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Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series
Old 27th September 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series

Hi guys
I've been having a bit of trouble with my first (and currently, only) guitar, my Ibanez S320. It started when I changed my strings last month. I've been using light top/heavy bottom (10-52) strings for a while now, but most of the time I had it tuned half step down. But since that often turned out to be a bit of a nuisance when playing along with a recording or even some other guys who are tuned normally, I tuned back up to normal with my last string change - same gauge

Anyway, the basic problem is that my action is too high. It was ridiculously too high at first - but I adjusted the tremolo tension (to maximum, it seems) and lowed the bridge itself a bit, and got it to within reasonable limits, but it's still much too high for my liking. I don't need super low action to play, but this just isn't working for me. Without a proper measuring gauge, I used a household ruler and saw that the gap between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the low E string is around 3mm (0.118")!!

The only thing I can think of is that the truss rod needs adjusting, and since I'm traveling now, I was waiting till Dec till I'm back home, so I can give it to my regular guitar guy for a set up. I'm not very confident adjusting the truss rod! However, yesterday I was reading about warped necks, and got quite worried - coz this guy was describing a warped neck as a bowed neck. I thought a warped neck usually means a twisted neck - and a bowed neck can be usually adjusted with the truss rod?!

I did notice a bit of fret wear on the lower frets (first to fifth or sixth) but I don't think that would cause the trouble I'm having right now

I'm attaching a few pictures of my guitar neck here - best I can do as I only have my mobile phone right now. Could any of you manage to identify the problem by looking at these pics? I realize it might not be easy as the pics are not great, but any advice would be appreciated!

Sorry for the long story - I'm sure this is a very common problem! Hope someone can help!
Attached Thumbnails
Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series-20130927_085137.jpg   Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series-20130927_085235.jpg   Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series-20130927_085456.jpg   Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series-20130927_085523.jpg   Action/neck problem with my Ibanez S Series-20130927_085609.jpg  

Old 27th September 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

It looks like it does have a slight bow to it, tightening the truss rod just a wee bit should cure that. It seems scary if you've never done it, but it's really not a big deal. Just remember that a little bit goes a long way! Give the truss rod nut maybe an eighth to a quarter of a turn, re-tune the guitar, and see how it sits. If it needs more, give it just a little bit more and check it again with the strings tuned to the pitch you will be using.

Once the neck is straight, go back to your bridge and THEN adjust your action and intonation.
Old 27th September 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 

becareful to not tighten the truss to much, tighten it a 1/4 turn every few hours or so, see if it helps

but before you do it how high is the bridge? You should get the specs for your guitar first though make sure the bridge is where it should be. Then make adjustments accordingly

lastly you can shim the neck if all else fails


maybe go to a tech it may only cost you $25
Old 28th September 2013
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Thanks guys. Yeah, I think I'll wait and go see my tech and get him to straighten the neck. It doesn't look like it's warped though, is it? That's my biggest worry after reading this article online. Thanks
Old 28th September 2013
  #5
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I agree, no more than a 1/4 turn at a time, but also take a cloth and rub the back of the neck to warm it up real good with friction, before you adjust the truss rod.
Old 29th September 2013
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the great tips. At least I know now that it's probably just a truss rod adjustment that's necessary - but I think I'll play it safe this time and wait till I can go meet my tech and get it done!
Old 29th September 2013
  #7
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heshanj View Post
Thanks for the great tips. At least I know now that it's probably just a truss rod adjustment that's necessary - but I think I'll play it safe this time and wait till I can go meet my tech and get it done!
There's a possibility that the neck may need to be shimmed, but let the tech decide.
Old 30th September 2013
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
There's a possibility that the neck may need to be shimmed, but let the tech decide.
ah i see. i just googled to get a clearer idea of what a shim involves. yeah, i'll leave this one to my tech! thanks guys
Old 20th October 2013
  #9
Gear Nut
 

hey. still didn't get around to setting up the neck, but i have an idea of what that involves now

another thing that has been annoying me lately has been the trem arm on this guitar. it's become very wobbly and noisy when it's moved. the noise is annoying, even though it doesn't come through the amp or anything, so that's not really a problem, but the feel is really bad..not smooth at all

there's a lot of 'play' when i move the arm, it sort of wobbles in the groove, without moving the bridge...and it can't be tightened more or anything. i wonder if getting a new trem arm will work? can't think of anything else to do
Old 20th October 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Try a bit of teflon threading tape like plumbers & gas fitters use.

Really cheap, great stuff to have around.

The only other thing to do, would be if there's enough thread exposed on the backside of the trem plate to install a small fine machine nut & a lock washer.

Hard to visualize a solution without having the guitar sitting here.
Old 20th October 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
WinnyP's Avatar
Hold (or capo) a string at fret one and 22/24. At around the 8th fret the gap between the top of the fret and bottom of the string should be around the thickness of your high E string. If its wider, tighten the rod in small increments. If the gap is correct then you will need to add a shim and readjust your trem, intonation, string height etc
Old 20th October 2013
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
woodsman's Avatar
 

if you capo on the first fret, the string will angle upwards after the fret. it wont be a perfect straight edge. press the string directly on the fret itself. then use your thumb to press the string to the fret (not between the fret) one fret towards the bridge after it joins the body. (this is where the truss rod attaches inside). then use your right index or middle finger to tap the string in between the two holding it down to judge the space between the frets and string and adjust. 1mm space for low action is about normal.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
Try a bit of teflon threading tape like plumbers & gas fitters use.

Really cheap, great stuff to have around.

The only other thing to do, would be if there's enough thread exposed on the backside of the trem plate to install a small fine machine nut & a lock washer.

Hard to visualize a solution without having the guitar sitting here.
Thanks, didn't think of that. If that doesn't work, maybe a new trem arm will do the job? I really can't think of anything else. Oh, and there is enough thread exposed on the back of the plate

Thanks for the other tips on adjusting my guitar neck too! Cheers
Old 22nd October 2013
  #14
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

A new trem arm won't help if the threads in the tremolo plate are stripped out.
Old 24th October 2013
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Oh right. Haha. I didn't have threading tape so I couldn't try it out yet. I'll get some asap n try. Hope I won't need to replace the entire bridge!
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