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Truss Rod Repair?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Meyekul, May 2, 2005.

  1. I have a bass that I'm pretty sure has a broken truss rod. It never has tuned very well, the strings rattle when played, and if you tap the neck near the head you can hear a little rattle inside. So my question is, what's a typical truss rod replacement cost? Reason is, the only guitar repair shop I know of near me is way overpriced on everything, so I don't want to get ripped off here. For instance, I bought a bass for my girlfriend a few months ago for about $200, then saw the exact same one at this shop for $400...

    Also, are there any luthiers here that would be willing to look at it? How much would it cost to fix if I took care of all the shipping?

    Thanks, and its a Washburn AB-20 acoustic bass if that makes a difference.
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Most shops are going to charge anywhere between a minimum of $300 to up around $600 for a truss rod replacement. More than half of this cost is the cost of doing a complete refret of the neck, as once you steam off the fingeboard and pull out and replace the truss rod, after you've glued the fingerboard back down you have to completely re-level the fingerboard and refret it as all of the current frets are going to pop out and come loose resulting in needed a refret job.

    What type of neck is is? What brand? Is is a maple neck and fingerboard with the skunk stripe up the back or does it have a rosewood fingerboard?

    If it is a typical fender knock off type neck, unless it has a lot of sentimental value or is a valued or vintage instrument, you're best option from a financial standpoint is to by a replacement neck, either used or new (Warmoth makes great ones....).

    Have a guitar tech check it and ensure that the truss rod is in fact broken, and make your decision at that point.

  3. herndonbassist

    herndonbassist Low Down Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    I checked into a truss rod replacement and you're looking at well over $200. A couple have claimed that they can do it without doing much fretwork aftewards, but that's the ballpark. I agree Warmoth makes great parts, you'll also see a lot of Mighty Mite necks on eBay for about $100 that are lic. replacements. You should also check out the Rondo Music site (SX stuff) b/c they've got a similar neck that'll be shipped to your door for around $50... just a thought. Good Luck. :meh:

    The really nice thing is you can sell your old neck on eBay (or here) and someone may just be interested b/c then they can try out their luthier skills! :hyper:
  4. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Am I the only one here that knows how to read? :rolleyes: He said it was a washburn AB-20 acoustic bass. That means that neck replacement is going to be near impossible, and it would cost a heck of alot more than a truss rod fix.
  5. I believe the fingerboard is rosewood, and I'm not sure what the neck is made of since it's been painted black. So, being an acoustic bass, how much can I expect to pay to get the truss rod replaced? I only spent $200 on it (used) to begin with and done nothing else to it besides replace the strings; the closest new one like it I've found is over $700, so I figure its probably worth the money to get it fixed unless its really expensive.

    Is there any way I can tell for sure the rod is broken before I pay someone to look at it?

    Also, I'm curious, this bass has always been really quiet unplugged, could the broken truss rod be partially responsible for that?
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    My most humble apologies for not reading / seeing the last line in the original post about the brand and model / type of bass in question. Sometimes I read in "scan mode" and by the time I got to the last sentence I was already formulating my answer.

    It should not cost anything to have a local guitar tech look at it and tell you if the truss rod is broken or not. Simply take it in and tell them that you think it might be broken and can they confirm and then give you an estimate on the repair if it is broken?

    As far as shipping it to one of the luthier / guitar techs who frequently haunt this forum, your probably looking at about $30-$50 each way depending on how far it has to go (ie: coast to coast is more expensive than Ohio to Kentucky).

    I would get a few estimates from local guitar techs first. There has to be 2-3 decent guitar techs within a 150 mile radius of you.
  7. Cool, thanks, I'll do some calling around and try to have someone look at it. The shipping isn't a big deal for me since I can send it out from work with a pre-paid label to send it back to me, but I would rather have it fixed locally if it's not going to cost an arm and a leg.
  8. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    try to find somebody who works on acoustics. the necks can be reset, which means they can be replaced if necessary. there was an article in Vintage Guitar magazine showing this procedure. it seemed like a 'regular' type of repair but nothing that you'd want to try on your own, imo. good luck!
  9. No I certainly don't want to do it on my own, this is one of my nicer basses. :)

    Thanks for all the guidance, I'll post an update when I get something figured out.
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    A neck reset is different than a neck replacement. I would think a neck replacement would be getting into the region of diminishing returns for a Washburn.

    In any case, to repair a truss rod you generally have to pull the fingerboard. Some truss rods slide out but those instruments are not many. The simple test is to try to do an adjustment with the rod. If the nut turns loosely and does nothing, then it is broken. If the nut will not turn then it may be broken but it probably wouldn't rattle in this case. If the nut comes out with the wrench... well, yeah, that's a bad sign too.

    Some rods will rattle when they are under no tension at all. It may be the case that you can tighten the rod (if it's working) just enough to stop the rattle but not enough to make any appreciable changes in relief.

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