I'm trying to adjust the neck tension on an Ibanez electric guitar for some regular light gauge strings, but I've maxed out loosening the truss rod and the neck still doesn't provide enough relief and a lot of my notes buzz. Unfortunately the guitar doesn't have a dual action truss rod (it's a nut based adjustment) so I can't utilize the truss rod to solve my problem. Is there any way I can fix this? The guitar is still under warranty so I'm wondering if I need to send it in.

It's worth noting that my playing style and comfort level dictates that I shouldn't use heavier strings (aka more tension which should've in theory helped with the issue).

  • Do not completely loosen a truss rod. It may rattle inside the neck. If you want it as loose as possible, start by "maxing it out", but then tighten it to keep it in place.
    – Kaz
    Dec 18, 2019 at 6:36
  • Even if you took very good pictures with a good digital camera, this would be next to impossible to diagnose over a Q&A forum like this.
    – Kaz
    Dec 18, 2019 at 6:57
  • > the neck still doesn't provide enough relief What is the evidence? If you press a given string down at the lowest fret and highest fret simultaneously, how much string-fret clearance is there halfway between them? You can use a guitar pick as a crude gauge.
    – Kaz
    Dec 18, 2019 at 7:02

2 Answers 2


If the guitar is new or recently built, and played fine before you bought it, then you shouldn't have to "max out" the truss rod. It does not require large turns to have an effect. You don't need a dual-action rod to play with light gauge strings. I highly recommend putting it back to the way it was, if you can remember how many times you turned it, and raising your bridge saddles slightly.

There are many variables at play here besides the truss rod. Use a guide like this exceptional blog post explaining how to properly "sight" your neck, adjust your truss rod, and set up your guitar correctly: https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/articles/guitar-setup-part-1-adjusting-the-truss-rod-2/

(it includes pictures)

Ibanez has been making electric guitars for light gauge strings for decades. There's nothing wrong with your guitar (or at least there wasn't before you made adjustments). Also, and I mean this with all due respect, there's nothing unusual about your playing style and comfort level.

  • How do you know? Maybe that Ibanez is a lemon. Factory reject pawned off or whatever.
    – Kaz
    Dec 18, 2019 at 7:12
  • Because, knowing how guitars are made on CNC machines and what not, and the store's quality control before selling it, and the fact that the OP bought the guitar (and surely would have noticed it was a lemon before they paid money) unless they bought it online ... probably not a lemon. Dec 19, 2019 at 12:36

I would return it. I've bought a lot of guitars on eBay and this is one problem that gets players to sell their guitar and make it someone else's problem. The problem is that it has a back bow, which is not that rare. Heavier strings will usually put enough pull on the neck that it's at least flat, but light strings won't work on a guitar with a severe back bow. People that sell their back bow guitars on eBay usually set the strings really high hoping you won't adjust the action and find that it has a back bow. You don't want this problem, and it would be unethical to sell it in the future.

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