#1
I have an Ibanez RG421.

I recently noticed that the angle of my neck is too high, causing my headstock to be at a significantly higher level than my body. In the fairly high-res pics that I have linked, you can clearly see the increase in width between the neck and the body as we go towards the left. I can fit my fingernail in the gap between the back of the neck and the body. The four screws are easily accessible.

Q1. Can it be done?
Q2. Can I do it?
Q3. Is there a risk involved?
Q4. If I have to get it done, how much will it cost?



Last edited by josonmj at Jan 22, 2017,
#2
I don't see neck angle as a problem until either the saddles or the pickups can't be set o a reasonable working height. What I see in those pics wouldn't bother me if the set up was good.

The gap between the neck and the body might look ugly, but again it isn't a functional problem if the intonation is good.
#4
Take the strings off (you don't have to take them out of the bridge if you don't want to).
Get the EXACT size screwdriver to fit the four screws (if you don't you'll mess up their heads and make them jagged).
Undo the screws.
Take off the neck (it might come off easily or may need some GENTLE coaxing).
See if there were any shims (thin pieces of wood/card/plastic/aluminium foil) there, and set them to one side.
Check the length of the screws and make sure they're not longer than the depth of the neck heel + base of the body pocket (ie. I wonder if they were too long and hence not screwed in all the way!).
Leave the shims out.
Put the neck back in its pocket, put the backplate on (assuming it has one) and push the screws through so they make contact; give them a few gentle turns to get them started (I sometimes find their thread by starting to unscrew them 'til they lightly jump forward at the point they find the start of the thread).
Tighten the screws up (you've already checked they're not too long), but stop if they won't turn anymore (I'm concerned the holes may not be deep enough - no force more than one hand is required!).
If they go in properly, the neck should be flat against the base of the pocket and you can re-string the guitar.

That is the easy, no-cost part.

Now, if the action is too low (ie. the strings are flat on the neck), you can go through the whole procedure again and add a shim (just cut a strip of a business card or similar - that'll do) (I make a rectangle whose length is the width of the neck pocket and whose width is the gap between the end of the pocket and the holes of the first pair of screws) at the body end of the neck pocket, so that it changes the angle of the neck to raise the bridge end, put it all back together and see if that's right.

If not, repeat, this time cutting a double width strip and folding it over so it's twice as thick.

Etc.

If that fixes it, job's a good-un!

If not, then I'd recommend getting a guitar tech to look at it; guitar shops usually have one or one they use.

There are tutorial videos on youtube.
#5
(Incidentally, the pics on google docs are asking me to login to google - I use tinypic.com to host pictures.)
#6
Sorry about the pics, will reupload using tinypic.

EDIT: Done.
Last edited by josonmj at Jan 22, 2017,
#7
prowla I just read the entire post and I'd like to thank you for the comprehensive guide. I watched a video on neck removal from an RG and am confident I can do it, but I highly doubt that there is a shim in the neck pocket. This is because I was present when the guitar was brought absolutely un set up without strings from the stockhouse (whatever it's called) and taken to the luthier first thing, five mins later it came to me, I doubt he did anything apart from adding the strings because the action was pathetic and so was the intonation.

If I remove the neck and there is no shim underneath, there's no point right? The screws look a little loose, would you recommend I try to tighten them a bit first (one-handed)? Would that work?
#8
It does sound like they could be loose, yes.
However, the thing about them possibly being too long is a caveat to just tightening them; the last thing you want is for then to come out pf the op of the fretboard!
Even though it is a longer process, I'd be inclined to go through the whole thing.
It also occurs to me that the neck may be loose, which is not a good place to be either...
If a luthier handed it over with a gap like I've understood you to describe, then I'd either take it back there for them to sort out, or alternatively avoid them like the plague!
#9
Quote by prowla
It does sound like they could be loose, yes.
However, the thing about them possibly being too long is a caveat to just tightening them; the last thing you want is for then to come out pf the op of the fretboard!
Even though it is a longer process, I'd be inclined to go through the whole thing.
It also occurs to me that the neck may be loose, which is not a good place to be either...
If a luthier handed it over with a gap like I've understood you to describe, then I'd either take it back there for them to sort out, or alternatively avoid them like the plague!


I will most definitely avoid them like the plague, Indian luthiers SUCK! At least the ones in most guitar stores. I've had friends who had simple problems, gave it to a store luthier, had it gather dust there for a week, took it back and fixed it themselves. I could find a decent luthier or two, but they are located far away, hence want to fix whatever I can myself.

If I tighten the screws with one hand only, it's unlikely that I'll do any damage right? By "the neck may be loose" do you mean that the neck may be too small for the pocket? Unlikely, because this is, after all, an Indonesian-made Ibanez RG. I want to avoid taking the neck off because the very idea gives me the creeps.

Will I have to take the strings off the tuners even if I am just tightening it? Just loosening them a lot will do, right?
#10
You can just loosen them (really loose, so there's no tension at all), but sometimes it's more fiddly to work with them still in the tuners rather than taking them out.

By loose regarding the neck, I mean does it move relative to the body? (Don't be too heavy handed - just hold the body with one hand and try and move the neck with the other (hold it around the 12th fret), but don't use a car jack or anything industrial!!)
#11
Ah - I've just seen the pictures!

The base of the neck should be a snug fit into the neck pocket, should run the length of the neck pocket and should be flat against the base of the neck pocket unless it has been shimmed (as detailed above).

With the Ibanez RG, the neck pocket is curved, to allow easier access to the top frets, and the neck is sculpted to suit.

This link shows the back of an RG, where the base of the neck pocket curves rather than just being square - does it look like that?

http://www.ibanez.com/products/u_eg_detail17.php?year=2017&cat_id=1&series_id=1&data_id=172&color=CL01

The front end of the fingerboard slightly extending beyond the end is not uncommon at all; it allows an extra fret to be fitted. My USA Strat has one.
Last edited by prowla at Jan 22, 2017,
#12
prowla Yes that is exactly how it looks. No my neck doesn't move at all, but if I press my body against the neck (near the base) and use both my hands and all the force I've got I can get the neck to fit deeper into the neck pocket (where the gap is, caused by the shim, if it exists). It springs back when I release. Stupid thing to do I know.

I think I will upload another photo of the back of the guitar just for clarification. So what should I do now? Should I try tightening the screws or not?

Thanks again for all your help so far.
Last edited by josonmj at Jan 22, 2017,
#14
I would take the extra step of pulling it apart first; it probably adds half an hour to the process.

If you can push it, then the neck is moving and it isn't right as it is.
#15
Quote by prowla
I would take the extra step of pulling it apart first; it probably adds half an hour to the process.

If you can push it, then the neck is moving and it isn't right as it is.


Ok I'll do it and post results when I'm done.
#16
Ok I've taken the neck out, with the strings off the tuners. No shims inside, but a lot of wood-dust. I blew and shook of it away and took pics. Will be uploading them soon.

Now the bad part is, the screws are all of different length



and I took no notice of which one goes in which hole. Could someone tell me what the order is supposed to be?

It seems that the shortest screw goes in the topmost hole, so I screwed it in the base plate (without the neck) and held the neck near it to compare lengths. There's about 4mm between the tip of the screw and the line where the fretboard starts (the inner line). I am unable to find a suitable way to measure the lengths of the other screws with respect to the neck heel and base plate. What now?

P.S. I found that photo online, it's not mine, but those are exactly what my screws look like. Also, there is a fifth hole in the neck heel, somewhere in the middle. I have no clue what it's for.
Last edited by josonmj at Jan 23, 2017,
#17
It's not uncommon for there to be two pairs of different length screws - I have that on a guitar; on mine, the shorter two are the body-end pair, but yours may be different.

The easiest way to find out is to simply take one of them and screw it into the neck GENTLY - they should turn really easily; when you feel you've hit the end, stop. If you use the same screw in all 4 holes then you'll be able to see if they are the same depth or not.

If they are different depths then you've found out where they go back in!

OTOH, if they are all the same depth, then my guess is that the longer two are wrong for this guitar and that explains the gap.

(I don't know this particular model of guitar and I've never knowingly seen one, so I'm just following a logical step-by-step procedure...!)
#18
Quote by prowla
It's not uncommon for there to be two pairs of different length screws - I have that on a guitar; on mine, the shorter two are the body-end pair, but yours may be different.

The easiest way to find out is to simply take one of them and screw it into the neck GENTLY - they should turn really easily; when you feel you've hit the end, stop. If you use the same screw in all 4 holes then you'll be able to see if they are the same depth or not.

If they are different depths then you've found out where they go back in!

OTOH, if they are all the same depth, then my guess is that the longer two are wrong for this guitar and that explains the gap.

(I don't know this particular model of guitar and I've never knowingly seen one, so I'm just following a logical step-by-step procedure...!)


I'm sure that they are supposed to be of this length as the photo I linked is of a similar guitar and it has the same screws and washers as mine.

I've figured out which screws go where, but how do I fix the neck angle now? I haven't done anything but remove the neck and put it back have I? (I haven't put the neck back yet). Also, still not sure if the other three screws are too long or not.

Thanks for your help, please stick with me through this.
#19
If you've done what I said with trying screws in all 4 holes then you'll know their length.
#20
Ok so I tried the screws in all the holes, and held the neck as tightly as I could against the base plate and tightened all the screws as much as I could with one hand.

And voila, the neck angle fixed itself. I guess the dust must have been acting as a shim or something.







Thank you so much for your help. Now I think I just need to adjust the relief and I'll be fine.
#21
Nice one!
Sorry it seemed a bit long-winded, but better than getting it wrong!
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