#1
My bass teacher told me I had a back bow because of the tension on the neck because my action was high. So he lowered my action so my neck straightened out. Now I hate my action, its buzzing all over the place on the E string. It eventually got to the point were I couldnt take it anymore, so I heightend my e string again. Now I didnt make a very drastic heightend, buts it not buzzing as much anymore. How do I check my neck to see if the backbowed....or to tell if it bowed in any way. Pieple have explained to me before, but I dont know what Im looking for. Can some explain to me what and how to look for a bow in my neck?
#2
hahahaha your teachers a moron, the neck should have a slight bow too it, unless you know what your doing i wud never touch the truss rod. basically your looking for a tiny bow towards the strings, i wud get someone with exp to do it, and not ur teacher cough! moron cough!


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#5
Stand your bass upright on the floor like it was an upright bass. Look down from the headstock onto the fretboard. If the neck looks curved, it is bowed.

Kind of like this angle, but get your head as close to the headstock as possible.


This is what you are looking for:


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#7
i thought you also want the neck to look like it curves in towards the strings from the side of the neck too?
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#8
Quote by SnuffdaCrimDog
Incubus is that an example of a bass that has a bow or is that a bass that has a straight neck?


That is an example of where to look down the neck. It is a really bad example sorry. You can't see anything about the neck from that angle.


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#10
Just use a ruler. Stand even with the neck and put the ruler on the fretboard. Go all the way across the fretboard. That should show a bow either way.
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#11
Quote by SnuffdaCrimDog
So if Im looking from the head stock what am I looking for?


Your looking down the headstock at the fretboard. Meaning, put your head on or next to the headstock, and look at the bottom of the neck.

Its hard to explain without seeing someone else do it


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#12
Check your necks relief- Here is a simply way to check the relief in the neck if one doesn't have a straightedge handy... the instrument strung to pitch fret a string on the 1st fret and where the neck meets the body.


By fretting a string on 2 points we can then use the fretted string as a type of straightedge and get a visual as to how much relief is in the neck.


Measuring the gap between top of fret and bottom of string gives us an indication of how much relief is in the neck.

Now observe the space between the fretted string and the point of greatest relief...usually the 6th or 7th fret depending on the length of the neck. This gap can be measured with a feeler gauge if need be (you can place a capo on the first fret to free up one hand). If there is no gap, this is an indication that the neck is either dead flat or in a backward bow.
If the gap is substantial the truss rod may need to be tightened to reduce excess relief.

Determining the ideal relief The ideal relief for your instruments neck will depend on string gauge, playing style and the instrument itself. (I've probably said that like 3 times now ah?) So you're starting to get the idea that one size does not fit all and you can't take some arbitrary measurements and make them work for all instruments. But you gotta start some where...are we in the ballpark or way over the fence.
Light pickers, jazz musicians and the like may find .004/.006 gives the neck a very fast feel. The necks stiffness and willingness to flex can sometimes interfere with our desires though.
Those who have a moderate to heavy strum, like flappy extra light gauge strings, have a rounder f/b radius etc. may come to realize more relief (say .008-.012) may be necessary so that the strings can avoid buzzing.

Once you understand how and when to adjust a truss rod you will be able to make incremental adjustments to arrive at your ideal relief and keep the necks relief finely tweaked. Some necks will require more frequent adjustments than others.
Changes in string gauges (tension) and humidity create the need to readjust the instruments truss rod throughout the instruments lifetime.

Adjusting your truss rod Word of caution: While I do not feel adjusting a truss rod is rocket science you should be aware that a broken truss rod is very bad news and normally...a very expensive repair. On inexpensive instruments broken truss rods are usually the kiss of death unless the rod can be removed without removal of the fingerboard. I am not trying to scare anyone, understanding how a rod works can save you from a catastrophe.
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If possible...first practice on a yard sale special. Tighten and loosen the nut and watch how it effects the necks relief. While I can certainly offer players some knowledge and understanding what I can't give you is experience.
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You may wish to make a mark on the truss rod nut, when possible, so you can gauge your progress or return it to it's previous position if necessary.
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Use the correct size Allen wrench or socket so you don't damage the nut. Martin's and many other acoustic guitars with truss rod nuts beneath the f/b extension use a 5mm allen head wrench. Gibson's and others with a larger acorn style nut at the peghead use a 5/16" nut socket. Taylor uses a smaller 1/4" nut socket. Many Fender Electrics use a 1/8" allen head wrench.
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Always start by loosening the nut first. If it is already as tight as it will go and you try to tighten it some more...pow! Adious truss rod, hello heartache.
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Make adjustments in small increments. A quarter of a turn would be allot of adjustment for most instruments. If your neck has a tremendous amount of relief in it and there is very little change after a good deal of tightening you're probably better off getting some advice.
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Adjustments to the truss rod are normally made with the instrument tuned to pitch. Without full tension on an instrument you can not judge your progress or effect. An exception would be Gotoh's side adjuster. There are also instances where I will clamp the neck into a backbow before attempting to tightening the nut.
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If you encounter resistance, think twice about what you are about to do. It is so inexpensive to have a truss rod adjusted that it just doesn't pay to take a big risk.
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Relief should be evaluated after each adjustment. Some necks take time to settle.
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Dry threads should be lubricated to prevent seizure.


Typical Truss Rod Wrenches

And another word of caution: I can not tell you how many people have been given the impression that the truss rod is some magic action lowering "key", just turn it and the action gets lower. Unaware of its true function they starting turning the rod until the strings get closer to the fingerboard, many times placing the neck into a backbow. If an instruments truss rod is properly adjusted and the action is high, adjustments to the nut and saddle are in order. Continuing to tighten a truss rod after the neck is dead flat serves no purpose as the instrument will simply buzz as the strings vibrate against the hump in the center of the board that has been created by backbowing the neck.

An Over-tightened truss rod - When a good deal of force is necessary to tighten a truss rod or if a neck fails to respond when the truss rod is tightened, its time to stop and ask for help. Greatly overtightening the rod can cause damage to the neck. I have seen some necks that were cracked at the truss rods anchor points (normally in the 1st to 3rd fret area). You should also bear in mind that excessive force may also merely be driving the truss rod nut into the wood (compressing it). When sensible measures have been taken without response it makes no sense to keep cranking away. Regardless of ones personal inability to stop and ask for directions...I would highly advise it at this juncture!
#13
Applehead has explained this thoroughly. (you over-explainer. haha). for the price of a new set of strings, and around $25(us), my local store will do a pro set-up. it includes a truss rod adjustment. watch the tech if possible, there is alot to be learned. ask him any questions you have. most techs are very willing to help a buying customer. they want, and need, your business. support your local music shop.
#14
I don't even know if my truss rod need to be adjusted. I need to know if there any kinda of bow first, and I would like to be able to identify that myself and then take it to a tech.
#16
Am I missing something here? the guy said Back bowed that would mean a hump in the middle not a dip, lowering the action would just cause rattle.
Applehead has covered most issues the only area where I would do it different especialy on Bass is to release tension on the strings before tightening, I'm not happy with tightening a truss rod with bass strings up to tension.
But yes I hope the teacher knows his music better than his instrument.
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#17
Quote by ShowSomeLove
Incubus_SCIENCE has merely copied and pasted the information from this website...
http://fretnotguitarrepair.com/trussrods.htm
When copying copyrighted material you should credit the author.

Wtf??? I didn't copy any of that. My post was like 3 lines long, and that website was much longer.

I think you meant to say that Applehead copied it almost word-for-word, which is true.


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