I can't get no relief!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Mars Rover, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Mars Rover

    Mars Rover Member

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    I’m not whining, I’m just perplexed. The guitar plays fine, the neck is dead straight, stable, with no other issues-and the action suits me. Truss rod works, but any tensioning results in back bow. I’ve had this late ‘70s Ibanez Studio since the late ‘90s and I’ve always left the truss nut loose or maybe just finger tight so it doesn’t rattle or back out. When I do a setup, it’s at about 90% of what I’d call ideal (I like some relief). Maybe the truss rod is too tight in the channel? It’s a slim 24-fret neck so I can’t imagine that it won’t bend. I tried leaving it sit with higher string tension and loose nut, heavier strings (use 10s normally) and helping it along by pressing on the middle of the neck - and yet it’s always straight. Any other ideas?
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  2. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Maybe a good luthier can heat press it?
     
  3. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I have a guitar like this. It use to really bug me. Then I stopped worrying about it.
     
  4. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

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    Apparently that is a very stable neck and balances dead straight with the strings you use. A typical truss rod can only add back bow, and that's what yours does. It works. If the action suits you, then just play it. Whenever the frets need leveled in the future just level without tension and then let the string tension add some relief.
     
  5. Mars Rover

    Mars Rover Member

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    Thanks. At one point I did think of "balance" then forgot about it. String height is low so maybe its just geometry-strings not really pulling up on the neck. I've also heard that frets can act like little wedges, causing resistance to a concave bend. I did plan to leave it alone if there are no quick and easy fixes.
     
  6. B. Howard

    B. Howard Silver Supporting Member

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    If you really need some relief it can be added with a level & crown job. Instead of starting your fret leveling with the FB dead flat put a few thousandths of an inch of back bow in it, about the same amount as the relief you want and then do the job. Now when you string it up you will be able to let the truss rod adjustment out a bit and create a bit of two way action from it. I must point out that this all comes out of the frets though, so the frets in the center of the scale will be that small bit lower than those at the ends. I do this type of thing in these circumstances on a somewhat regular basis and it works like a charm.
     
  7. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Check your relative humidity in the room; if lower than 40-50% (common in winter), and you store your guitars out of the case, then backbow can result if neck body shrinks more than fretboard does.
     
  8. mojah

    mojah Member

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    I've seen diy'ers do it with an iron on youtube. Mostly to straighten them out. I'd bring to a luthier and have him/her heat it esp if you really love the guitar.
     

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