Archive for the Guitar Maintenence Category

Truss Rod Adjustments 101

Posted in Guitar Maintenence with tags , on December 27, 2013 by The Buddha Rats

If you play your guitar or bass regularly and “tech” your own guitars, knowing when and how to adjust the truss rod is very important. Variances in temperature and humidity (think seasonal changes) can cause your instrument to develop a bow in the neck that results in a bass or guitar that is hard to fret and will buzz like mad or sound sharp or flat. When this happens, you can fix the issue by tightening or loosening the truss rod.

The truss rod can be accessed under a cap behind the nut (that is where the neck and the body are joined) at the headstock. When you adjust the truss rod, you need to turn the nut a quarter turn at a time. It’s very important to let the neck rest to adjust after each turn but playing the guitar or bass while adjusting will not hurt the instrument.

The necessary truss rod adjustment depends on which way the neck bows:

If the neck bows outward (or backward) between the seventh and twelfth frets, tighten the truss rod by turning the nut clockwise (as you are looking at the nut straight on).

If your neck bows inward (or forward) between the seventh and twelfth frets, loosen the truss rod by turning it counterclockwise.

Chances are your bass or guitar came with their own truss rod wrench, but if you don’t have one head over to Stew Mac and pick up a universal wrench.

Oh yea: If you can’t correct the problem in a few full turns, STOP. Call a qualified guitar tech and have him/her take a look at it.