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  • Truss Rod issue.

    Chaps- got a '04 fender TL-52(US) tele (52 Reissue, CIJ). I go to adjust truss rod a 1/4 turn as it needs a bit of relief ideally/ almost perfectly straight as it is.. but turning the X in the heel left feels like Im just undoing a nut/ IE there is no tension as soon as I turn past a fraction (like undoing a lid: its tight, then twist to undo/ tension releases). The neck hasn't relieved at all its still straight, and the X Ive just done back up to just where I feel the tension starts.. which is prob only 1/8 from where it was, neck hasnt done a thing. Pretty buzzy strings all over the place.

    How do I get relief in this neck? thanks SC

  • #2
    Well, I'm no "expert" but what I'd do is back it off 1/2 turn, don't worry about whether it feels like it has tension or not. Put the neck back on (adjustment is at the body, right?) Tune it up to pitch, or even a little higher and let it sit a couple of days. See what happens.
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    • #3
      Sometimes it takes awhile for the neck to relax. Loosen it as much as possible, tune it up and check it again tomorrow. Some teles and strats had a pretty uber neck profile too and so may not stress enough if you use light gauge strings. When light strings and super fast licks were all the rage I had a Carvin DC400 (with the Floyd licensed trem, ebony finger board, etc. Big hair and spandex optional ) the relief was always a smidge shallow even with no truss tension. I just left the truss nut very lightly snugged in place so it wasn't purely loose. So it happens. This was a neck through guitar so there was no neck replacement option. The "correct" fix is to clamp the neck into a concave bow and apply heat for a long time. Sometimes it takes and stays. Sometimes it only stays corrected for a limited time.
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      • #4
        I would be tempted to try tightening the rod to see if the neck relief gets worse. Then at least you will know that the rod is actually working and is not stuck or glued in.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 52 Bill View Post
          I would be tempted to try tightening the rod to see if the neck relief gets worse. Then at least you will know that the rod is actually working and is not stuck or glued in.

          10-46 strings so nothing too forceful on. Neck before I tweaked had 0.10 gap (10th), undoing a whole 1/4 turn only made for 0.15 you see.. so its done something, but not enough a 1/4 turn should, & hasnt 'settled' after 2 days either.

          I will try 52 Bills's idea. Thanks SC

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dmartn149 View Post
            Well, I'm no "expert" but what I'd do is back it off 1/2 turn, don't worry about whether it feels like it has tension or not. Put the neck back on (adjustment is at the body, right?) Tune it up to pitch, or even a little higher and let it sit a couple of days. See what happens.
            Actually adjustment is at body/ heel, but can do with neck on (a royal pita- teles = design perfection/ simpicity to a T?! mmm) by lifting neck p/u out: 1st I had to undo control plate & feed wiring thru, as not enough room to get to the 'X' over the p/u even screwing it down as far as (honestly this is ridiculous) to just squeeze a long s'driver to the neck heel 'X' under the p/u.

            I dont want to have to do this more than once ever again. Stupid design.

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            • #7
              Might it be a double action truss rod, ie screw 'out' to add relief as well as screw in to remove excessive relief? My hypothesis being that if so, its 'as found' condition described in post #1 being 'screwed out' to add relief.
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              • #8
                God I hope not that sounds horrendous. Thankfully I know a tele collector nearby who will know (has about 7 US & Japan teles & knows such minutiae as the correct dome to the knobs for each), but more a collector than player afaict hence asking here 1st.

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                • #9
                  Actually adjustment is at body/ heel, but can do with neck on (a royal pita- teles = design perfection/ simpicity to a T?! mmm) by lifting neck p/u out: 1st I had to undo control plate & feed wiring thru, as not enough room to get to the 'X' over the p/u even screwing it down as far as (honestly this is ridiculous) to just squeeze a long s'driver to the neck heel 'X' under the p/u.

                  I dont want to have to do this more than once ever again. Stupid design.
                  So just slack off the strings and remove 4 big screws to get the neck off.
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                  • #10
                    Ideally, you'd want the relief to work with whatever string set you choose. If that can't be done without heroic measures (e.g., inducing up-bow, applying heat), you might try simply compromising a variable or two. How much of an increase in action can you stand? If you want to keep the bendability of the high strings, but can handle a little more stiffness in the low end, there are "light top, heavy bottom" sets, like the D'Addario EXL-140s that go from .010" to .052": that slight increase in tension might be what's needed to pull a little more relief into the neck.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dmartn149 View Post
                      So just slack off the strings and remove 4 big screws to get the neck off.
                      And if you put a capo on the strings before you pull the neck off, the strings will stay in the tuners and not get tangled up.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 52 Bill View Post
                        And if you put a capo on the strings before you pull the neck off, the strings will stay in the tuners and not get tangled up.
                        Ok good point thats what I'll do from now on. I need to add a shim anyway as the brass saddles Ive had to sand E's down make the whole strings sit too low in the bridge cradle thing I keep knocking the pick on the side wall- irritating (the neck is very slightly tilted 'down' to the bridge.. sigh). I therefore need a wedge shaped shim ideally- not the easiest thing to consider making at all as it needs a precise wedge (not just 2 cutouts of a fag packet).

                        I had thought these japan fenders were really well built.. & on 1st inspection they are, but the more I get to know it the more fairly important things I spot are not quite up to par, or up to the std of the US fenders Ive had- but I guess not altogether surprising.

                        How much convex RH tightening is a normal max for standard fender tele neck? not that I'll want to do to max, I'm just wondering if I were to turn a 1/4 RH as you suggested 1st, if Im nearing its tension limit, or a way to go still as it were.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jason Rodgers View Post
                          Ideally, you'd want the relief to work with whatever string set you choose. If that can't be done without heroic measures (e.g., inducing up-bow, applying heat), you might try simply compromising a variable or two. How much of an increase in action can you stand? If you want to keep the bendability of the high strings, but can handle a little more stiffness in the low end, there are "light top, heavy bottom" sets, like the D'Addario EXL-140s that go from .010" to .052": that slight increase in tension might be what's needed to pull a little more relief into the neck.
                          Good idea I'll bear in mind- didnt know there were mixed guage strings. Im so used to my XL 10-46 Ive rarely bought anything else in 20 yrs.

                          I took neck off (added a shim- amazing just one thickness of p60 sandpaper, 1/3 area of neck plate put in the body end of pocket.. and the saddles needed shifting up 4mm each/ thought Id need a made-for wedge shim. Great- job done there).. and tightened up > RHS a full 1/4 turn to see if it engaged it, but even this made no visible difference in neck, still dead straight. Backed off again LHS to mark I put where I feel I want it to go, and its still same 'untension'/ loose lid feel to the X bolt, and no relief. Ive left it at this mark albeit 'loose' so maybe it will drift to here in due course. A wait game I guess.

                          Appreciate the help, SC.

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                          • #14
                            A well made neck, with a single action truss rod, should have have the maximum amount of relief built into the neck. That way, when you need less all that is needed is a turn of the adjustment to take out the excess relief.
                            If your neck is too straight it will need to be planed to add relief, either to the frets(sanded), or fingerboard surface.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by guitician View Post
                              A well made neck, with a single action truss rod, should have have the maximum amount of relief built into the neck. That way, when you need less all that is needed is a turn of the adjustment to take out the excess relief.
                              If your neck is too straight it will need to be planed to add relief, either to the frets(sanded), or fingerboard surface.
                              Indeed: the one reason I bought is for the maple neck, the feel/ finish are superb & good as any US maple neck Imo. Id accounted for the same eye for detail with the inherrant neck profile, so perhaps wishfull thinking & maybe its made dead straight. I hope to heck youre wrong about planing/ serious work. Thankfully there is a smidge of relief (seems set whatever the TR is tweaked to) so I have to compromise by a higher action & slight buzzes 10th-16th frets.. but its tolerable, and playing over time it might relieve more. A subtle neck push/ pull 'vibrato' style playing sitting might help too.

                              Thanks- good advice.

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