truss rod/ relief question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by maravich, Aug 14, 2005.


  1. maravich

    maravich Member

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    hi!
    i tightened the truss rod of my guitar until it wouldn't budge anymore and i still can't get the relief down to .010.
    is there something wrong with the truss rod? thanks!
     
  2. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    It's pretty much impossible to know without seeing it. A truss rod should be able to give your neck some backbow if you turn it all the way (although this isn't recommended). It could be that the threads are gummed up or siezing around the truss rod nut. See if you can back out the nut and drop a touch of oil onto the threads and then carefully go at it again. If that doesn't work you don't want to force it and risk breaking the rod, compressing the wood around the nut or stripping the threads. On some models the wood near the truss rod nut gets compressedand you run out of threads so maybe a washer might take up the slack and give you more threads to let you adjust the rod tighter. If that doesn't make sense, you might want to do yourself a favor and have a good luthier/repairman take a look at it.
     
  3. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    did you wait at least 24 hours for the wood to settle?...
     
  4. maravich

    maravich Member

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    how do i back the truss rod nut out?
    i didnt wait for the wood to settle. i gave the rod half a turn and was surprised that the rod wouldnt go any further.
    i checked this morning and the relief is still the same.
    the neck has a locking nut. could the deeper truss rod placement have anything to do with it? thanks!
     
  5. maravich

    maravich Member

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    i use a .010 gauge set.
    i dont have a feeler gauge, i just use a business card. pretty crude. i could fit two business cards between the botton of the low e and the top of the 8th fret.

    i'll try to crank the rod again.
     
  6. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    Well, this only works if your truss rod has a nut at the end. Do you use an allen wrench or a nut driver to tighten it?

    As for stripping the threads, I have seen a number of student guitars with messed up truss rod threads and nuts. They must not do the best job at heat treating. I've seen a few broken truss rods too, not enough to say that it's a common occurrence, but it has been known to happen when you get all gorilla on an instrument.
     
  7. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    You've recieved some good advice .One of my pet peeves is:
    When asking advise on an instrument of any kind,or guitar amplifier,don't you think you would get much better help if you stated the brand and type of instrument your talking about.
    I doubt you would walk into a tire store and ask for tires for a car.
     
  8. dcooper

    dcooper Member

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    I don't know where your measuring your relief at but if you have to much or not enough and the rod is hard to turn any more do not do it

    take the guitar to some one who knows what there doing

    if you break the rod , you will not like the price to fix it


    again do not try to tighten it any more, truss rods turn real easy a quarter turn is alot
     
  9. maravich

    maravich Member

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    i use an allen wrench to tighten the truss rod.
    i did use some force. it gave a "squeak" while i was turning it.
    i may take it to a tech. my only concern right now is, did i break anything?

    thanks guys!
    :)
     
  10. maravich

    maravich Member

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    sorry, but i didn't think brand was relevant. i'm not buying tires, i'm asking how to change a flat.
     
  11. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Different guitars different rods, single action dual action ...
    also an electric guitar will have adjustable saddle height.
    a bolt on neck will have the ability to use a "shim"
    So make and model are actually helpful to have for this type of stuff.
     
  12. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    True but changing a flat on a Mercedes is different than changing a tire on a Chevette.
    Why not make it easy for those your asking help from to answer your question.With your limited knowledge I would get help from a tech.If you choose not to you can back the nut all the way off the rod and inspect things.A drop of oil may help,if the wood is compressed under the truss rod nut a washer of the proper size may help.Some nuts are aluminum and strip out easily,some are brass and still strip out easily,some are hardened steel and hold up well to a fair amount of pressure.I could more easily answer this if I knew what kind of guitar we are talking about:)
     
  13. maravich

    maravich Member

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    ok, my guitar is an MIJ fotoflame strat with a floyd bridge. it has a single action truss rod, i guess. i know about the single, bi-flex, truss rods,etc .
    i was thinking that things were assumed standard unless specified otherwise. sorry. :) i just didnt want to mention brands because you guys might laugh at my crap gear. :eek:

    how do i back the nut out? do i just lossen it all the way? thanks!
     
  14. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    can you lower the action at all by lowering your saddles first, i believe that is possible on a floyd right?
    personally I don't laugh at people's gear .. although I had a floyd rose bridge once and boy it was the toughest thing to work with :(
     
  15. maravich

    maravich Member

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    i can't lower the saddles individually. action adjustments on my floyd bridge can only be made by adjusting the two pivot posts.
    when i press the 6th string at 1st and the last fret, doesnt that effectively make the string a straight edge? will action affect the relief measurement?
     
  16. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    No, bridge height will not affect relief, and you shouldn't adjust one to try to cure a problem with the other. This is exactly how most guitars come to me for a set-up - too much relief (because the owner doesn't know or is too nervous to adjust the truss rod) so the action is high in the middle of the neck, and choking at the top of the board because they've lowered the bridge instead to 'lower the action'. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    The bridge should be no lower than will allow bends in the high registers (12th fret and above) to sound cleanly without choking. Exactly how low this should be depends on how far you bend, and your playing attack, but it's completely independent of the relief, and the neck is not affected by the truss rod that far up anyway.

    If you're not sure whether the rod will tighten further, try taking the strings off, deliberately back-bowing the neck by hand (it's often easiest to lightly clamp the guitar body to the bench), and tighten the rod like that - if it still won't go, you may have run out of thread, in which case it will need a washer. But don't be afraid of trying to turn it - I have seen a few stripped truss-rods too, but only on really crap guitars. I've never stripped or broken one while adjusting it on any decent guitar with a rod in good condition.

    A MIJ Strat is not a crap guitar BTW :).
     
  17. Mike Hansen

    Mike Hansen Member

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    Yes, assuming the frets are leveled properly. The action should not be adjusted by the relief. They are two different adjustments. Adjust your relief first, then set up the action to taste.
     
  18. maravich

    maravich Member

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    john,

    it's not a hi-$ guitar but i like it. thanks for the assurance!

    i'll give the manual back-bowing a shot. thank you for the tip!
    :)

    mike,

    thanks for your reply! :)
     
  19. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Gene Baker once told me that the truss rod nuts on Gibson guitars are designed to strip the threads out if too much force is used to tighten the rod. If too much torque is applied, this saves the rod from snapping because the nut threads will strip before enough force can be applied to snap the rod. If the threads strip, the nut costs only a few cents to replace; whereas replacing the rod costs considerably more.

    littlemoon
     
  20. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Any time I have a guitar I have never adjusted before I always loosen the truss rod before I tighten it. I do this for 2 reasons, the truss rod might already be maxed out and I since the rod might not have been moved for sometime I would rather loosen the rod (help to break up any possible corrosion) then tighten it. By working the truss rod back and forth a bit 1/4 turns one direction then another you will help to free the two components. It's like anything mechanical, if it sits for a long time it has a tendancy to get a little sticky.

    I usually check the relief by pressing on the 12th fret and the first fret, some people press where the neck joins the body on the bass string side (15th or 17th). The 21st or 22nd fret is too far away and you probably showing more relief then you really have. I just read something about truss rods in the Gibson manual, they state the truss rod adjustments are only effective between the 1st and 12th frets, after that the truss rod no longer does anything to the neck.
     

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