Drilling headstock for truss rod access

July 6th, 2013, 12:47 PM
Hello there,

I'm about to start fitting the truss rod to my tele build.. I want to access the truss rod from the heackstock end, I am happy about routing the curved channel and drilling for the anchor.. But I am a little uncertain of how the access at the headstock works,

I know you need to drill through the headstock to meet the truss rod channel, but do you drill a hole the same diameter as the rod, then create a larger hole that the nut sits in creating the tension? Obviously there must be some wood for the truss rod nut to pull against.

How do people here set about doing this?

July 6th, 2013, 02:21 PM
I would drill a 3/16" hole at the same angle that the walnut plug is at and then counterbore that for the diameter of the truss rod nut you are using in a similar manner as if it had a bullet truss rod. You need to leave some material for the truss rod nut to butt up against. I think it is 3 degrees. Here is a neck PDF showing the channels.

Yep here is a post from a thread about it from EHawley who did the drawing:

Hi Bill...My angle at the headstock dropdown is 3 degrees and my outlet at the heel is 2.7 degrees. 3 degrees at the outlet would be fine. It just worked out to the 2.7 to match with my truss rod arc.



October 21st, 2013, 08:24 AM

I'm just about to slice the excess headstock material off with the bandsaw and drill for truss rod access. How far towards the nut line needs to be removed before drilling?

I have made my 3 degree jig from some scrap maple ready to clamp to the headstock for drilling. I have my centerline, but can anyone tell me where the hole starts? How far above the nut line should I start my 3 degree hole for the truss rod?


October 21st, 2013, 08:54 AM
If you made your truss rod slotting jig you will need to determine where the centerline is of the rod based on where you routed it. I'd draw the curve on the side of the neck blank and project the line over to the peghead/fretboard face. Make sure that the surface you drill into is perpendicular to the peghead face and sand in the contour later. That way the drill will bite right into the wood. If you used a standard measurement for the arch and the neck blank, you should be able to determine the measurement from the drawing too. Nobody can predict very accurately what you yourself have done up to this point.

October 21st, 2013, 09:50 AM
Make sure that the surface you drill into is perpendicular to the peghead face and sand in the contour later.

Using a similar style neck as a guide I bandsawed off the excess within 1mm of the final thickness and I left more than enough to be cautious when I eventually and the contour in.

What do you mean exactly by "Make surre the surface you drill into is perpendicular to the peghead face"? I have a sort of stepped edge at the moment from the face of the peghead meets fingerboard level, if that makes sense?

I made my own curved jig so I will try and transfer the curve onto the side of the neck blank to determine the entry point of the drikll bit. Thanks for clearing that up!

I can't seem to access those drawings. Are the links down? Could anyone send them to me over an email?


October 21st, 2013, 09:54 AM
I'm just saying don't sand the peghead transition curve until you drill the hole because the drill bit will want to wander around. Make a dent with a centerpunch too. Just google fender strat neck drawing...it should be in images.

October 21st, 2013, 10:41 AM
I'm on my phone, so I'll find some links in a few hours... But if you look at some of my early build threads, I document my trials with this operation and there are references in them.

The basic plan I followed is this:

1 - get the most accurate drawing you can find for that part of the neck

2- plan your jig to place the hole at 3 degrees to hit a 3/16" hole where the edge of the hole lines up exactly with bottom of the truss channel. Use the estimated top of the fretboard or the back of the headstock for all your vertical references.

Roughly, the access hole edge should end up 1/8" down and in front of the nut when all is done .
3 - make a couple of representative necks/neck heads to practice on.

4 - make a 3/16" hole in the center of a 3/8 steel rod

5 - drill a 3/8" hole that leaves 1" to the channel

6 - use the hole in the rod to drill the 3/16" hole int the center of the 3/8 whole

Most of the process I do is in this thread - pages 7, 8 and 9:


Here's the best drawing for that area of the neck that I have found. Basically you want a 3/8" hole that ends in a 1" long 3/16" hole that ends in the bottom of the truss channel.


That is a deceptively challenging hole to make well enough to show off, but one that you really need to get right to get that easy access truss adjustment - which I think is pretty critical as I adjust mine about 4-5 times a year. I have gotten that hole too deep and it sat above the channel by as much as about 1/10" - that can be fixed by putting in a 1/4" shim along the bottom of the channel so that the rod will rest on it. Once you get more than 1/8" above the bottom of the channel you may run into problems with the skunk stripe staying in or even being thick enough in the middle without making the neck crazy thick. As far as getting right in the middle - I've gotten off center as much as 1/8" and it worked perfectly... Most necks I've done have gotten that hole pretty close, but there is a lot of forgiveness in that design as long as you plan and execute your jig for perfection and end up only 1/16" off somewhere.

October 21st, 2013, 05:26 PM
Thanks for the help guys! I really can't find any drill bits even close to the length I want to continue with this build! :roll:

Basically I've found the pack of 3 from Harbor Freight in the US:


and this set of 7 brad point bits also in the US but they want $30 to post to the UK! :shock:


I know this is a bit of an ask. But do any of you US folks fancy helping a desperate UK builder out!? :lol:

If anyone would be able to accept delivery of some drill bits then post them on to my UK address for all their costs covered, PLEASE shoot me a message as I'd be so grateful!

October 21st, 2013, 06:50 PM
Hey cheerup347,

I recently looked all over the place and ended up buying aircraft bits from


No problems with the transaction, it just took a while for the bits to get to Greece since -I assume- they forgot to ship my order. One very friendly e-mail later, they apologised and the bits were on their way the following day.

(Just don't wait a whole week for shipping confirmation like I did...)

Those bits, however, are not that cheap to begin with, even over the pond. I spent a total of 47 pounds, but I imagine shipping within the U.K will be a lot less (I think mine was about 15 quid). I just saw the set you found on ebay. I'd have gone for that if I'd found it, brad point and all. Anyways...

They -Tizaro- actually carry a lot of the stuff we see sold in the States (e.g. Porter Cable routers) at nearly the same price. Just make sure you read their disclaimer about U.S. made powertools not working properly using European power.