Stringless Bass Warps Neck - Urban Myth??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Brown Shark, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. Is it true that if you leave your Bass without strings for a period of time (eg overnight) it can cause the neck to change and sometimes warp?

    I was told this is the reason why you should change your strings one at a time rather than removing the old set and replacing them with the new set?

    I was told this when I was much younger, but wasnt sure if it is true?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have never had this problem. I am a string soaker and reuser. Right now my Cirrus six has no strings on it, they are being soaked in denatured alcohol. I will get around to putting them back on later this afternoon.

    I do this with all of my basses, and have never had a problem.
  3. Thanks Jeff - this is actually the reason why I ask. I have started soaking my strings and only have one set of 50, 70, 90, 110, 135 gauge strings that I really want to use on tomorrow nights worship service, but not if its going to cause my neck to warp (the set is currently on my MMSR5).

    Time to strip those babies off and get em in the pipe!

    BTW, how long do you soak for? - I have tried 2 hours and 8 hours and havent had any noticeable difference as yet. And do you have a limit on how many times you soak a set?
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I usually soak mine overnight.

    I will usually soak a set 3 or 4 times. Once there is a lot of damage to the strings from the frets, the intonation starts to go south.
  5. cola_klinks


    May 29, 2005
    Overnight you most likely won't notice anything, but without string tension it is likely that your relief will go away and leave the neck straight. How long this takes depends on how long and what type of wood.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    My relief does go away when I remove the strings. And it returns as soon as I put the strings back on and tune them to pitch.
  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    If you leave a guitar unstrung for a long period and don't back the truss rod tension down it can cause neck warp. I did this once but it took several months. I assume the same is ture for a bass, but it might take considerably longer.

    Over night or even for several weeks will not have any effect most likely.
  8. Great, thanks guys - I guess there is an element of truth to this myth, but from what I now understand, its not likely to occur overnight or in the time it takes to change strings.

    Thanks again

  9. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I knew someone who broke a string on their fretless and delayed in changing it and when they pulled the bass back out after some time it had warped.

    I have always heard that if you take the strings off and they're going to stay off for an extended period of time, you should loosen the truss rod, correct?
  10. Jazzbassman23


    Apr 20, 2000
    Big companies like Fender probably have hundreds of necks lying around not even attached to bodies, and they don't warp. Why would this be any different?
  11. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    Jazzbassman23: Proably because they have no truss rod tension applied when they lay around waiting to get attached.

  12. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    By the way, my guitar procject's neck has been unstrung for 18 months now, and i didn't consider loosening the truss :p. Well, it didn't take any damage! :)
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Are those necks with or without tightened truss rods? I'm not a luthier or even a particularly adept woodworker but it's my understanding that the truss rod is to compensate for the sustained tension exerted on the neck by the strings and to allow ajustments to the relief of the neck for playability purposes.

    A new neck with an untightened truss rod shouldn't warp unless the wood was too green (relatively fresh, unseasoned by age and prone to warping) to begin with, which is unlikely with the woodstock used by companies like Fender.

    Of course, I'm not sure how that works with a neck that has been used to being held in tension between the strings and the truss rod for years when you finally give it a chance to relax!

  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I think this problem generally occurs on basses from the pre-graphite bar era. I had this problem on on 80's PRS bass that i bought new.