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Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
For almost one year, guitar luther Rick Andrews answered your guitar repair questions. After recieving over 500 questions
we put together the most popular questions and answers. Today, we are involving other great guitar
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From: David Lemon
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question Below.
I am curious about how "loose" or "tight" one should expect a truss rod adjustment to be.
I have a flat top acoustic that I am trying to lower the action on and when I try to slightly
adjust the truss rod (clockwise) it feels as though I am simply unscrewing a bolt that has been
free up - no resistance at all. Do I have a problem ?? :) :)
Be careful adjusting truss rods.
Always completely loosen the tension on the strings first.
Many rods have been broken inside the neck because of tightening it
while the string tension is on the neck in tune. That causes a whopping amount of resistance
and makes it much harder to turn and many times breaks at the threads of the rod. Then you got real problems.
It sounds like someone has already broke the rod.
Did you purchase the guitar used or new?
What is the brand guitar and model?
Some guitars are coming with a double action rod and some may turn backwards from what you would
expect to tighten the tension. I would suggest turning the adjustment counter clockwise until you feel
something start to tighten and watch the fretboard to see whether it curves up or down about midway
down the fretboard. If it does nothing in either direction then it is either stripped the threads or broken.
There is one other possibility. Sometimes a neck will have a crazy tendency to bow up in the middle which is
very unusual. 99% of the time they will bow down because of the string tension pulling the bow in that direction.
Of course, you tighten the rod to offset that and make it hump back up closer to the strings. I have built one or
two guitars in the past that actually did this and the truss rod was laying inside loose and it still humped up.
That is when I put a good bit more tension on the strings tuned way high to over tension the neck and you can clamp
it downward in the midway of the frertboard. That will cause it to try to warp back the other way but you
will have to leave it for several days and keep it warm while doing that.
Some guys use heat bars. I do not use them. Too much heat will cause the glue to turn loose the fretboard from
the neck. That is how we take them apart anyway by heating the glue to soften it's strength. If all else fails, you can
take the fretboard off the neck, check the rod, and if it is OK then re-flat the neckwood and glue the fretboard back on.
You can glue it back while holding it in the oposite slight curve so that when the glue dries and cures out say 24 hours
or so, then it will go back to flat position. In other words you glue it in a curve shape to offset the original curve.
Sometimes people glue and clamp them together in the original building phase and clamp it in a slight curve which
can cause this to happen. Now days manufacturers build guitars so factory fast at high volume output and they
install the two way rods so they can build them sloppy and get away with it. A two way rod allows you to adjust it
properly regardless of which way the wood warps or curves. This allows them to build them cheaper and much quicker
without proper alignment.
This is one of the reasons that the hand made custom guitars are so much better. Attention to all the details that
makes a guitar "mo better" comes with taking the time to do it carefully and properly. The difference in handmade
custom high end guitars and normal store bought mass production guitars is incredible. It's like theVoklkswagen compared
to aRolls Royce. Anyway I hope this answered your question in enough detail to
get you where you want it to be.
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