Username: Password:

Author Topic: Truss rod settings on a Les Paul  (Read 11699 times)

ailean

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1357
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« on: October 04, 2007, 11:02:39 AM »
If this has been answered before I'm sorry but I couldn't find it.

I'd like to give my Les Paul settings an overhaul, but I can't find any information on the recommended settings for the neck bow on a Les Paul, I keep finding articles saying "make sure your truss rod is adjusted correctly". What the **** IS correct?

Ok, I know I need to stick a cappo on the 1st fret and hold down on the 15th, but what sort of gap should I be looking for in between?

I also know this is a personal preference, but as an inexperianced player (and useless guitar tech) I'd really like to know that my guitar is set up in a reasonable fashion. I also want to do this myself so I can learn how to do it.

Any help or guide would be very appriciated.
Gibson LP std + Nailbomb set
Diezel VH4 & Orange Rockerverb 50

WezV

  • Middleweight
  • *****
  • Posts: 5838
    • http://wezvenables.co.uk
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2007, 11:39:19 AM »
a gap the thickness of a piece of paper at the 7th fret is about as straight as you can get, no gap and it will buzz - i prefer slightly more relief than that but not much

Philly Q

  • Light Heavyweight
  • ******
  • Posts: 18109
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2007, 01:16:57 PM »
Yeah, I just hold down a string at the 1st and 15th frets and tap it against the 7th or 8th just to make sure there's some clearance.  As Wez says, a gap about the thickness of a piece of paper.

It depends on your playing style too.  If you play mostly rhythm you might want a bit more relief - then you can still have a low enough action around frets 1-5, but the strings have loads of room to move in the middle of the neck without rattling against the frets.

One of my Strats was set up like that - it looked like the previous owner had spent all his time playing root-position chords.  Then I came along doing my hackneyed E blues-scale noodling around the 12th fret, and the strings felt like they were a mile off the fingerboard.  

If the action is low at the upper frets but feels high in the middle of the neck (like my Strat), you probably have too much relief - the neck has a forward bow.  And conversely, if you can't get a low action at the upper frets because the strings are buzzing on the middle frets, you might have a bit of back-bow.

If you do end up adjusting the truss rod, only give it a quarter of a turn (or less) at a time.  The neck takes a while to settle itself.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

ailean

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1357
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2007, 02:45:00 PM »
Thanks guys

I've made some adjustments. The truss rod was WAY too tight. But I have to see now how the neck settles. I backed the tension right off the rod and I still had a considerable gap at the 7th fret, more than .15 of an inch by my guage, so I've left the rod just tight enough not to rattle and see how it settles over the next few days.

It's much better to play now, so just a little fine tuning to do.

Thanks once again Wez and Philly Q, I was hoping you guys would answer :)
Gibson LP std + Nailbomb set
Diezel VH4 & Orange Rockerverb 50

WezV

  • Middleweight
  • *****
  • Posts: 5838
    • http://wezvenables.co.uk
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2007, 03:29:17 PM »
if you have a large gap in the middle of the neck then it is bowed to far forward - usually from string tension.  The rod needs tightening (turning clockwise) to straighten it.  if in doubt its worth getting a pro to do it because they can snap if mistreated.

Personally i think its well worth slackening strings to adjust a truss rod even if its annoying and takes longer, it reduces the chance of snappage no end - but even so they still get stuck and snap if forced so its always worth loosening them before tightening them to make sure they are not seized and about to snap.

tighten it up, but no more than 1/4 turn at a time, tune it up, let it settle - rinse and repeat

ailean

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1357
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2007, 03:35:42 PM »
Ok, so I'm an idiot  :oops:

I thought adding tension added to the bow, I'll try tightening the rod and see what happens.

How long does a next usually take to settle?
Gibson LP std + Nailbomb set
Diezel VH4 & Orange Rockerverb 50

WezV

  • Middleweight
  • *****
  • Posts: 5838
    • http://wezvenables.co.uk
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2007, 04:11:45 PM »
you can generally see where it settles as soon as its tuned up but some take longer - i sometimes like to wait overnight and then re-adjust at that point to be sure

ailean

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1357
Truss rod settings on a Les Paul
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2007, 04:32:50 PM »
I've re-adjusted and got the string height much closer to the mark. I'll play with it some more I expect but better for now.

I have no idea what was going on with my original setting, it came from the shop like that (and probably from japan), but when I eased the truss rod the gap seemed to close but not completely. Then when I tightened it up again it closed up properly.

Oh well, I'm almost there. I just need to sort the intonation next, it's a little off I think.
Gibson LP std + Nailbomb set
Diezel VH4 & Orange Rockerverb 50