Truss rod adjustment: I don’t have the knowledge!

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Eligius1976, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. Eligius1976

    Eligius1976 Strat-Talker

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    Hi friends,

    I hope you are doing well. Due to the climate/seasons change, my american strat has the strings weight higher than some months ago (last Luthier intervention a year and a half ago), as the nut slots were/are ok, do I need to modify the truss rod? I mean, how I know in which sense do I have to turn the screw?
    I haven’t adjusted the truss rod in any of my guitars, for respect and a lack of knowledge.
    I attached some pics. Thanks for your help!

    567FA59A-ACD6-47FA-8847-C27D359EE6DE.jpeg 8559C461-9E00-4F66-A6E5-991CA512F508.jpeg 5A92DC88-6664-4F98-8AE6-16FA368CB54D.jpeg CC04B9AC-0F9E-4277-BF6E-C64E95DF3786.jpeg
    eloi
     
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  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Be glad to help!

    You have to - use a capo behind first fret, and press down at last fret. Or use 2 hands if you can also find a way to check the space between the bottom of the low E string and the tops of frets in the 7-10 area. You should have JUST enough little room to slide a thin business card through. If it's MORE than this, you need to TIGHTEN the truss rod - and that is done by inserting a 1/8" allen key into the headstock hole for the truss rod, looking down toward the body, and tightening it clockwise, about 1/4 turn at a time and re-check the relief.
     
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  3. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-O-Master

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    I mostly concur with the above. Capo the first fret, the press down on the E strings (one at a time) near where the neck leaves the body, at the 16th or 17th fret, NOT the last fret. Check the clearance of the strings over the fret at about midway between the two points. This is called the “relief”. A good amount of relief is about a business card or a very thin pick’s width of clearance above the midway fret. Tighten the truss rod if there is too much relief, and loosen it if there is not enough relief. Only turn it about 1/8 to 1/4 turn at a time. I like to wait a little while between each adjustment to allow the neck to settle in, at least a couple of hours and 24 hours if I’m not in a rush. This is especially true if this is a relatively new guitar. The neck may not have had enough time to figure out that it is no longer a tree.

    Bill, tgo
     
  4. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Most Honored Senior Member

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    From the looks of the pictures you posted, I would say you have an excessive amount of bow in the neck.

    I would not count on the truss rod to remove all of that bow.

    Before you make any adjustments, slack the strings way down.

    Give the truss rod a quarter turn clockwise.
    Leave it sit for a while (with the strings slack), maybe a couple of hours.

    I would repeat that process a few times over the course of a couple of days.
    Leaving the strings slack, until you get the neck straight (maybe even slightly back bowed). When you arrive at that point, then tune up. Not before.

    If you leave the neck as is for too long, it may just take a set and stay that way.
    Truss rods are meant to keep a neck straight, not to correct a bowed neck like you have there.
    It's a thin metal rod, it's not going to work miracles.

    Personally, if it were mine, I'd remove the neck, loosen the rod, clamp the neck straight, and then tighten the rod to hold it straight.
     
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  5. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Most Honored Senior Member

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    Something like this method.

     
  6. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Luthiers I know have always used the last fret, OTHERWISE, the gap will be larger. that's how it's done and the video by Frudua that we've been circulating on here for years as a way to help people learn to check relief....that video specifically mentions first and last.....

     
  7. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    What they said. This looks like it could use some tightening. Don't force it, go 1/4 turn at a time.
     
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  8. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    If the upper frets have fall away, the string may be up against some of the frets in between. That won't make any difference in the gap, though.

    I don't think that really matters.
     
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  9. Eligius1976

    Eligius1976 Strat-Talker

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    Ok! Thanks for all your comments. First of I need to buy a capo, I will look on amazon prime. The guitar is not new, I bought it in 2015 (standard series). I changed the last set of strings in February, and I was looking to change for a new set this week.

    best regards!!
     
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  10. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Dr. Stratster

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    You can use two hands if you don't have a capo. But capo is a good thing to have and it makes it easier. Here's a video on checking the setup generally and the part on relief starts about 2 minutes in.

    With as much relief as you have there, you could slack the strings and tighten the truss rod 1/4 turn without any fear of doing harm. That way you can start the process right away and let it sit with the strings slacked while you wait for the capo arrive.

     
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  11. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-O-Master

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    Like the video immediately above teaches, I’ve always been taught to use a fret where the neck leaves the body, not the last fret. Dan Erlewine’s “Guitar Player Repair Guide” instructs to use the 1st and 17th frets. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone suggest to use the last fret. But who knows, maybe all the rest of us have been wrong all these years!

    One other tip I neglected to mention: always check relief with the guitar in playing position, not lying on its back. Gravity does make a difference. And always use new strings when setting up a guitar. Old strings can throw things off.

    Bill, tgo
     
  12. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Strat-Talk Member

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    I like to measure/check relief by depressing the strings at the 1st fret and the 14th/15th fret and check the gap at the 7th fret.

    To my way of thinking, if you go 1st fret to last fret, you may have a large kick at the end of the board or excessive fallaway, which will skew your number.

    I like to measure the area that the truss rod actually affects, which is generally the first through frets 14/15 on an electric. A truss rod adjustment has very little to no impact on what the necks extension is doing beyond the 14th/15th fret.

    I like very little relief, and I adjust the truss rod until the neck is almost perfectly straight. Talking only .003" - .005" of a gap at the 7th fret which is about the thickness of single sheet of paper.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
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  13. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

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    I like this approach if the neck is bowed as yours appears to be. The truss rod will hold it in position (might need a washer under the head of the nut) but it won't like pulling it into position.

    I like this too. Close to straight. Seems to set up better. But, neck angle, nut, and how level your frets are will influence how well this plays.
     
  14. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-O-Master

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    Maybe I’m mistaken, but the OP’s pics look to me like the low E is being fretted at the first fret and no other frets are being fretted, not the 16th, not the 17th, not the last. Under such circumstances it is impossible to determine from the pics the amount of relief or that the neck is bowed

    Bill, tgo
     
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  15. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

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    The photo could be misleading, but it looks like there's a lot of bow under the low "E" regardless. Bow is bow, even if you don't have a close measure (string pressed at the 17th). You just can't measure it with gauge.

    But, I would also encourage the OP to press at both ends and measure before adjusting.
     
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  16. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    If a helpful person says turn left :eek:on the truss adjustment- determine if you're going to turn from the perspective of looking up from the bridge OR looking toward the bridge from the headstock.

    Those are opposite perspectives! Some will always assume we know what they mean. :whistling:
     
  17. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

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    I just go with that "if you're tightening the rod, you're pulling the neck back (less relief)". Then perspective doesn't matter.
     
  18. Archtops

    Archtops Strat-Talker

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    My favorite capo is the Shubb nickel capo.


    4AA6EF89-048C-4EAA-ABCA-D6146168BD60.jpeg
     
  19. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    guitar in playing position

    press down on 1st fret and the one that is where the body starts or the last fret. it don't matter, this is not for a million bucks or launching a rocket.

    do not bend the neck and put your eyes close enuff to see the space at the 7th fret between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret.

    that space should be about .010" which is about the size of the smallest string on your guitar which you should be able to see while you are looking at the space described above.

    if the space is bigger tighten the nut same as you tighten any other nut. if the space is smaller loosen the nut.

    you do not need to wait, take the strings off, meet it's parents or try to get it drunk first, make sure you are using the correct wrench and just do it. :)
     
  20. spazzz

    spazzz Strat-Talk Member

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    This picture another 90 degrees clockwise would tell the neck story by sighting it like a rifle barrel. Or a pic taken from the neck down in what would be playing position.
    After that the touchy feely games start.

    [​IMG]