Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

Help with slightly twisted neck
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Author:  tchen [ Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Help with slightly twisted neck

I think my 330 may be suffering from a slight twist in the neck. I was experiencing some buzz, so decided to make some neck adjustments. What I discovered was...

With the 1st and last frets pressed down, the low E is almost touching the 8th/9th frets; some might even say that it practically is touching the frets. Based on the research I've been doing here, my understanding is that I'd want to loosen the truss rod, giving a little relief. However, the bass side truss rod nut was already completely loose (I could tighten with my finger). The neck on the high strings have the slightest amount of relief.

I suppose I could raise the bridge a little and see if that helps, but I'm just a little discouraged by the idea of a possibly warped neck (thought thankfully it doesn't seem to be as bad as some others I've read about.

Again, based on what I've read here on the forums, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to loosen all strings and truss rods and let the guitar sit for a while. I am actually about to leave town for a month or so; Would it do more harm than good to leave my 330 sitting that long without any tension on the neck? The guitar has been strung with 11s for quite some time now.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Author:  tchen [ Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with slightly twisted neck

Any advice? I'd like to clarify that when I play a note at the 8th fret on the low E, it rattles a little or kind of deadens out.

I have mostly read here on the forums that the 2 truss rods are independent of each other, and that a proper setup might result with one tight rod and one loose... but I did come across one post with a person suggesting that if one truss rod nut is completely loose (which is the case with my bass side), then that truss rod should be tightened and the other loosened slightly.

Author:  maxwell [ Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with slightly twisted neck

I've posted (a while back) about my twisted neck; probably more twisted than yours, however. From my experience, the best way to verify the twist is to look down the length of the guitar from the headstock. You simply compare the horizontal attitude of the headstock with the horizontal attitude of the guitar body. What you'd like to see is that they are parallel. In my case, they were not parallel, not even close. However, I did not realize my neck was twisted until by chance I viewed the guitar neck the way I mentioned. I was having a more significant problem with my neck-bridge-vibrato set up, which probably clouded my recognizing the twist earlier.

I fooled around with the truss rods, but, at least in my case (signif. twist) there was no change. Of course, this was just a wishful shot in the dark; those rods are for the relative bow of the neck, and that would seem to be completely independent of any twisting.

You can live with it, with patient/skillful adjustment of your bridge. There are ways to fix it. My past research suggested that the most "professional" method used a dedicated heating & clamping device, which I discovered was no longer being manufactured; you'd have to find a repair tech/luthier who already owns one of these and has experience using it.

I did a quick Internet search and there are several presentations for correcting a twisted neck:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+to+fix+a+ ... =h_&ia=web

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=heat+press+fo ... =hs&ia=web

Well, this will give you something to read while you're away! But you should confirm the twist before sinking a lot of energy and money into this. Good luck.

PS - From my understanding, Rick neck/playability is best/preferable with little or no relief. So, to me, it sounds like you are about where you should be. Maybe snug up that loose truss rod so it doesn't rattle, and adjust the bridge so you don't get fret buzz and to a height that feels good to you. Someone else can come along and comment on proper neck relief for Ricks (and it is NOT the same as other guitars). .....Oh yeah, the fret buzz you already have... you may have to loosen the other truss rod (also) and let the string tension create a slight bow and thereby increase relief. So, string it/tune it up with loosened truss rods during your trip. Another option, if this doesn't work, is to move up to a higher (thicker) gauge of strings, which require a little more tension to tune up, tending to (wanting to) create more relief. (Again, loosen the truss rods to allow the neck to "move." If you overshoot and get too much relief, tighten the truss rods slightly, re-tune after each adjustment, incrementally over time.)

Also, a thicker (e.g., low E) string will not vibrate as much; this alone may correct for slight fret buzz, assuming that other adjustments have already been made or are not necessary. There's always a chance (if the fret buzz is limited to a single fret) that the fret may need adjustment to level it in line with the other frets. Get your neck straight as possible, use a credit card to see if it rocks over the three frets in that buzz area (the high fret revealing itself, acting like a fulcrum); place/vary the card position up & down the neck a fret or two as you explore. (Let a pro adjust your frets; might be worth the cost to have the guitar looked over and set up professionally with someone experienced working with Ricks.)

Author:  maxwell [ Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with slightly twisted neck

I didn't notice that you already had 11s on it already.... Well, I'd tune it up and take the trip, not expecting much, if anything to happen; I mean, a single adjustment is probably not going to fix it entirely. Personally, I make incremental truss rod adjustments (quarter turns), allowing a full 24 hours between adjustments--probably longer than necessary, but more controlled, especially if you want to precisely see the cause & effect of adjustments. You'll eventually figure this out, and learn a lot along the way.

I have a guitar (not a Rick) that I could not eliminate the fret buzz on the A and (esp.) the low E strings. Went in adjustment circles for ages, finally gave up. If the buzz is not amplified, don't worry too much about it.

There's some smart guys here -- hopefully a couple will chime in and offer additional (or even alternative) advice.

Author:  maxwell [ Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with slightly twisted neck

Take a look at this thread, esp. the last two posts; see if the info. applies:
http://www.fenderforum.com/forum.html?d ... 0413:56:21

Author:  maxwell [ Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with slightly twisted neck

Have you sorted this out yet? I, myself, have recently committed to making my Rick play. I'm simply skipping any neck twist concerns and going to install a Bigsby; I'll see how that goes, and take it from there.

This video was influential in my decision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjo0Xvb6hRo

The section of the presentation that applies is from 2:50 -- 6:19 minutes. This pretty much coincides with the advice someone suggested in my original thread (re: bass guitar purposely manufactured with a twisted neck). Fortunately, my neck does twist in a favorable direction.

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