Problems with truss rod
So a few days ago, I changed the strings on my Squire VM Jazz 77 and noticed the action was quite high. The first thing I did was look at my neck and noticed it was bent forward enough to lift the action. So I proceed to put a wrench inside and as I turned, it was VERY loose. No effort to move it. So after a few tries, I noticed it didn't move the neck. Any advice?
Sounds like your rod is gooched. Take it to a pro. Never tighten the rod without loosening the strings first.
Turn the nut until tension is felt. Then turn the nut until the relief is correct.
Report the results.
First something has changed, what is it?. The Squiers' come with .040 - .100 gauge from the factory. Most strings you grab off the store shelf are going to be medium.045- .105: it just the most common gauge so stores stock them. They have more tension than factory. That increases relief. Check what gauge you purchased. My 70's VMJ neck is very easy to tighten when needed; it's a beautiful neck. (Gassing for a black '77 here.)
Second, is this the first time you've changed strings? If so, it's unlikely your rod is shot. More likely the light gauge factory strings just weren't pulling much relief on the neck.
Third. When you tighten the nut, strings to pitch or not, the wood at the nut end anchor and heel anchor can crush as the neck is trying to adjust. "Pre stress" the neck: Grab the head and put the heel against your knee bend the neck back and then tighten the nut. This takes the pressure off the nut anchor and wood: when you release, the nut settles into the wood. The rod can hold your adjustment but it's bad practice to use it to MAKE the adjustment. Loosening it you do not have to worry about "pre stressing". Using this method to tighten the nut, you do not have to loosen your strings. You never need to de-tune to add relief. Just nonsense.
Yea its fine to adjust the truss with strings to pitch. Quite likely that there was no tension on the neck if this is the first time you changed the strings. Or if you just changed string brands then it is a common symptom of different tension.
If i read (and re-read) 96tbirds 3rd step I think he means the nut (bolt head of the truss rod) not the nut (String spacer) at the headstock. As a professional luthier I would not recommend that you pre stress the neck. The wood should not crush unless it is completely torqued down already. The truss rod is not designed to settle into the wood, this is odd information. The rod is there to provide counter tension to the direction of string pull.
Old truss rods are for the most part one piece of metal with an anchor and on the other end threaded with a bolt. New truss rods are two pieces of metal one fixed and one that moves connected to a similar anchor (cam) providing relief in one or two direction depending on the style rod. Settling does occur but that is tension of the strings and the neck in its entirety, nothing to do with a truss rod crushing wood. Now many times we hear a crack when first turning a rod all the way around. Metal kept in one position inside what should be a tight slot will kinda stick "settled" in a spot but its not crushing wood. If that were the case we would all feel a bump when adjusting the neck having a detent where our necks were adjusted. I have heard that the cracking sound is also a symptom of glue that got in the slot that breaks off the metal rod when flexing.
There are many threads on adjusting your truss rod. If you still don't feel comfortable, find a local guitar guy, it will be cheap.
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