#1
I bought a $100 Squier electric Strat guitar about 7 years ago. I bought it because I wanted to learn guitar at the time, but sadly, I ended up storing it in the gig bag and never touched it until now (7 years later). My friend inspired me to start learning it. I’ve been trying to self teach myself for a month now and I’m really enjoying learning it. I enjoy it so much that I’ve been practicing nonstop. Well, when my friend looked at the guitar, he noticed that the neck is a bit bent. He pushed down the low E string on the first and last fret and he saw a big gap between the string and 8th fret. On the bright side, the warped neck didn’t affect the intonation, but it did cause the strings to have high action. There is a 4mm gap between the low E string and the 12th fret. My friend said that this high action could be making the learning process harder for me than it should be and suggested I get it fixed. However, places like Guitar Center wants to charge me $70 to fix it (which costs almost as much as the guitar).

So, what should I do about this? Should I just spend the $70 to get it fixed? Or should I just buy a new guitar? Or should I just deal with the warped neck and high action of the guitar until I get good enough to buy something better?
#2
Is it warped, that is twisted, or just uniformly bowed? If the latter, a truss rod tweak should fix it, together with saddle height adjustments. I can see how this might cost $70. Many of us do our our own, and you might be able to find someone who will do it very cheaply. - I do my mate's for free, but he gives me six-pack or a set of strings. If you get a new guitar, it might still need a set up that costs extra, so trading it on a new one might still cost a bit. It's up to you.

If it is warped, I would just trade it on a new one, if the shop will take it. My conscience wouldn't let me sell it privately without emphasising the neck problem.
#3
When you say warped do you mean it is twisted or just bowed? If its twisted then its ****ed, get it signed by someone famous and hang it on the wall for your frineds to admire... If its bowed, then there are adjustments that can be made to the truss rod to correct that (assuming its not bent like a banana) and yes it could well be repaired. Taking it to a GC on the other hand isn't exactly the best option from what I have read in the last 4 years on these forums, I would be more inclined to find a store that has someone working there who is experienced with these sorts of things instead of trusting some pimply faced twit with an allen key to butcher your guitar no better than you could do yourself and charge you for the experience of it all. As for justifying the cost? How much do you like your guitar? If you absolutely love it and it has special memories or sentimental value then yes fix it, if you think its a piece of crap then refer to my first option, get it signed, hang it on the wall.
#4
Just to clarify, my guitar neck is bowed, not twisted. Like I said, the guitar plays fine. The only issue is that it's harder to press the strings on the frets due to the action being high. I'm not sure how much of an impact this could have on my learning process, so that is why I'm concerned.
#5
Tighten the truss rod then. All you need is the right size allen key. No big deal. Don't pay some shulb $70 for something you can do yourself.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#6
Then adjusting the truss rod will help fix that. rule of thumb when you press the first fret and last fret there should be about a business card gap from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string.

there are some great videos on line
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#7
Also, just in case no one has thought of it, you could always go thinner with the string gauge first. If you play with 14's, give 11's a go. Let it settle for a few days and then see what happens.
#9
Quote by TheStig1214
Tighten the truss rod then. All you need is the right size allen key. No big deal. Don't pay some shulb $70 for something you can do yourself.


But I don't have any skills with that. I read that if one doesn't know what they are doing, they should never play with the truss rod because if they make too many turns and turn it too tight, then the neck can snap and break.
#10
1/8th to 1/4 turn of a turn max at a time , give 10 or 15 minutes to stabilize then recheck and adjust if needed
#11
Quote by dazza027
Also, just in case no one has thought of it, you could always go thinner with the string gauge first. If you play with 14's, give 11's a go. Let it settle for a few days and then see what happens.


My string gauges are.... .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046

Are those too thick?
#13
Quote by GuitarDude85
My string gauges are.... .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046

Are those too thick?


Not at all.

You can absolutely adjust your own truss rod as long as you aren't an idiot about it. As previously mentioned, do 1/4 turn max at a time. Check the neck relief with the business card trick. Though the best way is with a small ruler. Ideally, in playing position without and frets pressed down, the space between the lowest string and the 7th fret is about 1.5mm
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#14
Quote by TheStig1214
Not at all.

You can absolutely adjust your own truss rod as long as you aren't an idiot about it. As previously mentioned, do 1/4 turn max at a time. Check the neck relief with the business card trick. Though the best way is with a small ruler. Ideally, in playing position without and frets pressed down, the space between the lowest string and the 7th fret is about 1.5mm


I check neck relief with feeler gauges. .005 to .010" max. at the 7th fret with the string fretted at the first and 17th frets. Business cards are generally too thick (the "rule of thumb" recommendation is never a business card, absolutely never a credit card, but a "new playing card" as a maximum).
#15
Ok, I adjusted the truss rod. Turned it to the right about 1/4 and to the point where I felt resistance. I pushed down the low E string on the first and last fret and I still see a big gap between the string and 8th fret. Still bigger than a business card. There's little to no difference than before. Apparently, this truss rod is going to need quite a bit of turning, which sounds scary and I'm afraid to turn further because like I said, I already felt resistance when I turned it. I don't want to snap the neck.
#16
the tension is from the rod trying to straighten the neck , give it a 1/8th of a turn since its getting tight , then give it 15 minutes to stabilize and recheck
#17
take it to a guitar shop and ask them if it's worth repairing.
If not, or if it's too expensive, get a replacement Warmoth neck?
#18
Quote by Fumble fingers
the tension is from the rod trying to straighten the neck , give it a 1/8th of a turn since its getting tight , then give it 15 minutes to stabilize and recheck


But how can I be sure that I'm not overtightening? I've read that if you force the turn too much, then SNAP goes the neck. How do I know when I'm tightening too much?
#19
Quote by GuitarDude85
But how can I be sure that I'm not overtightening? I've read that if you force the turn too much, then SNAP goes the neck. How do I know when I'm tightening too much?


The truss rod needs to be tightened. Either you do it for free, or someone else does it and you pay him almost as much as the cost of the guitar.

The economics are pretty clear here. You can't afford to pay someone 70 bucks to repair a 100$ guitar. You'd be better off buying a new one.

So you either live with the high action or you take your chances with the truss rod. I personally would try adjusting the truss rod.

If this were a more expensive guitar I'd be more careful about it, but if the truss rod on a 100$ Squier is screwed up then you're already $#!! out of luck. There's nothing you can do but be brave, and hope for the best. Turn it another 1/4 turn. Then wait.
#20
When you tighten the rod, the gap won't go away instantly - you need to let it settle for a few minutes too. After you tigthen the rod, tune the strings too so they are at the required tension then wait a few minutes and measure the gap again.
#21
Quote by paul.housley.7
The truss rod needs to be tightened. Either you do it for free, or someone else does it and you pay him almost as much as the cost of the guitar.

The economics are pretty clear here. You can't afford to pay someone 70 bucks to repair a 100$ guitar. You'd be better off buying a new one.

So you either live with the high action or you take your chances with the truss rod. I personally would try adjusting the truss rod.

If this were a more expensive guitar I'd be more careful about it, but if the truss rod on a 100$ Squier is screwed up then you're already $#!! out of luck. There's nothing you can do but be brave, and hope for the best. Turn it another 1/4 turn. Then wait.


But why didn't I see any difference after that 1/4 turn? To be honest, I may have turned it a little more than 1/4 (probably 1.5-2/4 turn), I turned until I felt resistance and then stopped because I feared that fighting the resistance can snap the neck, especially since I already turned the rod quite a bit. So, if I turned it that much already, do you think tightening it another 1/8th of a turn will make a significant difference??
#23
Quote by GuitarDude85
But why didn't I see any difference after that 1/4 turn? To be honest, I may have turned it a little more than 1/4 (probably 1.5-2/4 turn), I turned until I felt resistance and then stopped because I feared that fighting the resistance can snap the neck, especially since I already turned the rod quite a bit. So, if I turned it that much already, do you think tightening it another 1/8th of a turn will make a significant difference??


It's possible that the first 1/4 turn was just taking the slack out of a truss rod that was way too loose.

It's also possible that the truss rod has seized up.

In either event you're not going to solve anything by being afraid of it. Worst case, you might have to buy a new neck and learn how to bolt it on. But you need to keep in mind that the damage was already done if that's the case. It's not a question of breaking it or not breaking it. That's all in the past. Now it's just a matter of finding out what happened. If you tighten the truss rod and the action lowers then congratulations, you fixed it. If tightening the truss rod DOESN'T fix your problem then your guitar was already broken and you just didn't know it yet.
#24
Stop being a sook and do it, you won't learn if you don't try. The guys here are telling you what to do and is EXACTLY what a tech would do. 1/4 turn, then wait a while. If its not enough then another 1/4 turn and then wait a while. They say 10 minutes, I'm more inclined to wait half an hour. You know the best thing about truss rods these days? Theyre multi directional, so if you do wind a little too far you can back it off an 8th of a turn and then guess what, you wait a while and then check it. Its not rocket science, its an allen key attached to a long arsed bolt with a nut on the end. The thread will strip before the rod snaps and the only way you're going to stuff it all up is if you go crazy turning the bloody allen key. Suck it up, what you are doing is 101 stuff, or otherwise your going to be paying people to do mediocre jobs for the rest of eternity and always being poor. If you can change and tune a set of strings then this shit is a breeze.
#25
Oh, and if the neck is really WARPED, and if the guitar was $100, is seven years old and doesn't have a lot of sentimental value, I'd suggest:

Wall Art
Wood Chipper
Canoe Paddle
Target
Offer it to Henry J to break at another spectacular introduction of a useless Gibson "X" guitar.
#26
Ok, I turned the truss rod another 1/4 of a turn and still no difference. Still a big gap on the 8th fret when I press the low E string on the 1st and last fret. This isn't working. I may have no choice but to surrender the guitar over to Guitar Center for$70. Or maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut and sell it to them. I'll be lucky if they don't notice the neck and offer me $15, lol.
#27
Quote by GuitarDude85
Ok, I turned the truss rod another 1/4 of a turn and still no difference. Still a big gap on the 8th fret when I press the low E string on the 1st and last fret. This isn't working. I may have no choice but to surrender the guitar over to Guitar Center for$70. Or maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut and sell it to them. I'll be lucky if they don't notice the neck and offer me $15, lol.


1. Turn the truss rod 1/4 turn
2. Wait 20 minutes for the wood in the neck to settle
3. Tune all strings
4. Measure the action. It may not appear to have changed at all. That's okay.
5. If the action is still too high, return to step 1.
#28
Just to verify that I'm not crazy (after all, I am a beginner), I've decided to post some pictures of the action on my guitar...

Here is the action around the 3rd fret:
http://i61.tinypic.com/2ykf821.jpg

Here is the action around the 12th fret:
http://i57.tinypic.com/54zv5x.jpg

Based on what you see on these pictures, the action is high, correct? At the guitar store, I don't think the strings with that far away from the frets. And the beginner I am, I was able to form and switch chords a lot more smoothly when trying out the guitars at the store. With this damn Squier one that I own, my fingers keep interfering with other strings. Even when pressing frets with the fingertips, it will still interfere. You need to press on the string at just the right spot on the fingertip. With the ones at the store, there was a little more leeway given for a little imperfection.... which is why I was able to play better at the store. Weird, ain't it?
#29
Take a photo of the bridge. Post it here. I want to see the bridge from the same angle. From the side. I want to know if the bridge is adjusted properly.
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Jan 6, 2015,
#30
If you are facing the trussrod nut you are turning it left correct? if you are facing the trussrod adjustment (looking from the headstock towards the body) turning it right will add bow and turning it left will straighten the neck
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#32
Quote by dspellman
Oh, and if the neck is really WARPED, and if the guitar was $100, is seven years old and doesn't have a lot of sentimental value, I'd suggest:


Target
.



As much as I like shooting things, I don't think I could use a guitar as a target. Even an inexpensive one.
#33




First tell me which of the necks above is what you see when you look at your guitar. Then look at the other image and make sure you were turning the truss rod the correct direction.
#34
Here is the official procedure from Fender's website.

TRUSS ROD

There are two different styles of truss rod found on Fender instruments—"standard" and "bi-flex" truss rods.

Most Fender guitars and basses are equipped with a standard truss rod (of which there are in turn two types: one that adjusts at the neck heel and one that adjusts at the headstock; both operate on the same principle). The standard truss rod can counteract concave curvature in a neck that has too much relief, for example, by generating a force in the neck opposite to that caused by excessive string tension.

Fender also uses a unique bi-flex truss rod system on some instruments. Unlike standard truss rods, which can only correct a neck that is too concave (under-bowed), the bi-flex truss rod can compensate concave or convex (over-bowed) curvature by generating a correcting force in either direction as needed.

First, check your tuning. Affix a capo at the first fret and depress the sixth string at the last fret. With a feeler gauge, check the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret—see the spec chart below for the proper gap.

Adjustment at headstock (allen wrench): Sight down the edge of the fingerboard from behind the headstock, looking toward the body of the instrument. If the neck is too concave (action too high), turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex (strings too close to the fingerboard), turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise to allow the string tension to pull more relief into the neck. Check your tuning, then re-check the gap with the feeler gauge and re-adjust as needed.

Adjustment at neck joint (phillips screwdriver): Sight down the edge of the fingerboard from behind the body, looking up toward the headstock of the instrument. If the neck is too concave (action too high), turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex (strings too close to the fingerboard), turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise to allow the string tension to pull more relief into the neck. Check your tuning, then re-check the gap with the feeler gauge and re-adjust as needed.

Note: In either case, if you meet excessive resistance when adjusting the truss rod, if your instrument needs constant adjustment, if adjusting the truss rod has no effect on the neck, or if you're simply not comfortable making this type of adjustment yourself, take your instrument to your local Fender Authorized Dealer.

Relief
.010" (0.25 mm)
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Jan 6, 2015,
#37
Quote by GuitarDude85
Not sure how much help this would be, but here's the a side view of my entire neck...

http://i59.tinypic.com/2dkz7l.jpg

Looks very similar to your "up-bow" picture.


Get a friend to help you. Brother, parent, whatever....
Have them hold the E string on the first fret, and also on the 17th fret.
(if you have a capo then you can do this by yourself. Put the capo on the first fret, hold the 17th fret down with one hand and use the other hand to measure)

Then you get a ruler and measure how much space is between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the E string.

If the measurement is bigger than .25 mm (or .010 inches) then you need to tighten the truss rod. Put the headstock in your lap and put the body out away from you. Turn the wrench clockwise.

But measure it first. If you don't have any way to measure something that small, then you can get a spare string. The high E string is .010 inches. You don't need to know the exact measurement, you just need to know if it's bigger than .010.
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Jan 7, 2015,
#38
Ok, I finally got up the nerve and did what guys you said and literally tightened the trust rod until I just couldn't turn anymore. I would have to apply A LOT of force to turn further and I really don't want to do that because it seems like the truss rod has reached its limit. But it helped tremendously and feels so much easier to play now. When pressing the first and last frets, there's still a little gap on the 8th fret, but believe me, it feels so much better to play now. Strange why the truss rod can't be tightened any further, but at least I got it to a more playable state. I placed a 6mm pick on the 8th fret when pressing the first and last frets and it catches it and doesn't slide off (it did before the truss rod adjustment) so tightening the rod did help and the gap is definitely no bigger than 6mm now. It's too bad I couldn't decrease the gap a little more, but at least, I was able to straighten the neck somewhat.
#39
Quote by GuitarDude85
Ok, I finally got up the nerve and did what guys you said and literally tightened the trust rod until I just couldn't turn anymore. I would have to apply A LOT of force to turn further and I really don't want to do that because it seems like the truss rod has reached its limit. But it helped tremendously and feels so much easier to play now. When pressing the first and last frets, there's still a little gap on the 8th fret, but believe me, it feels so much better to play now. Strange why the truss rod can't be tightened any further, but at least I got it to a more playable state. I placed a 6mm pick on the 8th fret when pressing the first and last frets and it catches it and doesn't slide off (it did before the truss rod adjustment) so tightening the rod did help and the gap is definitely no bigger than 6mm now. It's too bad I couldn't decrease the gap a little more, but at least, I was able to straighten the neck somewhat.


Truss rods can get stuck sometimes. They're basically just a long bolt with a nut on one end. That's an over-simplification, but it ought to give you and idea.

Congratulations. Now keep in mind that the guitar can continue to adjust, so you might want to keep a close eye on that neck. Check the action again twice a day for the next day or two. If you get to the point where there's no relief at all then you're going to want to loosen the truss rod 1/4 turn.

This shouldn't be necessary, but it sounds like you made a lot of adjustments all at once and I'd say it's better to be safe than sorry.
#40
Quote by paul.housley.7
Truss rods can get stuck sometimes. They're basically just a long bolt with a nut on one end. That's an over-simplification, but it ought to give you and idea.

Congratulations. Now keep in mind that the guitar can continue to adjust, so you might want to keep a close eye on that neck. Check the action again twice a day for the next day or two. If you get to the point where there's no relief at all then you're going to want to loosen the truss rod 1/4 turn.

This shouldn't be necessary, but it sounds like you made a lot of adjustments all at once and I'd say it's better to be safe than sorry.


Yeah, I did. Someone here PMed me and asked me to email him pictures of the relief. When he saw how big it was, he told me that I need to disregard to 1/4 rule and turn it considerably since the relief was really big. I was like, no wonder why the 1/4 turn wasn't doing me any good, lol. The problem is I had this guitar sitting in its bag unplayed for 7 years so the string tension must have done a number on the neck, so the truss rod needed quite a bit of tightening... and probably may need more. I'll wait a few days for the neck to set and see how the relief is.
Last edited by GuitarDude85 at Jan 8, 2015,