How to Make a Homemade Truss Rod for an Electric Guitar

Written by brandy alexander
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How to Make a Homemade Truss Rod for an Electric Guitar
Truss rods are meant to keep the neck of the guitar straight and prevent warping. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

In an electric guitar, the truss rod is what keeps the neck straight and true. If you are building or repairing an electric guitar, making your own truss rod might be a more attractive option than buying a suitable commercial truss rod. With materials commonly found in hardware stores, you can create your own electric guitar truss rod for a fraction of the price of buying one.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Threaded rod, 40 inches long, 3/16 inch thick
  • Propane torch
  • Pliers
  • Drill
  • Hacksaw
  • 1/4-inch square steel rod
  • 3/16-inch tap and die kit
  • 20-inch plastic heat shrink tube
  • 3/16-inch hex nut, 1 inch long, and washer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the truss rod trough in the neck of your electric guitar. If repairing a guitar, first remove the fretboard.

  2. 2

    Cut the threaded rod to twice the length of the truss rod trough, then bend it in half. Use the propane torch to heat the middle section of the threaded rod to make a sharper bend in the middle. Cover both threaded rod ends with heat shrink wrap to reduce vibration once it is inside the neck of the guitar.

  3. 3

    Cut a 3/4-inch length off the end of the square steel rod using the hacksaw, and drill two 3/16-inch holes side by side, with as little space between the holes as possible.

  4. 4

    Thread one of the two holes in the 3/4-inch piece of square steel rod with the tap and die kit to have a female 3/16-inch thread pattern.

  5. 5

    Screw the threaded hole of the square steel rod onto one of the two ends of the folded threaded rod.

  6. 6

    Push the other end of the threaded rod through the nonthreaded hole of the square steel rod.

  7. 7

    Place a washer and the long hex nut onto the end of the threaded rod that passed through the nonthreaded hole of the square steel rod.

  8. 8

    Insert the completed truss rod into the truss rod trough of the electric guitar's neck, leaving the long hex nut exposed for adjustment at the headstock end. Glue down the fretboard onto the neck to secure the truss rod in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Adjust the truss rod using the hex nut to counteract any warping that occurs over time.
  • Always wear eye protection when working with power tools.

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