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 guitar “string buzz”. The best way to handle it is with the 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 to a “string buzz” issue. The good news-it only takes a few minutes.
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.
You won’t have to loosen the strings as the adjustment to be made is intended to loosen the truss 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.
Now, imagine a clock. Imagine that the Allen adjuster wrench is the large hand and you want to move it back (counter-clockwise) 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 truss rod cavity.
Almost as if you’re giving gentle compression’s to a heart attack victim.
loosen the rod inside the truss rod cavity
This should work to loosen any “binding” inside the truss 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.
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 play-ability! You do awesome work!!!