tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Research Triangle (NC)
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Question tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

I own many RG350's, and most have excellent tuning stability, but one has a strange issue -- while I'm playing I can sometimes feel a shudder go through the neck and then the guitar will be out of tune. I have swapped out the tremolo and the posts and am 100% certain they are not to blame (the studs are locked, and dropping in several different tremolos does not fix the issue). I have taken apart the whole guitar many times to look for issues. The nut is solidly attached, so that's not shifting. I've taken the neck off, cleaned out the neck pocket, tightened the neck screws, etc. Something is shifting during playing, usually after an extreme string bend (which increases the string tension momentarily). The screw holes in the neck look fine. When those screws are tightened it all seems solid. These are AANJ necks, so there is no threading in the guitar body for the neck screws---just a metal washer set into the wood at the heel. I think that either the problem must be with the neck screws shifting in the body/heel, or that there might be something amiss with the truss rod. The truss rod is tight.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Whenever I feel something like what you're describing 99% of the time it's the nut shifting during bends.

The way I check is to hold the nut on either side with my finger and thumb while going through dives and pull ups. If you can feel it moving then it is.

Are there shims under the nut? I had problems with a 470 neck with brass shims once. The nut just would not stay in one place until I took out the shim, which it ended up not needing anyway...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Thanks for the suggestion -- I'll try that. There aren't any shims under the nut, and it feels rock solid to me. The screws are completely tight, so if it did turn out to be the nut I don't see how I could possibly make it any sturdier. I think it has to be something else. But I'll try what you suggested. Thanks!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmajoros View Post
Thanks for the suggestion -- I'll try that. There aren't any shims under the nut, and it feels rock solid to me. The screws are completely tight, so if it did turn out to be the nut I don't see how I could possibly make it any sturdier. I think it has to be something else. But I'll try what you suggested. Thanks!
If the shelf isn't cut quite right you can still get movement. Be careful not to tighten and crank the bolts too much, that's where the cracks you see on many guitars come from.

If the nut is moving on you and you feel the bolts are tightened as far as you want to go, you can glue the nut in with something like titebond wood glue. It will make the nut nice and solid, but you'll still be able to remove it with a little heat because it doesn't bond to the metal of the nut as well as wood...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

I just checked and the nut isn't shifting. That thing is rock solid. It's gotta be something else. I just don't know what. I'm thinking of pouring wax into the screw holes in the heel so the screws can't move. That's a trick I learned for the trem studs instead of installing locking studs -- it works perfectly for the trem studs, so maybe it'll work for the neck screws (which are tight in the neck but loose in the body/heel).
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:34 AM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

IDK man....

You should be able to determine where the problem is by feel though. I would go through dives and pull ups while holding on to the neck to see if I could pin point the problem area.

Could be a problem with your trem anchors too...

Try to find the source of the sound...
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Actually, I think it was the nut. I took it completely off, put it back on, and now the problem seems to be gone. It felt rock solid before, but somehow just loosening it and re-tightening it seems to have fixed the problem.

Thanks for your help!!!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Hi. I just want to know if enybody can explain what causes this problem. For me it is the neck moving back and forth when I change my grip. I had some paint removed and it became better but it is still a problem for me. I own the jem70v.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2013, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SvenKaaBlueser View Post
Hi. I just want to know if enybody can explain what causes this problem. For me it is the neck moving back and forth when I change my grip. I had some paint removed and it became better but it is still a problem for me. I own the jem70v.
I thought it was my neck, but it turned out to be the nut. Even though I thought the nut as tight, I removed it, put it back on, and tightened the screws as much as possible, and now the problem has gone away. After that I went around tightening the nuts on all my guitars. Unfortunately, I over-tighted one of the screws on one of my (three) JS-1000's, and stripped the screw hole. I fixed that with a toothpick and some glue.

Now one of my other guitars has developed a tuning issue which I'm sure is due to the tremolo: releasing the bar from a dive versus releasing it from a pull return to different tunings, which I think means that either the trem isn't leveled, or there's an issue with the posts, or the knife edges need sharpening. This guitar has an Edge III, so the knife edges are made of soft metal. It's hard to tell whether they need sharpening though. I think I have the trem leveled, and I don't see anything wrong with the posts (they're not locking posts, but I poured hot wax into the post holes, so they're not shifting).
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 09:40 AM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Thank you. Very well explained. I tried it but I can see the strings moving closer to the neck if I pull it so I need to stabilize it some how.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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Re: tuning problem: neck shift or truss rod?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmajoros View Post
I thought it was my neck, but it turned out to be the nut. Even though I thought the nut as tight, I removed it, put it back on, and tightened the screws as much as possible, and now the problem has gone away. After that I went around tightening the nuts on all my guitars. Unfortunately, I over-tighted one of the screws on one of my (three) JS-1000's, and stripped the screw hole. I fixed that with a toothpick and some glue.

Now one of my other guitars has developed a tuning issue which I'm sure is due to the tremolo: releasing the bar from a dive versus releasing it from a pull return to different tunings, which I think means that either the trem isn't leveled, or there's an issue with the posts, or the knife edges need sharpening. This guitar has an Edge III, so the knife edges are made of soft metal. It's hard to tell whether they need sharpening though. I think I have the trem leveled, and I don't see anything wrong with the posts (they're not locking posts, but I poured hot wax into the post holes, so they're not shifting).
Woooooaaaahhhh!!! I just saw that you tightened the nut bolts as much as possible??? You need to loosen all of those bolts back up before the necks start cracking near the bolt holes. You have severely overtightened the bolts.

They only need to be tight enough so that the nut doesn't move when you dive/pull up. You accomplish this by holding on to the nut with one hand and going through dives/pullups with the other. Slowly tighten the bolts until the nut does not move and tighten no further.

This is exactly why you see all those old Wizards with cracks all around the nut holes. All it takes is a little atmospheric change and some wood swelling and snap-crackle-pop you have a crack started...
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