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Guitar Neck Misalignment

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

A Small Truss Rod Tweak Gives Instant Results

 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 neck misalignment and sometimes 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 to a “string buzz” issue. The good news-it only takes a few minutes.

String Buzz

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
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.

image result for Haywire Custom Guitars guitar truss rod action setups

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.

image result for Haywire Custom Guitars Truss rod entry

Adjusting the truss rod

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 compressions to a heart attack victim.
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.

image results for Haywire Custom guitar truss rod movement

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!!!

Thank you!

But wait!!!… Let’s look at a right left neck misalignment issue on your guitar

In the photo is a bass guitar neck and you can see how misaligned it is. You’ll notice with this kind of problem your string is slipping off the edge of the fingerboard. Also there will be more space one one side of the neck end in the guitar body pocket.

What can cause this? Generally from my experience-a rough ride. When a guitar is shipped the delivery guys are way too rough with packages. This is the result of guitars being dropped and thrown around. It is however an easy fix.

How do I fix left to right neck alignment?

Loosen the string tension, and partially loosen the neck bolts in the back of the guitar. Rap slightly or push on the head stock to correct the problem. Hold in place and re-tighten the neck bolts. Very small, almost imperceptible tweaks will result in a surprising results for this type of guitar neck misalignment issue. It is very easy to fix!

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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