Truss rod doesn't seem broken, but doesn't affect the relief at all

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Keep, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. Keep

    Keep Guest

    Nov 25, 2014
    Hey guys, I'm new to TalkBass. I've had my Epiphone Thunderbird Pro-IV for about a year now, and I decided it needed a tune up. I tried to adjust the truss rod and tightened it until I didn't feel comfortable tightening it anymore and it still did not affect the neck. I relieved the tension on the neck and stupidly left the string tension on, which caused a bow in the neck overnight. This isn't the real problem though, as it seems that no matter what I do with the truss rod the neck doesn't budge. I've had my buddy look at it and he says that the truss rod doesn't show and obvious signs of being broken (rattling, no tension when turned). Does anybody know what could be wrong with my bass?
  2. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Rubbery wood. Sometimes really soft wood won't respond to trussrod adjustments. Just a theory as I can't see your bass.
  3. Ok lets start at the beginning. How many turns did you turn the trussrod?
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Actually, it's the other way around. It's a stiff neck, and a low budget truss rod. A common thing on mass produced instruments. The neck is made from a hard board, and is relatively thick. The truss rod is along for the ride, and isn't really strong enough to do much of anything. On a neck like that, you can't really adjust the relief. Significant problems have to be corrected by fret leveling, fingerboard resurfacing, etc.

    A soft rubbery neck will respond easily to truss rod adjustments. And tuning key adjustments. And the movement of the moon.

    Remember that stiffness and stability aren't the same thing. A stiff neck can still develop a nasty bow or backbow or twist, just from the gradual drying of the wood. And it will take a lot of pounds of force to pull it straight. That's how truss rods get broken.

    A soft rubbery neck can be stable, if it's built well. You have to fuss with it to get it adjusted for a particular combination of string tension and setup, but then it will be stable at that setup. Rickenbackers are a classic example of this.
    202dy likes this.
  5. Keep

    Keep Guest

    Nov 25, 2014
    I don't remember how many times I turned it. A stiff neck would explain the problem, I think that makes the most sense
  6. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Have you run out of adjustment room?
  7. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    if desperate, try keeping the strings completely slack for 48 hours while the truss rod remains under tension and see if the neck moves any after that.
    if so try bringing the strings up to pitch slowly. d standard first, then wait 24 hours. then e flat standard and wait another 24 hours. you're just checking on neck movement and relief here.

    as the great american philospher tom petty once said, 'the waitng is the hardest part.'
  8. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I understand what you're saying, but many of the CIJ Fender basses I've owned have young cut maple for the necks, and they don't respond correctly to truss rod adjustments. Those are the experiences I've had and what I was referring to. I've had them where the wood was so soft that the trussrod just squashed the wood inside instead of making neck move, and others where a truss rod adjustment only moved the neck up by the head stock. The earlier MIJ Fenders (Made instead of Crafted in Japan) didn't have that problem.
  9. PCR


    Apr 11, 2008

    If your truss rod nut feels like it has stopped, OR if you cannot see or feel any change in the neck relief, don't keep torquing on the nut.

    1. Take the truss rod nut out and put in a washer or spacer to give the truss nut a little more room to tighten up. I found 1/4 aluminum spacers at my local Ace Hardware store that fit's my Fender necks perfectly.
    2. Build a jig to 'bend' the neck before you apply torque to the neck. I used two pieces of scrape blocks, a scrape piece of round oak dowel, a scrape piece of broom stick handle, and an old tube sock. I blocked the neck and the dowel, and used the tube sock as a tourniquet. Watch the video below. You can jump to 1:37.
    Good luck.

    tortburst likes this.