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Truss Rod Issues


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A condensed tale of woe....Bass built by someone well known, well, seems to be. Happy as lamb for the first 4 years. Year 5 onwards, start noticing some issues with the neck...

 

Fast forward to this week, having given-up trying to get the original builder to do the right thing off I toddle to Sims to 'confirm/dispel' my worst fears.

 

Truss rod has bottomed out(maple neck bass, bass guitar build completed in early 2015 if memory serves). Frets buzzing up by the 15th onwards, notes choking if string bends attempted.

 

Sims very Kindly levelled etc and have got it in a much better place BUT, and here's the kicker, IF the neck moves again, no room in the truss rod so...

 

Apart from ripping the frets off and reshooting the neck, then having to take nimrod to court....any other ideas? Apart from setting fire to the neck and starting again?

 

:(

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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Sadly, if it comes to that, I have no choice apart from setting fire to this custom made bass. 

 

When I lived in Southern Ca, I had access to John C....He sorted my 4001 in the picture. Pressed it/heat etc.

 

No idea if the neck on this is stable enough as I am starting to hear from others that I am far from alone!

 

:(

 

A good person would have accepted responsibility...sadly, this person seems incapable of accepting anything is his fault.

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some pictures would help, so we can see how the adjustment is made and how the neck is constructed

Have you had to make a lot of minor adjustments in the first 4 years, is it a single or double acting truss rod, is it reverse operation ?

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Posted (edited)

Sorry Aidan....

 

I don't see how pics will help? Enclosed a few of the construction process...I have had other places eyeball it, the original builder claimed I was a flipping idiot and there was nothing wrong with it and yet failed to do what he was last paid to do, ie fix it and refused to let me in his shop to test it, claiming cover issues etc and yet the day before and after, posted video of people in his shop.

 

The truss rod has bottomed out and the neck needs adjusting further to get the action where I need it to be. For now it is playable but far from perfect, which is why Sims only charged me half their usual fee for levelling etc.

 

It is a maple neck, single truss rod...No idea what reverse operation means, sorry.

 

Very few adjustments since I got it....taken back to the original builder as expected/suggested after collecting, adjusted twice maybe by him?

 

If memory serves, it is half sawn and the neck isn't flamed which I gather causes issues?

 

The problems I am having are beyond the 12th fret, specifically around the 15th onwards and the neck appears to have a slight twist in it.

 

Sadly, I will have to sit and see if the neck moves yet again and if so, go to a solicitor and seek advice. I feel there is no way I should be paying to correct his mistake!!!!

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-08-14 at 11.40.26.png

 

Screen Shot 2021-08-14 at 11.41.38.png

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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Thanks for these, now we can see it's a fender type single action truss rod with bottom of neck adjustment. Adding washer(s) under the adjusting nut hasn't helped ? Unless the nut has seized on the rod or the rod pulled out of the end fixture I think that would be usual course of action, unless the wood is compressing or breaking up up at the adjusting end nut, then a repair to that would be necessary; there's a good thread where Andy @Andyjr1515 does such a repair, you might need to search his posts to find it, but iirc it was in this section and in the last year

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I will have a further nose....sorry, been playing for many years BUT I know naff-all about truss rods etc, always trusted experts in the past. As of now, I am educating myself!

 

It is a fender type single action truss rod to the best of my knowledge. The bass in question is a 'modern vintage' P bass build.

 

I will look for that thread and read...beggars the question why the clown who made it CBA to sort this out for me. The joys of not being famous I suppose.

 

Sad that I have to find this vs the original builder being a man and sorting it out!

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Did the bass come with a long/lifetime warranty? If it didn’t, expecting it to be sorted out 5 years down the line, after 4 years of trouble free use, might be asking a bit much from the builder’s point of view. Did SIMS say it had been made badly at all? We all, myself included, want ongoing, trouble free ‘mileage’ from our instruments but, unfortunately, sometimes things just fail and we have to get them fixed. :( 

 

I’m not having a go, BTW, just looking for a bit more insight/playing devil’s advocate.

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Posted (edited)

I hear you.....No, it didn't BUT, Sims have indeed expressed their dismay at the issue and the way the original builder has handled it. The truss rod has NO room left and this bass is not exactly old!!! 

 

I happily paid to go back after 2 years as specified and have it all readjusted etc...Ongoing maintenance is part and parcel as well all know. Poor craftsmanship? Not so much...

 

I am 57, have been around the block a few times and appreciate stuff happens. 

 

When someone is adamant there is nothing wrong, says bring it to me I will sort if for free, then it becomes £60, then £90 and you get it back worse than it was before....Well, you know!

 

I am a reasonable person, but when something is flawed and someone tries to BS you well, that's not cool...And it looks like I am far from being the only person having issues with said person, sadly.

 

I loved the bass and had no issues with it, bar the long delay getting it built...I don't appreciate someone lying and saying there is no issue when there obviously is.

 

I know you are not having a go.

 

I went to see said person who built it, they made it very awkward, refused to let me test it on site once the work had been allegedly completed and of course once I got to inspect it properly, lower the saddles exactly as he had directed, stating I would have zero issues....the top part of the neck was even worse...I hate wasting money.

 

 

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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7 minutes ago, ADAM ROBERTS said:

Sims have indeed expressed their dismay at the issue and the way the original builder has handled it.

 

When someone is adamant there is nothing wrong, says bring it to me I will sort if for free, then it becomes £60, then £90 and you get it back worse than it was before....Well, you know!

 

I went to see said person who built it, they made it very awkward, refused to let me test it on site once the work had been allegedly completed and of course once I got to inspect it properly, lower the saddles exactly as he had directed, stating I would have zero issues....the top part of the neck was even worse...I hate wasting money.

 

 

That's all very poor. Not good service at all. Thanks for the clarification. Any chance of naming and shaming?

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Posted (edited)

I am loathed to out this person right now as others have pending legal stuff going BUT...

 

I am due to speak with a solicitor next week so once I have done so, I will be better informed.

 

Not found the thread that was mentioned earlier, does anyone know which thread it is?

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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Posted (edited)

My last exchange with him was less than pleasant...Made me wait over an hour and a half past the allotted time, turned up with a bad attitude and I just let him have it, which wasn't the best thing to do BUT enough was enough.

 

I paid for him to fix the issue, get the action as low as possible, he refused to do so(how could he when the neck was jacked!).

 

When I pointed out my unhappiness about the situation, he was beyond insulting, played the 'poor health card' etc etc etc.

 

He will pay for this but in the mean time, I need to resolve the issue then I will be going after him for the monies it will cost me to either reshoot the neck or worse, get another one made properly!

 

You cannot reason with the 'unreasonable'. I removed myself before I lost my temper and hit him.

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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I maybe wrong and I hope I am for your sake, but I can’t see a solicitor finding a legal way forward with this after so long.

Wood is a natural product and is susceptible to temperature and humidity. Unless there an obvious fault with the construction, the luthier has a few avenues of defence in his favour I would think.

I had a neck issue with a brand new Fender Flea ‘61 that became apparent just after the warranty expired. I had a hell on earths job getting any action and it was clear that the resolution was an act of good will rather than anything else.

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1 hour ago, ADAM ROBERTS said:

 

 

Not found the thread that was mentioned earlier, does anyone know which thread it is?

One of his many build threads, but this deals extensively with truss rod replacement and neck repair 

 

1 hour ago, ADAM ROBERTS said:

I am guessing this is what was meant by adding washers etc?

 

 

That’s an extreme version, but just adding a washer, or maybe two, to add a little more back bend is a tried and trusted method. I had to add one to my Fender Roscoe Beck Signature when I first acquired it to reduce the amount of relief to the flatness I wanted. I had to ream out a washer I had to make it fit, like the guy says at the start of the video.

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2 hours ago, ezbass said:

Not found the thread that was mentioned earlier, does anyone know which thread it is?

Hi Adam, just throwing my 2p worth in here: Like many, many others on BC, I can happily tell you that Andy is an awesome guy.

He is super helpful, and (subject to his schedule etc) makes the time for people - I speak as a true ignoramus who has picked his brains on many occasions.

Seriously though, contact him directly on here. He's like the Yoda of luthiery. Trust me, if he can help, he will.

Best of luck with this, fella.

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2 minutes ago, ADAM ROBERTS said:

Thanks very much....Now I have educated myself a little bit, I do feel better about the neck...having to take the clown to court, not so much!

I'm definitely getting the idea that he's a repeat offender, ongoing cases etc, so whilst I understand that legal action is a real grind, it could potentially help others to steer very clear of this idiot. Once again, fingers tightly crossed for you.

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Hi @ADAM ROBERTS

 

Just spotted this (and @LowMoFo and @ezbass and @Aidan63 's kind references ;)  )

 

Clearly I can only comment on the problem with the neck and not your dispute with the maker.

 

It's a complicated one because there can be a number of issues that can cause buzzing on the upper frets - not least the impact of the unusual weather this spring and summer.  A pro-player I know had his 20 year old mandolin suddenly develop a severe neck bow (and they don't have truss rods).  It was unplayable.  When he got it out of the case a few weeks later to show me, it was almost back to normal.

 

From what I understand, your truss rod is 'maxed out' - it does adjust, but the adjuster won't tighten any further and you are not able to add any more back bow in the event that it needs it in the future.

 

While I can only generalise, some immediate thoughts:

 

- It may not, of course, need any more back bow in the future.  If the original problem was weather related, then you have had the frets levelled at it's most extreme case (which is good).  When the weather returns to more normal levels, it is more likely that the rod will need loosening rather than tightening

Or

- as it is a one-way truss rod, there may have been a compression in the neck wood that the adjuster nut or the anchor plate bear against.  Sometimes this can't be fixed.  But often it can.  'Maxing out' the adjuster simply means that the adjuster has reached the end of the thread cut into the rod.  So the fix with washers, is simply to unscrew the adjuster, put a suitably sized washer or two over the rod and then put the adjuster back on.  The washers then bear up against the neck wood a couple of mm or so (however thick they are) sooner than the adjuster would have done, which gives the adjuster a few more turns before it bottoms against the end of the trussrod thread.  This is a pretty standard fix and a google should find you the size of washers you need (and I'm sure there will be many Youtube clips on how it works and how to do it).

However

- if there is a structural failure in the rod or the wood that the internal rod components bear against, then it would need a rod replacement or internal repair...which sometimes isn't possible and always isn't easy.  Let's put it this way - if it is a neck pocket based on Fender dimensions, it is usually cheaper and easier to fit a new neck.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Whereabouts in UK are you?  Have a peep at the 'sticky' post of 'Basschatters willing to help others' or some title like that.  There may be someone close to you who can have a look and give you a view what the issue is and how to fix it. 

 

Andy     

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Andy....I am in Kent, just down the road from Sims. They have had a really good look at it, twice now...way before the screwy weather we've had this year and then again after the 'builder' claimed to have fixed the problem for me earlier in the year...he hadn't.

 

It seems to be a couple of things with the neck so...Saddened that someone I trusted has decided to take advantage and also, take ZERO responsibility.

 

I will message you tomorrow.

 

A.

 

Edited by ADAM ROBERTS
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Well we all want to know the builder in question now of course ! Southern England based ? Understand if you can't give any clues.

But as an observation on this, a problem that appears after five years or so is imo unlikely to be resolved by legal means unless there were explicit undertakings originally.

BUT, if subsequent repair / maintenance work has been paid for and was not of reasonable quality / competence in the first place then there may be a legal / TSO route to resolve.

Edited by rmorris
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I should qualify the legal thing, sorry.

 

NOT the original build etc but the most recent visit, the assertion that the truss rod was fine and that he would fix it....Then took £90 off of me, caused me to incur 2 trips to London vs 1(another £60) and returned the bass to me in worse condition than before. 

 

I completely understand re the work prior/lifetime guarantee etc.

 

So yes, absolutely re the last paragraph! I do feel he 'used' me to pay a bill and made it awkward to collect because it suited him/payback.

 

Hasn't left a good taste in my mouth.

 

A.

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