String tension on or off while adjusting truss rod? Loosen before tightening?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Titebond, Jul 22, 2021 at 12:02 AM.

  1. Titebond

    Titebond TDPRI Member

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    I just got a Squier CV BSB Tele through a local listing. I used a notched straightedge and noticed the neck wasn't straight so I went and adjusted the truss rod. I did this under full string tension but detuned the D string to move it out of the way. After a 1/8th turn and tuning to pitch it still wasn't as straight as I liked it to be so I gave it another 1/8th turn. Should I have taken all or most of the string tension off first before adjusting the truss rod? Do I need to loosen the truss rod first before tightening it? I've heard people say this will decrease the likelihood of breaking it.
     
  2. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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  3. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 TDPRI Member

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    You’re on the right track. Small increments is the way to go. If you feel a lot of resistance, stop and seek professional help.
     
  4. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    No, just adjust.
     
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  5. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think that's a good idea if it's a guitar you're not familiar with. But once you know what's normal for that truss rod (how tight or loose the nut feels when you turn it), it probably isn't necessary.
     
  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    There’s theoretically correct and practical. I loosen the strings of guitars with the truss rod adjustment at the heel of the neck so I can raise the neck to access the adjustment. I leave strings under tension where the adjustment is at the headstock. Have patience. Sometimes the neck doesn’t fully respond right away. Make an 1/8 turn adjustment and play for an hour or so and check again. You don’t want to induce a back bow in an effort to flatten the relief.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 10:50 AM
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  7. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    I've never loosened the strings first on guitars where I have access. Obviously for some with heel access you need to unscrew the neck first.

    It takes a while to settle into shape. Some folks are saying wait an hour, but I usually don't get back to it until the next day.
     
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  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    It depends a lot on the guitar - some you have to loosen or remove strings to access the adjuster (and I hate necks that you have to remove completely). However you do it bring the strings up to tension when you take the measurements.
     
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  9. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    I'm a little more conservative when I adjust a truss rod, especially if I'm tightening the adjuster in order to decrease the relief.

    I always take most of the string tension off before I make the adjustment.

    This takes the strain off the truss-rod hardware - which is sometimes made from softer metals like brass.

    It just takes a minute, and prevents any premature failing of parts ;).

    Once the adjustment is made, tune back up to pitch and re-measure.



    When I can, I also like to double-check the relief measurement the next day or 24 hours later.

    Some necks are stiffer than others and it's not unusual for them to take a little time to settle in to their true resting point ;).

    .
     
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