Neck Relief increasing by itself?

Socrates

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Anyone (who measures) ever had their neck relief increase a lot on its own?

It must he an environmental thing I guess. I live in a high humidity environment all year around which is maybe what causes this.

About 4 months ago I set the neck relief of both my LPs at 0.008" and action where I like it at 4/64 low E and 3/64 high E...measued at 12th fret.

Last week it started feeling that my action on both guitars had increased slightly. When I measured today, the action on both guitars was now about 4.5/64 lowE and about 3.5/64 high E...but I would swear I never touched the thumbwheels.

Just for the heck of it I checked the reliefs and both guitars were at .014" even though I had set them at 0.008 4 months ago.

The relief increased a lot by itself on both LPs the same exact amount. Anyone had this happen??

Good news is that i adjusted the relief back to 0.008 and my action on both gits went immediately back to my original 4/64 and 3/64 settings...so am happy about that.
 

Rocco Crocco

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Yes sir. Relief changes when temperature and humidity changes. Some guitars are more susceptible than others. My Telecaster neck relief has to be adjusted a few times per year, yet I have Les Pauls that have gone years without adjustment.
 

MiniB

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Oh yeah...especially long mahogany necks like on an SG or ES-335.
 

Adinol

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I'm a repair tech and I see that all the time. As Rocco said, "Some guitars are more susceptible than others."

I sometimes tell my customers not to think of the object in question as a "guitar" but as a piece (or many pieces) of a plant. You would not think twice if you noticed that the carved face on your Halloween pumpkin looks like it sunk a bit, because you think of it as a piece of a plant. When we hold a guitar in our hands we forget that it is nothing more than just a piece of a pant. But if we remind ourselves of that fact it is easier to understand how environmental changes would affect it's shape, especially on the level of a few 1/1000 of an inch under string tension.
 

Adinol

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I have been wondering for a while if oiling the fretboard might reduce the fluctuations a bit, due to the fact that oil and water don't mix. So the oil might prevent some of the moisture exchange between the grain and the air.

However, to know for sure one would have to conduct a proper scientific experiment, logging thousands of pieces of data and comparing results. Opinions can't really resolve this hypothesis, only a proper scientific experiment could. In the meantime, I do oils my fretboards (never too much).
 

goodguy

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Have been chasing a "slipping neck relief" issue on a Stratocaster for a while.
Of course, the typical reason is humidity/temperature changes (easily fixed with slight truss adjustments).
But if you're consistently chasing a neck relief with symptoms like upper fret buzz, too much relief, hard to turn truss nut, etc. - you need to slow down and evaluate the real issue before you end up with a broken truss rod or major repairs. Sometimes "spongy" wood can compress under the truss nut (especially if it is hard to turn).
Often, people will keep adding washers (1/2 moon washers on an LP) to give more thread to pull on when wood compresses to a certain point. Note: many necks eventually stabilize and hold position, it may take years. If youre adding more than a couple washers, you have a bigger problem that needs addressing.
Part of the problem is: a misunderstanding of the role of a truss rod.. the truss rod & adjustment nut are not meant to take a curve out of a neck. They are meant for very small adjustments to HOLD the curve (or non-curve) in the neck.
If you have a neck that has way too much relief - you may need to have the neck clamped (with heat) to straighten correctly and then HELD in place by snugging the truss rod nut - the truss nut is just holding the neck in position with slight pressure to resist bending.. the truss/nut is not meant to completely straighten a bent neck all on its own.
Correct procedure is: Get the neck to a slight backbow through clamping (sometimes with heat for problem necks) or just hand pressure, then snug truss nut to hold it in place. String up the guitar. Check relief & slacken truss nut as necessary.
Unfortunately, spongy wood needs more drastic measures like gluing in a harder wood sleeve/space at bottom of truss hole to give nut a firmer base to push against and stop the compression.
Less common is the truss rod pulling away (or through) its fixed attachment end (opposite from nut) which may require a fretboard removal to replace truss system.
If you are cranking down on the nut and you think its too hard to turn - STOP - there is an issue and your'e fighting against something that shouldn't be. Your'e probably trying to use the truss rod and nut as a cure all for straightening a bent neck. Also, add a little lubricant to the truss rod threads. DON'T keep cranking on a truss rod nut that doesn't want to be turned - you're asking for trouble.
I've come to the conclusion that many necks will just never cooperate. You could have a cheap Squier neck that holds firm & a Custom Shop neck you love which just wont stay where you want... thus is the unpredictable nature of wood. If I ever buy a new neck, I'm getting roasted maple, ash or something that is more predictable.
 
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rishi

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Just another data point...my envir is sort of the opposite of yours,very dry (S.Ca). I've found all of my guitars over the years have moved based on both humidity and temp. I'd become a bit obsessive with measuring them, but finally stopped because they moved almost constantly. I settled on keeping the guitars in cases as much as possible and keeping a couple HumidiPacs in them to kind of regulate the humidty to a degree. Like others have said, it's a "living" entity. I suspect guitars built in recent decades are "greener" since the old dry wood basically ran out a while ago. Don't know that to be a fact tho, never been fortunate enough to own a true vintage guitar!
 

Socrates

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I'm a repair tech and I see that all the time. As Rocco said, "Some guitars are more susceptible than others."

I sometimes tell my customers not to think of the object in question as a "guitar" but as a piece (or many pieces) of a plant. You would not think twice if you noticed that the carved face on your Halloween pumpkin looks like it sunk a bit, because you think of it as a piece of a plant. When we hold a guitar in our hands we forget that it is nothing more than just a piece of a pant. But if we remind ourselves of that fact it is easier to understand how environmental changes would affect it's shape, especially on the level of a few 1/1000 of an inch under string tension.
Thanks...that is a great analogy
 

GermHerm

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This effect is completely normal. I have to adjust my guitars at least two times a year (usually in April/May and October/November) depending on the weather situation here in Northern Germany. Some instruments are more prone to adjustments than others. Therefore, don't worry...
 

Socrates

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Thanks guys...this is really good stuff to know. At this point my LPs are pretty new and hopfully just trying to settle in. Truss rods turn very easily...and I always will loosen first to check them! Will keeo an eye on the relief over the next few months
 

DBDM

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Thanks guys...this is really good stuff to know. At this point my LPs are pretty new and hopfully just trying to settle in. Truss rods turn very easily...and I always will loosen first to check them! Will keeo an eye on the relief over the next few months
what gauge strings are you using?
 

jk60LPTH

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I've got 2 LP '60s True Historics, one is a 2016, one is a 2017, and a 60th Anniv. '59 (2010) - the weather changed from hot to cold recently, and the humidity of course changed as well. The 60th Anniv. '59 tuning went way off, the 2 True Historics changed but not nearly as much, and my (actual) 1967 SG Standard, well, 4 strings went slightly sharp and 2 went slightly flat.
Maybe has something to do with the aging of the wood?
 

CB91710

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Yep... I'm blessed with a humidity level that generally hovers around 35-45% year-round. We get some brief (week or so) times when it drops, but my indoor humidity generally never goes below 40%.
As such, I have rarely in the last 45 years needed to make a truss rod adjustment.

Some people need to adjust them 2-3 times every year.
 

Roxy13

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Mine tend to flatten a bit in the late fall after the heat has been on for awhile and bow more in the spring when it first gets humid again. Some more than others as previously noted.

Heck they change when I ship them to a difference in climate and usually need a few days being back inside with a controlled climate to put themselves back to where I had them set up when they left my house.
 

Socrates

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Yep... I'm blessed with a humidity level that generally hovers around 35-45% year-round. We get some brief (week or so) times when it drops, but my indoor humidity generally never goes below 40%.
As such, I have rarely in the last 45 years needed to make a truss rod adjustment.

Some people need to adjust them 2-3 times every year.
Wow that sounds almost ideal. I live in the Caribbean and my house has louvered windows that are open all year round for the breeze...so my humidity changes from about 70% in Jan to like 85% in the summer...even in the cases where I store them humidity is always in the 70s...so i constantly deal with tarnishing, rusting etc...what can you do ...
 

CB91710

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Wow that sounds almost ideal. I live in the Caribbean and my house has louvered windows that are open all year round for the breeze...so my humidity changes from about 70% in Jan to like 85% in the summer...even in the cases where I store them humidity is always in the 70s...so i constantly deal with tarnishing, rusting etc...what can you do ...
Both of these have Humidipaks, but I honestly could leave them out and it wouldn't make a difference.
The D'Angelico is in a different room from the Taylor.. it only gets morning sun.

2020temps.jpg
 

Scotheath

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yup my 2013 standard took a few years to settle in, I had to adjust the truss rod as the seasons changed up here in Alberta, but I have never had to adjust My neck through LTD MH 1000 deluxe since I bought it in 2005. gotta be the wood.
 


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