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Just noticed... Main tele has crooked neck!

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by itsa68, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. itsa68

    itsa68 Tele-Meister

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    Been doing more setup work these days; guitars, amps, simple circuits, all of it. Sat down with the guitar I learned to play on 10 years ago. It's been my only guitar until this year when I picked up a strat. Intention was to perfect the action and give it a general look over. I've always kept the action high and saddles tilted to maintain clarity during bends. My saddles always pulled down toward the E string and wanted to angle themselves, so I obliged. I remember seeing Joe Strummer's tele at the Rock and roll hall of fame and seeing his goofed up bridge, thinking to myself "must be relatively normal for telecasters!" (Was 16 or so at the time)

    Anyway, now that I'm finished with college and am a bit more level headed, I think "it really shouldn't pull so funky like that". Then I notice that the low E string is nearly off the neck. Uh oh - my neck bows up toward the player! Checked with a ruler, and the neck has a picked on top and rocks the ruler back and forth on the bottom. Go figure!

    So anyway, I'm thinking a new neck is in order. Gotta straighten the ole girl out. Original neck will probably be hung on the wall somewhere special. Anyway, didn't realize how attached I was to this instrument...

    I suppose the hunt begins!

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  2. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I would try tightening the truss rod just a touch to eliminate the backbow, then loosen the four mounting screws and give it a bump to line it up straight. Those two simple things may be all it needs.
     
  3. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You must have quite a grip!
    Sorry, about your baby.
     
  4. ThinLizzy73

    ThinLizzy73 TDPRI Member

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    You just need to give it the Fender neck reset. There are threads on here and at Strat-Talk on how to do this. But all it involves is a screw driver and a good wack.
     
  5. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't give up yet. First, jank your neck. The socket deign allows for the neck to kind of shift. You'll want to google how to do this, but the short story is: with strings at full tension, loosen each neck mount screw a quarter turn. Then (in your case) press the bass side of the neck near the headstock gently toward treble side, as if the mounting area were an axis. Hold in place while you re-tighten screws that quarter turn until snug. Tune up and see where you are at.

    Again, please google a more thorough explanation of this, it is commonplace on bolt on guitars.

    Second, swap that '6-hammer' bridge for a three barrel or a modern MIM type. The '6 hammer' is a notoriously touchy design. Get rid of it.

    Then all's well.
     
  6. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Nah, it's more likely just basic setup stuff. It's not uncommon at all for bolt-on necks to shift in the pocket, which causes the string alignment issue. And the backbow may or not be fixable with a truss rod adjustment (depending on just how out of whack it is, which is hard to determine from what the OP posted-is it twisted?).
     
  7. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    My Baja came like that. The... slightly loosen neck bolts, straighten with a push, then tighten.... took all of one minute to fix it.
     
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  8. overlock

    overlock Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll just add that your bridge saddles are probably off-axis because of the eccentricity inherent in that 6-saddle design, where the string crosses the saddle away from its centreline.
     
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  9. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Exactly! It's quite common and a very easy fix.

    backporchmusic's advice on replacing the notorious hammer saddle bridge with a 3-saddle bridge is spot on too.
     
  10. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    My Strat came like this (Hotrod 60's) and for what I paid for it and being new I kind of freaked out myself too! The neck simply shifted in shipment. I loosed the 4 screws in on the neck plate just a bit, then gave a small amount of pressure on the headstock, retighten the screws and all is well. This has been 2 years ago now and no issues. I agree, this seems to be a common issue for bolt on necks.
     
  11. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    Take your guitar to a decent repairman and pay to have it set up. The advice you're getting won't teach you how o do this work...
     
  12. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    This is literally the easiest possible adjustment to make to a bolt neck. Absolutely nothing to lose - back the screws off a quarter turn, push the neck from the low E side to see if it straightens up, easily seen by the strings centring over the fretboard. Re-tighten the same amount.
    OR - take it to a repair person, pay money, repair person follows exactly this process.
     
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  13. itsa68

    itsa68 Tele-Meister

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    I loosened the bolts last night and pushed the neck down a bit while my wife gently tightened the screws back. It did help a bit. Similarly, I loosened the bridge and allowed it to move a bit, which helped the alignment. I believe with a 3 saddle bridge (probably a Wilkensen compensated design), things will be just fine :)

    Thanks for all the responses - looks like this git is doing ok! :D
     
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  14. S00NERMAN

    S00NERMAN Tele-Meister

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    Fenders owners manuals contain most of the basic specs you need for a setup. A few specific tools from a luthier supply and you'll be setting up your own guitars like a pro. Tons of videos on youtube, some much better than others.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  15. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    It kind of look like you've worn the frets on the high strings down by the nut. Get someone who knows what they are doing to file them and your chords down there will sound way more enthusiastic! What happens is that the frets get worn down on the most important notes and this causes those notes to be quieter than their neighbors. You'll be so happy to have this minor job done.
     
  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    They will be (these 6 saddle vintage style bridges are HORIBBLE,they buzz and the saddles move constantly sideways and up and down).Your guitar will sound better and feel WAY more solid.
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I agree about the switch to the 3 barrel saddles and matching bridge. I'd get those things through Darren Riley in Raleigh, NC. Basic fender AV plate, 3 compensated Fender $ 19.95 saddles.

    You can read even more about the realignment by doing our Advanced Search and using "Walter W Chiropractic Neck Adjustment Trick". You might actually wanna take the neck off and clean the crud out of the pocket - looks like your saddles are setting up mighty low and some garbage in the pocket or on the underside of the heel can cause this.

    Nevertheless, it could be you do have some yaw in that neck despite all the discussion. I'd just keep playing it until the frets are done, and be on the lookout for another neck just in case.
     
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  18. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

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    You dont need a new neck.

    Follow the advice in this thread and you can fix yours easily.
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Also next time you change strings check that the bridge plate is tightly anchored
    and aligned. Then of course saddles aligned when new strings are put on and tuned.
     
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