Can't get upbow with my truss rod

alexreinhold

Senior Member
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I have a strange problem (or I am missing something crucial). I recently tuned a hardtail Warmoth guitar down to D. After receiving a lot fret buzz as a result, I decided to add relief to the neck. I actually ended up giving a good 4 full turns after which I finally got to a point where the buzz is minimized. I am about 1 counter-clockwise (i.e. adding relief) turns away from the truss rod fully loosening (i.e. not resisting anymore against my turns). However, I still have a very slight backbow of around 2mm at fret 7 (used a straight edge to measure) . How's this possible? Am I not supposed to be in an upbow situation when I turn the truss rod so far out?

That said, it plays like a charm now, just need to raise the nut for remaining open string buzz on E and G.
 
Maybe see a physician? (rimshot) I don’t have to make a truss rod adjustment just from tuning down one step. I don’t know what is going on but 4 full turns is massive, if you continue making such huge adjustments back and forth you may harm the neck! maybe just raise the bridge saddles a tad?
 
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If you can find a guitar luthier or setup guy take it to them and explain what you want to do with the guitar.
 
With this specific neck, the problem is that if I turn the truss rod only slightly (say 1/4th of a turn), virtually nothing happens. The guitar has been manageable and plays very well but it's also been very weird since I built it. No matter what I've been trying to do with it, the action was always ridiculously low (which initially even made me assume that I'd need a neck shim).

In fact, I initially brought it to a luthier to cut the nut and have it set up. When I got it back, the saddles were already at the very top and there was a slight buzz on the E and G string. For a while, I simply accepted it but when I started using the guitar in D-tuning (for a new band that I joined), the buzz became unbearable. Hence, I decided to give it some relief and I went in steps of quarter turns. I turned and turned and turned and almost nothing seemed to happen. I turned until the truss rod didn't even give anymore pressure. At that point, I went back clockwise to get around 1.5 turns of pressure back. The neck is now almost straight but still with a slight backbow (and the buzz is almoooost gone and probably a nut rather than truss rod issue).

Long story short - a) I have no clue why the truss rod is behaving so strangely and b) I have no clue what luthier should be doing that I don't see right now.

if you continue making such huge adjustments back and forth you may harm the neck!
Why would that be the case Spud?
 
I guess my thought process was if you had a good set up guy that cared, you could tell him what strings and tuning you wanted to use and he would make it play great. But maybe a small shim on the front of the neck pocket would give you enough adjustment on the saddles. What frets are the buzzing happening on.
 
I guess my thought process was if you had a good set up guy that cared, you could tell him what strings and tuning you wanted to use and he would make it play great. But maybe a small shim on the front of the neck pocket would give you enough adjustment on the saddles. What frets are the buzzing happening on.
I fully agree with you. The reason why I opened this thread was mainly to understand why I got to the point of maximum clockwise turning and still have a slight backbow.

Right now, the guitar plays, sounds and feels great with a remaining buzz on the open E string. My suspicion is that I might have to raise the nut a bit (old backing powder trick) and then never touch the setup of this guitar and leave it on D-tuning forever.
 
I found the warmoth necks to be pretty strong. Have you tried taking it off, loosening the nut, put it between two big buckets and hang a 10 lbs weight in the middle? I did that on the neck in my signature which was being stubborn and a month later she relaxed. Plays great. I think Dan Erlwine. Has some videos on how to do this with a vice and clamps.
 
With this specific neck, the problem is that if I turn the truss rod only slightly (say 1/4th of a turn), virtually nothing happens. The guitar has been manageable and plays very well but it's also been very weird since I built it. No matter what I've been trying to do with it, the action was always ridiculously low (which initially even made me assume that I'd need a neck shim).

In fact, I initially brought it to a luthier to cut the nut and have it set up. When I got it back, the saddles were already at the very top and there was a slight buzz on the E and G string. For a while, I simply accepted it but when I started using the guitar in D-tuning (for a new band that I joined), the buzz became unbearable. Hence, I decided to give it some relief and I went in steps of quarter turns. I turned and turned and turned and almost nothing seemed to happen. I turned until the truss rod didn't even give anymore pressure. At that point, I went back clockwise to get around 1.5 turns of pressure back. The neck is now almost straight but still with a slight backbow (and the buzz is almoooost gone and probably a nut rather than truss rod issue).

Long story short - a) I have no clue why the truss rod is behaving so strangely and b) I have no clue what luthier should be doing that I don't see right now.


Why would that be the case Spud?
I think there is some danger in super adjusting truss rods back and forth from one extreme to the other so quickly that could pop the fret board up. I could be misinformed though.
 
Maybe next time do it a bit more gradually. Truss rod is definitely part of the equation, but the nut and the bridge are need to be considered too. It's kinda like a see saw - nut height/bridge height. You could even shim the nut itself depending on whats going on.
 
If your only buzzing on the low E when open you could try a bigger gauge on that one or a hybrid set or something.
 
Also, I concur with the gradual adjust thing ... I think you might get more movement if you adjust a little a day instead of one big go.
 
I found the warmoth necks to be pretty strong. Have you tried taking it off, loosening the nut, put it between two big buckets and hang a 10 lbs weight in the middle? I did that on the neck in my signature which was being stubborn and a month later she relaxed. Plays great. I think Dan Erlwine. Has some videos on how to do this with a vice and clamps.
the fact this is even a thing probably explains what I am experiencing. Thanks a lot for shedding some light Rick!
I think there is some danger in super adjusting truss rods back and forth from one extreme to the other so quickly that could pop the fret board up. I could be misinformed though.
That sounds like it could be true. However, I didn't go from one extreme to the other I'd say - I went from moderate relief to extreme relief (which, strangely, still gives me a slight backbow).
Maybe next time do it a bit more gradually. Truss rod is definitely part of the equation, but the nut and the bridge are need to be considered too. It's kinda like a see saw - nut height/bridge height. You could even shim the nut itself depending on whats going on.
I think that's the most valuable advice. I have still been treating all things in isolation rather than adjusting those against each other.
If your only buzzing on the low E when open you could try a bigger gauge on that one or a hybrid set or something.
I think it's definitely a nut issue (because I can literally see the problem on the first fret when hitting the note; also verified by putting a paper on the nut). I need to slightly raise it with baking powder and super glue and then re-file the nut.
 
I don't know what "upbow" is supposed to mean. Guitar necks can be forward-bowed, back-bowed, and straight.
If you cannot get enough forward bow with your choice of string gauge, you may need to pursuade it; such as with the truss rod loose: place one end on a table or bench while holding onto the other end, and apply some weight to the middle. If that doesn't work, the neck is bad and needs to be replaced with a good one.
 
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The neck is good , something traumatized it, and now it has to be persuaded back normalcy with some therapy. I say string it up with some high tension strings and play it and see what happens after two weekks.
 
I don't know what "upbow" is supposed to mean. Guitar necks can be forward-bowed, back-bowed, and straight.
If you cannot get enough forward bow with your choice of string gauge, you may need to pursuede it; such as with the truss rod loose: place one end on a table or bench while holding onto the other end, and apply some weight to the middle. If that doesn't work, the neck is bad and needs to be replaced with a good one.
Upbow = forward-bowed

Since i managed to get it almost straight now, i don't think I'll need to do as you suggest. But it's very good to know about this technique (as mentioned to Rick). I was just confused why I couldn't even get to a point of upbow/forward-bow.
 
Upbow = forward-bowed

Since i managed to get it almost straight now, i don't think I'll need to do as you suggest. But it's very good to know about this technique (as mentioned to Rick). I was just confused why I couldn't even get to a point of upbow/forward-bow.
I had to pursuade the neck on my yellow Strat to forward bow when I first assembled the guitar with 009-046 string gauge.
It did not take much force, and has not needed any additional adjustment since 2014.
I just finished assembling my gold Strat, and amazingly with that same string gauge, the neck needs no adjustment (so far).
I have not touched the truss rod adjustment. What are the odds of that?? Of course we'll have too see what happens after it's had string tension on it for a few days.
 
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