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Truss Rod Adjustment

Started by Mick, September 15, 2013, 05:28:52 PM

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Any tips on checking and adjusting the truss rod in your guitar, what's the secret.

How do you know if it's out?  How do check it?  How do you adjust it properly?
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Well, this is what I do, but I am happy to be corrected if someone knows better.

First make sure that you are happy with the action and the intonation.

Arm yourself with a credit card sized piece of 200gsm up to calling card thick piece of paper, depending on how low your action is - thicker for higher, thinner for lower.

Hold the guitar in playing position and hold down the top E string at the highest fret using your picking hand. Then, with the E string still fretted at the 22/24th fret slide the piece of paper under the same string at the 11th or 12th fret. If the gap is too large between the fret and the string then the neck is too concave. If it is too tight then the neck is not concave enough (it always needs to be a little bit concave).

Tighten the truss rod to make the neck more concave, loosen it to make it less concave. Make adjustments 1/8 or 1/4 turn at a time and allow the neck to rest for at least a few hours between adjustments; then take the measurements again. Repeat as necessary until you have it how you want it.


I know this is an old thread, just wanted to say........

Good advice, Hinfrance.

Always be careful and patient, when you adjust the truss rod.
I recently set up a friends Gibson acoustic. It was quite old, so I treated it with strong but cautious hands anyway.

I ended up giving it more than 2 full turns on the truss rod! But, in increments of 1/4 turn, and waiting a couple days in between. Took forever, but, it is getting played with a smile everyday, now..... so the effort was worth it!  ;)

Generally speaking, if the neck is good (straight), then I'd aim for an almost flat fretboard, with just a slight raise at the nut end (so, very slightly concave).
As Hinfrance mentioned, set intonation and action first! The action will buzz and fart, at first, but when you set the truss rod, and get the neck right, it should all sound sweet, in the end.
Just plug in, turn it up and play until something breaks....


If there's too much or too little gap,  check the neck if it needs adjusting.

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