I'm back with a question, this time about the truss rod position.

It's for a set neck Les Paul style guitar.  I was wondering how much the adjustment nut has to be back in the channel. Also, does anybody know where to get the right tool to counterbore the area of the adjustment nut, since the nut is slightly wider than the channel?

Tags: adjustment, installation, rod, truss

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Micha, take a look at this

It might be just what your looking for.

 Quote: "@Peter - Your posts are a joy to read and always packed with value and very interesting things.  Thanks, Peter, for your thoughts!  Also do you know John Thomas author of Gals Of Gibson?"




Thank you for your kind sentiments.

A Very Fine Man Indeed from everything that I know about him.

But on the Other Hand, what an Extremely Unfortunate Name, for a Lawyer, to Possess!

Consider the tremendous embarrassment for anyone, actually knowing a person, with such a name. What if you ever had to make a Formal Introduction?

Hands Over Mouths, One can imagine Judges Thundering Down their Gavel, Hammering with Dire Warnings to All, every time the name John Thomas was mentioned, to barely suppressed sniggering and laughter from the Jury and Public Gallery.

You do have to wonder and ask exactly what his Fine Parents were thinking about, when they so named the Good Gentleman? It does indeed seem the most unfortunate combination imaginable, of Forename and Surname to have chosen, presumably with innocent ignorance. Alas Alack!

Although intimately unfamiliar with the literally work myself, I am given to understand the term derives from the name, the leading man in D.H. Lawrence's novel, "Lady Chatterley's Lover", who gave this Same Name to his own Personal Private Appendage. The Book was made famous by the Obscenity Trial it landed Penguin Books in, during the 1950s in Great Britain.

Whilst it might seem a Mistake, of Substantial Oversight for his Good Parents to have chosen this Particular Combination of Names originally; the ironic humour involved in him Subsequently Electing to become a Lawyer, one of the most Serious of Professions , working in such a Highly Distinguished Setting as a Court of Law, simply Compounds the Matter Altogether.

You couldn't make this stuff up for a Hollywood Comedy Movie.

They would tell you no one would find it believable.



I was both surprised and delighted.

When John Thomas (settle down please) wrote his Book "Kalamazoo Gals" and followed it up with many good Radio and other Broadcasts, through various forms of Media.

The reason I was surprised, was because no one in America seemed to be aware of the WWII Gibson Factory History. It was as if all the facts had been hidden from the Guitar Buying Population, which was of course, very much the case.

And yet, I distinctly remember in the Sixties, my friend Humphrey, (who owned a Major Music Store here that was actually as old as the American Nation itself), telling me all about the Women in Kalamazoo that made the Gibson's during that Era, the Great Job they did, and all the Fine Elements that brought Strongly Perceived Improvements one day, when someone brought a Banner Gibson into his Store, where I would go to see him.

He Strongly Waxed Lyrical regarding the whole Topic, and told me about it at very great length. So for what it's worth, I have always know about this interesting Gibson Factory and Manufacturing Story, for very many, many Decades. Mistakenly, I had assumed that as I was on the wrong side of the Atlantic, everyone the other side would clearly know a great deal more about all this than I ever could. But I was wrong, and that is why I was surprised. Then, Humphrey was extremely well connected indeed Socially, two of his direct family were former Majors of Oxford, and the Business had been in existence as long as America had been founded. Lots of things then, were passed on simply by word of mouth, it just needed the Right Instrument to come along, to get my friend talking all about it. Frank Ford seems rather like that too, and I can't help noticing that they are both alike in that respect.



The reason I was delighted.

Was because to my mind, whereas C.F. Martin seemed to have had many reasonable Quality Publications, regarding their Instruments, written by a variety of different Aficionados, and seemed to have taken some pride in genuinely attempting to conserve their Long Heritage.

Gibson, by way of extremely strong contrast, seemed to have little to no interest at all except a most superficial one in preserving what of what is in reality, an important part of the Cultural History and Heritage of America itself. Simply from a Marketing Perspective, let alone a Corporate Institutional point of view, there seems to be a most utterly appalling lack of interest in the qualities that attract Customers to their Brand, enhance the reputation of Products, and all the Massive Untapped Commercial Potential that Exists.

Without criticising in any way at all the Fine People behind any of the Various Books that have been written regarding Gibson as a Brand, because it can be difficult to get Publishers to invest in what they see as a Narrow Specialised Subject.  There remains Enormous Potential Scope for a Truly Landmark Authoritative Volume featuring the Historic and Culturally Rich Heritage that this Long Standing, Notable  Brand Represents. That the Owners of Gibson have left their Historic Legacy to your Nation and the Musical World, largely to be behest and willingness of Interested Amateur Enthusiasts, several Trade Experts and a handful of disparate Journalists seems to me a most Serious and Shocking Dereliction of Duty. Where is their Sense of Pride in the Brand and its Great History?


The Good Lawyer John Thomas was in this Country with his Lovely Family some while back in the last year or so as I recall, and Playing his Gibson Acoustic in Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. Jeff Beck (A British Guitarist of some repute) was there too, and had a Play with it, you usually get some quite interesting people in Ronnie Scott's.

Sometimes, you get Famous Politicians who have been Slugging It Out with each other in Adversarial Debate in the Houses of Parliament, sat drinking and laughing together in good fellowship, simply enjoying the Music.

The World at Large needs to Focus upon the Things that Unite Us Together, rather than the Things that Divide Us.

It is a Modern Parable.


Best Wishes.





"What's in a name?

That which we Call a Rose.

By any other Name would Smell as Sweet."


Ode to John Thomas.

"every time the name John Thomas was mentioned......"

Wonderful story, Peter. There is a gentleman in my home town that was christened "Woodrow Johnson".

Imagine his chagrin when the entire town came to call him "Woody Johnson". :)


I note you Studied Jazz Guitar in the Netherlands.

So the Helpful Offer of Guitars Lessons is I'm sure Greatly Appreciated by Everyone Here.

Especially me, as I was once flew in and out of Schiphol Airport There to Perform Lead Guitar on TV Shows, and Recording Sessions, usually Recorded at the Large Television Studio Centre out in Hilversum. So need to keep in Trim.

A friend of mine landed a job with Dutch Producer Freddie Haayan. He went to Hilversum, and then moved to EMI (Bovema in Holland) after they headhunted him, and he started Producing Dutch Artists for the International Recording Market. He got "very lucky", the First Record he Produced was a Major Hit for "Unit Gloria", "The Last Seven Days". 

Their singer, Robert Long, became the "Cliff Richard" of Holland. With Jan Akkerman on Guitar, Pierre van der Linden on Drums and Bert Ruiter on Bass, later to become the Famous Pop Group "Focus" they formed the Nucleus of Session Players, that my Pal put together in the Recording Studios for most of the Recordings he made as Executive International Producer for EMI Holland in those days.

Their Keyboardist and Flautist Thijs van Leer was not involved in any of those Recordings made at that time, Thijs joined up with the others later on, but you may be interested to note that in my Pals Recording of the Track mentioned earlier, is the First Use Ever of a Wah Wah Pedal with a Bass in a Recording. Here's the Salient Point, plenty of people today, are Musically are Trying to Recreate essentially what has long gone before. They are Really Living in The Past.

But Truly Great Musicians should be on the Very Cutting Edge of Creating what is Completely New and Different, Imaginatively Doing what has Never Been Done Before.

The point about World Class Session Musicians, is that they Create the Exciting New Music for the Present Generation of the World to Life its Life By.

Here's a few of those Sessions Players Mentioned in a Later Reincarnation.

Turn Your Sound Up!



Quote: "It's a little bit like teaching a bass player the notes c, f and g and he will be too busy with gigs to show up to the second lesson"




This is a completely True Story.

There was a Irishman I sold a Fender Telecaster Bass to.

He was a nice fella, greatly attracted to a Particularly Rare Type of Instrument here.

But there was something about him that wasn't right, and he didn't Play the Instrument before Buying it.

Many years later, as a Conductor I was talking with my Pianist, and he started to describe to me, this same Irishman and his Blonde Bass.

Many year previously My Pianist had Played a Regular Live Music Gig in a Trio for a Posh Restaurant in the most expensive part of the City along with the Bass Player.

The Pianist said that he never actually Heard the Bass Player Ever Play a Single, Properly Pitched Note, in all the time they Played Together. You would just hear a "Deep Whump" in the Background.

He was laughing about it to me, not realising, I had actually sold the chap his Bass. I don't believe he ever actually Learnt to Play At All, certainly nothing as Far Advanced or as Complicated as C, F and G Notes actually to Pitch. He simply had some Good Gear, and used that Equipment to Blag his way into Getting Paid with the Trio.

He simply Held the Neck, Muting the Strings, Moving his Hand About Occasionally to create the verisimilitude of Note Selection, whilst delivering On The Beat a Soft, Deep Blur of Sound. My Pianist said you would always Hear the Sound of the Bass, Strictly on the Beat, but there would simply Never Be Any Actual Accompanying Pitch, to the Sound You Heard.

He said he found it must distracting and dissatisfying.

You couldn't make it up!




Quote: "apperantly my german humor doesn't catch here but again - from my position I am asking questions on a public forum I have been approved for."



I note you Originate from Germany.

And have been wondering whether you possibly are German?

Quite contrary to the general accepted understanding of the Wider World at Large.

My experience of German People, has been that they have a tremendously developed sense of humour.

An especial Germanicism, is in regard to the specific type of mature humour, that could be properly entitled "Ironic Humour."

Years ago "Ealing Film Studios", made many Great Classic Movies, featuring the very Finest British Actors, based upon this very special Type of Humour.

It must therefore be the case then, that you are "Falling off your seat with Laughter" about being reproved for asking a question, on a Fora, which has been designed, specifically for the purpose of asking such questions.

Indeed, on a Truly Great Fora, purposefully designed by a World Renowned Expert, to enable all folk whoever they are, Professional and Amateur alike, with a real interest in "Working on Guitars", to ask any and all, of the type of questions, that you have asked.




That, is NOT the REALITY, of what people like Paul, Hesh and Others are Saying to You.

I have a Lot of Experience of Working with People from Germany, and it is common that in German many phrases and sentences are written and said, Completely Backwards to how they would be Expressed in English.

You will of course know this, and thus are presumably reading everything in that manner. That is perfectly understandable. I think what people are trying to convey, is the unnecessary need for sweating over obviously small stuff, that should be clear as day to anyone with anything like the most basic grasp of the Subject. So I'm wondering whether you are simply using the Fora, to Reassure Yourself as a Form of Validation of Your Methods?

When People of Tremendously High Standards and Experience, (of which Hesh is a Tremendously Esteemed and Notable One), explain something very clearly to you, why you shouldn't do it, and why to should do something else, and their advice is Seemingly Dismissed Off Hand as Completely Inconsequential, rather than Respectfully Valuing the High Quality of Guidance you have Received. Sound People, Grounded with Real Bottom, Strongly Question why you are asking them in the First Place? And wonder if you are actually seeking Praise, a Pat on the Back, and Internet Recognition from Experts, as to what you are Doing?


Now it may well be, (I'm trying to bend over backwards to see your singular side of things here) that you are so Deep Into Your Way of Doing Things, that in reality, you are already Totally Committed in Material Costs to Following a Particular Line of Design and Build.

I can understand that completely, if you have Bought the Wood and Fashioned it to be a Certain Way that you Intended. However, it could be that it has had the unfortunate consequence of making you appear (rightly or wrongly) as if You Believe You Know Better than some of The Very Finest Expert Luthiers in America.

Far be it from me, to ever suggest in any manner whatever, the Idea that You Might Be Arrogant. It may be simply, that it is a Wholly Incorrect Perception, caused by our linguistic inexperience, and complete misreading and misunderstanding of the Written English Language. English People and Americans alike, are often quite inadequate at English, me especially, as you can no doubt tell, reading my Posts Backwards.




Another Reason for Perceiving and Concluding that Specific Shortcoming, (I'm sure we all have got this completely wrong, you will appreciate) might be that whereas, most normal people might Attempt to Build One Guitar Successfully, and Learn How To Do That, before moving onto the Next Instrument Build, which would probably be Slightly More Complicated.

Perusing your Fascinating Promotional Website, I note with Tremendous Interest that you are Actually Building At Least Three Guitars Simultaneously, and indeed From the Outset Intend Building Many More. This shows a Quite Stunningly Remarkable Personal Confidence in Your Own Abilities. As you are interested in Rock Music, I have to tell you, with Absolute Authority that even when Bono was as Young as you, He had Nothing like THAT Amount of Personal Confidence.

A Very Experienced Artist I was Touring With, Tremendously Helped Him to Get Started when He First Approached Us when we were in Ireland. So such a Personal Ring of Confidence is a remarkable thing indeed. Especially if you can manage to Perform your Compositions with All Three of the Guitars Simultaneously. If you Can't Actually Pull Off this Trick in Performance, and they are of course all the same Type of Guitar, then you Must Understand that People Are Genuinely Entitled to Conclude that Your Actual Intention is to Fabricate Guitars in the Largest Quantities you can Afford in Materials, and then Sell Them for Profit.

On Your Marvellous Website, where the Musical Recordings are Decorated with Copious Amounts of Dialogue by People with and without Headwear. You make it Very Clear Indeed that you are Exploring an Imaginative Number of Alternative Methods of Raising Funds to "Invest" if that is the correct word to use, in the Ambitious Self Funded Project, of the Production of your Self Composed Tracks, to Eventually Fill an Album.




On the Balance of Probabilities.

In the Face of All The Available Evidence.

People of Sound Mind will Conclude that Your Guitar Building Project.

Is actually just a means by which you intend to raise some money to Fund Your Ambitions in Music.

Why on Earth would someone building a New Bespoke Guitar for themselves, NOT be Very Deeply Concerned at Numerous Expert Warnings about the Problems, Dangers and Record of Unreliability of the Chosen Type of Truss Rod, and Alter that Aspect of the Design?

Well, if someone were Making the Guitars purely to Subsequently Off Load on to Unfortunate Sucker Purchasers and Wished to Maximise Their Profitability, to Fund Their Personal Musical Ambitions, Why would it Matter? It Wouldn't! So with all due respect, THAT would certainly make Complete Sense of Every Move you have Made.

Perfectly Accounting for All Your Decisions and Behaviour.



There's nothing wrong with that of course, unless as Paul has stated.

(and I have to tell you that Paul is an extremely clever and deeply perceptive individual, way ahead of most)

You are using the Expertise of the Fora, basically, like Another Set of Suckers! Just like the Unfortunate Suckers that might buy Guitars Built with an Inherent Weakness and Potentially Problematic Truss Rod.

But the People of the Fora here, are indeed Clever, so you could also Imaginatively Work Them into your Marketing Campaign when you Sell the Guitars. What could be Better Quality Reassurance to your Potential Clients, than the Sure Knowledge that Every Step of Your Work, has been Diligently Overseen by a Group of America's Top Luthiers?



I Hope.

This Helpful Explanation.

Is Making Everything about this Thread Crystal Clear.

And you can you see how Good People like Paul, Hesh and Many Others might Feel Deeply Aggrieved Indeed, Taken Advantage Of, and the Fora Members  Generally Feel, Taken Completely For a Ride.

I would never think this myself, of course, because I do not have a Deeply Critical Nature. However, one can Completely Understand, How Others who are Highly Perceptive, but of a Far Less Forgiving Demeanour, might be easily misled into completely wrongly, Imagining that You Are Arrogantly Using the Fora, Entirely for Self Serving, Financial, Ends.



It is really.

A Question of Properly Evaluating the Available Evidence.

And Reaching a Sound Judgment on the Basis of that Evidence and the Balance of Probability.

So I Trust the above Explanation has been a Genuinely Valuable Assistance in Removing any and every Possible Misunderstanding.



This would of course, clearly explain Pauls Earlier Comments.

Quote: "Also, since you indicate that you will eventually sell these instruments, may we bill you as consultants? No offense, but getting info from us and then applying it to a commercial venture without at least offering compensation is a bit (IMO) unethical.."


Quote: "There's a big difference between helping an individual with a few aspects of a repair or single instrument build and using this forum as a building guide consultation service for a commercial venture."



It Also Explains Ned's Thorough, Well Researched Comments.

Quote: "You posted your first thread about 9 months ago and have started sixteen threads so far. Thirteen of those threads, starting on December 22, 2013 have been about this build. As you can see if you look, you have started many more threads with questions about this build than the "3" you think you have. On those 13 threads there are 117 responses. Some of them are yours and some are off topic but the fact remains that there are a lot of posts here that are directed at answering your questions."


Quote: "It's troubling to see that you seem unaware of the amount of help you have already received. I can't help thinking that you may not appreciate the fact that you have had a fairly extensive amount of help from people on this forum already and that makes me think you do not respect their efforts as much as you could."



It also Explains Hesh's Utterly Heartrending Comments.

Quote: "I apologize to you, Micha, for assuming that my contributions to you were well placed.  They clearly were not.  You seem to feel entitled to the assistance of others, that's my view now, and when others take issue with your attitude, you lash out."


Quote: "So I apologize to you for assuming that you are the sort that I want to help - you clearly are not and this was my mistake and mine alone."



What makes Superbly Helpful Individual like Hesh, and the Others, Write Such Things?

They would only do so, if they Strongly Suspected or Believed that what was Written Above is True.

As I see it, the Big Problem from Your Perspective Mucha, is that the Solid Evidence and Definite Proof.

That Corroboration, which can Compellingly Convince and Convict You, has Actually, All been Provided, by Yourself.






Isn't It!



Once Again.

I Trust the Above Explanation has been a Genuinely Valuable Assistance in Removing All Misunderstanding.


And as Always, I am Tremendously Glad to Help!





Another BRAVO on your spot on and extraordinarily diplomatic response.

Your eloquent, richly worded, almost poetic, summary of the situation captures the essence and provides affirmation and a kinder, gentler embellishment to my recently posted Rope-a-Dope response.

Unlike my novella, it will most likely not result in a Nuclear Winter.

I learn much about life and the world as I enjoy your writings. I truly appreciate the atmosphere of dignity and respect you so often contribute to the forum.

Thank you our friend :)

Many thanks from me as well, Peter!  Your grasp of the matter is spot-on, eloquent, classy, inviting, and laced with gems of logic and history that compel one to sit back and think - a good thing!

And help you most certainly have - Thank You!

Moving on related is the topic of going ugly early..... and no, no, no I am not speaking of sizing up the crowd at the local bar at 8:00 PM while nervously checking out one's watch either....  What I am speaking of is taking an interest in Lutherie commercial and blessing the world with one's creations, for better or worse....when one lacks experience. This is what I call going ugly early.

We see lots of these instruments, individual Loofier.... (attribution to a fellow named Duh Padma) instruments that were never ready for prime time and then are sold to the unsuspecting who in turn bring them to us because the things are not right....

We have a triage routine that we do with anything coming into our shop.  These individual Loofier instruments get special attention though because often they are so very substandard in many respects that they represent an opportunity for a busy repair shop to loose their shirts so to speak if quoting is not done correctly while the client is still present and things can be pointed out and explained.

What scares me is the 10 year old guitar that was so very poorly built... that it's a total loss at 10 and not even worth the money or effort to attempt to correct the things that can be corrected.  Most of the mistakes are entirely preventable and the kind of mistakes that we would see from someone who learned in a vacuum, breathing their own air so-to-speak.  Things such as using green wood (inexcusable....) or improper neck angles, nut and saddle work that looks like a two year old did it, loose frets with sharp ends, and of course the ole inaccessible truss rod adjustor that requires us to complete the building process of the guitar before we can even get a tool near the truss rod.

Bridges lifting but also showing evidence of sloppy work under the bridge where the finish was not removed to the degree that it should have been, leaving available footprint on the table and not maximizing the instrument's potential to have it's bridge live in the intended area for very long.

I'm an old product guy from GE where job one was not making money, job one was shielding the organization from potential liability.....  Job two was making money.....;)

As such I was always as nervous as a whore in church... about selling my own guitars and instead had some beta testers for some years before I decided to go ahead and sell my creations with reckless abandon.....  (Can you see the impact that Peter's writing is having on mine....;)).

It's a big step selling one's instruments especially in the age of the Internet where one's entire career can be wrongly summarized by some disgruntled sort with a keyboard.

Only once did I ever build in a batch, more than one at once.  Why?  Because my goal is to learn from each one and not duplicate mistakes by putting them into production.  The one batch of two that I built was also to learn, both identical guitars, both braced identically, all things the same except the materials.  And as you may have guessed they are very different instruments tonally!  That was the lesson.

Sometimes when going to the well for advice that bucket may come up the rope with some advice that may not have been requested.  Instead of a "how To" guide to truss rods it looks as if this time the bucket also included a primer for interacting with those who assist others.  Perhaps too that bucket contained some thoughts about the distinction between assisting someone to learn and assisting someone to profit....  And now that bucket also seems to hold some FUD (IBM speak for fear, uncertainty, and doubt) discussing the down side of..... going ugly early.

I'm just thankful that this bucket did not contain Woody's Johnson.....:)

PS:  I call mine Cheney..... still looking for WMD....

Hey Peter,

thanks for your long answer, I enjoy you sharing the stuff about musicians and the Netherlands.

For the rest, I am building my guitars for fun, not for money or to boost my ego or to raise funds to boost my music. I have funded my music with music and teaching since 2004. I would have to build and sell quite a few more to actually get my money back for materials and tools, and to get a somewhat close to minimum wage compensation for my time, haha. I will rather spend my time on making music and keep building guitars for fun and keep getting better at it.

Hey Micha,

I bet you didn't expect this to turn out like it did. Later,


No, I didnt, haha

Micha, Here is what is in the instructions:

" ... Provide an access for the adjusting nut: For the Slotted nut, you'll need a 3/8"-diameter recess, 1/2" deep on line with the active rod, to accommodate the adjusting nut; for the 4mm Allen nut, use a 1/4" recess, about 1/2" deep; for the 1/4" Hex nut, use a 7/16" recess, about 1/2" deep. The recess can be made with a piloted drill bit, or by clamping a hardwood filler strip into the slot, and drilling as though there is no slot."

FWIW. I understand your responses, and I think I see where you're coming from.

Thanks Thomas! I got the slot routed correctly. I was confused by the wide variety out there of piloted drill bits, for some of them you have to order drill and pilot separate etc. Rusty in his answer a couple comments down has great pics of how his truss rod access looks like.


I have followed this "discussion" and as someone who has learned so much from the forum, I must say I am a little saddened by the way the thread turned sour.

I am not a luthier, guitar builder or technician, but as a gigging player, I do like to keep my instruments in tip top condition and have found the help and advice from our esteemed contributors to be second to none and I am so grateful for that.

However, after reading some of the posts I would like to be re-assured that although I am not a member of the luthier or guitar technicians "club", I am welcome to come here (after research), to seek advice regarding my instruments upkeep and repair.

Fantastic, friendly forum..........please keep it that way...........peace & love............



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