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rupertmja

Truss Rod Adjustment

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I watched a few YouTube vids about adjusting he truss rod and some seem to contradict each other with their explanations - or - they are just not clear.

 

To me, it would make sense that the strings pull the neck forward towards the bridge as they are tightened into tune. Therefore #1, the truss rod surely must pull the neck back in the opposite direction. Therefore #2, tightening the truss rod would straighten the neck against the strings and decrease the string action on the frets; therefore #3 loosening the truss rod would allow the neck to bow towards the bridge and heighten the string action over the frets.

 

Would that be correct? At least, that is the way I thought it to be before I got confused watching YouTube.

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YouTube videos are a lot like the rest of the internet;

 

Some good and factual information, mixed in with a lot of other misinformation and amateur opinions.

And the bad videos never seem to get pulled or corrected.

[mellow]

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yea you got the gist of it.

 

just remember to not do much more than 1/4 or so turn at a time.

 

and it's.

 

lefty loosey,

 

righty tighty...

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You are right. But here's the thing. Yes, the action is affected by adjusting the trussrod. But you don't adjust the action by using the trussrod. It's more complicated than that. You have to adjust both the trussrod and the height of the bridge so that they're both correct. You can't just adjust one of them while ignoring the other. The trussrod is used to primarily adjust the relief of the neck, but it will have a secondary effect on the action. The bridge height is adjusted primarily to change the action but will have a slight secondary effect on the relief. So you adjust the thing that directly affects the issue you're trying to solve and then tweak the other adjustment if necessary.

 

If the action is wrong then adjust the bridge height first and tweak the trussrod if necessary. If the relief is wrong then adjust the trussrod first and tweak the bridge height if necessary. Then check and tweak both until everything's set. I'm not sure if that's clear. [thumbup]

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Two things I'd like to add, from personal experience/opinion:

 

Before you tighten the truss rod, de-tune just a tad. When you tighten it, you immediately put extra pull on the strings.

 

And, most importantly: after you adjust the rod and tune up, let it sit for a day to adjust before deciding whether or not you need to adjust it more. You won't see the final result right away. And no more than 1/4 of a turn in either direction - then let it adjust overnight. If it needs more, repeat (again, no more than 1/4 turn).

 

For some seemingly magical reason, 1/4 of a turn - or just under - always ends up just right for me personally. Small increments and patience is the way to go. Good luck!

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I watched a few YouTube vids about adjusting he truss rod and some seem to contradict each other with their explanations - or - they are just not clear.

 

To me, it would make sense that the strings pull the neck forward towards the bridge as they are tightened into tune. Therefore #1, the truss rod surely must pull the neck back in the opposite direction. Therefore #2, tightening the truss rod would straighten the neck against the strings and decrease the string action on the frets; therefore #3 loosening the truss rod would allow the neck to bow towards the bridge and heighten the string action over the frets.

 

Would that be correct? At least, that is the way I thought it to be before I got confused watching YouTube.

 

 

Hello!

 

Yes, that's all correct.

 

Bence.

Correct, and correct about being correct.

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You are right. But here's the thing. Yes, the action is affected by adjusting the trussrod. But you don't adjust the action by using the trussrod. It's more complicated than that. You have to adjust both the trussrod and the height of the bridge so that they're both correct. You can't just adjust one of them while ignoring the other. The trussrod is used to primarily adjust the relief of the neck, but it will have a secondary effect on the action. The bridge height is adjusted primarily to change the action but will have a slight secondary effect on the relief. So you adjust the thing that directly affects the issue you're trying to solve and then tweak the other adjustment if necessary.

 

If the action is wrong then adjust the bridge height first and tweak the trussrod if necessary. If the relief is wrong then adjust the trussrod first and tweak the bridge height if necessary. Then check and tweak both until everything's set. I'm not sure if that's clear. [thumbup]

Good stuff, but yea, a bit confusing. I don't know how to be any more clear, either.

 

I'll try this: YES, adding more bow to the neck will raise the action, because you are in effect, raising the nut, even though you may not have touched the bridge.

 

Adding a lot of bow, or too much, will also have the strings higher than on each side of the neck. You have a valley there. Even if you LOWER the bridge on a guitar with too much bow, the action will be higher in the middle than it is at the heel.

 

In particular, Gibson type guitars that have truss rod adjustment at the headstock and a bridge that can be easily adjusted are the EASIEST to set up, because you can go back and forth. Quickly.

 

Question: when it buzzes, how do you know what frets the string is buzzing on? How does one know what is the "correct" or "best" amount of bow?

 

Simple: if it buzzes when playing strings on the lower frets (like frets 1, 2 or 3), but not on upper frets, it's not enough bow. The longer string length is hitting in the middle, where it vibrates the widest. If it buzzes when playing the upper frets (like 7-10 or so), but NOT when playing the lower frets, there is too much bow. The heel, or upper frets are higher in relation to the rest when fretting. You can go back and forth until it buzzes equally, and evenly, when lowering too much, and raise it until it stops on all frets about the same.

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