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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have an old Frankencaster i made around 1990 that my nephew got when he was starting out and well finally back to me... A bit rough, but kinda cool to work on again.

Everything needing fixed is done, but the neck has a back bow. I loosened it up to where the truss rod end spins freely and straight edge still rocks. Tightened it back to where the nut's back on but didn't tighten it.

Maple squier neck, maple board, late '80s and built very nicely.

Any ideas? My only thought was to take the neck off, fretboard facing down put the neck on a flat solid surface with something in the middle like 1/4" cardboard or something and clamp the ends and leave it for a while? Force it to bow forward maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Its so close to flat... So hopefully that'll work, then take the strings off and do a levelling. Frets are good just needs a minor cleaning and setup, hint of levelling.
 

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Slap on a set of heavy gauge strings and put in a properly humidified room for a week or so
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So far so good. Had an old random pack of strings where I broke a string and grabbed one here, grabbed one there, etc... pretty heavy gauge. Loosened the nut right off and strung it up and over tuned a bit. Already bowed the opposite direction.

I'll leave it sit a week or two.

When time to remove the strings.... do I tighten the nut up a full turn, then remove the strings? 2 turns? no turns? etc...
 

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just hardly snug up nut adjustment .remove old strings

fresh strings , tune , tighten nut a bit afterwards ... wait .... detune , retune and adjust nut again (1/4 turn ) .... repeat till neck is about where you want it .

wait a few hours between adjustments to let the neck "set"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Barely snug it up?

My concern is, I do that, remove strings, few days later the neck is back bowed again and not enough to turn to loosen before it comes off again. That's why I thought a full turn maybe.

But, never had this before so no idea. Until now, I've always had it bowing forward not back. :) I like to learn, so, I'm glad to have the problem (as odd as that sounds). More glad it's not my guitar or an expensive one. :D
 

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loosening the nut allows the strings to pull the neck forward ( a larger string gap , neck bowed out )
tightening the nut pulls the neck back ( smaller distance from the strings )
you do it in 1/4 turn increments , wait a few hours for the neck to give either way , then adjust again.

just "snugging" the nut gives you a reference point to start from ( if it is loose to begin with right now). buy your standard choice of strings before removing the old ones .
you are putting new strings on ( same gauge you will be using as standard) right away.

later if you go with lighter / heavier strings, you may have to re-adjust the nut again to compensate if the neck bows again.
 

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the nut ( truss rod) pulls back against the set in the neck AND the tension of the strings .
the rod should be able to pull the strings close to the frets without buzzing any where along the fret board .
the closer the strings to the frets , the easier to play , but more likely the strings will buzz under hard playing .

most necks will hold their "set" long enough to change strings .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yup, I get how the loosen/tightening works for the truss rod... just never had to loosen it fully off and resort to strings to bend it. Usually 1/4 turn at most fixes it.

My thinking was that this was like a "reset". Loosen the strings until the neck is straight/flat, then the truss nut would be put back on mid-way so once the strings are off, the nut could go either direction in equal amounts.

But again, never done this before which is why I check online first. :D

So... after a day the neck is already bowed the opposite direction. How long do I leave it? I assume more than a day....
 

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some react quickly , others take days ... if you are now bowed out ( large string gap ) you can start the restring and nut tightening any time ...

I agree that it was probably "reset" from the original setting .

one of the reasons they don't include the hex key with guitars anymore .... too many people tweaking it and &*(*&^%$ ing up the necks .
 

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Put the heavey strings on, wait for the neck to flatten out out to where you have a small gap again and then snug up the truss rod. Don't leave without string tension. Your neck has probably been bent for a while. Going to take time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yup, heavy's were on, was bowed slightly forward and I tightened the rod up maybe 1/4 turn, released the strings and back bowed. Loosened the nut to see if would go flat but didn't then nut off again.

Strung it up again... this time just leaving it sit a week or two. Sat in a closet for years so, not an urgent project. Just decided to finally start on it hoping a quick fix and done because running outta guitar space. :D

Strung up, I can get it flat. But to level I need it flat without strings and with the nut off it's SO close, but definitely some rock back-and-forth with the notched straight edge.
 

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another infamous double post
 

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I would leave it for about a week to let it stabilize. My Luthier told me this trick a long time ago when my Epi Black Beauty had a twisted neck. He suggested I put the guitar in a humidified room 40-50% for at least a week or two. 2 weeks later neck was as straight as could be. As long as it stays humidified it wont move
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
When I took that Conestoga course, one guy had a warped acoustic guitar neck and was told to stick it in the case with a humidifier you get off amazon, and sure enough in 2 weeks neck was fine.

Where it is now is around the 50% mark so, I'll leave it be and move onto another one.

Bought a kit guitar, neck came cracked... they're sending another neck which has me worried because usually built as a pair for proper fitment (set neck) so fingers crossed. In any case, trying to get the pile of near finished projects done and outta the way so I can get working on that. Also building a new/proper work station once I find a decent used planer.
 

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I do not know if it could help.
To bow wood, boat crafters used to put wood in a warm high humidity room,
but this could harm the finish unless you wish to take it off before.
Maybe you could add an half inch block at twelfth fret between fretboard and strings.
Sometimes, weird remedies save a nice instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I do not know if it could help.
To bow wood, boat crafters used to put wood in a warm high humidity room,
but this could harm the finish unless you wish to take it off before.
Maybe you could add an half inch block at twelfth fret between fretboard and strings.
Sometimes, weird remedies save a nice instrument.
That's sorta what I was going to do before I posted... use a thin block in the middle of the neck. Instead of strings though, put a clamp on each end and tighten them up a little more each day. Maybe clamped to a 2x4 on the narrow edge of the wood to make sure its the neck bending more than the 2x4.
 
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