Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Truss rods demystified

When I used to repair guitars for a living, I noticed that soooooo many people feared the mysterious device known as the truss rod. "Don't turn it more than a quarter turn per day, or you'll break the neck!". I heard variations of that, many, many times. That's definitely not the case. There's alot of mojo that goes into a guitar neck in general, as far as alot of guitar players (and guitar salesmen) are concerned. This probably comes from the fact that, even in high production environments, there's alot of hand work involved in the neck-making process, which leads to each neck having it's own personality. The truth is though, there's no secret juju we luthiers use when making necks. We're using techniques you'd use when making a nice piece of furniture. Of course, we need to make sure that the nut and all the frets are in exactly the right place and on a level plane, we need to make sure a hand can traverse it comfortably, and we need to make sure it can stay straight when string tension is added. That's it, really. That last part is where the truss rod comes in.

Read the rest at my new Luthier's Workshop site.