LMI Help Center

10 Ways to Avoid Truss Rod Disasters -December 2016

Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ruin your day like a truss rod disaster. Don’t go there! To make sure your truss rod functions well for you and your customers, be sure to follow these common-sense suggestions.

  1. Test each rod. Weld failures are extremely uncommon, but you don’t want to be that one in million person who experiences one. We test all our truss rods but we still think it’s a good idea that you do so as well. Put the rod in a vice and over-extend it to be sure you are good to go.
  2. Do not alter the rod. This includes not filing away any weld blobs to make the rod flush. It’s better to whittle away a little wood in the neck to accommodate the weld, as filing it could compromise the integrity of the weld.
  3. Most of our rods use a 9/64” hex wrench for adjustment. Whether you use our wrench (TRW) or another, in every case, make sure the wrench is snug in the nut when adjusting and that the wrench is inserted a minimum of ¼” into the nut. Use a piece of tape on the wrench to confirm you are fully seated in the nut if need be. Unfortunately, tolerances on most hex wrenches are not tight, and a poorly suited wrench can strip the nut in a hurry. Many luthiers include a wrench in the case of the guitar they are selling, to help prevent the player from using a bad one.
  4. Be sure you seat the truss rod snugly in the channel. Use shims if necessary. It should be solid at each end with zero play.
  5. Make sure the rod still moves! Do whatever you can to avoid getting any glue on the rod when you glue down the fingerboard. Often a strip of tape between the truss rod channel and the fingerboard is enough to prevent glue from getting in the channel.
  6. Do not over-stiffen the neck. It’s okay to use some carbon fiber neck reinforcement, but if you go crazy with steel rods or an extra thick neck then the truss rod will not be able to adjust the neck no matter what.
  7. Make the neck right! Do not expect your truss rod to make corrections if your neck is not straight. The truss rod should be used only to make slight adjustments to the playing action.
  8. Many builders add some silicon caulking to eliminate rattle if the rod is slack. Do not experiment with other materials!
  9. Avoid cheap truss rods. Many truss rods on the market these days are manufactured poorly, out of poor materials in overseas factories. USA made truss rods, like the LMI rods, cost more but you get what you pay for! A cheap truss rod can definitely ruin your day in a hurry!