djusting the hex at the base f the neck.

    A bit confused now

  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yeah, I'm a little confused as well. I measured the recess and its just shy of an inch. The pin itself is also only an inch in length. When inserted correctly, the pin passes thru a drilled orifice in the steel rod and grabs the neck wood on both sides to create a pivot point or fulcrum. The hardware is identical on both of my Bunkers. I don't believe its any different on the Ibanez ATKs. You can always contact Dave Bunker for verification.

    If the pin was removed, it is difficult to reinsert unless you have the internal steel rod aligned correctly with the neck. There's a trick to it but it involves removal of the neck. If the steel rod is misaligned, the pin will miss the drilled orifice and essentially butt up against the rod itself. No good! If you're brave enough here's the procedure:

    1) Remove the strings and the neck by removing the four
    2) Remove the neck. Examine the heel and you'll see a 6/32
    cap screw with a washer.
    3) Remove the cap screw. You'll see the washer is held
    loosely in place with a nylon lock nut. Do not remove or
    4) Remove the pivot pin via the access hole at the 19th fret.
    If its difficult to see, use a flashlight. If its not present,
    you have a problem.
    5) If so inclined, you may withdraw the entire steel rod at the
    headstock, however, its not really necessary.
    6) If you look in the hole at the heel you'll see the terminal
    end (slightly tapered) of the steel rod. Jam your pinky
    against it and you'll see it flexes slightly.
    7) Reinsert the the pivot pin at the 19th fret with a 1/16" hex
    key. You'll get it only so far until you feel it hit metal.
    8) Gently press down the end of the steel rod while advancing
    the pivot pin. You'll feel the pin "give" as it passes thru the
    drilled orifice and into the wood on the opposite side.
    9) Tighten but do not overtighten. Replace the cap screw /
    washer assembly at the heel.
    10)Reattach the neck and restring. Adjust the cap screw
    located at the heel for desired relief. Remember: its
    backwards. CW - more relief, CCW - less relief.

    I'm a complete doof when it comes to mechanics but even I was able to pull this one off. Good luck.

  7. namrok


    Sep 19, 2005
    Wayne, PA

    I just took off the neck of my Ibanez ATK was then able to screw in the pivot screw all the way. Curious as I am, I removed the screw and washer at the base and removed the rod. It has a slight bend (anti-bow) to it. I reinserted the rod and screwed the pivot screw back in and then the cap screwand washer. I didn't see a nylon lock nut however. Once the neck was back on, I was able to adjust the neck to the right amount of relief. Apparetly the pivot screw was never fully in when Ireceived the ATK (used of course).
    Now there is that PBC at Guitar Center. Do you like the PBC model better than the ATK? Thinking of selling the ATK and getting the PBC (assuming its OK), as it is much lighter.

    Thanks again, Dave
  8. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    I have two PBC 5 strings, one their normal body and one a "Tele" body and love them both. The "Tele" was puchased from a store that told me that the neck was toast due to a twist that they could not get out. I spoke to Dave Bunker about it and he sound pretty sure that he could fix it, so I took a chance, bought it and had it shipped directly to him. Sure enough, he got the twist out...though it took him and his assistant a while to notice the problem behind the twist.

    The problem was as follows...the tiny hex nut at the side of the neck was only inserted half way into the tension rod, hence only one side of the neck was reacting to any adjustment. Once this was realized, getting the twist out was just a matter of inserting the tiny hex nut properly and adjusting the neck. I have done basic neck adjustments on mine, but I have never played with the hex nut that holds the tension rod in place, and not sure if I want to play with it.

    Bottom line is that these are really good basses. Is the one you are looking at a 4 or 5 string? If it is a 5 and you pass on it, let me know.

  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    PBC vs. ATK? It's a matter of personal taste, but I'd go with the PBC as I'm a fan of the headless 5. There's really supposed to be a locking nylon nut on the far side of the washer; I'm at a loss as to how the tension rod is working without it..