Does the string action/height change randomly?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Lucastambosi, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Lucastambosi

    Lucastambosi TDPRI Member

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    This may sound very stupid, but there we go.

    I have a beautiful Classic Series 60s Fender Telecaster that I got second-hand. Aparently the neck is pretty much straight although my local luthier said there's no room for the truss-rod to move anymore, so, if there's a relief sometime in the future, I may be screwed, right? Besides that, I've noticed the guitar action feels different from time to time. It really feels like sometimes the action is very high whereas sometimes it doesn't.

    Is this normal? Or is my neck really preparing to say goodbye and is already giving up? I've also noticed that the neck seems to be angled a little bit (towards the bridge). This could be the pickguard, right?
     
  2. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Holic

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    It’s not normal. Even accounting for humidity and temp variations, string height should stay pretty stable. Keep in mind you do want some relief, not a perfectly straight neck. Not sure what you mean about the neck being angled.
     
  3. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    My two perfectly good teles require adjustment twice a year at least. action goes high in the dry winter. when the humid summer comes the necks straighten out and the action gets real low.
    I like the neck as straight as it will go.
     
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  4. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    That doesn't sound good! Your action shouldn't change very much, even if you live in a place like I do with extreme seasonal humidity changes. If the humidity doesn't change much from season to season where you live, your neck shouldn't change much.
     
  5. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    It is probably the 'bow" or relief of the neck, these can change noticeably with changes in the weather depending on the guitar. If you fret low E at the first fret and with your right hand use your pinky to fret at the 20th, then with your index finger press on the string, make note of the amount of string movement. You will notice a difference when your action seems to change. There are tons of posts here on setup and adjusting truss rods. It is possible that there is no adjustment but it could also be improper adjustment.
     
  6. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Holic

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    Like Toadtele said you want some relief; flat neck may give rattles as strings vibrate in a sort of elliptical pattern.

    I think, through my dyslexia, that loosen truss rod will add relief so you should be ok.

    I've found on guitars there is a sweet spot. You can achieve the same string height by a number of ways but one will be more stable. None rocket science! As long as you don't over tighten and break truss rod all reversible.

    Telecasters are GREAT for learning how to set up guitars on! I started on acoustics cutting nuts and saddles! PITA!

    Check videos and Dan Erlewine from StewMac has a great book on electric guitar set up.

    TEX
     
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  7. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    well, my climate here is very similar to yours.
    I have a Telesonic. It cost $980 in about 1997.I played it as #1 for 20 years. It's a very nice guitar. I hoped that the neck would cure and stop doing it but it never has.
    Plus my old Tele Elite from the Early 1980's (sold) did it too, but less because it had a gloss finish on it.
    And the Newer Cabronita has even less finish on the neck,than the Telesonic, but the neck itself is somewhat thicker, so it moves a bit less.
     
  8. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The OP is from Brazil. ... May be some extreme humidity there. ??? Our rules may not apply ...
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Movement in the neck due to environmental situations will change action. If the neck bows back, the action will decrease. If the neck upbows, the action will increase. This is why Gibson started putting adjustable truss rods in the guitars a long time ago.
     
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  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Necks will move more in a humid environment than in a desert.

    When they move, how it affects the player is entirely subjective, and depends on playing style and preference. Similarly, IMO, setups are best done in the context of who's playing it.
     
  11. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

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    Not a stupid question

    Sounds to me like the Neck has too much of a forward Bow and your local luthier person tried to straighten the neck.
    Did he tell you that Truss Rod works perfectly fine?

    Are the Saddles almost touching the Bridge Plate? Because that's what happens over time
    the Neck Bows towards the Bridge and people keep lowering the Saddles and adjusting the truss rod until the saddles can
    no longer be lowered and the truss rod can't be tighten anymore. Then you are looking at using a neck shim at minimum.
     
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  12. Armo

    Armo Tele-Holic

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    Have you given shimming a thought?
     
  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Shimming is not a way to adjust action! (and neither is the truss rod...)

    Shimming should only be considered if, as Luthierz suggested, the saddles are either bottomed out with action still too high, or the opposite, action too low, and saddles teetering on their legs. This assumes the neck relief is properly set, which seems to be an open question here.

    So, in order, briefly, not full setup directions:
    - Set relief via truss rod
    - Set action via saddles

    Only then, if the saddles need more range of travel in a particular direction, is it time to consider a shim.


    In this case, if relief cannot be properly set, fix that issue first.
     
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  14. Lucastambosi

    Lucastambosi TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the comments! Yeah, I live in an area with lots of humidity. Probably that's the reason, since this neck configuration (7.1/4 radius and extra jumbo frets) is very new to what I I'm used to, so every subtle change is noticeable for me. It also doesn't help the stock saddles (threaded) have the worst kind of screws, being stiff and impossible to set them without removing the strings. I have some Compensated Wilkinson saddle on the way, though
     
  15. Lucastambosi

    Lucastambosi TDPRI Member

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    In the second photo, the small "angle" of the fretboard towards the pickguard can be seen
     

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  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yes the RELIEF of MOST necks will change according to changes in temperature and humidity .

    That's why....man created truss rod :)

    SOME necks don't move at all since it is a matter of neck rigidity that differs (very fat,qs,roasted,laminated,multi piece necks usually don't move at all no matter how drastically the climate changes)
     
  17. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Lucas, has your guitar tech tried some lubrication on the truss rod adjustment nut? If not, it needs to be backed off and have some lube....I like WD40 dripped in...applied. And...sometimes, one has to fashion a small washer to install between the adjustment nut and the ‘stopping ledge’ against which it fits. This can bring a truss Rod back into having an adjustment range to increase the back bow.
     
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  18. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    That is very odd. Did he slacken the strings before the adjustment? He may have meant
    at the time that adjusting anymore would not improve the action and would do the opposite.
     
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