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Sometimes Sending A Guitar Back For A Small “Tweak” Is Not Always Practical

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Sometimes Sending A Guitar Back For A Small “Tweak” Is Not Always Practical

A truss rod is simply a rod, usually made from either graphite or steel used to stabilize a guitar neck.
The truss rod runs through the length of the neck, under the fret board. In a guitar setup it is adjusted to keep your guitar neck straight. After reaching the correct adjustment it should not be touched again unless it falls out of adjustment from either humidity or extreme temperatures.

Many times, when I ship a guitar from the humid deep South to a dry climate the neck sometimes will “hump” up a bit.  This will cause what can be described as a “string buzz”. The best way to handle it is with a small truss rod adjustment at the head stock.  Sometimes sending a guitar back for a small “tweak” is not always practical so here is a short guide to a small truss rod tweak that will give immediate results for a “string buzz” issue. The good news-it only takes a few minutes to adjust your strings.

Q-Rick, I’m having one fairly big problem with my guitar. I love the way you set the action so low, and I don’t want to change that, but the two lower strings, E and A, are fret buzzing ferociously, especially down near the head stock. What’s the best way to keep the action as low as you set it and still lose the buzz? Filing the frets? Something else?

Please advise. Jim

looking directly into the truss rod hole at the head stock

A-Hi Jim!  Let me see if I can help you with some easy adjustments. It sounds like a hump in the neck is the problem. It sounds as if an adjustment could take care of it nicely. Apply the fix below.

Haywire Custom Guitars - guitar truss rod action setups

Haywire Custom Guitars – guitar action setups

You won’t have to loosen the strings as the adjustment to be made is intended to loosen the rod. Guitar strings are only loosened for tightening adjustments to the truss rod. As follows……

Sit down with the guitar between your legs looking directly into the truss rod hole at the head stock. Take an Allen wrench and place through the adjustment hole into the truss rod at the head stock and make sure it’s a snug fit. I usually apply a small bit of oil to the end so as to insert and remove it easier.

Haywire Custom Guitars Truss rod entry

Haywire Custom Guitars – guitar truss rod action setups

Now, imagine a clock. Imagine that the Allen adjuster wrench is the large hand, and you want to move it back (counterclockwise) just 10 minutes (a ten-minute interval).

After that adjustment– lay the guitar flat on a counter or floor and gently push down in the middle of the neck to loosen the rod inside the rod cavity.

Almost as if you’re giving gentle compressions to a heart attack victim.

loosen the rod inside the cavity.

This should work to loosen any “binding” inside the rod cavity and allow the upper strings to get over and humped area caused by the differences in humidity. Tune the strings to pitch. Repeat steps as necessary.

image results for results of Haywire Custom Haywire Custom guitar truss rod adjustment

Haywire Custom guitar truss rod adjustment

Jim-If you need to do it again-remember to go in 10-minute intervals only to avoid over-correction. If you don’t feel comfortable then bring it to someone that you know has some experience in adjusting a truss rod and most likely they can handle it.

This should work nicely!

 Rick, I took the guitar to a friend of mine this afternoon and he adjusted the neck and lowered the neck pickup just a tad, and I’ve got to say, this is my new go-to guitar!  I love the looks, sound, and playability!  You do awesome work!!!

Thank you!


About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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