when did fender start making access routs in the heel?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bon viesta, Dec 25, 2020.

  1. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    i just came to the realization that my warmoth body will be equipped with one of those ugly (in my opinion) heel slots. sure, they’re useful, but something about them doesn’t look right to me. but anyways it made me wonder where fender stood in this little innovation. i’m guessing they started doing it in the 80s? i’ve heard that guys in the 60s did the mod themselves and cut out small slots to get access to the heel truss rod.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  2. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    It might be unsightly but it saves taking the neck off. I reckon I've taken paint away from the side of neck pockets on several guitars and basses over the years, the last one being red sparkle finish. That pissed me right off.

    Don't know why the Gotoh side-adjustment is not just made universal.
  3. This is the first time I've heard of this. It looks pretty cool.
  4. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    well it may suck a bit when you don’t have a pick guard. lol, and that’s my going to be my road i’m taking.
  5. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    Yon thing?
    murphy, Luigir, lark_z and 1 other person like this.
  6. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    oh whoops, you were talking about something else! yeah that gotoh thing looks pretty neat, but i could deal with the good old slide the neck up a bit by unscrewing two holes and going at the truss rods with a tool
  7. Yeah, I'd never heard of the Gotoh side adjuster, before.

    As far as Fender putting the little notch in the body, I'm not really sure when they started doing that. For a while, the MIA versions adjusted at the headstock like the MIMs, although I'm not sure what time frames were what. I don't mind the little trench that's in some of the basses. I know it's not as slightly, but it's easier than if it's not there. Right now, I don't care which end of the neck the access is on, as long as I can reach it with a simple tool without having to take the neck off. The Gotoh system intrigues me, although I do wonder how it holds up long term.
    I still consider putting a notch in the body on my 62 reissue P, even though it would diminish the value.
    murphy and bon viesta like this.
  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Short answer is Leo moved on and one of the first things he did at MusicMan was make the truss adjustment less stupid.

    I always feel like I should qualify, I love Fenders. But they’ve had 70 years to stop doing that Wrongly. Put it at the headstock where it belongs.
    deff, Bozzy, shwabilly and 4 others like this.
  9. They do it right on the Mexico made instruments. That's why I shy away from anything American because it's a pain in the derriere to constantly remove the pickguard or strings or the neck to do a 2-second adjustment. I love MIMs for this reason as well as a few other reasons.

    I heard they thought it would make the neck more stable and durable if they put the truss rod access at the heel compared to the headstock but I take that with a grain of salt...
    fhm555, Chrome Dome and Drzejzi like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    It's idiotic in my mind to have to take the bass apart to do a routine tweak to the action. Having a route in the body that makes that a non-issue is well worth the minor aesthetic disadvantage. I have some Warmoth bodies with routes in the body for truss rod access that have truss rod adjustments at the nut end of the neck. The route in the body (even though it's not needed on those basses) doesn't bother me in the least.
    bdgotoh, Lobster11, Kro and 4 others like this.
  11. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    I'd rather not have TR access routed into the body because, unlike apparently a lot of you, I only need TR access for about thirty seconds at a time, maybe two or three times total over the life of the instrument.

    That's not worth routing a body for.

    With that said, the MIM/bullet/Rick way is better. I'm at five basses now, and only one of them adjusts at the heel.
    Ghastly and bon viesta like this.
  12. ToneMonkey


    Sep 27, 2003
    Eugene, OR
    I know on the guitar side of things that full modern Warmoth necks (with a side adjustment) are rumored to not sound as good as vintage or vintage modern necks with conventional truss rods.

    Personally, I’m very conscious of adding mass to an instrument... where I do it... how I do it... why I do it. So I can believe that adding more metal to the inside of a neck (and routing out more wood) might have some sonic ramifications.

    Caveat emptor.
  13. I wish he would have kept using the truss wheel for G&L!

    Truss wheel is the best imo
  14. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    I'm doing a parts bass project right now... I'm routing a truss rod slot into the body, but I'm going to cover it up with a sweet pickguard.
    bon viesta likes this.
  15. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Personally, I prefer the adjustment at the heel, but I prefer a truss rod wheel. Just not the Ultra version of a truss rod wheel. That was poorly implemented.
    tubedude likes this.
  16. BobKos


    Apr 13, 2007
    I like the slot and the heel adjust. When I adjust the truss on my basses I clamp the body with my right arm. I unload the truss by pulling back on the neck at the nut. I make the adjustment with my free right hand. The nut turns quite freely this way. I release the neck and help it to settle. Easy peasy. If the adjust is at the headstock I guess you have to clamp the body with a bench mount in order to unload the truss to adjust it? I have never liked the process of simply cranking on the truss adjust to move the neck. IMO it is a position maintainer, not a repositioning device. I feel that is why so many truss nuts are buried in the wood and run out of adjustment. I won't buy a bass with a sunken truss nut for this reason. Too many hacks in its history reefing a steel machine bolt under tension against a sliver of wood and a small pocket of wood trying to bend said wood against string tension plus tension from the wood itself. I will take the slot any day over aesthetics. To me it is a necessary component of the bass the same as pickups and an output jack.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    I’ve got both heel and headstock J bass necks and by and large they are about the same except the MIM necks are more stable when it comes to temperature extremes. I have a Highway One i use most times to play out but if i’m going to be outdoors in high heat or deep chill i take an MIM. Take it out of the case, set it on stage in a stand about a half hour before we start, then tune it and you’re golden. The MIA’s work they just require more attention in the course of the night. I’d tune the MIM before we started and touch it up on set breaks and was GTG. but the MIA might need a quick tweak during a set as well as the usual set break check if we were outdoors.
  18. I had the same experiences. MIMs require very few, if any, tweaking before performing on stage. I only owned a few MIAs and the ones I did own, they required so much monitoring and maintenance. For the price tag on the American ones, you'd think ease of use and less maintenance required would be a thing...
    fhm555 likes this.
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    I kinda like the idea of the misconception. It keeps the price down on MIM j’s which is what i use to keep my terminal tinkeritus in check. :D
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Supporting Member

    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have been turning classic truss rods for 32 years, and have never had to loosen a neck to do it. Nor have I ever scratched an instrument during a rod adjustment. Nor has a rod adjustment ever been a common need of mine, once properly set for in the first place.

    Fender first used truss rod channels in 1950. The very first ones were chiseled in by hand on Esquires that were returned to the factory to be retrofitted with truss rod equipped necks.

    You might need to pull your guard on some models, but you shouldn’t need to remove your neck, unless you are a mechanically challenged klutz who will gore up your bass by using the wrong tools and methods.

    Use a number one screwdriver, not a number two or three. And bend the neck first. And cover areas that can be scratched.

    Other designs work too. But the amount of complaining that goes on around here about the old style adjustment is just plain unwarranted and ill informed.
    Fun Size Nick, Amano and WillyWonka like this.