Truss rod

Guitar Tricks Forum > Tech Talk > Truss rod

New Member

Joined: 09/18/01

Posts: 9

Guys i need help adjusting the truss rod on my guitar. i don't want to pay to get it done. I'm actually trying to tune my strings to a kind of drop G . So i might just need a seven string. Can anybody help???????
Chris Ponce

#1

Guys i need help adjusting the truss rod on my guitar. i don't want to pay to get it done. I'm actually trying to tune my strings to a kind of drop G . So i might just need a seven string. Can anybody help???????
Chris Ponce

Gear Guru

Joined: 01/18/01

Posts: 6242

Be CAREFUL!!!

Let me say that again. Be CAREFUL!!! Okay, now that I've got your attention, lets go.

The truss rod is a steel rod buried in the neck of your guitar, running from the body to the headstock. It is seated in a snug channel in the wood, curving from the face of the headstock, towards the back of the neck, and then back up to the face of the fretboard at the base of the neck. The ends of the trussrod are near the face of the fretboard, and the middle is closer to the back of the neck. One end of the rod is firmly anchored in the neck. The other end has some kind of threaded adjustment nut or cap.

As you tighten the trussrod, it tries to straighten. This applies force against the curved channel in the neck that causes it to bend back, away from the strings. This balances out the string tension, which tries to bend the neck forward. When properly adjusted, The high E string should have about 1/16" (~1.5 mm) under it at the 12th fret, if you hold it down at the 1st and 22nd fret. This is a rough estimate. If you use high action, it might be more. Check this before you make any changes to your tuning. You will want to achieve the same clearance with your new tuning.

Start by re-tuning your axe to the new pitch. Then grab each string, one at a time, near the 12th fret, and gently pull it up and down a few times make sure there's no slack or tension 'hiding' between the nut and the tuning pegs, or in the bridge. Re-tune as necessary to restore the pitch.

Now comes the tricky part.

Hold the high E string down at both the 1st and 22nd frets. See how much clearance there is between the 12th fret and the string. If there is too much clearance, you need to increase the tension on the trussrod. If there is not enough clearance, you need to release some of the tension. Note: A little bit of adjustment can go a long way! Some rods tighten with clockwise adjustment; some loosen. Give it a small tweak, to see which way its going.

You will find that the tuning goes way off when you tweak the trussrod, so keep going back and forth, tweaking the rod a little, restoring the tuning, checking the clearance, tweaking again. (You see why luthiers charge for this service?)

If your new tuning is very different from standard, it may take a while for your guitar to 'settle in'. Any binding, or stiffnes, along the trussrod channel can cause the adjustment to 'creep' after you think you've got it all set up. Keep checking the tuning and clearance every few days.

Good Luck,
L.

[Edited by Lordathestrings on 10-14-2001 at 02:48 PM]
Lordathestrings
Guitar Tricks Moderator

http://www.GuitarTricks.com - Home of Online Guitar Lessons

#2

Be CAREFUL!!!

Let me say that again. Be CAREFUL!!! Okay, now that I've got your attention, lets go.

The truss rod is a steel rod buried in the neck of your guitar, running from the body to the headstock. It is seated in a snug channel in the wood, curving from the face of the headstock, towards the back of the neck, and then back up to the face of the fretboard at the base of the neck. The ends of the trussrod are near the face of the fretboard, and the middle is closer to the back of the neck. One end of the rod is firmly anchored in the neck. The other end has some kind of threaded adjustment nut or cap.

As you tighten the trussrod, it tries to straighten. This applies force against the curved channel in the neck that causes it to bend back, away from the strings. This balances out the string tension, which tries to bend the neck forward. When properly adjusted, The high E string should have about 1/16" (~1.5 mm) under it at the 12th fret, if you hold it down at the 1st and 22nd fret. This is a rough estimate. If you use high action, it might be more. Check this before you make any changes to your tuning. You will want to achieve the same clearance with your new tuning.

Start by re-tuning your axe to the new pitch. Then grab each string, one at a time, near the 12th fret, and gently pull it up and down a few times make sure there's no slack or tension 'hiding' between the nut and the tuning pegs, or in the bridge. Re-tune as necessary to restore the pitch.

Now comes the tricky part.

Hold the high E string down at both the 1st and 22nd frets. See how much clearance there is between the 12th fret and the string. If there is too much clearance, you need to increase the tension on the trussrod. If there is not enough clearance, you need to release some of the tension. Note: A little bit of adjustment can go a long way! Some rods tighten with clockwise adjustment; some loosen. Give it a small tweak, to see which way its going.

You will find that the tuning goes way off when you tweak the trussrod, so keep going back and forth, tweaking the rod a little, restoring the tuning, checking the clearance, tweaking again. (You see why luthiers charge for this service?)

If your new tuning is very different from standard, it may take a while for your guitar to 'settle in'. Any binding, or stiffnes, along the trussrod channel can cause the adjustment to 'creep' after you think you've got it all set up. Keep checking the tuning and clearance every few days.

Good Luck,
L.

[Edited by Lordathestrings on 10-14-2001 at 02:48 PM]
Lordathestrings
Guitar Tricks Moderator

http://www.GuitarTricks.com - Home of Online Guitar Lessons