2010 Fender American Special MIA Strat that needs constant truss rod adj...

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
I have a 2010 Fender American Special MIA Stratocaster (floating tremolo) that needs it's truss rod adjusted once a year. The neck gets bowed (concave). Why? Could it be that there is too much tension on the tremolo strings? I wouldn't really bother me to deck it, but I am wondering what is going on.

I have a 2019 Squier Deluxe Stratocaster (floating tremolo) and a that has never need it's truss rod adjusted.
I have a 2016 2016 Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster (floating tremolo) and a that has never need it's truss rod adjusted.
I have a 2011 Squier CV50s Stratocaster that doesn't need it's truss rod adjusted but it's tremolo is decked.
I have some Squier Tele's that never need their truss rods adjusted.

Thanks ahead of time.
 

arct

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 12, 2021
1,142
South Jersey
Are you actually measuring at the 8th and finding too much relief, or are you "eye and feel" ing it? Are you using the relief to get the "action" where you want it, or are you setting the guitar up completely and it needs a tweak every year or so? Are you changing string gauge/maker every time you change strings? That can cause a need to move the truss.

rct
 

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
Yes, I am using a capo, holding down the string on the last fret and measuring at the 8th fret. I like it around 0.010". It's about 0.030" at the moment. That's a massive change. It's unplayable. Same thing year after year. But this doesn't happen to my Squier's! $300 Squiers shipped from the other side of the planet, go figure.

All of the guitars are kept in the same room. Central AC controls the humidity. It's never warmer than 80 or colder than 68.

I don't play the MIA for this reason and because I never warmed up to the jumbo frets.

It has 9's on it, same as it came with. The strings are a couple years old.

I don't know if truss rod springs could do this?
 

Afishman9

Strat-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 29, 2013
206
NC
It is possible that the rod is compressing the wood and needs to have a washer added under the nut. However, if it only needs adjusting once a year, it may just be something arct suggested or a seasonal changes. It's not unusual to need adjustment's every so often.
 

Packrat

Strat-Talker
Jun 19, 2021
353
Arizona
I gotta be honest, I feel like my Made in America (California) is a POS. All the Chinese guitars are perfectly fine. They sit right next to the MIA and they are perfect.
My guess would be humidity and temperatures changes. I do not see where it would only effect this one. Is it stored in a case? Are the others, (or visa versa)?
Is the truss rod tight?
 

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
They are hanging on the wall in a room. All next to each other. I got a 35 year Ibanez who's neck is still straight. With a central AC house, there isn't much of a temperature change at all. I am not sure how to gauge the truss rod tightness.
 

Dave Harmon

Strat-Talker
Feb 18, 2016
285
Right Here
James.....it's not so much the temperature....it is the humidity.
I destroyed a vintage 60' Rickenbacker that I bought new by not realizing the house was faaaar too dry.
I got a little fret sprout on one of my Strats before I realized what was going on.
I dressed up those frets and it has not happened again, the other slab guitars have not sprouted....(Fender and G&L)
I keep all my other guitars in their case with those humidifiers I got from Sweetwater.
The digital humidity meter in the cases are showing about 43% with the humidifiers in the case.....it really works.
Also...this keeps the UV light off them so the paint wont fade.
 

3bolt79

Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
15,600
Oregon
I have to do mine 2 or 3 times a year due to the changes in humidity and temperature. The only one I haven’t adjusted since I got it has a thickness of 1 and 1/4 inches thickness at the zero fret.
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,177
Edmonton, Alberta
Get a fat neck and you’ll rarely adjust it if ever 😜

I do find my jag needs a tweak here or there when the temps change. They sit on the rack next to each other. The rest have thicker necks and I haven’t touch a truss rod on those in a while. One doesn’t even have a truss rod!!

Still once or twice a year on say a modern C is normal.
 

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
Wait... as much as I appreciate any and all feedback (and I do).. the "collection" of made in china Squiers require no adjustments what so ever!!!!!!!!!!! All the guitars are sitting in the exact same environment, right next to each other. I put the same gauge strings from the same manufacturer on all of them. Everything is the same!!! The only reasonable conclusion to daw is that the the MIA is a POS. I was hoping that it was the springs. But no one thinks it is. It seems like I should just get rid of it.
 

TConnelly

Strat-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Mar 9, 2016
108
Sandy, Or.
Wait... as much as I appreciate any and all feedback (and I do).. the "collection" of made in china Squiers require no adjustments what so ever!!!!!!!!!!! All the guitars are sitting in the exact same environment, right next to each other. I put the same gauge strings from the same manufacturer on all of them. Everything is the same!!! The only reasonable conclusion to daw is that the the MIA is a POS. I was hoping that it was the springs. But no one thinks it is. It seems like I should just get rid of it.
Well at the risk of being "that guy". That was the first time you actually typed "springs". Except for the one mention of "truss rod springs" whatever they are. For the record. If your tremolo is floating, then your spring tension and string tension is always equal. Period. Cannot be otherwise. So it's not your springs. And a lot of people mention seasonal changes. The op clearly said the neck always bows, adding more relief. Seasonal changes always go both ways. One way in spring and fall. And the other way in winter and summer. Or rainy season and dry season for those of us who only have two seasons. Proof reading and reading comprehension are not big on internet forums I guess. There I said it! ;)

On your guitar there is clearly something wrong with the neck. I would say that one end of your truss rod was not fully seated. and is gradually slipping. I'd say the wood in a maple neck is not capable of compressing. The stresses are just not that great. That leaves only one end or the other is not fully seated. The good news is it can't go on forever. Eventually things will have to finally seat. Assuming the truss rod is actually still working. The question then becomes, do you run out of truss rod threads before that happens? If the threads bottom out, the torque on the nut will increase rather quickly and the nut might spring back when you try to turn it and let go as the truss rod twists.

Bottom line is if it were mine I would keep going until one or the other happens. Or sell it for salvage price and buy another Squier. Neither options are wrong. Only selling it for full price with a known issue without disclosing that issue would be "wrong".

Cheers...................................Todd
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
11,475
SoCal
Those who are referencing adjusting twice a year, are you tightening every time, or tightening and then 6 months later loosening?
OP is describing tightening every year, and he's looking at a relief of .030 right now, which is unacceptable.
Yes, dropping a washer under the adjusting nut will compensate for compression of the wood, but it really sounds like he has a bad neck from the factory if it is constantly going out of adjustment in the same direction.

The American Special/Performer necks are available from Fender, so it can be replaced, but it sounds like OP doesn't care for the jumbo frets either, so a replacement with a more traditional neck might be worth it.

 

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
The original post said: "Could it be that there is too much tension on the tremolo strings?" I may have misspoke later on though. I am referring to the only springs in the guitar.

So, those springs are not the issue!

I turned the truss rod 1/4 turn last night the relief is 0.23". I just turned it again. It was hard to turn! So, could this be it. I got a 'lemon', a bad neck. Can it be fixed?

There is no way I'd give Fender $250 for a new neck... when I didn't break this one. It doesn't make sense to me to throw good money after bad. I am 0/1 with MIA guitars. I'll just enjoy my other guitars.

This is a 2010 MIA Fender Strat, it sits next to a 2011 Squier CV 50s Tele and a 2012 Squier CV 50s Strat. Same house (same temperature controlled environment), same strings... yet the Chinese guitars are remain perfect.
 

AlexJCRandall

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 11, 2012
1,415
Melbourne
Every guitar is different - made with unique pieces of wood, comparing any other instrument is simply pointless.
Typically guitars will need seasonal adjustment, so your idea of 'constant' adjustments is actually 'infrequent'.
 

James64

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 28, 2012
33
Florida
What attracted me to this guitar was Satin Neck, MIA and Texas Specials. I don't know that I can even buy a Fender Satin neck.
 


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