Les Paul Action Higher After String Change

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Bluesful, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Hi All.

    Today I re-strung my Les Paul and I'm certain the action is now higher.

    I didn't re-string one string at a time as I took all the strings off to complete a fretboard clean, otherwise to keep tension on the neck I'd go a string at a time.

    Am I going crazy, or is it possible for the action to now be higher than what it was before the string change? For reference I didn't make any adjustments to the bridge or tailpiece.

    What do you guys think? The truss rod needs a tweak?
     
  2. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    Dumb question.... Did you put on a heavier gauge of strings?
     
  3. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I should have also specified that. No, same gauge as before.
     
  4. phazersonstun

    phazersonstun Member

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    Maybe your bridge wheels moved in the shuffle since all the strings were removed but I'd suspect either you used a heavier gauge or a different brand of the same gauge that put just a bit higher tension resulting in a little more pull on the neck.

    Probably just needs a minor truss rod tweak.
    In any event, give it a couple of days to settle.
    If it isn't where you want it, adjust the rod a smidge for less relief & give that time to settle before you think about tweaking anything else.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
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  5. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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  6. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Yes, I used the same gauge but a different brand. I had Ernie Balls on there (I think) and I've just put some Curt Mangans on there.

    So I should just leave it as is for now, come back in a few days and then tweak the rod if it's still high?
     
  7. phazersonstun

    phazersonstun Member

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    With my own guitars anytime there is a change of tension in the neck I give it time to settle. Lesson learned early on by a luthier buddy with way more skill in this regard than I have. Tweak right away & you'll usually come back to find things have shifted from where you set them over a day or two and need to be readjusted.

    It's wood. It's gonna move and settle a bit.
     
  8. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    That makes sense.

    If the action is still higher than what it was, am I looking to tighten or loosen the neck/rod?
     
  9. phazersonstun

    phazersonstun Member

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    With the headstock pointing towards you, turning to the right (tightening) will bring the middle of the board closer to the strings. Best to move in small increments (1/4 turn at a time) retune, give it a day a recheck.
     
  10. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    Don't tweak your truss rod unless you have a way to measure it. You're working in thousandths of an inch and you're only guessing that's the issue. And if you do need to tweak it, don't turn it more than 1/8 turn at a time. 1/4 turn is way too much.

    I think what's most likely going on is that your strings haven't settled. When they pass over the nut and the saddles, it's not a sharp angle. They curve over them which means the length of string between the nut and saddle is sitting higher. You can lightly push down on the string right next to both the nut and saddle to speed up that process of settling. And I do mean lightly. You're not trying to put a crease in it.

    I'd also suggest buying a small ruler that measures in 64ths and a set of feeler gauges. When your guitar is set they way you like it, take all the important measurements. That way, if you think something might be out of whack in the future, you can run through your measurements and know exactly what changed.
     
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  11. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    This is why I always measure relief and action. Going by feel can be subjective, measurements are not.

    Yes, new strings can change things, even the same brand/guage just because the neck is disturbed by the changing tension. I change one string at a time unless I need to clean the board, this lessens the change in tension.
     
  12. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the advice lads.

    It's been less than one day so far so I'll leave it another little while before tweaking anything.

    One thing thus far that leads me to think that the rod needs a tweak is that the neck feels a little different. I'm thinking the new strings have more tension and that the neck has bowed a little as a result, thus I may need to tighten the rod. But I'll wait and see.

    I like the advise around taking the measurements once the guitar is set up how I like it for future reference. Can anyone point me in the direction of the right tools I'll need to do this?
     
  13. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  14. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Thanks mate.

    I like the look of this tool over the ruler in your link for that fact that you can order it in a metric version. I've got no idea at all on the imperial system. May as well be French to me.
     
  15. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Another quick question lads:

    If I want to reduce tension, I can raise the tailpiece right?
     
  16. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    No. Tension is tension. If your G, say, is 30lb when tuned to pitch, it's 30lb regardless of anything else. Tension is a function of scale length and string characteristics, and that's it.

    What raising the tailpiece does is generate less frictional force against string movement over the saddle. When you bend that string, it stretches, and it moves over the saddle and nut. Higher downforce on the nut and saddle result in more frictional force resisting that movement.
     
  17. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    Install a TonePros Locking Bridge = Never have this problem again!
     
  18. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    So the higher the tailpiece the easier to bend?
     
  19. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah. The further you gotta go to get to a desired note, but less effort required to do so. Like the difference between, say, a wrapover bridge and something like a trapeze or Jazzmaster.
     
  20. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Cool, I'll make a minor tweak and see how it feels.
     

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