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Truss Rod Adjustments

Q: The neck on my guitar was starting to bow, and the action had raised up, so I adjusted the truss rod. I have the neck nice and straight, and it plays great. But now I’m getting some buzzes on the first four frets or so, the rest of the neck is fine. Did I mess something up?

A: It’s doubtful that you did any damage. It sounds like you over-adjusted the truss rod, which is a common mistake. In most cases, an eighth or a quarter turn is all that is required to get the adjustment right. Keep in mind that while there will be a difference as soon as you adjust the truss rod, the neck may continue to settle in over a few hours.

Further, having the neck perfectly straight may not be ideal. A very tiny amount of relief may solve the problem.

Try taking a conservative approach: make a small tweak, let the neck settle in, check things out. If necessary, make another tweak, and so on, until you get it where you want it. Yes, this is a pain, especially if you have to remove the guitar’s neck to make the adjustments, but in our experience, you will get better results.

As you gain experience doing this sort of thing, you’ll develop a “feel” for how far the truss rod needs to be turned to get the result that you want.

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