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New neck not bowed enough with truss rod loose. What to do?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by DugT, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    367
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    I just got a new guitar and it seems slightly back bowed even though the truss rod is loose. Should I tighten the strings a half tone or a full tone for a few days to get a little more relief or would this be futile? The guitar is an MIJ Ibanez Prestige. The truss rod has been loose for a couple of days now and I haven't noticed any increase in relief.

    I want to lower the action but I get fret buzz at around the 8th fret. It is my understanding that with a little more relief, the 4th-6th frets will buzz and that is the ultimate relief setting. (After that relief is achieved the saddle should be raised so that the strings don't buzz anywhere.) The action now is good and acceptable but a little lower would be better.
     

  2. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Meister

    Age:
    43
    274
    May 23, 2018
    Idaho just the tip
    I’m having the same problem with an AllParts tele neck. Put heavier strings on. That helped a little. I accidentally left it on my back deck one afternoon and it got cooked pretty good. I noticed the strings loosened a bit. So I did it again the next day. The neck did move forward noticeably. Can’t be good for it. And I’m sure some on this forum would cringe. But it worked. I’m reluctant to advise it though.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.

  3. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Loosening a truss rod increases back bow (if you are using "backbow" correctly, meaning the middle of the neck is closer to the strings than the ends). Tightening a trussrod pulls the ends of the neck upward compared to the middle, which is what it sounds like you need. You don't loosen a trussrod to cure backbow, you tighten it.
     
    mistermikev likes this.

  4. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    I think you got that exactly backwards. I've always loosened a truss rod to increase forward bowing and it's always worked that way for me.

    I've had a couple of Squire necks that back bowed beyond correcting it with the truss rod. My solution was to tighten the strings to the point where i could see a perceptible forward bow around the 7th fret, and then leave the guitar standing up on the driver's seat of my car in the sun in July for about 4-6 hours with the windows rolled up. Then bring it in and let it cool off overnight with the strings still heavily tensioned. It worked both times I tried that, but remember, they were cheap Squiers and I wasn't too concerned about them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  5. jwp333

    jwp333 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    860
    Jul 17, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    Time will make it bend (Tony Rice/Cold on the shoulder). Loosen up the rod and check back with it in a month or so.
     
    8barlouie likes this.

  6. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 14, 2016
    not houston
    all the truss rods in all my guitars work exactly opposite of this.
     
    Steve Holt, boneyguy, dan1952 and 5 others like this.

  7. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 14, 2016
    not houston
    you might be able to fix it by:
    putting heavy guage strings on for awhile ir
    setting it between two chairs an putting a weight in the middle of the neck. be sure to check it alot.
     

  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Yup.

    You can set the neck up like this in a spare bathroom and run a hot shower in there. The combination of moist heat, and a load, can do things that no one thing can do.

    But I'd be thinking about using a heavier gauge of strings for the remaining life of the guitar, and no dropped tunings.
     

  9. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Holic

    660
    Jan 27, 2010
    south carolina
    Came up on this situation a few years ago. Went to the luthier and he looked at it for a while - "you're right - there's no more adjustment" he says. Then we are hemmin and hawing and I see the light bulb go off in his head - DOUBLE ACTING TRUSS ROD!!! we scream together.

    Do they still make these? It was an 80's guitar.
     
    Bootstrap likes this.

  10. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 15, 2006
    Berlin
    I haven't tried this ...so, you first :twisted:

    Standing-on-Fender-Neck.jpg
     

  11. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    367
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    Thanks for the replies. I like this guitar so I'm glad no one said that I should return it.

    The manual that came with the guitar explains adjusting the truss rod and this one isn't double action and it isn't installed upside down like Wayne Alexanders. :)

    The guitar just needs a litle more relief so I'm going to approach this conservatively, especially because it is a real nice guitar, at least by my standards. I don't want to do anything that might cause the neck to curve in a bad place. I think adding string tension is the safest and easiest thing to try so I will try that first. Here is my lightbulb idea. If I increase string tension I could see if the fretting out shifts closer to the nut and if that does allow lower action.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  12. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    They still make double acting truss rods and I've purchased two Musikraft necks in the last year, both with double acting truss rods. At this point, I wouldn't buy a new neck that didn't have a double acting truss rod, compound radius fingerboard, and stainless steel frets.
     
    Hyliandeity, Bootstrap and mgreene like this.

  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 30, 2011
    U.S.A.
    Can you give us an actual relief measurement, so we can better figure out what is going on for you?

    When you put a capo over the first fret, and hold the string down on the back side (pickup side) of the last fret, do you have any gap at all around the 5th to 7th fret...or does the string just lay in contact with those frets?

    In other words, do you actually have a back bow, or do you just assume that because of the buzz you're experiencing?

    What brand and gauge of strings are you using?

    Did you buy the guitar brand new?

    Are you positive that the truss rod is completely loose?

    If the situation truly is exactly as you described, and the guitar is new, then it needs to be returned, or a warranty claim made. Heavier strings would be the go to solution, but you shouldn't *have* to do that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    That is actually a correct and standard repair, though done in a more controlled fashion.
    You heat the neck in a prebent position a little past where you want it to end up, then leave it there to cool. Heating allows the fibers to slide into a different position, where they generally stay after they cool.
    OTOH if you heat it under string tension you have no control of how far it bows, so it may go way past the goal point. You lucked out!

    That said, a back bow has to sort of compress the fingerboard in length, with the other side if this concept being that necks with no truss rod that have up bow from string tension, can be straightened by pulling the frets in the bowed area and replacing them with wider/ thicker tang frets, which serve to lengthen the fingerboard and push the neck back into shape.

    This may sound strange but it was the standard method for straightening up bowed necks for decades before truss rods became common.

    One can also find a refret ends up with some back bow that wasn't there before if the tech glues the frets in with the neck in a slight back bow, the tangs plus the glue cannot compress as far as the wood alone squeezing the fret tangs.

    The simpler alternative here would be a simple fret level and crown if the back bow only amounts to a few thousandths of hump.
     
    Toadtele likes this.

  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    I have a Teisco Tulip I bought that had no strings on it and the truss rod cranked back. Thought I'd block it with a clamp to bow it into correct location (clamp in the middle with 2x4 from heel to headstock and tighten down, protective cauls and the nut off the truss rod of course) to sit for months periodically checking on it. No fix to it after months.

    So the next is to repeat the clamping but put it in the oven and heat soak it a while. I have been reluctant to do this.

    .
     

  16. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    367
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    The guitar is not back bowed. (I just corrected the title via edit.) I said it was slightly back bowed but I meant it just doesn't have quite as much bow as I think would be ideal.

    With a capo on the first fret the first and sixth strings held down past the last fret, the gap between the string and the top of the sixth fret is .030 inches and it is within the Ibanez spec.

    The strings are 10 gauge SIT.

    The truss rod is obviously completely loose.

    I don't think the guitar was sold as new but I bought it from a shop through Reverb and they have a seven day return policy. It is a 2017 guitar that was probably overstock. When I got it two days ago it looked new. Now it has some light scratches in the pickguard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  17. DugT

    DugT Tele-Meister

    367
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    I tightened the strings half a step and the neck didn't budge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  18. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    You have to tighten it more than half a step, maybe two whole steps. You might have to put 12s on it and tighten it up a couple whole steps, but at some point, it will bend forward.
     

  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Are you very experienced with setups? If not, take it to a trusted shop to get their take on the setup.

    Or just return it. There are lots of guitars floating about. If the shop agrees re: the truss rod/neck/relief/action, there's no reason to keep the guitar, unless you just want to have a project to tinker on.

    But it could just be a simple setup issue if you are not very experienced.
     

  20. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 30, 2011
    U.S.A.
    Ah, so it's *not* actually back bowed.

    Based on your relief measurement at the 6th fret, I'd say you have a relatively healthy front bow...which would make sense given that your truss rod is totally loose. 0.030" is more relief than normal. If that is Ibanez spec, then Ibanez spec is wrong (aren't their specs metric anyhow?) It should be from 0.010" to 0.020" using inches (0.3 to 0.5 mm using metric). In other words, you're working with 3x to 1.5x normal relief...which, again, makes sense given that your truss rod is completely loosened.

    In other words, relief has nothing to do with the fret buzz you are experiencing.

    I highly suggest that you take your guitar to be professionally set up, and have the frets checked for level. Have them leveled and dressed if necessary. Even high end guitars sometimes need that when brand new.
     

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