Truss Adjustment for Playing Action
First published December 21, 1999 on Stickwire
From: "Stick Enterprises, Inc." <email@example.com>
Concavity of the fretboard would be the same as a bow, but since the
truss rod acts only on the fretted area, such a bow would make the
action (the proximity of strings bottoms to fret tops) too low toward
the pickups, not too high. And the action would be too high at the
other end, toward the nut.
You can visualize it, and it actually turns out so. An arched (or back
bent) fretboard has the opposite effect, with strings too low at the
nut end, sometimes even fretting out, and too high toward the pickups.
Also, the truest test of the straightest fretboard is as follows. Prop
up your instrument on a well lit table or desk with light in front and
slightly above you, so that the light reflects off the frets, allowing
you to see height and shadow. Hold down all melody strings onto the 1st
fret and see how closely they clear the 2nd fret. Then hold them down
at the 2nd fret and notice the similarly close clearance over the 3rd
fret, and so on up the frets to the highest one.
If the board is straight, all clearances over each successively higher
fret will be uniform all along the board. This is true of the three
highest pitched bass strings as well.
I hope this helps, Emmett.
© 1999 Emmett Chapman
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