Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood - Jemsite
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Saint Charles
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Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

I'm up in the Midwest and its been a brutal winter but spring is here. I really haven't noticed before the effects heat and cold can have on a guitar - particularly the neck. Recently, I've noticed a little less bend in the neck and I'm getting some buzzing and the action seems to have changed a little on my rg350. I play and practice in all types of environments. Adjusting the truss rod is something I don't want to do myself for I don't want to make things worse.

So I spoke with the local luthier and he said the environment can have a huge impact on your guitars wood and you should give all your guitars a tune up each season.

What happens when a guitar is in an environment that is too hot? too cold?

Do you get your guitars 'tuned up' each season? All you down there in really hot environments who play outside, what happens to your guitar during those gigs?

Any information would be appreciated, thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 10:33 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Funny, I did 3 truss rod adjustments last week. I was in the frickin polar vortex with you for the last 4 months and now its suddenly in the high 60's. I've had pretty good luck though gigging in the winter and stuff...never any guitar (or amp) problems so far...*knock,knock*
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 10:44 PM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

I lived in So Cal for a few years and no problems but I have been in Colorado since last July and yeah I don't even put the truss rod covers on anymore because I adjust them so much
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

hey guys,

thanks for the information. You got me thinking - why not adjust the truss rod myself? How hard is it, what concerns should I have? Any youtube links I should view for instructions?

thanks in advance!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 01:35 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

You can do one of two things. Avoid the truss rod thing and live with a little buzz due to weather changes or learn to do minor truss rod adjustments if buzz bothers you. I only do it when it gets noticeably bad when I can hear the buzz plugged in.

Unfortunately, most guitars are made out of wood and will be a slave to environment.

For rather expensive acoustics and full hollowbodies, just keep them in cases when not in use. For solidbodies and semi-hollowbodies, it's OK to keep them out but not in direct sun from window. If you can keep them in cases, too when not in use that won't hurt anything and can only help.

Forget all that business about a temperature controlled room (which will work short term but not long term year after year) and use your cases as much as you can, tune up each time, and if needed use the truss rod for a buzz that peaks through when plugged in. The truss rod adjustment is a skill that's not bad to have. While frets are prone to wear and wiring needs to be repaired from time to time, people forget that the wood of a guitar has to be kept up and protected.

Other things for protection is to lay cases flat so they don't fall in closet where a headstock could crack. Also use strap locks because dropping a guitar is often bad for a lot of things including the wood where the headstock is and could snap off if truss rod adjustment is at headstock side. Also pretty RGs and Jems just don't look so good with deep dings like a beloved thrashed strat or tele from the pre-CBS days.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 04-24-2014 at 01:43 AM.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 03:17 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Hi Windycitycane,

Don't be scared of the truss rod. Rich Harris has a great step by step guide to adjusting truss rods on his website, 'Ibanez Rules!!'. You'll see his banner at the top of this page. Go to the website and find your way to the 'tech' section and truss rod is chapter or section 6.

Have fun dude!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 07:28 AM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

We have big swings in humidity between winter and summer. Our summers are actually cooler temperature-wise than up north but the humidity is like walking into a sauna. I usually do maintenance setups near Thanksgiving and Easter when the change becomes noticeable in a guitar.
I don't do many truss rod adjustments though. That's usually my last measure or I do it when it's obviously out. IMO people can overdo it with rod adjustments. I'll make a minor change then set the guitar aside for about a day and play another one until the neck fully adjusts to that change.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 10:00 AM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

truss rod adjustments are easy, just do a quarter turn at the most and let it set for a day before any further adjustments. I used to be scared to do it myself, but its really no big deal.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 03:54 PM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Ditto.. I used to think there was black magic and voodoo involved in adjusting the truss rod, but I bought a cheap guitar and used it to learn on. Now I'm not so scared to tweak and shim things. A little adjustment on the truss rod goes a long way... to just be cool and write down what you do to keep track in case you need to go back.

Growing up in AZ it was 10 months of dry and two months of humidity and I never adjusted a thing. Here in KS the humidity and temp fluctuate so much it is insane! We get whatever the wind blows in...
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 09:59 PM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by GUITARMAGEDDON View Post
truss rod adjustments are easy, just do a quarter turn at the most and let it set for a day before any further adjustments. I used to be scared to do it myself, but its really no big deal.
+1
I used to 'give it to the expert' kinda attitude before.
Now I'm learning to do it myself, because the 'expert' once I had, now nowhere to be found...
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 06:21 PM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireEagle View Post
Here in KS the humidity and temp fluctuate so much it is insane! We get whatever the wind blows in...
Then you send it down to me! Though we do send the humidity up to you, lol! It seems we get 5 months of super high humidty, 5 months of bone dry, and two months of moderate nice weather.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Saint Charles
Posts: 116
Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

thanks for the info.. adjusted the truss rod myself, no issues.. added that to my 'guitar mechanic bucket list' and I thank you all..
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:48 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

I live at the beach here in NY so the temp/humidity swings are ridiculous. Half of my guitars at any given time are unplayable due to bowing and sky high action. The worst offender is my Washburn N4, since it is an unfinished body and 100% open to the elements.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 07:19 PM
 
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

If this helps: it was less than a year and a half ago that I'd never set up a guitar.
Ever.
By reading Rich's site, and the information on this site, I can do a pretty killer setup all by my little self now.
Truss rod, action, pickup wiring, neck shimming, tremolo setup, intonation......one thing I have yet to do is a fret level, but that may be coming quickly. One of my guitars needs one badly.
All from this site, and Rich's site.....and a few youtube videos.
No sweat, don't be afraid. Just take your time with everything and be sure you've read up on whatever it is you're trying to do.
Meechy
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 07:22 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
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Re: Question on environmental effects on your guitars wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItalianPCTech View Post
If this helps: it was less than a year and a half ago that I'd never set up a guitar.
Ever.
By reading Rich's site, and the information on this site, I can do a pretty killer setup all by my little self now.
Truss rod, action, pickup wiring, neck shimming, tremolo setup, intonation......one thing I have yet to do is a fret level, but that may be coming quickly. One of my guitars needs one badly.
All from this site, and Rich's site.....and a few youtube videos.
No sweat, don't be afraid. Just take your time with everything and be sure you've read up on whatever it is you're trying to do.
Meechy
That's impressive, but you ain't anything until you can rewind your pickups using the gears of a ten speed or voice a modern steel string's bracing to prewar Martin specs.
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