Regarding action, trussrod, neck trouble

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Lorenzini, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Hello to all.

    I just bought an SX PJ62 bass so mod out. I grew quite tired of the thin, weak stock strings and decided to restring it.

    It came stock with a relatively high action. Upon restringing it with 45-105 gauge strings, I noticed the neck had become completely bowed, with a much higher action than it came stock. So I decided to tighten the truss rod (using the instructions in the "sticky" up top). Upon tightening, the action was still quite high, and if brought down, the G string would buzz uncontrollably at the 7th fret, stop buzzing after, then buzz again at the 12th fret. The D and A strings can be brought down a bit, but not much before fretbuzz. When I brought the E string down, it clunks and sounds quite dead.

    So I loosened the trussrod and the result of that was a noticeably bowed neck and the frets seem to buzz much more than before (when it was stock), even though the action is probably higher. Lowering action at this point isn't even an option.

    Relief is pretty low, can't quite fit a credit card under there, and it seems like no matter how loose the trussrod is and how bowed the neck is, the relief won't change..

    I am not that experienced at this, learning as I go along, so please don't harangue ! :bag:

    What could I be doing wrong? What can I do to fix it? Need more data? Or should I just fork over 50 bucks for a luthier to handle it for me...?

    Thanks fellas!
  2. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    1) Set relief correctly before worrying about the other factors. Once that is stable somewhere around the thickness of a credit card (give or take, but for this exercise don't set the neck too flat, better it has a hair more relief than needed). If you are saying that the relief is not changing regardless of adjusting the truss rod, let us know that.

    The relief doesn't seem to change regardless of the truss rod's taughtness.

    2) Lower the bridge saddles to the point of string buzz, then raise them slightly (just enough to stop the buzz).

    The bridge saddles are quite high, any lower than *quite high* = string buzz! :eyebrow:

    3) Is there a neck shim? Don't remove it/add one at this point, just gathering info...

    Nope, no neck shim!

    1) Where is it buzzing (assuming there is still some buzz somewhere), and on what strings? Open strings? Low register? High register?

    With the trussrod tightened, the buzzing occurs at fret 7, and then 12 - 22. Not on open strings, on the G string the most. A and D strings are OK. E string clanks more than buzzes.

    2) How is the action in regards to your personal preferences? Too high? Too low? Pretty close?

    It's too high at the moment. Not close :)

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, and help me out :hyper:
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Sounds likee a lemon. Send it back.
  4. I've seen quite a few stock NEW basses come setup very badly. Yours sounds like it should have been setup better.

    Do you loosen the tension on your strings before Tightening the truss? It's a good idea. You don't want to be crankin' on that nut with the truss under a heavy load.
    Do you bring all the strings back up to proper tune before checking? Sometimes it's a good idea to give the neck a little while to settle in before you start measuring relief clearance.
    Also, after tightening the truss and measuring relief at about the 8th fret or so, look down the neck carefully. I had a truss on a cheaper bass that pulled backbow in the first 5 frets or so, and I wasn't picking this up by measuring relief at the 8th fret. Looking down the neck, I could clearly see it.The backbow was an even bigger problem than forward bow.

    You could have a problem fret or two. All it takes is one to be too high or low, and it throws a decent setup out the window.

    Good luck, and let us know what you find out..

  5. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I don't understand something. You say that when you adjust the trussrod you can see the bow in the neck change. Then you go on to say that relief doesn't change no matter how the trussrod is set. Something doesn't jive between these two statements. How are you measuring relief?

    On other thing, you shouldn't be moving the truss adjustment any more than a quarter turn at a time and no more than a half turn every day. Let the bass rest between adjustments with the strings in tune.
  6. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Yeah it's a bit confusing to me too :rollno:

    I measure it by fretting the 1st fret, elbowing down the string at the pickup, or just before the neck, then seeing the amount of space near the 10-12th fret. Dont know if this is the correct way to do it.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    That should work although a more limited range is usually used. I've heard one luthier suggest fretting at the 5th and 17th frets.

    Either way it seems odd that you can see the bow in the neck but not measure any change in relief. Something is not right with that neck.
  8. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    It ALSO may be true (I hope my eyes are deceiving me) that the neck has a slight twist in it. If you're looking forward, with the bass in a playing position, the E string would be closer to your body than the G string, which would face more outward.. Make sense? I am not positive if this is the case.

    I'm going to put the money into having it professionally setup. There is NOTHING more valuable than that at this time. Playability scores huge points for me. For now, any other suggestions? :ninja:
  9. I deal mainly with bolt-ons so my relief check is to fret at the 1st and 14th and check at the 7th fret. This is for the standard 20 fret Fender style neck. For longer necks that 14th fret may change by one or two. Because of the stiffness of the wood, trussrods don't have much if any affect on relief past the this range anyway.

    I've dealt with a bunch of SX's and to tell you the truth, you might be treating it a little too gently. I'm not suggesting brut force or anything. Just using some firm assistance to get this candle lit. First off, the trussrods are nearly always fairly tight and if it's not - bad sign. Second, these necks are well built and using a little leverage to ease the neck into position while taking the extra slack up in the trussrod is something I do all the time with good results. Be sure to let the neck sit a day or two after this. I hang my necks by the, uh, neck and that seems to help keep them straight AND out of my way.

    Take a short 3"-5" steel ruler and lay it edgewise along the frets to look for high individuals. You notice by a rocking of the ruler on the high fret. If you have a few of these it's curtains like Magneto said.

    Professional setup is a good choice but have the tech assess it's chance of success before he dives in. He can't predict the condition of the trussrod but he can tell if the neck is twisted, frets are coming up, or any number of other flaws visible to the trained eye. If there's something that could be a deal breaker and it's spotted early, it might save you a setup fee. At least it wouldn't hurt to ask.
  10. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Thanks Hambone. Incredibly helpful :)

    I've been playing my G&L since my new SX has been dead :p