#1
Hey guys, I'm wondering if you could help me. You may remember my thread about going to uni, and wanting to aquire a cheap guitar to take, rather than take my Les Pauls (CLICK). If you followed the thread, you'll know that I bought a cheap Strat copy for £5. I've had it for two days, and I just can't get it set up how I like it. Go to the aforementioned thread to see a beaming full description of the guitar (page #2, post #35), with full specs run-down, and my first impressions of it.

Well, I'm not so beaming any more. I've literally spent the last two days f*cking around with the truss rod, re-doing the action and intonation a million times trying to get it set up how I like it. I couldn't get the action to my preference without terrible buzz, no matter how much bow I had in my neck. It's not even as if I like super-low action, because I don't (I'm a medium-low kind of guy). At one point, I had completely undone the truss rod. As in, there was no resistance left in uncranking it. Even with the action currently quite high there is slight buzz (the sort of acceptable buzz you get on a guitar with super-low action, that has been professionally set up). It's annoying, and I couldn't figure out what it was. The buzzing was worst between the 12th and 15th frets, equally on all strings.

Now, I'm not some kind of guitar n00blet who's never set up a guitar before. I've set up my two Les Pauls to absolute f*cking perfection. I know what a truss rod is and what it does, etc. So I sat there this morning trying to figure out what it was. It occurred to me that, while I'm not a guitar setup n00blet per se, I've never owned a Stratocaster, or any sort of bolt-on neck electric guitar for that matter (I have a bolt-on Yamaha bass, but have never had issues with it). I thought maybe the problem is to do with the neck joint, and that it's something really simple/common, and a bolt-on player would have spotted the issue straight away. This made sense, since the problems were occurring around the area where the neck joins the body (it joins at the 15th fret, where the problem stops).

So I went over the neck joint with a fine-tooth comb, not really knowing what I was looking for. Then I saw it. Now, I'm not sure if it's nothing, or if it's something. I've taken some pictures, but first I want to kind of describe what I mean, because I don't think the pictures really show anything. Imagine there's a 1mm gap between the neck and the socket. In the deepest part of the socket (closest to the neck pickup), the gap seemed ever so slightly wider. If the gap at the 16 fret was 1mm, the gap at the 20th fret seemed nearer 2mm. Now, there is no such gap, I'm just trying to illustrate. Essentially, it seemed to me that the neck bolts were not screwed in equally, with the heel not being screwed in quite so much, causing an apparent hump on the higher frets.

So I took my screwdriver, and tightened up the bottom two bolts on the plate on the back. Just using a handheld screwdriver, I could only manage like, an 8th of a turn on each bolt. I tried on the upper two bolts, and could not manage to turn them at all. So, as far as my hands were concerned, the bottom two bolts were slightly looser, which corroborates what I'm thinking is the issue. Now, after my puny 8th turn tighten, the issue has been alleviated somewhat, but still not eliminated. What I want to know is, have I identified the issue properly? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Has anyone had experience with fitting a bolt-on neck, and/or tightening it up properly? Basically, I want to know I'm on the right track before I go and get a power tool and do what my puny human limbs can't manage. Should I even be doing that? Is hand tightening all that's required? Or do you do the neck bolts up to a certain torque rating or something like that?



Can't really see anything.



Still can't really see anything.



Still can't see anything. Stupid photographs calling me a liar! Here's how High I have to put my action, with a good deal of neck bow, just in order to get away with acceptable slight buzz..




And just in case my description was unclear, here are the bolts I tightened slightly..



Please help! What I DON'T need is the old "take it to a professional guitar tech". I'm pretty sure I've identified the problem, and I don't need to take it to some guy just so he can tighten the neck up, and charge me several times what the guitar cost for the privilege. It's a cheap ass guitar, and I want to sort this out myself.
#2
Is the neck warped?

How's the pocket? Is it all even? A shoddy routing job, especially in something as important as the neck pocket is not good.

Screw around with it. Make sure you don't put the screws through the fingerboard.
#3
The neck doesn't appear warped. As for the gap, it is such a slight visual variance, that it could easily just be that the lip around the heel area is smoother or something. Though, the fact I could turn those bottom screws a touch, and not the top ones, does seem to contradict this. As you can see in the photos, the pocket appears even. I haven't taken the neck off, so I don't know what's going on underneath. What is the usual procedure for putting a neck on? Do power tools usually come into it?
#4
When I play around with my Stratocaster, I use my hands. If you can't do that though, give the power tools a go. Be sure to set it on a lower speed though.


I doubt the extra turn will do much good anyways.


Maybe the buzzing is coming from the bridge? Loose parts could rattle and what not.
#5
Try tightening the screws that hold the neck on. You might have to tighten the strings.
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#6
You know the fretting, action and intonation problems could be to do with the frets themselves, they could need levelling or crowning, or replacing. If they are not an even hight then you'll obviously get buzz problems....

There is often variation like that on a neck. Not necessarily wanted, but such a small variation doesn't normally make that much difference.
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#7
It could be that the frets need dressing, but you could also try shimming the neck - remove it and put a little sliver of wood in the neck pocket to bring the angle of the neck up a fraction.
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#8
I've considered that the frets might be the issue. They look perfect (doesn't mean they are). Also, the issue is located around the area of the neck joint, and the issue lessened when I tightened the joint..

As for the bridge, I would like to think that it is, because I was not impressed with the bridge. However, it'd buzz everywhere if it was, wouldn't it?
#9
Quote by Martin Scott
I've considered that the frets might be the issue. They look perfect (doesn't mean they are). Also, the issue is located around the area of the neck joint, and the issue lessened when I tightened the joint..

As for the bridge, I would like to think that it is, because I was not impressed with the bridge. However, it'd buzz everywhere if it was, wouldn't it?


It would if it was the bridge.
#10
It's a sh*t bridge, so I'm going to replace it at some point, anyways. That is if I can sort the neck out. It actually holds it's tuning really well when I do dives and stuff on the trem, but the saddles just don't inspire me with confidence. Might get some string-savers or something like that. But again, I need to put this issue to bed before I start buying stuff for this guitar.
#11
the frets are uneven, fret dress is needed.
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#13
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Sorry but what were you expecting for £5??

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#14
I'd say the frets are probably uneven.
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#15
Maybe take the neck off and put it on again?

I like to use variants of 'turn it off and on again', but the screws might not be in PROPERLY. The same thing sort of happened to me with my old Tanglewood Strat copy, maybe give it a go.
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#16
I've gotten it to the point where it's playable. It's still not ideal, but not bad, anymore.

Quote by Lil Macker
Maybe take the neck off and put it on again?

I like to use variants of 'turn it off and on again', but the screws might not be in PROPERLY. The same thing sort of happened to me with my old Tanglewood Strat copy, maybe give it a go.


Ooh, I might try this. What happened when you did it? How will I know what to look for, to see if the screws aren't in properly? Thanks.

Quote by blind.quardian
Sorry but what were you expecting for £5??


What was the point in posting that? Doesn't help me in the slightest. I know it's a cheap, sh*t guitar. I wasn't expecting much. That's the reason I bought it. You're contributing nothing. Maybe you like to reinforce your pride by belittling other people or something. Go get a penis enlargement. Same goes for the "+1" fag that commented after you.
#17
i had this problem on my strat copy, i just tightened the screws that bolt the neck on, if that doesnt work take the neck off and see ifits all smooth in the neck socket then screw it on as tightly as it will go, you could also try some self threading screws so you can put it on even tighter.
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