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This is very strange. I have a Godin Icon which I love. This month I have noticed a neck bow that I can't straighten itch the truss rod. The problem is that this bow seems to move up and down the neck. It starts out between the tenth and twelvth frets and moves between the 7th and 10nth fret, eventually going to between the 5th and seventh fret. If I watch carefully, I can actually see it move. It's almost as though the neck is having spasms. I have tied loosening the rod leaving it for a day and then tightening it the opposite way for a day. I'm trying to release the seemingly stored tension in the neck to no avail. I changed the strings to see what effect that might have but the problem continues. It has been unusually cold and dry this Winter and I'm thinking this could the cause. I have the guitar next to a humidifier to try and rehydrate it.

Has anyone experienced this phenomena with a guitar?

  • Hi there! I don't think we can give a more proper answer than "visit a guitar repairer". Note that StackExchange is not a forum, so you shouldn't expect people hitting you with random ideas of what could be the issues and how to try to get around them. – yo' Feb 19 '15 at 16:56
  • You can only release tension by loosening the rod; tightening it back is adding all the tension back. There's no magic tension originating from the ether that can be released like letting pressurized air out of a can :P. – Matthew Read Feb 19 '15 at 17:01
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    Contact the Godin company customer service department and ask about authorized repair work and whether or not it is covered by their warranty. – user1044 Feb 19 '15 at 17:15
  • The tightening and loosening of the truss rod could account for the movement in the location of the bow. The neck does not always fully react immediately to a truss rod adjustment. During re-hydration you might want to loosen the truss rod for a few days by turning it counter clockwise. Remember, the truss rod is designed to counteract the tension of the strings. So you have strings pulling one way and truss rod pulling the other way. I would loosen everything during re-hydration. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 19 '15 at 22:37
  • I confirmed my suspicion that your guitar might have a double action truss rod via the Godin Website, thus you can't exactly "loosen" the truss rod. For more on this see my detailed answer below. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 19 '15 at 23:40
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What you are describing is rather unusual with a neck bow moving up and down the neck. Keep in mind that the truss rod and strings both put tension on the neck - theoretically in opposite directions. But see below because your Godin may have a truss rod that can defy the opposing tension theory and possibly account for this unusual behavior.

From what you have shared - two things come to my mind. It is likely that your guitar has been subjected to an environment with low relative humidity (common during winter heating season) which often will cause a bow in the neck due to drying of the wood.

The other thing to be aware of is that according to the Godin website, all Godin guitar necks are equipped with a DOUBLE Action truss rod. Most guitars have a single action truss rod which counteracts the string tension to lessen the bow (or relief) that is caused by the string tension. Loosening a one way truss rod will relax the neck and allow it to bow under string tension but will not cause it to bow in the absence of tension.

A two way adjustable truss rod (or double action) like the ones found on Godin guitars and a few others actually will bow the neck if turned one way and bow the neck in the opposite direction if turned the other way. So you might say you can "tighten it" in BOTH directions. One direction causing a bow, the other direction causing a back bow - with or without string tension.

This could account for your observation of a bow showing up in different places after turning the truss rod in alternate directions. It is also important to understand that the guitar's reaction to a truss rod adjustment may be gradual and the neck may continue to respond for a period of time after the adjustment is made.

Here is a picture of how the Godin double action truss rod works from the Godin webstite Double Action Truss Rod - Godin guitars

Before doing anything else - if your guitar is under warranty, you may be able to take it to an authorized Godin repair tech and have them repair it under warranty. My Taylor guitars have a lifetime warranty to the original owner. Or even if it isn't under warranty please make a phone call to Godin to see if they will offer support over the phone.

If you are unable to get any support from Godin - you can take your guitar to a local recommended guitar repair technician or luthier whom you can trust - or you can follow my recommendations below.

You are probably doing the right thing by re-hydrating your guitar. Shoot for about 55-60% relative humidity during the re-hydrating (re-humidification) process and once stabilized, try to maintain around 50% if you can.

While re-hydrating your guitar, I would loosen the strings and then adjust your truss rod until the neck is straight with no string tension. Use the chart in the link to determine which way to turn the truss rod to achieve this. Remember, don't turn too much in either direction because the double action truss rod will actually exert tension on the neck in both directions.

During the re-hydrating process you will probably notice some movement in the neck as the wood absorbs moisture. After a few days of re-hydration your guitar should stabilize and the neck should stop moving. Once you are sure your guitar is fully re-hydrated - add tension back to the strings and adjust the truss rod to provide the desired amount of relief and hopefully you will be back in business.

To those who might fear that relieving string tension will hurt your neck - that is a myth and totally without merit. I have four friends who are luthiers (build and repair guitars). They often have guitars in their shop where the strings are off the necks for a week or more. How else would you do a re-fret? If you are skeptical about this - call or visit any luthier.

Good luck!

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