Richlite fretboard has failed me

CjRuckus

Member
Messages
887
Low actions are great however they do require a lot of care to remain low. Get a action gauge and monitor the height yourself. A lil quarter turn of the truss rod wouldn’t hurt though
 

dcburn

Silver Supporting Member
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2,731
Folks, I bought a Godin DS-1 guitar in March. When it arrived I had it professionally set up by a superb local luthier. Action was set nice and low which I like. This week, after the guitar sat on a stand for one week without being played, I picked it up and was shocked to see that I was getting a ton of fret buzz which I wasn’t getting for the last few months since I bought it. What changed? The humidity and temperature changed a little in my basement where I keep my guitars. The temperature fluctuated from about 16 Celsius (62.6 F) to 20 celcius (68 F) and the humidity fluctuated from about 45% to 57%. I’m working hard to try to minimize these fluctuations but I live in Toronto where we go from cold winters to hot and humid summers. At any rate, I was surprised to find the change in my guitar and can only conclude that the Richlite board does not expand/contract as the maple neck does. My guitar has not reverted back yet and I’m going to have to set it up again. I hope this isn’t a semi-annual exercise as seasons change. Anyone else have this problem?
I'm on the other side of Lake Ontario ands deal with the same weather conditions!
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
14,385
Folks, I bought a Godin DS-1 guitar in March. When it arrived I had it professionally set up by a superb local luthier. Action was set nice and low which I like. This week, after the guitar sat on a stand for one week without being played, I picked it up and was shocked to see that I was getting a ton of fret buzz which I wasn’t getting for the last few months since I bought it. What changed? The humidity and temperature changed a little in my basement where I keep my guitars. The temperature fluctuated from about 16 Celsius (62.6 F) to 20 celcius (68 F) and the humidity fluctuated from about 45% to 57%. I’m working hard to try to minimize these fluctuations but I live in Toronto where we go from cold winters to hot and humid summers. At any rate, I was surprised to find the change in my guitar and can only conclude that the Richlite board does not expand/contract as the maple neck does. My guitar has not reverted back yet and I’m going to have to set it up again. I hope this isn’t a semi-annual exercise as seasons change. Anyone else have this problem?

Huh. My guitars need adjustment depending on the season. The hardest part is finding the right wrench. Otherwise its a 30 second operation.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,316
Look up "Bimetal" it explains what can happen when a different material is used as a fingerboard.... I'm not saying that it DOES.. I'm saying it can...

A bimetal or thermostatic metal is a sheet or strip of two or more composite materials having different coefficients of linear thermal expansion bonded by riveting, brazing or welding. The material with the larger coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is considered as the active component, and that of smaller CTE is the passive component. The active component usually has alloys containing iron, manganese, nickel, or chrome in varying amounts. Whereas on the passive side, invar is often chosen, an iron-nickel alloy containing 36% nickel. Some bimetals include a third layer of copper or nickel in between the active and passive sides in order to increase thermal conductivity and decrease the material’s electrical resistivity [1, 2].
Maybe the whippersnappers around here haven't seen such a thing, but us oldsters remember seeing that curly thing inside a home thermostat. That there is a bimetallic strip and its movement is predictable enough to allow use to measure temperature, close or open an electrical connection when the temperature hits a certain point. Now they have solid state thingies that do the same job (they use dissimilar metals but the pairing generates a small voltage rather than moving).

The guitar I own that has the worst fret buzz at temperature extremes is my 1990 PRS Custom 24. I have played outdoor gigs when the temperature dropped at night, and the neck flattened so much the buzzing was nearly intolerable. This neck isn't richlite on maple, it is brazilian rosewood on whatever mahogany Paul was using back then (I assume the good stuff). It also has a small heel and probably a vintage truss rod. I'd guess any standard neck with such a length and construction would wave around a bit during temperature changes.
 

fitz

Member
Messages
2,897
I think passing the blame on a Richlite fingerboard is premature. First, it is only the fingerboard. I'd suspect normal changes due to temp/humidity first influencing the mahogany neck instead of a thin piece of fingerboard material. I'm in PA and we have the temperature swings & turning a truss rod and adjusting string height is common and really a part of my periodic string changes.
 

modernp

Member
Messages
3,295
If you're going to leave a guitar out in any basement, learn to adjust the truss rod. Also, click bait title :rotflmao
I keep all my guitars in an unfinished basement. I also use a big dehumidifier in the summer and a humidifier in the winter. No issues with the necks what so ever.
 

OotMagroot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,711
From my answer to a different thread (edited slightly to fit here better)

<warning - science below. Mojo free zone>

Hmmmm . . . the coefficient of expansion of Richlite in the X direction (length) is 5.2 micro inches (5.2 millionths of an inch) per degree per inch. So for a 20" fretboard (keeping the numbers simple!) the difference in overall length with a 100F degree temp change is .0104" or an even 1/100 of an inch. And that's for an entire 100 degree swing which hopefully a guitar will never be subjected to. A 25 degree swing would be 2.5 thousandths of an inch. I'm pretty sure that would be imperceptible IMO.

The coefficient of expansion of maple (for the neck) is 2.78 . . . so the difference with a 100 degree swing is 2.78 x 20 x 100 = 0.0056". The difference between the two is .0048 or about a 5 thousands of an inch. That's about the width of a human hair. I doubt that difference is twisting up a neck. I'm not doubting that it's happening - I just don't think that it's Richlite on maple.

A 100F degree temp swing is a ridiculous standard to be judged by and almost all materials show issues at this wide temp swing including wood. Guitars are usually built at ~72F and are generally kept somewhere near that number. Richlite doesn't shrink or swell with moisture unless you leave it submerged.

Maybe it's the fret slots? If they get moisture into them it can cause significant back bow. Or if the maple itself isn't sealed well . . . that can cause a neck to turn into a pretzel in short order.

Original thread - https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...es-achilles-heel.2202191/page-3#post-34898657

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Brutus

Member
Messages
3,836
I have a tele with a maple neck that reliably does this twice a year. No Richlite involved. Truss rod tweak, play it.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
30,113
Many years back I had a Robin guitar with the thinnest/widest neck I've ever owned (also split, Explorer style headstock, huge frets and a Mother of Pearl finish-it was not subtle). That would need truss rod tweaking twice a year as the action flattened in the summer and bowed in the winter. It happens and it's not a big deal. Does a richlite/maple neck make it worse? I'd guess not, I'd guess it's just that piece of maple that's more sensitive to humidity (which is FAR more important to wood than temperature) than some other necks.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,823
If you're going to leave a guitar out [on a stand] in any basement, learn to adjust the truss rod.

In my experience, leaving a guitar on a stand for that long, whether in a basement or not, is likely to have a negative effect that results in buzzing. Fenders are less susceptible but I never would have left my Godin or Gibsons on a stand that long.
 

Drew66

Member
Messages
877
So your guitar needs normal maintenance and somehow that is because of the richlite fretboard? Nah, I don't think so.
 




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