Acoustic truss rod can't straighten the neck - can I fix it like this? - Telecaster Guitar Forum
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Old June 25th, 2013, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Acoustic truss rod can't straighten the neck - can I fix it like this?

I have watched Dan Erlewine's DVD on fret work and in one of his videos he says that if the truss rod can't straight the neck you can do the following:
  1. loosen the truss rod all the way
  2. bend the neck into a back bow, usually with some help, where one person holds the body and the other pushes on the neck
  3. tighten the truss rod while the neck is back bowed

He did this on an electric guitar, I am guessing it would work on an acoustic too. Has anyone else done this before? If so any tips on how best to hold the guitar.

The guitar is a Breedlove American Series OOO that I got new and I have been the only owner. I keep my guitars humidified and they are in the case when not in use. The truss rod is single action and accessed through the sound hole. This is my second time changing the strings and it is the same gauge 12s and I am not sure why the neck would react this way. The previous strings were 12s. Any help or advise would be much appreciated. Thanks you.


Last edited by dragonfly66; June 26th, 2013 at 09:03 PM.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is it now bowed forward (too much relief) or back (no relief)?
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Old June 26th, 2013, 01:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Is it now bowed forward (too much relief) or back (no relief)?
There is too much relief.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 01:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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warranty?
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Old June 26th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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warranty?
That's what I'd check first, absolutely the best route. Is it straight w/o strings?

I have bent Fender necks over my knee to help free up a truss rod that was 'stuck' in the channel a bit. I held it at the heel & below the headstock & gave it a serious bending, listening for the 'cracking' noise the rod made as it loosened from the channel. Not quite as weird as I make it sound...

I've also removed the truss rod nut, lubed the area lightly + added a washer to get a bit more 'pull' from a truss rod. These were single action rods. I did gain straightness.

I knew the feel of a truss rod when it's tight and these necks had too much 'relief' even w/o strings. Working on a truss rod can result in a wrecked neck if you are not careful or maybe a bit over ambitious. Bad enough with a Fender but at least you can replace the neck vs a glued in set-neck. I've worked on quite a few acoustics but rarely see them with too much relief.

If you are unsure about it have a guy who's worked on necks take a look. There is often a bit more 'coaxing' to be tried with a snug truss rod.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 03:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are humidifying now it probably means that it is too high (summer). You should only use a humidifier in the dry winter months. Get a $10 humidity meter for the room to see what your relative humidity is (probably higher than 60%). Humidity changes are usually not a warranty issue as the manufacturer has no control of how the guitar is kept. As you get the humidity down (dehumidifier) the neck will straighten itself out. Guitars usually like to be in the 50% relative humidity range.

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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Aria heated neck straightener?

http://www.ariaguitars.com/english/a...pport_neck.php

I do not know if they are still available. I don't think they were ever seen right-pond as I believe they don't like our supply voltage. Basically an electrically heated plate that clamps to the neck with a set of giant capos. You heat the neck to soften it, you clamp the clamps to bend it, and then let it cool
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Old June 26th, 2013, 09:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you are humidifying now it probably means that it is too high (summer). You should only use a humidifier in the dry winter months. Get a $10 humidity meter for the room to see what your relative humidity is (probably higher than 60%). Humidity changes are usually not a warranty issue as the manufacturer has no control of how the guitar is kept. As you get the humidity down (dehumidifier) the neck will straighten itself out. Guitars usually like to be in the 50% relative humidity range.

rbro
If your guitars are in the desert you humidify all year round I have a room that I humidify and it stays between 40-45%.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 09:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Stubee View Post
That's what I'd check first, absolutely the best route. Is it straight w/o strings?

I have bent Fender necks over my knee to help free up a truss rod that was 'stuck' in the channel a bit. I held it at the heel & below the headstock & gave it a serious bending, listening for the 'cracking' noise the rod made as it loosened from the channel. Not quite as weird as I make it sound...

I've also removed the truss rod nut, lubed the area lightly + added a washer to get a bit more 'pull' from a truss rod. These were single action rods. I did gain straightness.

I knew the feel of a truss rod when it's tight and these necks had too much 'relief' even w/o strings. Working on a truss rod can result in a wrecked neck if you are not careful or maybe a bit over ambitious. Bad enough with a Fender but at least you can replace the neck vs a glued in set-neck. I've worked on quite a few acoustics but rarely see them with too much relief.

If you are unsure about it have a guy who's worked on necks take a look. There is often a bit more 'coaxing' to be tried with a snug truss rod.

Talked to the guy I usually have take care of my guitars. He is 6 hours away. He said if the neck is really bowed forward with no tension then the truss rod is working too hard. Usually the neck is back bowed with no tension and mine still has a slight forward bow with no tension.

What I did is removed the truss rod nut and lubricated it. That helped it turn a little smoother, but obviously didn't change the state of the neck without tension. I braced the body of the guitar and applied some pressure to the neck at the nut to get the neck to back bow slightly and then tightened the truss rod. It was enough of a difference to help with the poor action, but the truss rod still cannot get the neck straight before it has tightened all the way.

I didn't add washers, because I don't see how to do that and I don't know what size to add. The truss rod is accessible in the sound hole. I'm guessing you would put the washers in the recessed hole where the rod is.

So something is wrong. I have a call into Breedlove, we'll see what they say. They don't have repair places around the US so if I need to send it back it will cost me a hefty amount because their cases are sooooo tall that they are in a different cost bracket than if I was shipping a Taylor acoustic. Of course they don't cover shipping even if it is warranty work.

It might be cheaper to have someone look at it than to send it back. Maybe some more "coaxing" can be done by someone who knows what they are doing.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 09:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jefrs View Post
Aria heated neck straightener?

http://www.ariaguitars.com/english/a...pport_neck.php

I do not know if they are still available. I don't think they were ever seen right-pond as I believe they don't like our supply voltage. Basically an electrically heated plate that clamps to the neck with a set of giant capos. You heat the neck to soften it, you clamp the clamps to bend it, and then let it cool
Something like this was done to my classical guitar which has no truss rod. The neck on the Breedlove isn't that bowed and I don't know if they do that process on guitars with truss rods.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 12:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dragonfly66 View Post

Talked to the guy I usually have take care of my guitars. He is 6 hours away. He said if the neck is really bowed forward with no tension then the truss rod is working too hard. Usually the neck is back bowed with no tension and mine still has a slight forward bow with no tension.

What I did is removed the truss rod nut and lubricated it. That helped it turn a little smoother, but obviously didn't change the state of the neck without tension. I braced the body of the guitar and applied some pressure to the neck at the nut to get the neck to back bow slightly and then tightened the truss rod. It was enough of a difference to help with the poor action, but the truss rod still cannot get the neck straight before it has tightened all the way.

I didn't add washers, because I don't see how to do that and I don't know what size to add. The truss rod is accessible in the sound hole. I'm guessing you would put the washers in the recessed hole where the rod is.

So something is wrong. I have a call into Breedlove, we'll see what they say. They don't have repair places around the US so if I need to send it back it will cost me a hefty amount because their cases are sooooo tall that they are in a different cost bracket than if I was shipping a Taylor acoustic. Of course they don't cover shipping even if it is warranty work.

It might be cheaper to have someone look at it than to send it back. Maybe some more "coaxing" can be done by someone who knows what they are doing.
You've done quite a bit there--in the right way--and though I don't know their warranty as original owner I'd talk to them before doing much else.

There are things like heat press etc but man, that is a 'new' guitar with an adjustable truss rod, shouldn't be doing it to ya.

The washers can give you some more rod torque in some cases but PITA with a neck block located rod.

Any chance the neck is bolted on in there like Taylor, Collings et al so maybe could replace it? Just thinking out loud...
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Old June 27th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The neck is bolt on.
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Old June 29th, 2013, 12:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dragonfly66 View Post
If your guitars are in the desert you humidify all year round I have a room that I humidify and it stays between 40-45%.
If you live in England the indoor humidity sticks around 35%-45% all year round, the Goldilocks zone.

What is an humidifier?
- it's a bit sticky today, RH has got up to 50%, I'm more concerned by the pollen count.

Neck hump on an acoustic can be where the entire neck has pulled in towards the bridge. Neck is fine but soundboard gets warped, scale length shortened, action raised. Not an easy one to fix, neck has to be 'knocked out' and reset, bridge moved.
I've got a beautiful old classical, astounding voice, this has happened to. I haven't had the heart or the nerve to operate on it yet but there is no-one else around here with the skill to do it. It has a full 'slipper heel' so it cannot be knocked out, the body is like an eggshell, I shall have to plane the fingerboard and fit a new bridge.

Other way to fix a warped neck is plane it flat and re-fret.
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