How Much Tension Is On A Bass Guitar Neck

How Much Tension Is On A Bass Guitar Neck? Bass Guitar Tension

How much tension is on a bass guitar neck? How much force is on a bass guitar neck? Are there any differences in the amount of tension per string of a bass guitar? How much tension is needed for a bass guitar to bend? When it comes to tension on bass guitar strings, there are really lots of questions that surround it, and these are just some of them.

Bass strings are normally larger than guitar strings, so it can be scary how much tension they can put on your bass guitar’s neck. That is why we are going to check out how much tension is really normal for a bass guitar neck.

So, what is tension? It is defined as the act of straining or stretching. Should you worry about tension on your bass guitar? Typically, you do not have to worry about tension, as it is normal to have stringed musical instruments like a bass guitar. 

Tuning up your bass guitar, the strings on it exert tension on its neck. After many years, this can distort the shape of the neck, especially if there are no adjustments done to it. Strings with heavier gauges are known to have a harder pull on the neck of any stringed instrument, so it is normal that as bass guitar strings have heavier gauges, they also pull a lot harder than other types of strings.

To compensate for all the tension that your bass guitar is getting, manufacturers place a truss rod on the bass guitar neck to keep it away from bowing. There are some times that the neck of a bass guitar can bow because of incorrect placement of the truss rod; however, there are also some instances that it can bow due to the humidity and temperature of the bass guitar’s environment. If this happens, the truss rod already needs to be adjusted.

What Is The Normal String Tension On A Bass Guitar?

When it comes to bass guitar strings, there is a normal amount of tension for them not to put too much stress on the neck. There is also an estimated amount of tension needed for the string to reach its certain pitch, and a huge factor that adds to that specific pitch is the thickness of the bass string.

In theory, when it comes to a set of medium to heavy gauge strings to be used in a 34-inch scale bass, it has an estimated amount of tension of about 260 pounds.

 For the E-string with a 0.0136 gauge, it has 69.925 pounds of tension; for the A-string with a 0.098 gauge, it has 66.299 pounds of tension; for the D-string with a 0.07 gauge, it has 60.621 pounds of tension; and for the G-string with a 0.053 gauge, it has 63.248 pounds of tension. Overall, it amounts to almost 260 pounds of tension.

If you use a set of lighter gauge bass strings, it has an estimated 150 up to 175 pounds of tension on the bass guitar’s neck. However, if you use heavy gauge strings on a six-string bass guitar, the amount of tension on the neck can go up to more than 300 pounds.

How Do Bass Guitars Are Able To Resist Bending With All The Existing Tension?

When you imagine the amount of tension that the bass guitar neck is experiencing all the time, you will always wonder why it does not bow or break easily. So, what is the reason behind all of this?

The first thing is that manufacturers use strong wood in making necks, as they are susceptible to damage. Woods used in making bass guitar necks are designed to bend rather than break, as flexibility is really important for this part. However, when the wood bends too much, you should also make some adjustments to it to avoid damaging it in the future.

The second thing is the truss rod. So, what is a truss rod? A truss rod’s job is to stabilize a stringed instrument’s neck against the tension of the strings. So for bass guitars, its truss rod is meant to stabilize the tension in the neck from the heavy gauge strings.

As wood tends to bow over time, it also will be very hard to play on a bass guitar with a bowed neck, as the strings are all pushed above the fingerboard, resulting in intonation problems. If you also do not make any adjustments to it, the neck can get damaged, which can be very costly to repair or even replace.

As a truss rod is a piece of metal that is anchored in the bass guitar, the tension on it counteracts the tension from the bass guitar strings. Usually, there is a nut attached at the bottom or top of the neck, which you can adjust to change the action of the bass guitar.

How To Adjust The Tension On Your Bass Guitar’s Neck

To adjust the tension on your bass guitar’s neck, you will need to have an Allen wrench with you. However, if you are not confident about doing this on your own, it would be better to bring your bass guitar to a guitar shop near you.

But if you insist on doing it on your own, you start to find the end of the truss rod. As I said, the truss rod can usually be found at the end of the bass guitar’s neck. When you see it, you can notice that there is an adjustment bolt into it. Get your Allen wrench and turn it counterclockwise if you want to tighten it and clockwise to loosen it.

So, how much tension is on a bass guitar neck? If you are using medium to heavy bass guitar string gauges, the tension usually goes up to 260 pounds. For lighter string gauges, it can go from 150 up to 175 pounds of tension. However, for a six-string bass guitar with heavy gauges, the tension can usually go more than 300 pounds.