Ibanez Truss Rod Woes

I almost felt like the headline was like clickbait on YouTube…

I haven’t broken the truss rod! But the adjustment nut on my SR655E just won’t turn. Since I need to tighten it, I thought maybe I should loosen the strings a bit first. But no help.

I tried the truss rod adjustment nut on another Ibanez bass and it won’t turn easily either. I’m going to take it to a music store for a look, but was wondering if other Ibanez bass owners have experienced anything similar.


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Try loosening (counterclockwise) on the truss rod before tightening?


The truss rod adjustment doesn’t seem to want to go either way. The same for the other Ibanez bass I tried.
Perhaps I’m not applying enough torque, just as much as I’m comfortable with.


Turn it hard, in the direction to loosen it.
Sometimes they are very happy where they are sitting and you need a good amount of force to get it moving.
Aim for 1/8 of a turn only.
You will not hurt anything.


What size, length wise of the Hex key did you use. If you are using the IKEA style tiny keys every thing is hard and heavy. I usually use a minimum of 6” key it usually gives me the leverage I need to turn.


I’m sure you know this, but it cant be overstated. If you wreck the truss rod, the neck is done. And that likely means the bass is done. I just adjusted my Ibanez about a month ago, and it was a little stiff; but it didnt take much effort to overcome. I have a 5 string Iby, and the D string was kind of in the way. I just loosened the D string and moved it out of its place on the nut, and then was able to adjust it no problem. Technically you should be adjusting your truss twice a year with the change of seasons, so it shouldnt be left for years and years without being turned. Hopefully its not frozen.

Are you certain you are using the correct size Allen Key? The way my truss rod is, its not exactly easy to insert the allen key into. And you have to use an L shaped allen key using the short side. Otherwise the key would be forced in at a slight angle.

Also, how are you measuring your neck relief. Thats the only thing you should adjust the truss rod for. Everything else is adjusted on the bridge (or nut, but those are one way adjustments).


Good point @Huth_S0lo at the same time it should not discourage anyone to make adjustments of the truss rod. Beside the intonation the neck relief is probably the most intimidating part of the setup that players tend to avoid. You should not have any fear, unless it’s already broken it’s really hard to screw it up.


If the truss rod is indeed frozen then it’s already time for a pro at minimum and potentially a new instrument.

You can’t really hurt it in the loosening direction, unless maybe a double action rod was cranked all the way counterclockwise .

  1. Take off a good amount of string tension, as it greatly increases the resistance to flatten the neck - you will put less strain on the parts when adjusting, nut included. I do around 2 full turns of each tuner.
  2. You can position the bass upright and squirt a small amount of WD40 or similar stuff into the nut - often the nut will have a hole through it, so the penetrant can reach the threads easily
  3. Make absolutely sure you have the correct sized IMPERIAL OR METRIC allen key, it needs to fit really good.

It is possible to replace the truss rod nut even if it’s stripped. There’s pretty much nothing to go wrong with a truss rod. It’s a big piece of steel with a nut on the end.

The force you’d need to apply to twist / snap a truss rod would be crazy.

So find the right sized Allen wrench and go for it. If the nut is stripped it can be repaired; the neck is not toast at that point.


Very true.

And even if the truss rod were irreparably damaged somehow, neither the neck nor the bass would be beyond repair. It might take a good luthier/tech or a very skilled DIY’er to do the work, but just about any problem with a bass can be fixed.


I once had an Ibanez hollow body bass where I thought the truss rod nut was stripped. This bass was brand new so I thought it was a returned item where someone had gone wild on the nut. After a bit of research I found out that I had to buy a special sized allen wrench size for that specific Ibanez bass. Usually it’s 4mm for Ibanez basses?


My first bass was an Ibby, and the allen key it came with was bent slightly beyond 90 degrees (almost a shallow J shape). I can’t remember the size, but 4mm rings a bell.


Yes 4mm is a common truss rod nut size here. Yamaha, Ibanez, many others.


I used the 4 mm allen wrench that is included in the overpriced but very handy Ibanez “Swiss army knife”. Is the 4 inch long wrench really too small to get enough torque?

For some reason I can’t upload a pic of it, but the tool is about the size of a largest swiss army knife.


That should be enough to generate the torque needed without much effort. Like other said, you can try to loosen it first which is to the left (E string) It won’t hurt it. 1/8th turn in either direction should not hurt the neck.

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Loosening the strings is a good plan in this case too. That should relieve some of the force on the rod.


The 4mm is close enough to a 5/32" (3,96mm) to maybe not cause any damage.
However, my Ibanez SDGR required a 5mm, and if you use a 3/16" (4,76mm), which looks pretty much the same to the naked eye, you’re in for trouble.

Yeah 5mm is also common

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Although I have to say that nothing beats the wheel and spoke truss wheel a la MM and some Peavey basses (Milestone, Millenium).

A close second is the headstock-side truss bolt for a socket wrench found on some older Peaveys (Patriot, Foundation) and Gibsons.