Truss Rod Adjustment

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by josh_kaprun, Apr 20, 2002.

  1. Hey Ya'll,
    I just discovered that my bass has a truss rod in its neck and I was wondering which way I should turn it inorder to get rid of that wretched neck-bowing. Also, how much should I turn it, and is there a set amount of time that I should wait between adjustments?
  2. And, in if it makes any difference, I have a Fender Squier 2 P-Bass
  3. turning it clockwise tightens the rod, straightening the neck. some people say no more than 1/8th a turn per day. some say 1/4. i say 1/8 of a turn per day. that way there's very little chance of turning it too far. it takes time for the neck to adjust to the new tension......

    most importantly, don't force anything. if it doesn't want to turn easily, don't force it. you'll only do damage. either it's jammed, and needs repair, or it's already tightened as far as it will go. either way, take it to a luthier.

    when tightening the rod, press back on the headstock, so you're applying the pressure, and the truss rod is just holding it. if you just start cranking the rod, you're likely to strip the threads.

    once again DON'T FORCE ANYTHING.
  4. Thanks Milothicus. My next question is whether or not, during the process of adjusting my neck, can I put the strings back on and play the same day, or should I wait?
  5. here's where you get mixed messages. some say do it with the strings on.......some say detune them slightly, some say take them off entirely. I did it to my jazz bass with the strings on, and it doesn't seem to have done any damage (of course i don't really know what's going on inside). that was about 2 months ago. i think when the neck is settling, it should have the strings on it, tuned to pitch. that way, it will settle to normal playing conditions, rather than a higher-tensioned truss rod and no strings pulling the other way.

    if i'm wrong i hope someone corrects me.

    do a search for truss rod in the setup forum. there should be lots of threads already.
  6. How long should I wait between adjustments?
  7. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    I'd suggest adjusting it with the strings losened, then re-tune up to pitch, repeat as necessary (it's an iterative process, along with bridge saddle adjsutment), and don't make any drastic decisions for at least a day.

    Dave P.
  8. I haven't adjusted the truss rod on my De Armond in almost 2 years. Am I forgeting to do something?:D

    Rock on
  9. 2 years??? i suggest a strict regimen of 1/2 a turn clockwise, followed by 1/2 a turn counterclockwise 4 times per day for at least a month. then back to my original recommendation. people like you make me sick.

    disclaimer: i will not be held responsible for anyone who reads my posts.
  10. I've always had great results with my method.
    keep the strings on, tuned to pitch. if you need less bow, tighten the rod by making a 1/8th turn. re-tune, and check the relief by pressing the strings down on the first and last frets. (My) perfect relief has about .020" clearance at the 8th fret (a penny is probably .035 - .045"). you can check with feeler gauges or eyeball it. keep adjusting untill you get no buzzes with your playing style . remember to re-tune after each 1/8th turn. you may need to fine tune your adjustments in a day or two.

    I think it's important to have the strings at the tension you plan on playing at when adjusting, because the truss rod is balancing out the tension that the strings are putting on the neck. if you take the strings off, adjust the truss rod, then put them back on, I think you would be putting too much stress on the neck. think of a see-saw with two kids on it. if one gets off, the other kid goes crashing to the ground. same thing would happen to your neck. the truss rod is one kid, the strings are the other. same thing when changing strings, I never take all the strings off my basses. I change them one string at a time.