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  #1  
Old 12-13-2017, 02:37 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Default Guitar with no truss rod

I have this vintage Kay from 1960s steel string guitar.
It has no truss rod, and the neck is bowed causing high action.

The bridge saddle is adjustable with screws, and it is set to lowest position.
So saddle is not option to lower the action.

Any other ways to lower the action? Is neck reset only option?
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2017, 03:13 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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A neck reset does not straighten a bowed neck.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:19 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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I had a bowed reso neck straightened with heat treatment, and it was OK for over 10 years under moderate tension - open D, 13-56 strings - until I sold it. I had mine done by a local repairer with a proper heating block, but now I might be prepared to try it with a clothes iron.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:26 PM
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Compression fretting is the procedure to decrease relief in a neck with no adjustable truss rod. A neck reset will not alter relief, but may also be necessary if the high action is not completely caused by excessive relief.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:58 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Also take a look at the top. If itís bulging and the bridge looks slanted towards the sound hole, then that will cause high action as well at that point it might be the bracing that failed and it will be up to you if you want to repair it, or make it a campfire guitar...to feed the fire.

Thatís the problem I have with my early 70ís Japanese 12 string. Some neck bow, but the real issue is that bulge on the top. Action is nearly unplayable past the 3rd fret.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:40 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Checked the guitar again tonight, and the action is not super high. It is 3.5mm at 12th fret. But it could go lower to 2.5mm? And that would be nice. It is playable. But it seems having a few other issues such as,

1. Nut space is very wide at 1st 2nd string.
2. When finger picked the sound seems echoing in the sound hole.

I am not sure if the problem of echoing tone is the result of the nut space too wide. Or if the strings are too heavy - it seems having 12 gauge strings.

The top is not bulging out as such. It is thinner bodied guitar than usual, and paper light weight.
Also the tone is very boxy, no sustain at all.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:11 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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I tuned it down about 1.5 step, and it seems playing better. Now it is very loud and have good sustain and quite rich tone.

I could not use thump pick because it got too loud, so played with bare fingers, which is just right loudness.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:29 PM
ruby50 ruby50 is offline
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Here is Paul Hostetter's take on heating the neck:

http://www.lutherie.net/neck.html

Paul is a 50 year guitar tech and guitar designer and his website is worth a look - lutherie.net

Read the little paragraph at the end of the page to see how he got the tool

Ed
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:44 PM
Mr Fingers Mr Fingers is offline
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If the beck is bowed, lowering the saddle is not a remedy. Rodger Knox’s suggestion (compression fretting) could do it but is awfully hard to control. But that’s what I would try. If it fails,I would remove the fingerboard, straighten the neck with heat and pressure, install carbon fiber or steel bar, and reassemble. Is this guitar worth it? Kays are cool, but mant are unsound structurally to begin with.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:21 AM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Great points !! Thanks

This Kay was cheap but interesting guitar as you say, and looks cool.
I was shocked to notice no truss rod for a steel string guitar, but then all 1960s guitars have no truss rod?

The neck is definitely bowed, measuring pressing at 12th fret the gap is about 1 - 1.5mm between the string and frets. My other guitars have no gap or gap of thin paper.

Playable with tuned down about 1.5 - 1 step. Sounds very loud and full.
When tuned to standard tuning, it sounded boxy, nasal and echoing.

I think I will just play it like that - heat treatment on the neck is way above my limit of tools, knowledge and experience right now.

Last edited by Theleman; 12-14-2017 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theleman View Post
Checked the guitar again tonight, and the action is not super high. It is 3.5mm at 12th fret.
In my book, that is super high .... it equates to .140" at the twelfth ... most players of my acquaintance would deem that unplayable.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2017, 11:00 AM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
In my book, that is super high .... it equates to .140" at the twelfth ... most players of my acquaintance would deem that unplayable.
3.5mm at 12th fret is highish, but it is playable for me.
Any higher than 3.5mm, I would say not playable for me.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:45 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Rip off the f.board and install a good 2 way truss rod, available at Stew-Mac, LMII, or Taiwan/China from eBay.
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2017, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post
Rip off the f.board and install a good 2 way truss rod, available at Stew-Mac, LMII, or Taiwan/China from eBay.
That would be quicker and easier than compression fretting, particularly if you don't destroy the fretboard getting it off and can re-use it. I recommend the Blanchard style rod from LMII, and do not recommend the StewMac HotRod.
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  #15  
Old 12-14-2017, 05:27 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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I was mixed up with another thread.
This is the thread for the Kay guitar without truss rod.

I was trying out the guitar. It is perfectly playable.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=cdZKemifJt4
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