1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

truss rod adjustment question: straight or slightly concave?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by meta, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. meta


    Mar 11, 2009
    I just bought a new fender mustang, and am setting it up.

    2 options:

    1. If I get the neck to be perfectly straight, there is barely any height (when first and last fret are pressed) in the middle. Not even enough for a single business card.

    2. If I tighten it a bit so that the bow is slightly concave, I can just get 2 business cards to fit (but not a credit card) I get a slight bow.

    There is no fret buzzing with either of the 2 methods. Which would be better for the bass? I assume that a perfectly straight neck is better? I had only tightened it a bit in order to give it some lee-way, in case the temperature changed, whatever, so that it would never be convex...

    I would really appreciate an opinion from someone who is more familiar than I with truss rod adjustments.

  2. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    Harrisburg, PA, USA
    A straight neck will give you the lowest action. I normally go for as straight as I can get it without any buzzing. Everyone has a personal preference in their amount of relief though.
  3. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    I use a dollar bill as a feeler guage on mine.
    If your frets are nice and level, you can get by with a straight neck without buzzing.
  4. When you tighten the truss rod, (turn to the right) it causes the neck to stiffen so there is no center bow. Necks should have a slight center bow away from the strings.
  5. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Take it to a luthier, tell him/show him what you play and how you play it, and let him work his magic. It will be the best $100 you ever spent. Trust me.
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I agree low as possible but with a bit of relief to give the strings room and allow movement in weather changes etc. IMO learn to do your own setups. Its easy and saves $. Plus its something every bassist should know so you can dial in the level of relief you like.
  7. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    An accurate setup is a combination of truss rod adjustment and bridge saddle height adjustment. Generally, set your truss rod for the amount of relief that your style of playing allows without buzzing, then adjust the bridge saddle height up or down accordingly for each string.
  8. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I beg to differ. It's only "the best $100 you ever spent" if:

    (a) You are too inexperienced, and too unsure of your own abilities, to attempt to set up your own bass.

    (b) It's $50, not $100.

    You will not damage your bass if you are careful, patient and make your adjustments gradually. Many, many, many of us do our own setups and do them as well (or even better) than anyone else can do them.

    Now, fret leveling is another matter all together that requires serious tools as well as serious experience. But it sounds as if OP's frets are just fine if he can set the neck perfectly straight and get no fret buzz.

    Don't let anyone tell you you NEED to pay for a setup. Anyone with patience and common sense can do a setup using only the tools that came with the bass and an accurate ruler. Or shell out $5 for a set of feeler gauges so that once you get the setup perfect for your individual preferences, you can measure everything, write it down and then easily duplicate it when you need to do another setup.

  9. htharp


    Feb 4, 2007
    Dallas, Tx
    The only thing I find very confusing is that the OP says he tightened the truss rod to create more relief. If the neck was flat, and you tighten the rod, you should create a back bow. A slight loosening of the rod should create the desired relief. Perhaps he has his rights and lefts (or tights and looses ) mixed up.
  10. I stick by this rule:
    Always loosen, turn to the left first, to make sure the truss rod is moving and reacting, then never turn the truss rod screw more than 1/4 turn at a time and give it at least 15-minutes to react to the adjustment before adjusting it again.
    It's always worked for me.
    A busted truss rod is a throw away or hang on the wall neck.
  11. I copied this from another thread - maybe it will help:

    Neck relief, and action height are two entirely different, but related adjustments.

    1st - set the relief where you want it - some people like it flat - I like mine about the clearance of a credit card (8th) on the lowest string (the highest string will be a tad more do to the higher tension). I can't stand buzz on my lowers (which I get if it's any less).

    2nd - set the action height [saddles] - I use a Stew-Mac string action gauge (a most valuable measuring tool) roughly setting it at the 17th - then fine tuning at the 24th ... perfection.

    3rd - set intonation - check the 12th fret note with the 12th fret harmonic - use a tuner.

    READ >> http://www.tunemybass.com/bass_setup/
  12. meta


    Mar 11, 2009
    great info!

    thanks a lot. I have it set up virtually straight now, at least what i can get with about half a credit card width (ie. between 1 to 2 business cards). no buzzing, and I'm happy with it. thanks again for the info, I just wanted to make sure I am doing it right and this helps a lot.
  13. Sorry to slightly hijack the thread, but can you adjust the truss rod with your bass still strung up? I feel like a complete idiot asking this...
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Yes you can.
    -provided you don't have to detach the neck from the body to get to the truss rod( on some bolt ons).

    It's real easy to do as long as one is careful in the process.
  15. Disraeli Gears

    Disraeli Gears

    May 29, 2007
    Or you can buckle down and learn how to setup your instruments yourself, and save a good chunk of change over time. You know what they say, teach a man to fish and whatnot.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.