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uk_lefty

Neck relief or other?

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So here's a noddy question... 

I've got a USA Stingray with the wheel adjuster for neck relief. Three and a half weeks ago, a very hot day, I picked this up from my repairs and luthier guy who does a lovely bass set up. I have not had the bass out of the case until today and there is a noticeable bend in the neck and the G string is unplayable on frets 1-6 and the other strings rattle when played on frets 1 to 6. I think this must have been caused by heat in the period in between set up and today, with the bass being stored in its hard case but unfortunately in my office room which gets very hot and we had a very hot week after picking up the bass. 

With the bass I didn't get a special tool for truss rod adjustment but can get a smaller Allen key in there and move the wheel. I'm thinking I need to tighten the truss rod to straighten out the neck and get rid of the string rattle? I. E. If I am standing up with the bass resting back on my legs, strings facing outwards, get the tool in the wheel and pull to my right... Is that correct? It's not something I usually dare to do, especially with an expensive bass but I'm thinking to make small adjustments and keep coming back to check. 

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Posted (edited)

You are a lefty, so it might not work with your explanations, even if they are right when one knows the left handed fact.

In fact, you have to first release the tension of the strings by lowering them at least a whole tone.

Then you have to screw the truss rod with whatever gets in the holes (this was meant to be used with the buckle of a belt), so turn clockwise as we say. It's an American made bass, so it doesn't have a typical British anti-clockwise thread. 😉

Proceed by 1/4 turn and retune, check and start again until you have the neck relief you want.

If it's going the opposite way, go the opposite way too, so unscrew.

Edited by Hellzero

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Sounds like the neck is bowed backwards, so the strings are too low and rattle on the frets? In which case you need to loosen the truss rod in order to let the string tension pull the neck forward again.

I also have a Stingray which is very susceptible to changes in the weather, and had to tweak it a bit last week.

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1 minute ago, Hellzero said:

In fact, you have to first release the tension of the strings by lowering them at least a whole tone

The EBMM FAQ states that you should adjust the truss rod with the strings under tension

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This is the best way to break a truss rod when you don't know what you're doing.

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Righty tighty (i.e. tensioning the neck away from the strings so the are closer to the fingerboard) Lefty loosey (releasing tension on the neck so it becomes more concave).  Only ever do 1/4 turns or - as Hellzero says - things can go south quite easily.  You can check relief by stopping the E string on the first and last fret.  The middle of the neck is usually around the eighth fret and there should be about a credit card width space between the bottom of the string and the fret. Much more and you need to tighten the truss rod slightly, much less and you need to loosen it.

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Here's the problem so I've put a photo in...!! From Bass Cultures mail I need to loosen the rod. There is a wheel at the bottom of the fretboard. If holding the bass as I am in the picture though I've pulled my legs out of the way the headstock is resting against my chest, which way do I turn the wheel? My left (towards E string for me cos I'm a lefty) or my right? It's such a stupid question but the whole left and right handed perspective thing can get v confusing!! 

IMG_20200707_144113.jpg

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Regardless of whether it's left handed, turning the wheel clockwise will straighten the neck, turning it anti-clockwise will add relief.

This is when viewed from the opposite of your photo. You should be sighting from the wheel towards the headstock. 

Before making any adjustments have you measured the action to know if there is too much or too little relief? 

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8 minutes ago, Muppet said:

Before making any adjustments have you measured the action to know if there is too much or too little relief? 

Holding down the first and last frets the strings are flat against the frets, so this a loosen job... I think? 

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2 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

Holding down the first and last frets the strings are flat against the frets, so this a loosen job... I think? 

yep.  So stick your allen key or whatever in the adjustment hole and from your photo position, lever right, towards your G string. As Tony says, I'd loosen the strings off a bit. 

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12 minutes ago, Muppet said:

yep.  So stick your allen key or whatever in the adjustment hole and from your photo position, lever right, towards your G string. As Tony says, I'd loosen the strings off a bit. 

Thank you! Made a very minor adjustment and tested, there is less string on fret rattle already. Going to leave it a bit, I should be working tbh, then do another minor adjustment... And so on until I get there. 

Thank you all for the advice and the patience with the "my left or your left?!" questions. 

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Had exactly this problem with my SS ACG got it back from the set up man, it was in a hot room for weeks, buzzing all over, minor truss rod tweak, all sorted.

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4 hours ago, Muppet said:

yep.  So stick your allen key or whatever in the adjustment hole and from your photo position, lever right, towards your G string. As Tony says, I'd loosen the strings off a bit. 

Agreed. But I'd say no real need to loosen strings when loosening as the string tension is going in your direction. Unlike when tightening ??? Views of luthiers here most welcome.

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20 minutes ago, rmorris said:

Agreed. But I'd say no real need to loosen strings when loosening as the string tension is going in your direction. Unlike when tightening ??? Views of luthiers here most welcome.

True, but as @Hellzero says, if you’re not sure, being extra cautious will do no harm at all.  It’s an extra 30 seconds in the grand scheme of things. I’ll admit I rarely do! 

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I leave the strings tuned but put the body between my knees and pull the neck back to take the strain off the truss rod while adjusting it. Seems to work - haven't broken one yet, but then I'm not doing it every day.

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15 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

Going to leave it a bit, I should be working tbh

I know what you mean! I'm working from home and can't help but pick up a bass in my office several times day 😀

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Thanks everyone, got it set up, left it to settle then next day had to give a minor tweak again but all resolved. Nice low action as I want it and the best playing neck I've ever had. 

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