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Old 08-13-2012, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Truss Rod Adjustment

Hey guys. I got a guitar and the neck is bowing in a manner so that if you were holding the guitar to play it, the head is curved away from you, creating a "low spot" in the center of the fret board.

Question: Which way should I crank the truss rod? I know the head needs to come back toward me to straighten it but is that clockwise or counterclockwise? Also, aren't there technical terms for which way the neck is bending? I remember hearing relief and another word but I don't know what direction of neck bowing said terms refer to.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know the technical terms but from what I'm understanding you'd need to tighten the rod.

Just to be clear when you describe curving away from you - it's the same as if you held the body at eye level and looked down the neck like the barrel of a gun that the headstock would be coming up, right?

I believe it's the same as turning a screw and you'll twist clockwise to tighten the rod. Everything I've ever read about truss rod adjustments always specified making adjustments in 1/4 rotation intervals then giving the instrument a minute to adjust and checking out its current state before tweaking again. If it doesn't feel like there's any resistance or that the truss rod isn't 'grabbing' into anything after a couple of full rotations then you've got a much more serious issue on your hands and you'll likely need to take the instrument into your local shop and hope it's not a $2-300 fix.

You'll most likely want to / need to readjust the intonation at the bridge after adjusting the neck as well.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yup, thats the way its bending. Thanks a lot Mr. Dave!
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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No worries Good luck with the adjustment. What kind of guitar is it btw?
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No worries Good luck with the adjustment. What kind of guitar is it btw?
You know, that is a great question. I'll toss a picture of it up when in a day or two. All I know is that its my project guitar.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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rnr, if you're holding the guitar on a strap, does the headstock bow out, AWAY from your body, or curve back, TOWARDS it?

If its bowing away from your body, which you seem to describe at first, you need to loosen the rod. The truss rod's function is to apply opposite force than the strings, so tightening it pulls the neck back in, towards the left side of your body, counteracting the string force, which pulls the headstock forward and away from your body.

In the picture below, the following conditions are the case:



1 - Truss rod too loose.
2 - Potentially correct setup, depending on the guitar. (A lot of guitars require just a little bit of forward bow, to get the best action throughout the neck)
3 - Potentially correct setup (Potential for buzzing, unless fretwork is PERFECT)
4 - Truss rod too tight.


Hope this helps.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Righty tighty/Lefty Loosey

I just did this to my Jaguar bass. I had about a 1/4" concave bow (bowing away), and gave it one half turn. Waited for a couple days, and it was only about 1/8" better, so I gave it a about 1 and 1/2 full turns, waited a couple days and all is right. Looking down the neck I could probably use it for surveying. Well maybe not, but it's nice and straight now.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. GB, its A, upward bow. So I need to crank that baby tighter, just a bit then.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yep
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