In Guitar We Truss (by Eric Lacovara)
In many instances we have guitar and bass players that would like to change the tension or ‘gauge’ of their strings. This could be due to a few factors (their idols play a particular gauge of strings, they are seeking a different tone, or want to move to a lighter/heavier gauge regarding string resistance).
Whatever the reason, moving to a lighter or heavier gauge of string tension may require a ‘truss rod’ adjustment. What does a truss rod do and how does it work? If your guitar or bass is outfitted with one, read on!
A truss rod controls the lengthwise curvature of the neck, to some extent compensating for string tension. The rod (or rods – your instrument may have two) are fixed at one end, threaded at the other and lie in a curved channel of the instruments neck. Check with an associate at George’s Music if you are looking to find this creature in your instrument. Access can either be at the headstock or within the instruments body cavity.
A good truss rod will affect a noticeable change in neck curvature with as little as an eighth of a turn or so at the adjustment nut.
Although the truss rod’s adjustment can affect the action, it should not be used as a simple ‘action’ adjustment. The action should first be set from the bridge, using the truss rod adjustment to set the relief of the neck to best accommodate the players style.
It is important to remember that adjusting any truss rod could affect the guitars intonation, therefore it should be the final adjustment with any guitar set-up.
If you are new to any of this information or are in the market to change the gauge of your strings, please give us a call or visit any George’s Music location. We’ll be glad to assist!