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So, got a parts bass...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by eukatheude, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Yesterday i bought for 60€ a defretted Cort PJ which the guy was selling as parts. I quickly reassembled it without pups (he will ship me the pickguard by the end of the week) and i want to make sure the neck is in optimal shape. I strung it up and tuned to D#, with the truss rod all loose. Managed to bring the action down to acceptable levels, and acoustic it sounds nice. Absolutely love it, especially for the price.
    I know that the guy who sold it to me had stored it without loosening the truss; it wasn't cranked but it was i'd say more than halfway. After restringing, i tried turning about half a turn because the relief was too high, while making pressure on the neck in order not to have the truss rod do all the work. I did hear a faint wood crackling sound however, and i know that necks "die" due to the truss rod nut slowly eating the wood and not being able to apply force effectively. I wanted to ask you what's the most effective way of dealing with this, or if i'm just being paranoid. I let the bass sit overnight, and this morning i loosened the strings, while leaving that half turn on the truss rod. I'd love your input here, i'm not sure what to do.
    Here's a couple pics:
  2. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I would take the tension off the neck, loosen the strings. I would then tighten not too tight, and observe how much back bend you are getting. Then I would back off the truss rod and again check to see if your neck is flat. If you truss rod is working properly I would put a little tension on it then and tighten the strings and go from there. If it not flat enough put another 1/4 turn on the truss until you get the action you want or if it's maxed out, you might try the washer trick.
  3. Thanks for your reply. I don't want to force it too much as the wood crackle sound worries me. I strung it up again in E after turning the truss a little more, and brought it to rehearsals yesterday. Aside from sounding great, the relief is still a bit too much. It could use a shim too.
  4. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Get a G clamp, a piece of scrap wood and a soft cloth. Put the cloth on the body behind the bridge, put the scrap wood on the cloth to prevent the clamp putting dents into the body, then clamp the end of the body to a workbench with the neck overhanging the bench.

    Take the tension off the truss rod, string it up and bring it up to pitch, apply firm but gentle pressure on the end of the headstock until the relief is where you want it, snug the trussrod up finger tight. Let it settle, then rinse and repeat until the relief stabilises where you want it to be. On all the adjustements after the first one, don't relax the truss rod, just take it in 1/8th or 1/4 turn +/- increments from where it's at.

    By giving it some help from manually applying pressure, you're not asking the truss rod to do all the bending work, just asking it to hold the relief that you pushed it into.
  5. Thanks for your answers. You mean clamping just behind the bridge? Will it hold? Shouldn't i put something under the neck pocket as a fulcrum in order to have the neck and not the body be bent?
  6. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Almost every time I've adjusted a Fender neck (especially the Japanese ones), I hear a little pop here and there (just the wood settling into place after adjusting). As long as the truss rod nut is easy to turn, I doubt you're causing damage. If you broke something, the truss rod nut wouldn't feel the same and would just spin around.
  7. It's not a pop, it's sort of a quiet crackling that happens while i turn the rod. I'm afraid it's not much breaking something as it is slowly crushing the wood where the nut is pushing.
  8. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Eh, if it hurts something it hurts something. There's no way you're gonna get the relief you want by just saying that there's too much. Just go for it. Not like it's gonna play any worse than it is right now.

    And I always get some sort of creak, squeak, crackle or whatever when adjusting truss rods. Just trudge on. It's just wood and metal. ($60 worth of wood and metal)

    And this 1/4 turn at a time stuff is a load of BS. I take my necks (parts P, Schecter Stiletto, Telecaster and stratocaster guitars) from fully slack truss rod to the correct tension in a matter of seconds. Never broken a rod or had one continue to move after adjustment. Just pull the neck into backbow so that the rod isn't fight string tension while moving.
  9. personally, I would adjust it and rock it.

    And... it's not a vintage bass.

    rock it....no worries :bassist:
  10. Yeah i already tried what Jools suggested. I did get a nice enough relief, it just needs a shim and then it will be fine.
    Yes, it's "only" 60 bucks (60 bucks sound like much more when you're an intern and actually living off such measly pay :cool: ) for i cheap bass i greatly enjoy the sound of; i don't want to turn them into 60 bucks thrown in the garbage. I know i'm being overly cautious; you know what they say, better safe than sorry.
  11. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    You've never adjusted the twin rods of a Ric 4001 though LOL...

    I don't go from fully slack to correct relief in 1/4 turn increments either, but read what I said: clamp the bass body down, apply the pressure you need to get the required relief by pulling the neck into shape manually, then snug the nuts up tight - regardless of whether that takes 1/4 turn or 10 turns. That way, you are doing the work and the truss rod is just holding the neck where you set it, you're not expecting the truss rod to do all the work of pulling the neck straight, which is quicker for you and easier on the rod. It may not be totally necessary in every case (although it's essential on a 4001) but it's just as easy to do and isn't going to hurt anything.

    But getting the perfect equilibrium between the string tension and the neck (which by definition is a piece of organic material that may take a day or two to move fully into position, especially if there are shifts in humidity) is seldom a one shot process in my experience. It's not uncommon to find that your initial setting has shifted a bit after a day or two and is now either too much or too little, so of course you don't start from a fully slack trussrod again, you should already be in the right ballpark and from here a little at a time with a 1/4 turn or even 1/8th at a time is the way to go to fine tune it...it's a iterative process, maybe over several days.

    It also matters very little whether this is a $60 bass or a $6000 dollar bass, the same principle holds for any wood necked instrument.

    Glad my advice helped OP

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