Malmsteen setup is messed up: what would you do?

narad

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So just received this series 3 Malmsteen strat. I've been on the lookout for a long time -- the 3rd series is when the bullet truss rod was added, but before they swapped out the dimarzios for the YJM fury set. And I wanted a rosewood board and this one had a nice one. So finally, got it. And it's basically unplayable to me.

First, I thought, man, this action is high. It's crazy - it's like 3x higher than I'm used to. I heard Yngwie plays with high action, so it's natural maybe someone ships it to me in that state, but when I went to lower it at the saddles, almost immediate buzz. Then went to the truss rod to give it a bit less relief, it was the middle frets that were most ludicrous, and I was met with a lot of resistance and decided not to try turning it further. I took it a little in the opposite direction just to verify it's not stuck before returning it to the original state.

So looking at it, I think maybe the neck angle is off. The action at the first fret is sort of normal. The action at the 21st is crazy, and it's a little higher in the middle but the trend seems more related to the neck as a whole than the relief, but I'm not sure.

It's hard to take photos give the scallops, but maybe this would be helpful. You can see that despite resting on the board at the ends, the straight edge is up about 80% towards the top of the frets in the middle. And also can see the string height with respect to the straight edge.

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So I'm torn. It wasn't a great deal so I don't want to put a ton of money into it, but I could try to shim it or take it to a shop to set it up, probably wouldn't be too expensive if there's nothing serious. But that trussrod gives me some pause. Not sure if it's maxed or if I should ditch it now if it is. So.. what would you do?
 

xzyryabx

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I could take a look at it but if the truss rod is damaged there isn't much I can ultimately do.

You did good by not pushing the truss rod, hopefully it's just stuck.

Unless the truss rod is messed up, I think a good tech should be able to adjust the neck angle, nut and saddles and fix it up for relatively cheap.

I think you need to take it in and have them take a look at it. How much is a setup fee here in Tokyo?
 

Lemonbaby

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Did you check the neck's bow with the string method? First step should be adjusting the trussrod until there's only a fraction of a mm left at the 12th fret. Or adjust the neck dead straight and check with a fret rocker.
 

cardinal

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If the neck is not straight and you're out of room with the bullet truss rod nut, unscrew it entirely and put a washer or two over the threads of the truss rod. Reinstall the nut and tighten it up again, and that should give you enough room to straighten the neck.

IMHO the set up has to start with getting the relief right. You can't diagnose any other problems until the relief is set.
 

narad

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Yea, unfortunately I'm either chickening out and the trussrod has some more space but I'm too scared to push it, or it's at it's max. As it is now, there's not too much bow in that state, if I hold down at the 1st and the 15th, there's about my usual amount of action there at the max point.

I guess if it's shimmed and at truss is at max, it'll probably be okay, but for how long? Guess I'll start talking with the seller. This sucks though. Buying used stuff in Japan is so lame. No one describes anything accurately and typically there's no grounds to return it. In this case it was Mercari, and there are obvious scratches and it was advertised otherwise, so I have some possibilities.
 

narad

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Yea, unfortunately I'm either chickening out and the trussrod has some more space but I'm too scared to push it, or it's at it's max. As it is now, there's not too much bow in that state, if I hold down at the 1st and the 15th, there's about my usual amount of action there at the max point.

I guess if it's shimmed and at truss is at max, it'll probably be okay, but for how long? Guess I'll start talking with the seller. This sucks though. Buying used stuff in Japan is so lame. No one describes anything accurately and typically there's no grounds to return it. In this case it was Mercari, and there are obvious scratches and it was advertised otherwise, so I have some possibilities.
 

bostjan

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I think if I loved the guitar, I'd try to get some small washers and take the bullet end off of the assembly, place the washers on the rod, replace the bullet, and see if that's enough to get it where it needs to be, then proceed to see if that alone fixes the issue - and go from there. If the guitar has other issues that make me feel a little less than sweet toward it, I'd try to negotiate a return. :2c:
 

NoodleFace

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The definitive yngwie experience.

I've definitely had truss rods where I felt they were at the end of the rope, but I was just chickening out. Not saying that's the case here - don't break a truss on my behalf.

It's really hard to tell from the straight-edge what the actual relief is. If you fret the first fret and the fret where the body meets the fretboard, how big is the gap at the 7th fret? It looks to me based on the gap between 1st fret and 3rd fret there's probably way too much relief and it needs to be tightened.

What frets does it start buzzing on when you lower the saddles?
 

SpaceDock

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From the pics I would start with the neck angle by doing some playing card shims. After that tackle the nut if the action at the first fret is still too high. With truss rods I think are maxed I always back off a bit then go the direction I thought was maxed, sometimes just going in one direction continuously causes the problem.
 

nickgray

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Yea, unfortunately I'm either chickening out and the trussrod has some more space but I'm too scared to push it

Have you tried removing the strings? I have a guitar with a pretty stiff rod, and removing the strings solves the issue of tightening it some extra if needed.
 


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