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Stuck truss rod!


LowMoFo
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Hi all,

A couple of months ago I bought a new Ibanez bass, and have only recently (outside of the seller's returns policy!) decided to adjust the neck relief.

I cannot turn the truss rod in either direction, even with the strings removed, and am obviously very reluctant to apply more force to it.

I've read that necks can leave the factories with stuck truss rods, but can be lubed with a drop of penetrating oil.

I've also read that such issues require the attention of a tech, or replacement of the neck.

For reference, when un-strung, the neck has a very slight back-bow. When strung & tuned, the neck is absolutely straight.

Any suggestions please?

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Where did it come from? even though its out of the returns times, it may be considered faulty...

i'd  give em a call or take it to the store if you can, often they have residant tech who can take a look andctry, so you dont have to! or was it a BAX type job? I did't realise they were not Folkstone UK as their address implies...

Edited by PaulThePlug
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31 minutes ago, PaulThePlug said:

Where did it come from? even though its out of the returns times, it may be considered faulty...

i'd  give em a call or take it to the store if you can, often they have residant tech who can take a look andctry, so you dont have to! or was it a BAX type job? I did't realise they were not Folkstone UK as their address implies...

It was from a UK (allegedly) guitar shop, via Ebay. Ok thanks for the suggestion Paul, I'll get in touch with them.

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1 hour ago, ped said:

First of all, always adjust with the strings tuned to pitch (if you’re loosening to create more relief)

If it’s truly stuck you could try heavier strings if you don’t mind that, as a workaround?

Hi Ped,

I did initially try adjusting with the strings tuned, but being a 5-string, the A string was perfectly in the way. I took that string off, but access is still very limited by the D & E strings.

Not a fan of heavier gauge strings unless I’m drop-tuning one of my 4-string basses, so I’m guessing I’ll have to raise the saddles (grrr!) a little in the short term. Thanks dude.

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15 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

If the neck is "absolutely straight" when strung and tuned, why do you, or why are you trying to adjust the truss rod? 🤔

There is slight buzzing from both sides of my fretting hand. Raising the saddles slightly cured the buzz between hand and bridge, but between the nut and hand its still there. It makes that end of the string vibrate audibly too.

TBH, its also bugging me that I've bought an imperfect 'malfunctioning' bass, I just want to put it right, I guess...

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28 minutes ago, LowMoFo said:

There is slight buzzing from both sides of my fretting hand. Raising the saddles slightly cured the buzz between hand and bridge, but between the nut and hand its still there. It makes that end of the string vibrate audibly too.

TBH, its also bugging me that I've bought an imperfect 'malfunctioning' bass, I just want to put it right, I guess...

Which part of the neck are you getting fret buzz, near headstock and/or near bottom of neck, or middle of the neck?

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20 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Which part of the neck are you getting fret buzz, near headstock and/or near bottom of neck, or middle of the neck?

From the 3rd fret it becomes noticeable, and increases as I move up to 24, across all strings.

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7 minutes ago, LowMoFo said:

From the 3rd fret it becomes noticeable, and increases as I move up to 24, across all strings.

Are you sure the neck is straight as that sounds like an upward bow?

The other thing to consider is the tension of your strings. If you like a low action and your strings have a low or medium tension, you won't achieve a low action as the oscillation of the string will be too big, causing fret buzz, especially if you like to play or pick hard.

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6 minutes ago, ped said:

Hm yeah sounds like the neck is shimmed (pointing down) and the saddles are up to compensate and raise them over the heel hump. 

Get the neck flat, adjust the relief then get those saddles down!

I didn’t know Ibanez used shims, but I’ll take a look. Thanks again Ped.

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2 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Are you sure the neck is straight as that sounds like an upward bow?

The other thing to consider is the tension of your strings. If you like a low action and your strings have a low or medium tension, you won't achieve a low action as the oscillation of the string will be too big, causing fret buzz, especially if you like to play or pick hard.

The neck is def straight when tuned, I’ve checked it several times. I don’t know about the string tension as these are a set of D’Addarios that were factory fitted.

A very good point re oscillation, yes I do like to pluck quite hard (rock & metal head).

Thanks Hooky!

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10 hours ago, itu said:

I would go to the store and buy a new strings before adjusting anything.

I recently got given a cheap gsr200 it had stock strings, bass being over ten years old. Unbelievably the old strings sound amazing, I've used pretty much every brand and most types of string. These old stock strings look bad, but they are super smooth to play and are still really punchy. Nails the vintage roundwound sound I love.

Everyone says change stock strings, and before this bass I would agree. But now, these stock strings are fantastic. 😎

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9 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Everyone says change stock strings, and before this bass I would agree.

I was suggesting changing strings if there is a need to adjust the bass. In your case you are probably not touching the setup. Old strings and any change in setup is nearly worthless, because used strings are dirty and they are worn against frets. Not very uniform.

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10 hours ago, itu said:

I was suggesting changing strings if there is a need to adjust the bass. In your case you are probably not touching the setup. Old strings and any change in setup is nearly worthless, because used strings are dirty and they are worn against frets. Not very uniform.

I automatically change strings on any used bass I've bought, definitely, but in this case it's a brand new bass.

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