Tech broke my P-bass truss rod. Questions.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kegbass, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. kegbass


    Jun 2, 2011
    Hi all-

    I took my early 90s Fender P Lyte in to be set up. I've played it off an on for about 15 years, and never had any work done to it. A few days later I get a call saying that the truss rod snapped when he was trying to straighten out the neck. It was warped, I didn't think THAT badly...

    His thought was that the rod had frozen up over time and/or been stripped out, and that's why it broke when he tried to adjust it.

    They want $400 to rebuild the neck, including inserting graphite rods for more stability and a new rosewood fretboard. Or a new neck painted to match from Fender, for about $550ish.

    It didn't seem that far out of alignment so I'm surprised it would've taken enough adjusting to break it. What would you do? It's not that fancy of a bass, but she was my first so I feel compelled to save her...
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    WHO wants $400 to rebuild the neck? The same tech who broke it?
  3. buy a p lyte off of ebay for the neck, sell they body, send them the bill.
  4. I always want to know WHAT they're going to do, before they do it. Or that they just do what I tell them to do. I'm open for suggestions, but if it ain't a problem to me, there is no problem (f.e. a little warp or high action: Jamersons bass was said to be unplayable. Well did HE play it!). If something goes wrong, it's my responsibility (in this case I feel that it's theirs, therefore I find that they should pay the repaircosts). Just a piece of advice on how I go about with techs/setups.

    In your case, I'd go with the $400 treatment. It's the cheapest of options and you'll retain the 'vibe' of your first bass. And a graphite truss rod is never a bad thing, seems to me.

    EDIT: What Narud said might also be a nice idea, if you don't find that killing the 'vibe' of your bass.
  5. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    + 1000
  6. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Is the Techs name Benjamin T Dover?
  7. nicopiano

    nicopiano Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Levis, Quebec, Canada
    I think the tech should rebuild it at low cost, because it's partially his fault if it's broken now...
  8. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    your tech owes you a neck; this is ridiculous. find a new tech, and do your local music scene a favor; tell everyone in a 20 mile radius to avoid this amateur ...
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Whether the tech is employed by or owns the business, that business should have insurance to cover work in progress. They should get in touch with their agent and make a claim.

    In fairness, there is not enough data to make a determination if the neck and truss rod were faulty or that the tech does not know how to deal with a recalcitrant rod.

    Peruse your claim check to see if there is any language that places the risk on you. This will affect any further action on your part.
  10. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I'm gonna disagree with everyone... :bag: Things can break on a guitar & it often happens when a part has been neglected (like a frozen truss rod). Often these issues don't occur until somebody (even somebody experienced and qualified) starts turning screws or removing parts. It's part of the repair gig, unfortunately & is always no fun for the repairman or owner (obviously).

    400-500 is about right for a new Fender style neck. Either replacement or rebuilt. Honestly, with a cheaper non-vintage value piece, I'd go for a new neck -or start shopping for a compatible used neck.

    I know it sucks bad, but these things can and do happen. It doesn't mean your tech broke it, just that he happened to be the guy turning the screw when it did. I do empathize though & am sorry it happened to you!
  11. Stinsok


    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    That tech deserves a headstock enema. That is a rip-off.
  12. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
  13. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Sort of. The protocol for a frozen truss rod nut is to back the nut off first. As a matter of fact, many pros remove the nut completely to clean up any detritus (buffing compound, lacquer overspray, or just stuff) that might cause a problem when making a truss rod adjustment. Some will put a little grease on the threads, too. If the nut is frozen and cannot be turned in either direction, the next thing to do is to prop the neck vertical (or chuck it up in a vise) so that the nut is at the top. Then a drop or two of penetrating oil is applied and allowed time to free up the nut. As an aside, WD40 is not penetrating oil. Then some force is brought to bear. If the nut does not move this is repeated until it does. If it does not move after a few applications and enough time to let work the owner is called for consultation. Fortunately, it usually works.

    If the tech was not taught this protocol or does not understand how a truss rod really works, they may break the truss rod.

    None of this is to say that there was not another problem. Sometimes it is the fault of the last guy who twisted the nut and rod until there was very little left. They quit before breaking it and the next guy is left holding the bag. This the rarest of occurrences. But it has happened.
  14. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    I have had great results using PB Blaster for freeing nuts, etc. Just a drop will do, to keep it from soaking into the wood and staining or damaging the finish.

    I was just about to mention backing the nut off but got here too late- that would be the first thing to attempt, but if it feels like twisting a spring, stop.

    I would be surprised if the nut was rusted on- most are brass on a steel rod, specifically so it CAN'T corrode in place. I would hate to read that someone put thread locking compound on the thread because the nut or rod is stripped.
  15. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
  16. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Some truss rods break or strip the nut when you try to move them after years of not moving. There really is no way to know whether the tech did anything wrong. You can't blame him since the neck was warped before, so some heavy-handed work was required.

    No way I would spend money on rebuilding a neck that was already warped before all the trouble started. The wood isn't stable, that's why it warped in the first place. And I wouldn't put in graphite rods either (not starting another "does heavy crap in the neck change the sound" discussion, just personal preference).

    There are so many nice necks. MIJ reissues, MIM classic series, or upgrade to an AVRI. Even the latter only costs you about $500 used and these are really good. Or part out an Am Std.
  17. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Isn't Fender selling necks again?
  18. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm in agreement with 202dy here. An experienced tech - in most cases - will know when to stop turning and when to turn for the can of Liquid Wrench. Of course, we weren't there and I suppose something freaky could have occurred, but it sounds like a simple, ham-handed mistake to me.

    The shop's insurance should really be dealing with this. Short of that, at very least, they should be offering you a cut rate for correcting this.

    I rather like Narud's idea: buy another P Lyte, swap necks and get the shop to foot the bill, or at least split the bill. Then you'll have a neck that actually feels like the broken one rather than a generic replacement neck.

    It's really a drag when stuff like this happens. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with this shop, but I don't think they're doing you right.
  19. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Although most people do...the truss rod isnt designed to take relief(warp) out of the neck..but rather hold it straight. Using 2 c clamps with high density padding, bunch of rags, whatever works so the clamps dont mar the neck and shim the middle of the neck to just have some slight crown(reverse bow). Tighten the rod and put the neck back on with proper string tension and then take relief out as needed for action. Most newer graphite truss rods can bow a neck by tightening although they arent designed to without damage. ..but old rods on vintage basses need to have the necks straightened before truss rods r tightened so as fo not strip the screwdriver slot, nut, or damage the rod.
  20. ABravado


    Jul 7, 2010
    I will 2nd (or 3rd?) the position that maybe more info is needed before blame can be assigned. As a former auto mechanic I can tell you that sometimes you just have the misfortune of being the one on the other side of the wrench when the thing that was going to break finally snaps. On the other hand there are some ham-fisted folks who don't know when to back off of something that is fighting you.

    Either way I would like to call dibs on:
    as a potential band name.