Question on neck stability

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CodeMonkey
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Joined: December 29th, 2018, 9:26 pm

Question on neck stability

Post by CodeMonkey » December 29th, 2018, 10:10 pm

Hello,

I have a Fender Stratocaster Select (SSS model) that I like a lot, but am having trouble keeping the neck stable (and the action low).

Specifically, the curvature of the neck seems to change frequently. I can pick it up, play for a bit, and then a couple days later the action will feel entirely different. Having to make frequent truss rod adjustments (which I do very carefully) really sucks. And I don't understand why its necessary - the instrument resides exclusively in a temperature and humidity controlled environment and is only played lightly.

Guess it's time to visit a local guitar tech, but I hate to go in blind... so any opinions on what might be going on? Is this type of thing common with bolt-on necks?

Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

- Mark

NoteBoat
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Re: Question on neck stability

Post by NoteBoat » December 30th, 2018, 9:53 am

I'm just guessing here, but I think the problem may be with the neck attachment itself.

A Strat neck is attached with four screws that go through a metal plate, then through the body, and into the bottom of the neck. Your issue could be with one or more loose screws, or with worn or damaged wood in the neck that prevents the screws from holding the neck on securely.

First make sure the screws are all tight. If that doesn't fix it, you need to fill and redrill the hole(s) that aren't tight.

The quick fix for that is to dowel the existing hole and screw the neck back on. : Here's a video.

You can also replace the screws with actual bolts. That's a bit more involved - you drill out the existing holes and use brass inserts in the neck that accept machine bolts. Some players swear by this mod, claiming it greatly increases sustain (Yngwie Malmsteen is one of them). Here's a web page that shows the steps involved.

Whatever you decide to do, I'd stop messing with the truss rod - I don't think the problem is with the actual bowing of the neck changing, and you're risking breaking the truss rod, which is a bigger repair job.
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