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American standard neck relief

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by JamesAM, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

    May 13, 2020
    Virginia, USA
    Hey guys,

    first time posting over here in the strat forum, but I’m wondering if any of you all might have a solution for me with a bowed neck.

    I bought a used 2008 American standard strat from a Sam ash shop on reverb and it sounds great (I used to have a 2012 but sold it years ago- I got the strat itch again so I picked this one up).

    Problem is, I put some new 10s on it and went to set it up- to compensate for the bigger gauge higher tension strings, I had to tighten the truss rod (fender bi-flex) as far as it’ll go and there’s still too much relief. It’s at about .020 at the 8th fret with a capo on the first fret and the last fret depressed, per fender procedures. This means I can’t get the action as low as I want it without buzzing at the higher frets - anything higher than the 12th fret buzzes or frets out.

    I usually set my low e’s action so that I can just slide a quarter between the 12th fret and the string, and a dime between the high e and the 12th fret. This is roughly 2mm and 1.6mm respectively, but I’m slightly higher than that now and it’s kind of bugging me. It’s not much higher, but high enough to be annoying.

    The neck looks straight and doesn’t appear warped- it just looks like the truss rod doesn’t have enough thread to tighten the neck for 10s (which if you ask me is crazy). So here’s where I’m respectfully looking for help from the experts: I was going to loosen the truss rod all the way, clamp the neck to a 2x4 at both ends with a small block at around the 8th fret, and leave the slightly backbowed neck in my hot car for a week or so to let it acclimate.

    I’ve seen videos of folks doing something similar with a table and heat lamps (or a clothes iron and metal bar) so I figured this is the same principle but without the possibility of scorching and with the added wood shaping power of humidity.

    Does anyone have any experience straightening a bowed neck using a similar method- clamping and heat? If so, what did you do, and did it take permanently?
  2. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 9, 2010
    no expert here but I think I might try loosing the nut, clamping it like you said into slight back bow, then tighten the rod and see what happens before I put it in the car etc.
    JamesAM likes this.
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