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Hi guys,

I got my strat today and noticed its neck is a bit concave. I tried to adjust its truss rod but I couldn't because it was getting very hard to straighten it (turning clockwise). I had my strat adjusted during the winter but now I'm afraid the truss rod or the neck is screwed.

Have you ever had any experience like that? What did you do?
 

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Hows the humidity in the room? Should be around 40% plus or minus
 

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Not sure about your skill level/experience with adjusting guitars, but here's some advice. You should relieve some string pressure pulling the neck toward the front of the guitar before trying to adjust the truss rod, otherwise it'll be very hard to turn and you run the risk of breaking the truss rod. Apply some gentle backwards pressure to the headstock to release just enough string pull tension (that is, pull the head very carefully toward the rear of the guitar) to get the adjusting nut to move easily. Start by turning a bit counter clockwise to slacking it a bit so you can confirm it is not stuck and moves freely. Then adjust to get the neck relief you like. And make sur you are using the exact nut size Allen wrench for this guitar.

This applies to headstock-adjusting Strats, of course. Heel-adjusting Strats require that the neck be removed, so no string pressure problems there.
 
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Hi guys,

I got my strat today and noticed its neck is a bit concave. I tried to adjust its truss rod but I couldn't because it was getting very hard to straighten it (turning clockwise). I had my strat adjusted during the winter but now I'm afraid the truss rod or the neck is screwed.

Have you ever had any experience like that? What did you do?
Did you loosen the strings before you cranked on the truss rod?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not sure about your skill level/experience with adjusting guitars, but here's some advice. You should relieve some string pressure pulling the neck toward the front of the guitar before trying to adjust the truss rod, otherwise it'll be very hard to turn and you run the risk of breaking the truss rod. Apply some gentle backwards pressure to the headstock to release just enough string pull tension (that is, pull the head very carefully toward the rear of the guitar) to get the adjusting nut to move easily. Start by turning a bit counter clockwise to slacking it a bit so you can confirm it is not stuck and moves freely. Then adjust to get the neck relief you like. And make sur you are using the exact nut size Allen wrench for this guitar.

This applies to headstock-adjusting Strats, of course. Heel-adjusting Strats require that the neck be removed, so no string pressure problems there.
I'll try to do it. I haven't tried loose it first then straighten it. As I don't have a ruler to measure relief, I wonder what I could do to set it up properly.
 
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I would move it 1/4 turn, retune, then wait a day or two, then again until it's where you want it. Let it settle between the 1/4 turns.
 

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You could add one drop of lubricating/penetrating oil to the truss rod nut.

Then for the setup, no need to measure anything, if you follow this procedure.

With a straight neck, begin by setting the bridge height for frets 17-21(2) so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

Start with low E. Lower the bass side until it buzzes, raise until clear. Check A and D raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 16, increasing relief (loosening trussrod) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns, until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed.

Once you have acceptable relief, i.e. no buzz and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements, hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 17 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
 

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I'll try to do it. I haven't tried loose it first then straighten it. As I don't have a ruler to measure relief, I wonder what I could do to set it up properly.
Quick tip to set relief without special tools : capo up at first fret, then fret E string where the neck meets the body. This will cause the string to act as a straightedge, enabling you to actually measure relief. Check relief at the 7-9 fret. It should be about the thickness of a very thin pick. I use .012 inch on Strats and Teles, so all you need to buy is one pick that's around .012. Better yet, use automotive thickness gauges. 10$ a set, should serve you well for any number of jobs.
 

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i had an american standard strat not that long ago, i LOVED it. played great, sounded great, comfy, good looking.


but every time the weather changed, the neck would move. i found that i was adjusting it about every 2-3 months. it was like a wet noodle. i traded it for another guitar because of the neck. it was otherwise a wonderful instrument.
 

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Monster days at L&M this month. On the 10th you can bring it in for a free setup. I have never done it as I do my own setups but my brother in law has and seemed happy with the work, especially for free!

Just expect to wait a few days as I am sure they will be lots of people taking advantage of this.



  • Jun.10 - Guitar Setup Day
    Bring in your guitar. Buy a set of strings. Receive a free setup. Simple as that. One free setup per customer.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm always afraid of touching the truss rod specially on expensive guitars, because I won't have anyone to blame but myself!

I'll go to L&M this Saturday to take advantage of this deal.
 

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Had a setup done by L&M free as part of the purchase of the Squier Classic Vibe Tele. Was not a very good setup at all. You get what you pay for.

Later I took a setup course from a local luthier and could see what was wrong and we fixed all of that during the course. Other than fret leveling and crowning I feel comfortable doing all the other adjustments now. Just tweaked the CVT truss rod last week as strings were buzzing like mad, and sure enough the bow in the neck had flattened out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have my guitars set up at L&M and I should assume that I share the same frustration. However, I still don't know where the "cool kids" go to have their guitars nicely setup as I recently moved to Ottawa.
 
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What do you guys do (affordable way) to keep the humidity level acceptable?
I run humidifiers all winter. I have a gauge that shows the humidity.

This is the one I use. It's made by Bionaire. It holds 3.7 gallons of water in those 2 plastic tanks. There is a filter that soaks up the water and then a fan blows air on the filter. Filters only last about a month and cost $20+ tax. I run 2 of them because I heat with a wood stove. It is hard to keep my humidity above 40.

 
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