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Thread: Action / neck adjustment help needed.

  1. #1

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    Action / neck adjustment help needed.

    Hi all, I've had my Axis for a few years now, and it's played great, but lately I've noticed that the action feels like it's getting higher and higher. I haven't done a thing to the bridge, and the neck curvature looks fine. Is there any other reason this would happen? Pic attached. I adjusted the truss rod before using that ruler, because I just assumed that was the problem, and just eyeballing it, it did seem to have a bit of curvature, but after adjusting (clockwise) it almost felt worse. The guitar detuned, which I thought was odd. If anything wouldn't it raise the pitch being that there would be more tension? Anyone able to help?


    Action / neck adjustment help needed.-axisaction-jpg

  2. #2

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    This is a guitar with a tremolo, yes? If so, is it still decked? If the action is getting higher, it has to be coming from somewhere.

    If the guitar went down in tuning, that means the truss rod was turned the wrong way, and you put more relief in the neck.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
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  3. #3

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    This is what I do with all my guitars; I hope it works for you:
    - eyeball the neck from the bridge first; an extreme bend one way or the other should be obvious.
    - if you have a floating trem then block it with shims from behind on both sides so that the bridge is flat to the top of the guitar. This removes the trem movement from the problem but it's likely that adjustment will be required later. If you have a trem, I'm assuming the bridge is already flat to the body. If not, this may be part of the problem.
    - put a capo on the first fret then touch the very last fret on each string and play the string behind it; if the neck is flat or bent back the string will be dead; if a note can be heard then there is relief. You can feel how much by touching each string around the 12th fret while still holding down as close to the neck pick up as you can. I like just enough relief to hear a tone without the string buzzing; almost flat.
    - with the neck relief set, and the capo off, tune the guitar and see how the strings feel. This is when I adjust each bridge height so that the strings are as low as possible without buzzing; this is a thing of personal preference; I like really low action and use light strings too. Tuning will be required as you adjust the bridge heights
    - at this point your guitar should be happy play-wise so now screw things up and remove the trem blocks. The trem will go one way or the other unless you are really lucky. If the bridge has shifted, adjust the trem claw at the back until the bridge is flat again with the top of the guitar. The guitar should be back in tune (this is where it was before you unblocked) with a flat bridge, almost flat neck and low action.

    How do you store your guitar? I travel a lot and the temperature in my home drops to around 12C when I'm gone which none of my guitars (except the bass) like very much. My Majesty, with it's floating bridge, is the most sensitive of all. When I come home and things go back up to 19C I just leave the Majesty for a little longer to let it settle down.

    Good luck!
    Rick

    '16 EBMM Majesty 6 Arctic Dream

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    This is a guitar with a tremolo, yes? If so, is it still decked? If the action is getting higher, it has to be coming from somewhere.

    If the guitar went down in tuning, that means the truss rod was turned the wrong way, and you put more relief in the neck.
    Yes, original MM tremolo, and yes, it's decked. From reading other threads and searching around it's supposed to be clockwise (or right = tight), looking towards the headstock from the bridge, to tighten / straighten the neck (like this http://forums.ernieball.com/attachme...0&d=1478940666), which is what I did, but I didn't want to mess with it any more until I asked.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick C View Post
    This is what I do with all my guitars; I hope it works for you:
    - eyeball the neck from the bridge first; an extreme bend one way or the other should be obvious.
    - if you have a floating trem then block it with shims from behind on both sides so that the bridge is flat to the top of the guitar. This removes the trem movement from the problem but it's likely that adjustment will be required later. If you have a trem, I'm assuming the bridge is already flat to the body. If not, this may be part of the problem.
    - put a capo on the first fret then touch the very last fret on each string and play the string behind it; if the neck is flat or bent back the string will be dead; if a note can be heard then there is relief. You can feel how much by touching each string around the 12th fret while still holding down as close to the neck pick up as you can. I like just enough relief to hear a tone without the string buzzing; almost flat.
    - with the neck relief set, and the capo off, tune the guitar and see how the strings feel. This is when I adjust each bridge height so that the strings are as low as possible without buzzing; this is a thing of personal preference; I like really low action and use light strings too. Tuning will be required as you adjust the bridge heights
    - at this point your guitar should be happy play-wise so now screw things up and remove the trem blocks. The trem will go one way or the other unless you are really lucky. If the bridge has shifted, adjust the trem claw at the back until the bridge is flat again with the top of the guitar. The guitar should be back in tune (this is where it was before you unblocked) with a flat bridge, almost flat neck and low action.

    How do you store your guitar? I travel a lot and the temperature in my home drops to around 12C when I'm gone which none of my guitars (except the bass) like very much. My Majesty, with it's floating bridge, is the most sensitive of all. When I come home and things go back up to 19C I just leave the Majesty for a little longer to let it settle down.

    Good luck!
    Thanks for the advice, I guess I'll go through the steps and just do a full setup. It's just weird to me that the action would change when the neck looks to have the same curvature it's always had, and I haven't messed with the bridge. There's just the slightest bow, which you can see in the pic, but that's typically how I like my guitars, and the action used to be really low.

    I figured temp / weather was the problem when I first started noticing it happening. I live in So Cal and it's been ridiculously hot. I have the AC on pretty much all day, but it does fluctuate in the corner where my guitars are. I do leave my guitars in their cases though. I only take them out to play, then back they go, but again, neck looks fine, so it's a mystery to me.

  6. #6

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    How long have you had it? I would also check the neck screws to make sure they are secure. It's possible, however unlikely, that they have loosened. Also the neck can "settle in" to the neck pocket over time.

    I usually check the relief by holding down the 1st fret with my fretting hand, and then the 12th fret with my picking hand. I check the relief at the 5th fret. You can also just hammer on to the 5th fret, and if it "plinks" it's good.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    How long have you had it? I would also check the neck screws to make sure they are secure. It's possible, however unlikely, that they have loosened. Also the neck can "settle in" to the neck pocket over time.

    I usually check the relief by holding down the 1st fret with my fretting hand, and then the 12th fret with my picking hand. I check the relief at the 5th fret. You can also just hammer on to the 5th fret, and if it "plinks" it's good.
    I've had it for almost 3 years now. I bought it used though, so it had some play time on it. I loved the action on it when I first got it, but I'm not great at setting up guitars, and I always worry about making things worse. I've been playing since about 1994, but I grew up poor, so I was always used to playing beat up guitars and making due, and I never really learned to maintain them.

    Anyway, thanks, I'll take a look at it more thoroughly tomorrow and go through a full set up.

  8. #8

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    If you have made no change to string/bridge height, that won't change of it's own accord with the strings at tension. If the action has changed but there is no change at the bridge then the ONLY answer is the neck relief changing. There is nothing else.


    Neck relief and string height are the only two things we need to know. I strongly recommend getting feeler gauges and learning how to measure neck relief, and using an engineers rule or string action gauge for string height over teh frets (usually easured at 12th or 14th fret but last fret is useable too. It takes all the guess work out of this process and means that whatever our personal preferred setup is, we can get back to it very easily.
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