Trussrod's driving me nuts


Senior Member
So I bought a Fender Jazz Bass. Right out of the box, there was a significant fret buzz on the e string. I followed all the best practices and added more relief to the truss rod (by turning it counter clockwise). Putting a capo on the first fret and pressing on the 16th fret, i got to approximately 0.5 millimeters at fret 9. After that, the fret buzz was gone on the lower frets but still prevalent on fret 12 upwards. Now, if I turn the truss rod further counter clockwise it loosens up completely (i.e. there's no more resistance from it) and it seems nothing is happening anymore when I try to add more relief. How do I get rid of my buzz then?

What's also interesting is that the action is quite high on the e string (about 4mm), even if i put the saddle almost all the way down.

I've never managed to feel even remotely comfortable with adjusting truss rods. Definitely my guitar nemesis...
I don’t like the idea of immediately adjusting relief to address fret buzz. It does sound like your geometry is off, the plane defined by the top of the frets should ideally be the same as the top of the saddles in their lowest position, e.g. when completely lowered the strings should be touching the frets. That’s where the shim comes in, you should be able to shim the bridge side of the heel to raise the fret plane.

Are you unable to re tighten the truss rod clockwise?

If it only gets tight in one direction, that’s a normal one way truss rod. If it has a loose middle and is tight in both directions, that’s two way. If you have back bow and a one way truss rod, that’s a bad day.
Does not sound normal to me. I'm wondering if the neck has a backbow. Can you find a straight edge somewhere? If so use it to verify that the fingerboard / frets are actually flat. You need to take the strings off and loosen the truss rod. If there are any humps or bumps in there, then It's a warranty issue.
Good points Mayfly and Hodgo. I have a straight edge at home and will try to see if it might be a bidirectional rod later tonight. If it's one directional + backbow, I guess there's only shimming left.
I've done two things to get rid of back bow:
1)remove the neck, loosen the truss rod, put it between two blocks and hang a 10 pound weight at the middle. Let it hang for a month.
2)remove the neck loosen the truss rod, and use clamps.
These'll give you some ideas.

If it fails, return the neck, or buy a new one.
If it is a new bass, don't start with trying to straighten it. Return it as a warranty issue. Unless it is a high-end Fender guitar such as a professional model, very few of them have biflex truss rods. Basses do not have them and the biflex is not actually a dual rod in any case.

OK - quick update. I adjusted the truss rod and action height again yesterday and got to a point where the buzz is gone and the action is just fine. However, the truss rod is right the point where it's getting lose - i.e. if I turn it just a hair counterclockwise it gets lose. The bass works and plays wonderfully but I'd expect better QA from Fender.
Yep what he said. Having said that, the neck might straighten out over time especially as there's no tension on the rod. BTW - any twist to the neck that you can see?

And if he neck turns into a hockey stick, the other alternative is to buy a warmoth J-bass neck :)
Nah, the neck is absolutely straight now. And it plays so great - hence, I am not returning it. Plus, I bought in Japan (hence, it would be a TON of stress go through the bureaucracy). I actually got the bass because it was love at first sight/note. Check it out here:

It's such a fun instrument, just look at the pickup configuration and the passive/active switch.
You got it in japan! Dude you are awesome! Leave the cover on! It adds to the awesomeness. Beautiful bass guitar.
You got it in japan! Dude you are awesome! Leave the cover on! It adds to the awesomeness. Beautiful bass guitar.
Man, I was with the Fender builder who showed me the wall of guitars he prototyped and it instantly caught my eye. I played a few other Jazz basses that day and this one just felt so perfect - all I thought was f*ck, this vacation will be at least a grand more expensive hahaha
And you were with the Builder! That is excellent. Anytime you buy something real nice overseas and you can bring it home safely, that's a victory. I'd be playing the heck out of that thing till I my wife got tired of it. LOL! Bass solos all night long, Babe.