This simple setup trick will add more sustain to any guitar with a four bolt neck. It is simple and requires no specialist tools or new parts, so it is something anyone can perform and get instant results straight away.
I am going to share a little trick I was taught many years ago and have seen used by luthiers and guitar builders over the years. It is amazingly simple and one that will cost you nothing at all. You will need a guitar that has a four bolt neck to achieve this. That means a Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster or similar style guitar. I have safely been doing this for over 25 years and it is the one trick that I think has instant results. I myself have performed this trick on everything from Ibanez RG550s to Fender Jazzmasters. To my ear it gives you better sustain and can be performed in under 15 minutes including tuning up time.
So you will need:
- A guitar with a four bolt neck
- The correct size Philips screwdriver for the neck bolts
- A guitar tuner
- Any tools for adjusting your intonation on your guitar bridge i.e. Allen keys, screwdriver or wrench.
1) String up the guitar and tune it up.
2) Unlock the locking nut if it has one.
3) Take a screwdriver and unscrew all four screws one quarter of a turn. You will probably hear some creaking as you do this, which is normal and is part of the process.
4) Tune all of the strings up to normal tuning, since some or all should go flat.
5) Tighten the neck again.
6) Tune up (a string or two might go flat).
7) Check the intonation as it may be slightly out.
The tension of the strings at pitch has just pulled the neck back into the guitars neck pocket and made a much tighter join. This results in better sustain on a four-bolt guitar neck. It’s a very simple trick and one that works wonders on all guitars. It can make a huge difference to sustain and will not damage your guitar in any way. This will work on any guitar with a four-bolt neck (I have even used it on three bolt ’70s Stratocasters), and even on bass guitars as well.