Who tweaks their own truss rod?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassanddrums, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. I tweak

    212 vote(s)
  2. I have someone else tweak for me

    7 vote(s)
  3. It depends

    15 vote(s)
  1. bassanddrums


    Nov 28, 2008
    I'm thinking about going garage hunting to see if there's a cheap bass I can learn the specifics of tweaking a truss rod.

    Who does their own tweaks and who has a professional tweak for them?
  2. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    There are very few things a pro can do that you can't if you have the time and patience to learn how to do them right.
  3. I do mine. Its actually very easy, just make sure that you do it in very small adjustments (1/4 turn or less at a time). Then play it for a day and if it needs more adjust agian. Just never force it.
  4. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I do mine, and I do just about everything involved in a routine set up. It's easy, and it's the only way to get it set "right". I don't have the tools or workspace or eyes to do real fret work so I don't do that. And I avoid soldering these days too (the eyes again). But I've recut the nuts on every single string instrument I've owned since 1976 except for my three Laklands (because those had the nuts right when I got them). Truss rod, set the action, set the intonation, are all part of the subtle trade-offs in dailing in the way YOU want your bass to respond.

    So, learn it yourself. Do yourself a huge favor and invest in Dan Erlewine's "Complete Guitar Player Repair Guide" or whatever it's called now. I love that book because he never says any particular set up is "right" for all instruments and players. He discusses the trade-offs like between a perfectly straight neck and slight relief. And he specifically discusses basses, despite the title. The illustrations are excellent, using either photos or very good graphics depending on what makes the point more clearly.

  5. It's a non-issue. It's a no-brainer. There's no reason on earth to have someone else do it for you -- especially to *pay* someone else to do it for you.

  6. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I do it, I used to fix guitars for a living
  7. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I adjust my own truss rods. Well worth the effort to learn how to do your own setups.
  8. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    If you can screw in a light bulb, you can adjust your truss rod.
  9. El-Bob


    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    I do every part of all my own setups. nobody around here is good enough to do it for me anyway, even if i wanted them too. I had no option but to learn for myself.
  10. rcarraher


    Dec 21, 2008
    I do all my own setup work, and even some rudimentary repairs etc...but, that said. I recently got a hold of a beat to death 1989 Peavey Foundation: twisted neck, bowed neck, stickers all over the finish, loose tuners etc...my plan is to learn how to revive an abused instrument, from the neck fix, to the refinish and probably a complete upgrade on the electronics and hardware. I traded a quick repair to a Trace Elliot and a cheapy gig bag for the bass, so if I screw it up I'm not out much. And, with enough study towards each "project" on the restore I may just end up with a pretty cool instrument.
  11. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Half of my enjoyment of playing bass is repairs, mods, setups etc. If you have a decent handyman background do some searches and learn to do your own setups. It is as easy as getting the proper wrench and knowing which way to turn it and how far.

    Soldering, adding hardware, fret end filing etc all came easy to me..simple. But not everyone has a background in repairing things or a knowledge of tools etc. If you are one of these types ..please take your bass to a local shop. I am amazed at the amount of guys who are good players who can barely change strings properly.
  12. jmiller


    Dec 31, 2006
    Manager at Bass Club Chicago
    doesnt everybody adjust their own truss rods? take the bass and look down the neck (from the bridge to the nut). kinda like looking down the sights of a gun. if the neck has an under bow (dips down in the middle) tighten the truss rod till its flat. if it has an over bow (arched up in the middle). losen the truss rod till its flat. i usually adjust the string saddles afterwards.
  13. That's the thing about free advice... :rollno:

    Here's a great place to start:


  14. I learned how to adjust truss rods on a cheap SX bass. I wasn't as afraid to mess with it and it got me over my fear of something breaking. :)
  15. shamus63


    Dec 17, 2005
    San Mateo, CA
    That's a repair area that I don't have a problem tackling myself.
  16. its not really hard, I dont see why someone would take their bass to someone to get it done.
  17. The same reason people go to have their strings changed. Yes, people actually do that. I've seen it.
  18. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    I just ordered the 3rd edition from Amazon... thanks for the tip.
  19. Rando McNally

    Rando McNally

    May 21, 2008
    You just have to be sensible. It ain't rocket science. I adjust all my basses 2x a year (except my thumb bass with all wenge neck), once in the fall and once in the spring. The thumb is so stable, it never moves seasonally.

    At $20 a setup we're talking a serious bi-annual payout!

    I think a lot of people who are timid about doing their own setup are that way because they aren't sure what setup is right for them. There's a lot of different ways to do it, and each setup is a compromise. You simply can't have everything in your setup.

    For example, you can't have your action super low, and keep every fret buzz free. It's all tradeoff, as the adjustments that keep all the frets from buzzing and keep the action low fight each other.

    This is pretty over simplified, so let me distill my point:

    Anyone with a shred of patience and the right tools can adjust their truss rod using any number of simple guides found online. BUT, you aren't just randomly twisting. You need to decide what setup works for you. If you are randomly turning screws and tweaking til it feels right, chances are you aren't gonna get anywhere fast. If you know the setup you want, and have learned to measure neck relief, it should be easy for you to make PURPOSEFUL adjustments and dial in your neck and bridge to your setup pretty quickly and easily.
  20. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    In the past, I had my repair shop in a music store, and things like string changes are bread & butter jobs.

    That said, it never fails to amaze me.
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