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So which is it... truss rod adjustment, or matchbook?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    My bass is being... weird. Due to a drastic humidity change, my action is out of whack. It's perfect down at the first fret, but at the 24th, it's about 1/4th of an inch higher than I want it. My uncle suggests either adjusting the truss rod slightly, or taking the neck off and making a wedge with something small like a matchbook to even it out. Which makes more sense. Is the truss rod the problem?

    I know I should take it to a pro, but I want to learn to do this stuff on my own. In PA, humidity change is constant, I want to be able to keep up.
  2. The real point of shims is to make a bass playable that wasn't before. If I'm reading your post correctly, the bass DID have the proper action at one time and weather has altered that.

    IMO, if the weather did that much change, it's likely to do it again. Shimming puts you in good for now but what happens later when the humidity does something radically different?
  3. ubersam


    Oct 12, 2000
    I'd go with a truss-rod adjustment (adjusting the relief/bow). Easier than shimming a neck. There's a link to some instructions in one of the stickies. Follow that with a saddle height adjustment as necessary. I'd only shim the neck if all else fails.
  4. Pay careful attention to what is happening to the neck as you adjust the truss rod. They don't always seem to pull in the right place, depending up the bass, the neck, and what type of truss rod it has.
    I was driving myself crazy with a bass not very long ago, and tightening the truss didn't have any real effect in the middle fret area as it should have. I'd tighten, check, no results, tighten again, etc..
    But what was happening was that I was pulling a backbow in the first 4 or 5 frets that was very noticeable when looking at the neck from a low bridge viewpoint. I couldn't see this, nor did I expect it. I ended up backing off on the truss, and installing a shim. Fixed that bass right up.

    If you adjust the truss and you still have unplayable action at the higher frets, then go for a shim. I used a piece of aluminum soda can, cut out with scissors. It's really thin stuff, easy to cut with scissors, and might work well for you too. If you do go with a shim, make is super-thin. Even the thinnest shim will make a big difference.
    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

  5. http://www.mrgearhead.com/faq/basssetup.html

    Shimming/Micro-Tilt Adjustment

    I agree with Hambone, shimming this bass is only a band aid and doesn't really address the problem.

  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Cool beans, I hurt my finger, so I haven't been able to play the bass, so I figure now is a time where I can patiently adjust my truss rod. I read the sticky, and I'm giving it a shot.
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    OK all has gone smooth...


    for some reason, my G string broke when I started playing it shortly after I got the neck in a good spot. This isn't the fault of the truss rod adjustment, is it? I probably have a nick somewhere down on the bridge, don't I?
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    P.S. I wasn't pounding on it too hard. I was popping it, but I don't use the flea attack method. Plus, they were fairly new strings.