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Creaking neck
B_Fella
#1 Posted : 12/4/2016 11:45:01 AM

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Hi all! I have an S570 which is set up correctly in terms of neck relief, action, etc. but it has a weird problem - the neck creaks loudly whenever I use the whammy bar, up or down. From holding the neck, it feels like two or three loud creaks coming from inside at around fret 5. Strange thing is - it ONLY happens when the nut clamps and bolts are tightly in place on the strings. When they are removed and the string tensions run all the way up to the tuning pegs, the creaking doesn't happen (the guitar is properly in tune in both cases). I'm certain the nut is not loose - both fixing screws are tight. The neck is also tight in the body. It seems to me like the truss rod is kind of binding against the inside of the neck. Does this sound even possible? Should it really move? I wouldn't have thought so. Any other ideas what could be and how to fix it? Thanks.
Bill@Ibanez
#2 Posted : 12/5/2016 8:20:29 PM
Bill@Ibanez


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This is an interesting issue that 100%, absolutely sounds like the locking nut sliding/moving. Because it doesn't happen when the locking nut is loosened, it makes me think that the nut is the cause.

I would test this by locking the strings in the nut and inspecting the nut as it is seated on the neck. Then I would use the trem in one direction, up or down. After hearing that creaking noise, take another look at the locking nut, depending on how severe it is, you might be able to see it move if you watch while you play with the tremolo.

In the end, I would expect to see a slight gap between the nut and the first fret portion of the fretboard when you dive the tremolo down. Then I would expect to see the nut push against that same spot when you tune up with the tremolo. Basically pulling the nut back and forth with the tension.

If this is not the problem, and it seems that there is no movement at the locking nut at all, I'm honestly not sure what else it would be! If it were a truss rod issue, I'd expect the locking nut to make little to no difference in the sound. Let us know if you find anything out!

-Bill
B_Fella
#3 Posted : 12/5/2016 11:11:10 PM

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Bill, thanks for the reply. You're right!... with the guitar on the bench, I held the nut between thumb an forefinger while working the tremolo, and sure enough I can feel it moving relative to the neck, coinciding with the "creaks". The movement is so small it's virtually impossible to see, but you can feel it. Amazing that such small movements could magnify into such loud noises. With the tremolo dived down, I can just about insert a 0.05mm (0.002") feeler gauge between the nut and the first fret portion of the fretboard. When I then tune up with the tremolo, the feeler gauge is pinched tight (and there is less of a creak). The movement seems ever so slightly bigger on the lower pitch / bottom E side of the neck than the top E side, but literally only by a fraction of the above thickness. So the question is now - what to do? I've tightened the screws securing the nut to the neck as much as I dare (don't want to strip the wood in the screw holes). I suppose I could find something 0.002" thick and permanently install it between nut and fretboard but that seems like a real ugly thing to do. What could be a more elegant/appropriate fix?

Thanks, Will.
Bill@Ibanez
#4 Posted : 12/6/2016 5:10:43 PM
Bill@Ibanez


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I haven't really run into this problem personally and I don't want to tell you the wrong thing to do. Hopefully someone here may be able to chime in if they've had more experience in fixing this issue.

That being said, I believe the answer is to simply tighten the nut onto the neck. If the nut is tightened enough on the neck, it should prevent it from sliding. I don't know if anyone else has had a different solution, but this is the first thing I would try. Otherwise, your idea of using some sort of "shim" to fill that small space could work, but I don't think it would be the best course of action.

Hope this helps,
-Bill
1 user thanked Bill@Ibanez for this useful post.
B_Fella on 12/9/2016(UTC)
B_Fella
#5 Posted : 12/9/2016 7:53:03 AM

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Hi again Bill, thanks for the help. I took the plunge and cranked the nut onto the neck a bit more, and the problem is gone. Happy playing days are back!
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