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Neck Bowing


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I left my Fender Strat unstrung for about a week while waiting for new pickups to arrive.

As I recieved them and restrung the gat, I noticed it was fretting out now at around the 15th fret.

In which ways is this curable?

Ive left the strings on for about 2 days now with no real progress. Last night I did an approx 1/12 turn anti-clockwise of the truss rod and it seems to have gotten better but still really bad.

Edit: I've noticed the guitar doesn't really go out of tune when left overnight so maybe the neck isn't budging?

Edited by Buckethead
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I checked it out.

It didn't really help me.

It's not the truss rod (well, a little bit is) What's going in on is that the higher string tension is pulling the bridge up --you need to reset the bridge by adjust the springs --you do that by adjusting the claw. Depending on how much heavier the new guage is, you might need to add a spring.

Here's a good site for setting up your trem

If that doesn't help you, then you shouldn't be messing around with your guitars. Take it to a shop, the tech will sort it out in five minutes.

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I checked it out.

It didn't really help me.

It's not the truss rod (well, a little bit is) What's going in on is that the higher string tension is pulling the bridge up --you need to reset the bridge by adjust the springs --you do that by adjusting the claw. Depending on how much heavier the new guage is, you might need to add a spring.

Here's a good site for setting up your trem

If that doesn't help you, then you shouldn't be messing around with your guitars. Take it to a shop, the tech will sort it out in five minutes.

+1 it definitely sounds like tremolo issues to me.

Look at the back of your bridge and see how much it's pulling it up compared to before, you may have to tighten the springs in the back.

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well there you go.

higher gauge = more tension = more bow

see the main page for a setup tutorial :D

With heaver gage strings you would have had to tighten the truss rod not loosen it. So it probably is a problem with the bridge being too low now. Maybe one of your new pickups is too high? The issue is undue your truss rod adjustment with the strings loose then work through the pickup height while in the upper fretted positions(check it going up the neck) then the bridge adjustments noting every adjustment you make. You should have some idea if the action has changed if it hasn't changed other than after your truss rod adjustment I would first check the pickups?

What puzzles me is the higher string tension would bring both the nut and bridge up increasing the string height around the lower half of the fret board not create a low action buzz as you indicate. You should have had to lower the bridge and tighten the truss rod to bring the action down. The other question is how much higher up did you go in gage.

To answer question like this is just impossible on in a forum post. Check and follow through with the setup sites people have listed than when all else fails either change the gage back or seek help from a pro.

Make sure its not one of the pickups giving you a problem and not the guitar since the first place to check is your own work.

Edited by Woodenspoke
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I think leaving the strings off too long has caused the neck to bend in another direction.

I had 10s on and went to 11-48. Ive had zakk wylde (10-60) on the guitar before and it hasn't done this, so I really doubt it was the gauge change.

As for the truss rod, I put it back to normal position, it had a forward bow before and it still does.

I hear clamping the neck would do the trick.

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I think leaving the strings off too long has caused the neck to bend in another direction.

I had 10s on and went to 11-48. Ive had zakk wylde (10-60) on the guitar before and it hasn't done this, so I really doubt it was the gauge change.

As for the truss rod, I put it back to normal position, it had a forward bow before and it still does.

I hear clamping the neck would do the trick.

Your fretting out at 15. Have you checked to see if you have a high fret? I have no idea if your guitar was set up even close before you changed your strings, but what WoodenSpoke is saying is true. Larger gauge set would bring tension up raising the bridge and or possibly increasing the relief. This all leads to greater string height and clearance. You need to go through the process of setting and checking your setup(which the tutorials on the main page will walk you through). Go here-Tutorials

1. Check your nut for string clearance. Hold the strings down with a capo between the second and third frets, and make sure all strings are just clearing the first fret (very close, like .005", but be absolutely sure they are not touching).

2. Adjust your truss rod slowely to get the neck as close to perfectly straight as you can. If you have relief in the neck it should be slight(dead flat to .010").

3. Adjust your bridge saddles to bring your action where you like it. Tutorial gives recommendations so you have some typical range most would use.

After you have these settings in proper range. Then carefully check your frets for high, loose, low frets. Go through each step in order, and if you find something that does not fall into spec. and you are unsure how to correct it. Then ask the question here. If your action is close and all is working well. Check and adjust your intonation. If you do not feel you are able to check or work with measurements accurately enough to make these adjustments, take it to a good technition. Don't try messing with your set up in a random fasion(you will have no idea what is happening, unless you set each adjustment in the correct order), and don't try clamping a neck this way or that unless you have a good reason and know what you are doing.

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