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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The idea for this thread came from a concurrent thread.
Recognition and Thank You to jbealsmusic for some of the wording and for (unknowingly) prompting me to start this thread .

For this discussion, it will be understood that the guitar being adjusted is NOT poorly made or old and fragile.

What is the maximum amount of a turn/rotation of the adjustment nut do you feel comfortable doing at any one time?
(e.g., 1/8th, 1/4, 1/2, 1 full rotation, more than 1 full rotation)

How much time to do allow before doing another truss rod adjustment.
(e.g., 1/2 hour, 1 hour, 1/2 day, 1 day, etc)

It is my understanding that the string tension should be reduced while doing the the truss rod adjustments. Is this common practice/advised?
 

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This is a great thread. I am a tradesman but I have never been able to figure out how to adjust a truss rod on my own. Read a bunch of articles and watched videos but for whatever reason never been able to do it.
 

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On a double action truss rod, I usually do 1/8th of a turn at a time. I typically don't wait but won't go more than 1/4 turn (unless there is significant bow which would be unusual). I had a Tele set up by my trusted and experienced tech and the next day, the guitar was unplayable. They can be finicky and vary from one guitar to another.
 

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I don't know if it applies for guitar, but for bass you loosen off the strings and try manually bending the neck just before you turn the trussrod nut. Turning the nut with the strings at tension easily can result in stripping the nut.

For guitar, I'll turn half a turn at a time or so and leave it 24 hrs, but next time I may try the bass method above.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't know if it applies for guitar, but for bass you loosen off the strings and try manually bending the neck just before you turn the trussrod nut. Turning the nut with the strings at tension easily can result in stripping the nut.

For guitar, I'll turn half a turn at a time or so and leave it 24 hrs, but next time I may try the bass method above.
For a guitar (i.e., not a bass), I have always been of the understanding that the string tension should be reduced while doing the the truss rod adjustments. I will add that as another question in the first post.
 

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The idea for this thread came from a concurrent thread.
Recognition and Thank You to jbealsmusic for some of the wording and for (unknowingly) prompting me to start this thread .

For this discussion, it will be understood that the guitar being adjusted is NOT poorly made or old and fragile.

What is the maximum amount of a turn/rotation of the adjustment nut do you feel comfortable doing at any one time?
(e.g., 1/8th, 1/4, 1/2, 1 full rotation, more than 1 full rotation)

How much time to do allow before doing another truss rod adjustment.
(e.g., 1/2 hour, 1 hour, 1/2 day, 1 day, etc)

It is my understanding that the string tension should be reduced while doing the the truss rod adjustments. Is this common practice/advised?
Subscribed! I would love it if someone actually did proper studies on this sort of stuff. Maybe that's something Next Gen could invest in down the road. Adding to the body of knowledge that all builders can benefit from. I like the sound of that.

For now, all each of us can do is share our opinions based on our experiences. Based on my experiences, I would answer as follows:

What is the maximum amount of a turn/rotation of the adjustment nut do you feel comfortable doing at any one time?
I feel comfortable turning a truss rod to either reasonable endpoint at any given time. That's based on about 15 years of seeing other guys abuse truss rods with no noticeable long term ill effects on the guitars. That said, if the guitar ever appears to need any more than 1/4 turn, there are most likely other things that should be looked at instead. So, in the end there's really no need to challenge a person's comfort zone with regard to truss rod adjustments. My only reason for bringing it up was to relieve potentially unnecessary fears of causing permanent damage by turning a little further than recommended.

How much time to do allow before doing another truss rod adjustment.
It really depends on the guitar. Thinner more flexible necks react differently than thicker/stiffer or reinforced ones. Same goes with one-piece quarter sawn necks vs multi-piece laminated necks. In most cases, necks seem to settle into their new position within a few hours, maybe one day at the most. Other factors like temperature and humidity might affect how long it takes as well.

It is my understanding that the string tension should be reduced while doing the the truss rod adjustments. Is this common practice/advised?
As far as I'm aware, it is fairly common practice and it is usually recommended. The only reason I've ever heard for doing this is to reduce the tension on the threads of the truss rod to help prevent stripping. Seems like a good enough reason to keep doing it. I could see that being important on guitars with a lot of string tension. Baritone guitars, 12 strings, basses, etc. For most 6-strings with the usual string gauges, loosening the two strings you need to get better access to the truss rod is typically plenty. I've adjusted hundreds of truss rods like that (on $100 Chinese crap guitars even) and have never run into a stripped truss rod as a result.
 

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Thread title edited.
lol Now we're going to get credit for your idea to open the discussion?

Gotta love unpaid interns! ;)

Though I definitely appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure the GC brass would approve of titling the thread after us. "Business" led discussions are to be left in the Dealers subforum.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
lI'm not sure the GC brass would approve of titling the thread after us. "Business" led discussions are to be left in the Dealers subforum.
I have asked GC "brass" for a decision ...just to be fair and "appropriate".
 

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The many Ernie Balls I've own allow for such easy access that I regularly adjusted the truss rod. Always a quarter turn at a time and rarely more than a half turn required.

I never loosened the strings and I had the Lukather for over 5 or so years without seeing an issue result.
 

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First of all if you are like me and keep your guitars in their cases with no air conditioning in the house,
I find that all my guitars need a bit of truss rod tweaking between summer and winter.
Its obvious to me that humidity or the lack of humidity has an effect on the guitar neck.

About the adjustment ...
You need the right tool for the job...
trying a socket or allen wrench that's a little too big or too small will eventually get you a stripped adjustment nut.

I like a little relief on my guitar neck so when there is too much or too little relief,
I adjust the truss rod to get it to just the way I like it.
I don't loosen the string as I see no point in doing so.
String pressure is part of the tension on the neck that gives you the desired relief.

Besides all the above, I try to remember that the neck wants to bend naturally because of the string tension.
So if I want more relief, I loosen the truss rod so the neck can bend more.
If I want less relief, I tighten the truss rod. Usually about 1/2 turn will do the trick but it does vary between guitars.

All of the above is from personal experience so if it doesn't match other methods, I have no answer to that.
It does work for me and that's all I can ask.

G.
 

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Years ago, I bought a huge oak kitchen table with a 1 1/2" table top an 4" legs. The first winter after I got it, I noticed one of the legs got a small hairline crack down the full length of the leg. I didn't get around to telling the salesman that this had happened until the spring and by then it was gone. Pretty hard to complain about something when there was nothing to see. I did mention this to him though and his reply "It's too dry in your house. You need a humidifier in the winter". Makes sense. One of these days I should get one. Until then, I've been putting up with that hairline crack in the winter for quite a few years now.
 

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If I'm tightening it, I'll go about an 1/4 turn at a time at most. That's usually enough to get it close to where it needs to be. Then fine tune.

If I'm loosening it, I go 1/4 to an 1/8 and give it a day or so to settle before checking again.
 

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I've never had to adjust a truss rod more than a half turn or so, so I've never thought much about how much I would turn it before I called it quits. I suppose though, I would turn it until either 1) I felt very little resistance and was worried the nut might pop off the end OR 2) I felt tons of resistance and was worried about damaging the truss rod.

As far as reducing tension, I can't see any purpose for this. I've read the Fender Strat Set-up guide a dozen times and don't recall them ever suggesting you do so. In fact, they basically tell you the opposite because the first step (in every step in the set-up) is to tune the guitar to pitch. Basically, the truss rod is there as an opposing force to the tension of the strings. The truss rod pulling the neck one way, the string tension pulling the other. It wouldn't make sense to me to not have the string tension there.

As far as time between adjustments, I've never thought about it much. The truss adjustment is one of the first steps in the set-up, so I do it, then do the other steps. After everything is said and done, then I re-check all the measurements from the beginning of the process (because so many of the adjustments in a set-up are interactive with one another). So, as a matter of my personal procedure, I generally wait 30-45 minutes. Even when I do re-adjust the second time through, it never requires more than 1/16 th of a turn, usually to remove a wee bit of buzz if necessary.
 

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I have adjusted guitar necks that have never been touched in 40 years. The action was horrendous and basically unplayable. This is usually due to improper storage, neglect, or just plain ignorance (owner does not know any better). Any guitar that sits at a pawnshop too long gets pawnshop neck.

I have done garage sales for years and stumbled upon dozens of previously loved guitars that were put down and up for sale due to the neck adjustment. The owner usually tells me about how L&M wants hundreds of $$ to fix the guitar. I ask the owner if I can take a stab at making a few simple adjustments. If they said yes, I usually get it playable within a half hour or so. I have had to add oil and use great force to get some to budge. Then more oil and patience working back an forth until it wants to work as it should. Usually the guitar is no longer for sale afterwards. I swear that I have taken 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch out of the maladjusted neck in a half hour. I know that it will need more adjustment in a day or so for about a week when it gets freed up in his kind of situation. I have aided the neck realignment by bending the neck carefully like a chiropractor over my knee.

It is a good feeling to know that you have learned something and can apply it well. Often this is not for the faint of heart.
 

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I can't imagine adjusting truss rods annually. That sounds like a lot of work! I have a hard time remembering to oil boards annually.

None of my guitars live in cases - they go there only when they are going out to work. But that possibly has something to do with our embarrassing west coast wetness? I dunno. I had to adjust the 3 guitars when I moved here from Cowtown. Haven't touched them since. About 1/3 of the guitars I buy need a little tweak. But once - not annually.

I never slacken strings as I'm trying to achieve a balance between the wood's natural alignment, the chosen string gauge's tension and the truss rod balancing those two forces. I turn at most a half turn, usually just a quarter. And wait an hour or two before going further or backing up a bit. I'm a Mesa player and believe tiny incremental adjustments are the trick - Fender/Marshall players MMV.
 
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Also on the west coast. I hardly ever have to adjust truss rods once the guitar is setup the first time. I only do 1/4 to 1/2 a turn depending how far out the relief is to start with. I have had to go a full turn at times on a used guitar that is way out. I do this in stages if needed. The key is to only turn it if there is no resistance. You have to be careful with older guitars that may never have been adjusted. Sometimes it takes a bit of pressure to get the truss rod loose. I rarely loosen the strings on a guitar and always on a bass. If the guitar has the adjustment at the bottom of the neck then of course you have to loosen the strings. after I'm done I play the guitar for a 1/2 hour or so and then check again. I also check the next day to make sure. It's not rocket science but you do have to pay attention and go slow.
 
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