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Temperature and Setup

Simply

As a guitar heats up it goes sharp, as a guitar cools down it goes flat. These are basic principles while playing. If you play a cool guitar you will warm the neck by your touch alone and it will start to wander a little sharp on you.

Heat > wood expands > neck and body get longer putting more tension on the strings/springs > putting more pressure on the truss rod causing the neck to also flatten out, or even/usually go into backbow > pitch goes sharp.

Cold > wood shrinks > less tension on the strings/springs > less tension on the truss rod, which causes excess frontbow > pitch goes flat.

Temperature effects neck relief differently. Metal shrinks and expands more than wood does, believe it or not.

Heat > expands the metal truss rod and the neck will get more and more relief.

Cold > shrinks the metal truss rod and will straighten the neck, and many many times put the neck into mild to severe backbow. During the winter almost all guitars I receive will be in some degree of backbow, so no doubt yours will also.

These same principles work for Wet and Dry. Wet wood swells and dry wood shrinks.

Heat = Wet - They will have the same effects.

Cold = Dry - They will have the same effects

Going from Cold *and* Dry to Hot *and* Wet is Hell on a setup. Our guitars are usually in a dry gas heated environment in the winter and then subjected to warmer wetter air during the summer. With each change in season your guitar should be given a complete overhaul, checking all the metal/wood contacts and readjusting the setup.

 

Copyright 2000 Ibanez Rules!! All rights reserved.
Revised: June 24, 2009.