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Truss Rod Fun

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by count_funkula, Aug 1, 2001.

  1. Is it possible to damage a bass by adjusting the truss rod?

    I have always done my own truss rod adjustment and have never had a problem. With my new bass I have adjusted the truss rod to the point where it was starting to offer resistance to turning. There is still too much bow in the neck. Is that as far as that truss rod is going to go? If I push back on the neck while turnig the rod will that allow for more adjustment?

    I don't want to hurt the bass so I need some advice.
    I am making the adjustments in 1/4 turn intervals as I've always heard the neck needs to settle.
  2. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN

    yea the truss rod is a dangerous friend. Ive played guitar and bass for about 8 years and i'm scared of my truss rod. i know alot about it, but i figure if a guy at a store breaks my neck they owe me a bass. i know you have to let the bass settle for a while before u screw with it becuase the truss rod takes a while to settle. i'd just give it a while and if its still a problem turn it a little more. A bass is supposed to have a little bow in the neck. the only basses that are designed to have a completely straight neck are fretless basses. My advice to you is to take your bass somewhere. if your scared that you could screw it up, let someone else screw it up so your not responsible.
  3. A truss-rod CAN be dangerous to the bass, but only if you crank it up way too far..

    if you don't overdo the adjusting and give the wood time to settle.. i doubt anything will go wrong..
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    "Is it possible to damage a bass by adjusting the truss rod? "


  5. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I got my first bass, thinking i was going to be all smart and fix the neck myself. started turning the truss rod.........ok,,,,,not enough......turned more, and more, and more. could make it go far enough to get it were i wanted it. ok. so i let it sit while i called the shop, seeing how much it would be to fix it. woke up the next morning and the neck was bent so bad that the strings were laying on the fretboard. woundent even sound a note. so, going on my experince. no, dont screw with it.
  6. A truss rod is just a huge nut and bolt inside the neck.

    I hope I dont make anyone mad, but if you think logically about what you are doing and get as much advice as possible, anyone can set-up the basic elements of a bass.

    Before you do anything to your truss rod remember that the neck is made of wood, it's strong, subject to temperature changes, it can be bent and it can be broken.

    Basically 1/4 (or 1/2 at the very, very most) of a turn should be loads. Leave it over night and check it the next day. If you have to really force it to turn it, don't. This is when you should find a pro.

    Talkbass is great for getting advice on how to do stuff... In fact I'm gonna post a new thread now about my truss rod!
  7. My truss rod broke in my last bass, If it wasn't under warenty i would have had to pay for a new neck.
  8. Gutted!!!!

    That was obviously a fault with the bass though.

    17% Gay????? - Does that mean you're straight Monday to Saturday afternoon then gay for the rest of the weekend?!!!!

    Onlien personality tests... pah!
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    My neck is a little bent. and i would turn the rod, but i dont know witch way does what? how do i find out to turn it left or right? its u-ing, the fretboard is u-ing in. cant remember the name for it.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Count - If you're adjusting the rod on your new Carvin ---- adjust in small increments. Make one turn and let it settle, (overnight if you sleep, unlike the real Count). I don't remember what your neck is made of, but I find with my LB75, the adjustments don't seem to make a dramatic difference right after turning. But come back in 5 or 6 hours and it's a whole new story.

    Don't forget - we're dealing with neck-through-bodies.....if you do irreparable damage to the neck you've lost the instrument :eek:
  11. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Ok. im fixing to change my strings. should i make MY truss rod adjustments after i change them? and if i only turn the truss rod 1/4 of the way, it shouldnt hurt it much.......should it? o ya. i just realized leaning my bass on my wall for so long has made the neck bend at the base. my strings are pretty far off the fret board. and if i raise the bridge saddles anymore the screws will pop out. and still getting buzz above the 9th fret or so. do i need to mess with the truss rod? and should this be a new post? if it should tell me. ok? im just worrying, because ive got a gig TOMORROW!!!!AHHHHHH.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    PB, this is starting to sound scary. You say that the screws in the saddles are almost run completely out and the action is still too high. That's like saying that you've cut a board three times and it's still too short.

    It doesn't sound like you have a firm grasp on the procedure and I would strongly advise you to get some knowledgeable, hands on help.

    Regardless of what may have been said to the contrary, you definitely can do severe damage to your bass if the truss rod is improperly adjusted. That rod is a very slender rod and you can strip the threads or break the rod if too much force is applied.

    The fact that the neck seems to be bent at the heel from being propped against the wall (a BIG no no ) should be addressed before you even think about touching the rod. there is a good chance that the neck angle may need to be adjusted before the bass can be set up. Not a job to tackle on your first attempt at a set up.

    You mention turning the T.R. nut 1/4 of the way. The proper procedure is to make adjustments 1/4 TURN at the time. Even 1/4 turn is a lot for the final adjustment. A neck can respond significantly to as little as 1/8 turn.

    The strings must be changed before any adjustments are made.

    Sometimes it is better to go ahead and spend a little bread now to avoid spending a whole lot later.

    Hope this helps you.

  13. Thanks Rick,

    I made the changes in increments (1/4 turn each day) and now I have it just right.

    This thing plays like a dream! I just wish I could play worth a rip. :')
  14. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Thanks pkr2. i dont have any money, but if i do take it to the shop, what should i say? "Here, i jacked it." doesnt seem to do the problem justise. should i just tell them its bent at the at the base of the neck? how do you straiten a neck other than useing the truss rod? i ment to say that the bridge saddles are up pretty high, and still getting fret buzz. im pretty sure it is the neck now, the strings seem to go far away from the neck a little before where the base of the neck is. then they magicly meet up with the last fret dangerosly close. How do you go about changeing the "neck angle"? not that ill do it myself, but what does it involve?
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Great going, Count! You're welcome.

    Consider - you just saved $40-$50, minimum, by doing it yourself Now you can apply that money towards the next piece of gear :D
  16. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    PB, To check the relief, just have someone hold the string down on the first fret and the 20th fret while you look at the clearance between the bottom of the string and the fingerboard. There should be approximately 1/2 the thickness of the string clearance at 6th fret.

    Make certain that all the strings are tuned to standard pitch when checking.

    If the clearance is too great, tighten (clockwise)the truss rod 1/8 to 1/4 turn. allow the neck to settle in for a while and recheck. repeat untill the relief is right.

    If there is no, or not enough relief, correct by loosening (counterclockwise) the truss rod in small increments until the tension from the strings pulls the neck into correct relief.

    If the truss rod seems to be hard to turn, you can help relieve some of the stress on the rod by GENTLY bending the neck manually in the direction that you are trying to go while making the adjustment.

    Keep in mind that until you get the proper relief in the neck that the action height is pretty much immaterial. You'll adjust that in the next step(s).

    Once the relief is correct, adjust the bridge saddles for the desired action height.

    If you can't adjust the action low enough before the saddle rollers bottom out, or you have more than about 1/8" of space between the bottom of the roller and the bridge plate, the neck angle will have to be corrected. This is accomplished,usually, by putting shims in the neck pocket. The neck pocket is where the neck screws to the body.

    You must remove the neck to install these shims. There is very little risk involved in shimming the neck other than stripping the threads in the wood by overtightening.

    Some fender basses were made with a screw mechanism for neck angle adjustments. If that's what you have, it should be pretty obvious.

    The last step is to correct the intonation. I wont go through the procedure because a quick search will produce dozens of posts describing the "how to".

    Hope this helps. I'll be glad to try to fly you through via E-mail if you would like.

  17. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Thanks man! ive been trying to find info on this everywhere. but i couldnt. i saved everything you wrote to my comp. I am greatly in your debt. thanks again.
  18. steinbergerxp2

    steinbergerxp2 Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    In addition to prk2's excellent post:
    If the truss rod seems to be hard to turn, you can help relieve some of the stress on the rod by GENTLY bending the neck manually in the direction that you are trying to go while making the adjustment.
    I would add, that if you are trying to tighten your truss rod and it's pretty tight already, you can loosen your strings, relieving the pressure on the truss rod, make your truss rod adjustment, and then retighten the strings to normal tune.

    Truss rod adjustments should indeed be subtle.
  19. jafc


    Feb 18, 2002
    USA, North Haven, CT
    Help! Has anyone experienced a factory repair from Spector? We have a beauty that just can't be wasted. We have a through neck so the fretboard must be removed. What to do?
    Thanks, Joe

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