#1
My strat has seemingly had its action changed without my doing. The strings are suddenly VERY close to the frets and although the notes still sound out fine, some of them are rather buzzy. I clamped a capo to the first fret and fretted the 22nd on the low E and there was next to no relief whatsoever between the string and the fretboard. I gave the truss rod a few cranks, but nothing changed at all.

It's tolerable, but it's annoying. I also raised the action and that didn't help matters much, either. This strat has always been rather buzzy but it's an American and I guess I would expect better. What can I do short of bringing this to the shop to fix it?
#2
Truss rods are supposed to be adjusted carefully, just giving it "a few cranks" can cause problems if you aren't careful.
#3
As the other user posted, a 'few cranks' is probably too much. Most of the time you should be doing half/quarter turns and then leaving the guitar overnight to allow it to adjust. Also, you need to understand which direction to adjust the truss rod as well.

Last time I had an issue as bad as yours it turned out to be a structural failure in the neck itself. Suddenly the action was crap, and no matter how much I adjusted the truss rod it got worse. It was only a cheap guitar so it didn't matter anyway. When I looked down the neck I could see obvious signs of twisting and it was excessively bowed, so have a look to see if that's happened to you.

Failing that, make sure you are adjusting the truss rod the right way, and if you have no success take it into a shop. If the action has changed dramatically without adjustment to the guitar it could be something you need to get a professional to look at.
#5
Quote by shiggityswah
As the other user posted, a 'few cranks' is probably too much. Most of the time you should be doing half/quarter turns and then leaving the guitar overnight to allow it to adjust. Also, you need to understand which direction to adjust the truss rod as well.

Last time I had an issue as bad as yours it turned out to be a structural failure in the neck itself. Suddenly the action was crap, and no matter how much I adjusted the truss rod it got worse. It was only a cheap guitar so it didn't matter anyway. When I looked down the neck I could see obvious signs of twisting and it was excessively bowed, so have a look to see if that's happened to you.

Failing that, make sure you are adjusting the truss rod the right way, and if you have no success take it into a shop. If the action has changed dramatically without adjustment to the guitar it could be something you need to get a professional to look at.


okay, cool. hopefully tomorrow it's playing well again. I was really careful with the truss rod. I never turn more than 1/4 turn at a time. I initially turned it clockwise, re-measured, etc, and had no luck and then tried the same thing counter-clockwise. It seems that turning counter-clockwise doesn't actually do anything at all. The truss rod feels "loose" if that makes sense.

I guess I don't really know what I should be looking for in terms of neck bowing. I've been shown before, but I can't look down the neck and recognize anything out of the ordinary. The only way I know how is to measure the action, re-adjust and then re-measure.
Last edited by RyanMW2010 at Jun 17, 2014,
#6
If the neck is bowing forward i.e. the strings are too far off the fretboard, you would tighten the truss rod to counterract that. If the neck is bowed backwards and the strings are fretting out you'd loosen it. Make small adjustments, then reevaluate after a day. From the sound of it though, you should probably just take it to a qualified guitar tech. I consider a professional setup money well spent...based on my experience expect to pay $25-$50.
#7
Quote by TheJawsOfDeath
If the neck is bowing forward i.e. the strings are too far off the fretboard, you would tighten the truss rod to counterract that. If the neck is bowed backwards and the strings are fretting out you'd loosen it. Make small adjustments, then reevaluate after a day. From the sound of it though, you should probably just take it to a qualified guitar tech. I consider a professional setup money well spent...based on my experience expect to pay $25-$50.


I think it's the terminology that I have a problem with. If the neck is bending forward, wouldn't it be bending toward the strings, thus requiring a loosening of the truss rod, and vice versa?

If it's still a problem in the upcoming days, I'll bring it in. Thanks
#8
The strings pull the neck concave, if you're looking at the fingerboard and the guitar is placed face up on a table. If you loosen the truss rod, the strings pull the neck further concave, adding bow. If you tighten the rod, you counteract more of the string pull and the neck becomes less concave (more straight). This is in most cases, anyway. Typically you don't see a neck that has been tightened so much that it is bent the other way.

A convex bow, where the neck bends towards the strings in the middle, is unusual and often renders a guitar unplayable. Most guitars have a small to moderate concave bow in the neck.

Here's a visual:


The up-bow is what I'd call concave. You'd need to tighten the rod.
The back-bow is what I'd call convex, you need to loosen the rod.
The laser straight one is ok, but sometimes you'll get buzz or dead spots so most people would loosen the rod a bit to make it look like the last picture.
#9
Thanks, Roc. So to loosen the truss rod, I would turn it clockwise? And vice versa? Would it make a difference that this guitar is left handed? I'm sorry if this is obvious to other people...maybe it's caused by growing up in this right-handed world, but spatial concepts are usually the most difficult for me to grasp. I don't think I could parallel park a go kart in a bus depot.
Last edited by RyanMW2010 at Jun 18, 2014,