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I am finding my neck screws loosened

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Hey_you, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Holic

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    Last Dec I took a road trip with my Tele and Strat in their cases. When I got home I noticed the strings were higher off the frets. The neck looked bowed up. I adjusted the truss rod a bit till thing looked straight. The action still was a bit high I got thinking about the change and checked out the screws. Should had done that first. The 2 bottom screws were not even firm. The top outer screw was semi-firm. The inner was good. I checked the strat and it was the same. Both bottom not firm and the same for the top screws. Now the other day I again found one guitar that the screws backed off again. The Stratocaster I got 4 months ago. I checked all nuts, screws and knobs when I got it. Am I putting force on the neck causing this? Would seem the tops would loosen first. Truss rod do this? I never touched it before this last Dec. I've worked on cars most my life. I think I have a good idea what firm is as opposed to over-tightening/stripping. I used great force this time when I tightened the screws making sure they were tight. Any ideas? The room temp stays fairly constant. I run an air purifier that contains a humidifier. Stays 45- 50% in the room. Maybe it's poltergeist? Or is this a common maintenance issue?
     
  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    Gnomes. It's always the Gnomes.
     
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  3. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Holic

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    Well heck. That's probably why I couldn't figure it out. I always thought it was gremlins. I can deal with this! I'll log my online game ogre. I know where those gnomes live! /OOC "zone pull incoming!" Heh.
     
  4. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    String tension pulls the headstock towards the top of the guitar, so the top bolts can act like a pivot and force the down screws to unbolt the most.

    I’ve never ever had this on any bolt on neck. Now that you’ve tightened the screws, if they come loose again, they must be stripped somewhat, or even too large for the screws. In which case would try and put inserts.
     
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  5. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    Colorado to where?
    If I had to guess, I'd say weather/temperature difference. All the metal bits have expanded slightly.
    It's one of the most common topics on forums this time of year - Fret buzz - because the guitar was setup in the middle of summer, and the trussrod has contracted... Six months from now, it's what you're experiencing, because the setup was done in winter.
     
  6. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 Tele-Meister

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    Certainly not common. Since it is something you rarely check, these could have been working out gradually for years. I agree that environmental changes from the trip could have contributed to putting the condition over the top. Possibly even an extended ride in a nice bouncy vehicle did no favors for you. Since it happened to both, I would lean towards those two things or similar circumstance. Since you tightened them back down, and you appear can tell the difference between tight and stripped, you should be fine. I've made neck screws a regular part of my maintenance now, but rarely find anything. I think you'll be alright going forward. As EsquireBoy suggested, if they work loose again it would be easy enough to plug the holes and drill new.
     
  7. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Expansion/contraction of metal bits in weather coupled with vibration could certainly do it. Think about how much your fret sprout protrudes during climate changes.

    I've since moved to a colder dryer climate than the warm beach down south. I'm afraid to open some cases right now.
     
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  8. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That SCARE me !!! No Loose neck screws! BAD !!!

    72D83FFD-8C89-461D-8C5C-104D6E7A97BA.jpeg
     
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  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I would check the threaded holes, in the maple.

    I think they're in need of reinforcement. Some would drill out the bad area, plug it with new maple dowel, let the glue harden and then redrill - get yourself a firmer connection.
     
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  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    No.
    In fact it's the first time in my life I ever hear about something like that especially on TWO guitars simultaneously.
     
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  11. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Holic

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    The guitars traveled in molded cases. It was probably 2000 miles round trip. Yeah it was cold out. Central Colorado to Las Vegas,Nv. I let the guitars settle for a day at home before opening also. The Nashville Deluxe is around 2.5 yrs old. I bought it new. The Am Utlra Strat is 5 months new. It was the Telecaster I recently found the screws loose again. I pressed a lot of my weight while turning the screwdriver. Got those screws tight. None feel stripped at all. Thanks all for the reply. Scratching my head why this is occurring. Honestly tho, I have also found my locking tuner knob backed-off all the way a couple times. Weird.
     
  12. breadfreak

    breadfreak TDPRI Member

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    I wonder if the neck fits well in its pocket. If it is too tight around the sides it won't be making firm contact with the bottom of the pocket and you won't be tightening the screws down on something solid, they are bound to lose preload that way. Just a thought
     
  13. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I used to do a lot of shows and was very rough on my guitar, would check and maybe tighten neck screws a little fairly often just in case they had gotten really loose, usually would check every time I changed strings.

    Temp and humidity changes, moving around a lot while playing, and neck vibrato will do it.

    I broke the whole neck loose a couple times at shows, had maple grafted in, I’m a lot more gentle now. One time I tossed my guitar up in the air out of frustration and it broke the neck off. I didn’t want to go with the threaded inserts at the time, so I just stopped doing extreme neck vibrato once I realized that a repair will only hold up so well to abuse.

    I don’t think you need to be worried if they get a little bit loose. If you wrench them too tight down over and over they stop grabbing and lose the bite.

    It’s good to have a little flexibility for temp and humidity.
     
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  14. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Meister

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    Climate fluctuations in a short period of time can do wonders to wood. I worked at a cigar shop a long time ago in Tucson, Az. We sold a lot of high end humidors made of all kinds of exotic wood. Some cost more than a nice vintage Tele! Tucsons relative humidity can be as low as 10%. So we would get these beautifully crafted humidors from all over the place. I swear half of those cracked, tweaked, or warped, or bowed out in one way or another in a weak or so if we didn't let them slowly acclimate to their new environment. Wood is finicky! Lol! Just like people!
     
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  15. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    My fat fingers used to feather into Davidoffs and Michael Dixons, but now I just keep them in a ziplock bag. It’s that dang sodium chloride in a permeable membrane done changed the world!
     
  16. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Hope mine don't loosen. I just got them put in back in Nov and I don't want to have another surgery . . . Oh, you were talking about your guitar weren't you? :oops:
     
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