setup problems on a tension free neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SRSiegel, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    ive recently acquired a used ibanez usa atk 5 string. the action is just too damn high for slapping and popping. heres the problem... the bass has the bunker tension free neck on it. meaning this thing doesnt have a truss rod. instead it has a 3/8" steel bar going through the neck, and is connected to a brass nut that divides the neck from the headstock. anyway, heres my problem. i put new strings on it, and they are heavier. (DAddario XL's, .050 G string to a .135 B string) and the neck has an insane relief now. theres an adjustment screw at the back of the heel, but i cant seem to get it any flatter than it already is... only more relief. because of this the bass needs a high action in order not to buzz like crazy on the upper frets (19-21). would replacing the strings with a much lighter gauge remedy this problem? like super soft XLs with a.040 G string and a .125 B? would this make the strings really "floppy" though?

  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Yes, but not enough.
    Since you have a bolt-on,,,OK, I would consider a new neck.:mad:
  3. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    that is not what i wanted to hear:mad:

    but thanks.

    any reccomendations for the ATK?
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Wow - that picture is a real horror story - if I saw a neck like that, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole - even if it had a truss rod! Sorry I can't help - but that picture should be kept and used as an example of how not to set up your bass!! ;)
  5. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    yeah i know its pretty bad. i just put some lighter strings on it... and its better now... but still not where i want it. id say probably about a 50% improvement. i wrote to bunker guitars (the authority on the tension free neck that they poineered) and i was told to take the steel rod out of the neck and give it a back bend of about 1/8" it seems like its a sound idea, though i dont like the thought of manhandling the neck back into position.


    if so PLEASE give me your insight. i am very frustrated.
  6. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    ok so i wrote to dave bunker, and he was very nice and wrote me back. he said that he could make it play like new by giving it a setup... and he wants $125 :eek: plus shipping both ways.... doesnt that seem a little...... high?? :confused:
  7. :eek: ouch.
    looks like those Bunker/Treker/PBC tension-free necks don't live up to their manufacturers' claims of perfect action for ever......

    thanks for that pic- I'm not so keen on finding out more about getting a tension-free replacement neck now.....
  8. tyrel_blackbass


    Dec 17, 2008
    I know this post is kinda old, but I say give Dave a call back. He fixed mine for free. All I paid was shipping. I absolutely love my tension free bass neck.
  9. therex


    Jun 24, 2007
    i dont see the pic!
  10. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Worry not, it's done all the time with recalcitrant necks. Clamping a backbow into a neck that has run out of trussrod can usually get it into playability, though as I've said, I don't care for the sound of an overly-torqued instrument.

    What you're describing, problems at the body end of the neck, is another can of worms. And, frankly, this sounds like an effective hype-buster for whatever claims the neck's manufacturer has made.

    What about the lifetime warranty on these necks, as per the Bunker website?