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Old 09-06-2009, 03:15 AM   #1
Scott01
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How to tell if the truss rod is broken....

Ok... so I bought a used bass from ebay. It sounded alright when I picked it up, and the guy was nice, there didn't seem to be any problems...

Then once I got it home, took all the parts off, cleaned them, got it looking brand new and then put it back together, I began to do a set up myself (as I usually do, without any problems).

I am not new to adjusting the truss rod, and I know that it is not a task that should be taken lightly, or forced.

With that said... This is my first bass with the truss rod adjustment at the base of the neck and not the headstock, I'm wondering whether this may be my point of confusion.

I have found on the Ernie Ball forums, a picture showing the directions for adjusting the truss rod, however, when I turn the wheel it seems very light (unlike the amount of force I had to use on ANY of my other basses).

If i press hard enough with my index finger I can rotate the truss rod adjustment wheel around without using any tools. I can also not see any noticeable changes in the bowing of the neck when I adjust the truss rod either. This is scaring the **** out of me.

In total I've probably rotated the nut/wheel about 200 degrees (1/2 turn) to try and give more relief/bowing but can't see any noticeable change. At the moment I'm a bit scared to take this any further.

The bass is a SUB5, and it has that Ernie Ball wheel to adjust the truss rod at the bass of the neck. Do these have a finer thread than usual, to allow for finer adjustment of the truss rod, or should it be stiff and only require 1/4 turn max like my jazz bass?

Is there a way I can check the truss rod is broken without taking the fretboard off??

I would have thought that if the truss rod broke, it would not be providing any tension against the strings, resulting in extreme bowing of the neck? My problem is that the neck is too straight, hardly any bowing at all... I don't understand.
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:57 AM   #2
CatfishJew
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take it to a shop. a 1/2 turn should've done something. can you still return it?
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:06 AM   #3
Scott01
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Well I bought it used through eBay...

The listing did not mention any faults at all, I went and picked up the item paying cash on pickup after I had won the auction, and the bloke said to ring him if I had any problems... so... I don't know.

I still don't know if its broken or what though....
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:18 AM   #4
Sablate McNuff
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Is it possible that it's just been loosened up all the way? Sometime sellers will do that to allow the wood to fluctuate as necessary through different parts of the country. Keep trying to turn it with light finger force and see if it become difficult to turn with your finger alone. In this case, it was just too loose.

Are you trying to loosen it or tighten it? I don't think the SUB line came with two-way adjustable truss rods, so if there's too much bow in the neck, you may be stuck.

If you're worried, take it into a shop. At the very least, you can just ask the tech there if he thinks there is something wrong.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:54 PM   #5
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I just had a go again... it seems there was a "soft" spot, after turning it so much it became firm again - what's up with that?

I thought that tightening the truss rod meant it increased the force against the string tension, i.e. straightened the neck? So if it was loosened right off, wouldn't it have had an incredibly bowed neck?


Anyway I got it set up the way I wanted, even if I don't understand how it got there, it is where I want it now. Thanks for the help, I'm very relieved now....
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:06 PM   #6
Simpleton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sablate McNuff View Post
Is it possible that it's just been loosened up all the way?
either this or its broken. a truss rod should have a fair amount of resistance when turning it.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:15 PM   #7
Sablate McNuff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott01 View Post
I just had a go again... it seems there was a "soft" spot, after turning it so much it became firm again - what's up with that?

I thought that tightening the truss rod meant it increased the force against the string tension, i.e. straightened the neck? So if it was loosened right off, wouldn't it have had an incredibly bowed neck?


Anyway I got it set up the way I wanted, even if I don't understand how it got there, it is where I want it now. Thanks for the help, I'm very relieved now....
Lay the bass down on its back with the frets facing upward. If the neck bend faces upward, it's called "relief." If downward, it's called "bow." Now that we've gotten general naming convention out of the way...

It depends on the neck's construction as to how much relief the strings will naturally cause with the truss rod completely loose. If you use a multi-piece neck with harder woods, it wont have as much relief to it. If you use lighter strings, it'll decrease the amount of relief in the neck. The neck could also have a natural bow to it, so the strings straighten it out.
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #8
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on my sub, i have the rod loosened all the way so that no resistance is added by the truss rod at all. i think you'd have to turn it a few turns for it to have any effect.

this is due to the fact that my neck needed the most relief it could get... i was at the point of drastic measures (like heating the neck and physically bending it) but apparently it's good for now. this is probably due to heavier strings, i used to go very light a few years back.
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