#1
I have a maintenance question for all you guitarists out there. I just recently inherited a Hagstrom I guitar made in the 60s from my uncle. I love playing it but the action is a little high right now and I wanted to change the tension. My only worry is that because the guitar is so old I might damage the neck by playing with the truss rod. I was just wondering if I'm worried about nothing and its a low risk that I would actually damage the guitar by playing with it, or if I should take it to someone to get the guitar fixed up. Thanks!

-Matt
#2
I was also given a 60s Hagstrom Viking I guitar from my uncle. I would suggest that you bring it to a professional, as these guitars can be quite sensitive.
You say the action is high, but is the neck warped?
I changed the strings on mine from normal .10- .46 strings to flat-wound Elixer .11s, and the neck has not changed at all. This suggests to me that these guitars wee extremely well built.

Like I said, take it to a professional and he/she (probably a he) will take good care of it. It cost about $75 dollars to have mine re-wired, as someone had ripped out the wiring from the inside after a coil-tap had been installed. Now instead of one switch on the top horn, there is also one on the bottom horn. The guitar works and sounds beautiful; I'm very satisfied and happy that I brought it in rather than toying with it myself.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#3
measure the neck first to see if it's even the truss rod that needs adjusting.
to know, you'll want to check out the setup thread, top of the page. first post.
Jenneh

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Set up Questions? ...Q & A Thread

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#4
First of all your truss rod isn't how you adjust your overall action (height of strings above the frets). You do that with the bridge and nut. The truss rod adjusts the "relief," straightness or curve of the neck.

Let's start at the nut. My rule of thumb is that you should be able to slide a medium pick between the strings and first fret without it lifting the strings, but that they hold the pick there securely. If there is very much more space than that, the nut needs to be lowered, either by shaving some material off the bottom side or by cutting the grooves deeper. That operation can be a bit tricky for someone without any experience.

Now lets go to the bridge end. Measure from the top of the fret to the strings at the 12th fret. That should be about 2mm (5/16"). Some people like it lower, but if it is very much higher than that it will be hard to play. Adjust the bridge for higher or lower action. There should be thumb wheels or screw slots on either side of your bridge. Adjusting may be difficult with full string tension, and of course you'll have to retune after adjusting.

Now the relief. Hold down the low E string at the first and 15th frets simultaneously. There should be a very slight space (thickness of matchbook cover) between the string and the 6th fret. If the string is touching the fret, your neck is either completely straight or may even have a back bow. Loosen (counterclockwise) your truss rod 1/4 turn. Wait a few minutes and recheck. If there is a lot of space (too much relief) tighten the truss rod as explained above.

Adjusting the truss rod does effect your action, so you will want to recheck the string height at your 12th fret again and adjust accordingly.

There are a ton of websites that go into great detail and provide pictures how to do these operations. Just do a search for guitar setup.

Good luck.
#5
Thanks for the input guys. I think I'm going to start checking reviews and take it to a professional in the area. Given how much the guitar means to my uncle I'd feel much safer if I just had a professional take a look at it and assess before I started playing around with everything.
]One Among The Fence