I’ve been playing the guitar now for over half of my life – I’m 27, and I started learning the instrument when I was around ten years old. I would consider myself to be an expert on this instrument and whilst I learn new things every day about guitar performance techniques, I’m always pretty up to date with equipment and tools. That’s why I was shocked when I discovered the idea of custom truss rod covers – I had no idea that such a thing existed!
I went down this rabbit hole about a month ago, initially seeing one on my friend’s guitar and later exploring different products online, and I was shocked that such an exciting guitar accessory could slip past me. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you, so I’m writing the following guide to the best custom truss rod cover options! Read on to find out my favorite picks.
Bottom Line Up Front: Despite the niche nature, there are many websites online that allow you to buy custom engraved covers for your guitar’s truss rod, but some websites are better than others. You should look for websites that offer covers full customization in different styles and for different guitars, such as Philadelphia Luthier’s versatile range.
What Is a Custom Truss Rod Cover?
Whilst writing this guide, I quickly began to realize that we are in some serious niche territory – we’re not talking about colored audio cables or fancy plectrums here, but truss rod covers. There’s no denying that it’s an oddly specific accessory, and therefore it’s understandable that a lot of people are going to be shrugging their shoulders in response. So, let’s break it down, starting with “truss rod”.
If you’re fairly experienced at playing the guitar, you might already be familiar with the term “truss rod”. Truss rods are long and thin rods that lay through the neck of your guitar, helping to manage the optimal tension and pressure balances for the guitar to sound good. You can adjust a truss rod using a special tool, and with this, you can fix all sorts of neck-related problems such as bad intonation, overly high action, or the infamous ‘fret buzz’.
At the end of the truss rod on the headstock end, you will notice a small hole – this is where you would insert your truss rod adjustment tool. However, 99.9% of the time that hole will be sitting there on your guitar machine head for absolutely no reason other than to wait for the next time the truss rod needs to be adjusted.
This is where truss rod covers come in – in recent years, guitarists have begun to cover their truss rod holes with different materials and designs, making it a part of the guitar’s aesthetic, not just a practical tool. You can now buy them in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and you can even get them custom engraved. This is where you write a word such as your name, your favorite guitarist, band, or whatever you fancy, and flaunt it on the metal coverage of your truss rod. Pretty cool, huh?
What Is the Purpose of a Custom Truss Rod Cover?
Step into a guitar shop and take a look around – you’ll be feasting your eyes on tens if not hundreds of guitar tool variations, and they all have their own special purpose. Some are for crafting the guitar tone, some are for maintenance, some are for polishing and some are for performance enhancement. However, not all guitar accessories necessarily have ‘a point’, and custom truss rod covers are a fine example of this.
However, this is a strong statement – what’s “the point” in anything? It looks cool, need there be any more point than that? I couldn’t agree more, I think truss rod covers look fantastic and I encourage anyone to use them. At the end of the day, that hole would be sitting there in its boring fashion otherwise, so why not spruce it up a bit?
From shiny metal covers to tacky colored plastic covers, I’ve seen all sorts of truss rod accessories since I discovered them. Different shapes, different sizes, and some that are designed custom for a specific guitar model – pretty cool. All of this is topped off beautifully when you buy your truss rod cover through a provider that offers custom engraving.
This gives you the opportunity to get a name, band, quote, prayer, or whatever you hold close to you, engraved on your truss rod cover. I love this because it’s really subtle and most people won’t ever notice it, but it becomes more obvious when you spend more time with the instrument and get to know its finely crafted details.
So is that all there is to truss rod covers? They’re just cosmetic accessories? Well, in my opinion, yes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, there are people that claim that truss rod covers have a variety of additional benefits, such as preventing dust build-up in a truss rod slot or even preventing precious resonance from spilling out through the truss rod hole during a performance.
I don’t think there’s a huge amount of evidence to prove this, but one thing’s for sure – they certainly look cool regardless of their practicality!
So you’ve decided that you like the sound of showing off an extra little idiosyncrasy of your favorite guitar, you’re going to get a custom truss rod cover. The visual aspect looks great and you like the sound of keeping out dust and preventing resonance loss, so why not? For most guitarists, this is a fair attitude to have – once a truss rod is adjusted correctly you are unlikely to need to access it for quite some time, so you might as well cover it up in the meantime.
However, whilst this makes sense for most guitarists using standard electric and acoustic instruments with EADGBE tunings, it would not make much sense for the “tinkerer”. You know who I mean, perhaps it’s even you. The guy who always has a guitar adjustment toolkit on them and loves to perfect their tone and sound at a granular level with every tool under the sun (and that includes truss rod adjustment tools!)
If that sounds like you, truss rod covers are going to achieve absolutely nothing except from frustrating you. Every time you need to adjust your guitar intonation or action, you’ll first have to unscrew three screws in order to remove your truss rod cover – what a pain!
Overall, I would certainly recommend getting a custom truss rod cover if you are a guitarist who plays the instrument pretty typically. This has nothing to do with experience – you could be a master shredder, but if you only play open chords and folk music then you’re unlikely to need to adjust your truss rod often. However, if you like to tinker with your truss rod a lot, this might just result in three screws too many for your patience.
What to Consider for when Searching for Custom Truss Rod Covers
The internet can be a pretty wild place these days, it just isn’t as simple as it used to be. Even searching for something as simple as “best custom truss rod covers” can provide an overwhelming quantity of results, so it’s important to know what to look out for and what aspects of a truss rod cover are “make or break”. So, without further ado, let’s investigate what you should look out for when purchasing your custom truss rod cover.
It’s always annoying to start things off with boring thoughts, but it’s a sad fact in life that the boring stuff is usually the most important stuff. This certainly goes for truss rod covers – nobody wants to investigate cover dimensions when looking for a cool accessory for their new guitar, but if they don’t measure up properly, they’re running the risk of wasting their money!
Have a search online and you’ll notice that most truss rod covers are relatively uniform – they generally angle off symmetrically at the far end to make room for the tuning mechanism, but this does not mean that they do not vary in size. There’s certainly somewhat of an industry standard, but I’ve seen many places selling covers that would only fit on larger or smaller guitars.
Another thing to consider is whether the truss rod cover is leaving you enough space to play the instrument comfortably because the last thing you want is for the cover to hinder your ability to shred. When I first started experimenting with truss rod covers, I made this exact mistake and purchased a cover that despite fitting snugly, was too thick and got in the way constantly. I could barely make a simple open chord change without fumbling on that thing!
Thankfully, most websites that know what they’re talking about provide fancy little diagrams to help you measure up and ensure the product will fit your guitar. I think it’s amazing that this exists – it’s a whole measurement format for truss rod covers, it really does blow me away how niche some of this stuff is.
When in doubt, why not try making a mock-up truss rod cover out of cardboard, using a variety of dimensions found online? This way you can test out what fits best and what feels most comfortable, without having to break the bank! Try before you buy, now that’s what I’m talking about!
Color and Style
I know I droned on a little bit about truss rod cover sizes just then, but it really is important stuff! However, there’s no denying that the real fun begins when you start choosing the color and style of your guitar truss rod cover.
Choosing the look of a guitar product is always an exciting moment – from buying my first Sunburst Fender Stratocaster guitar to color-coordinating my guitar FX pedals, it’s something I’ve always taken great pleasure in, and you should give it a try too! There are so many ways that you can customize your guitar style such as through the strings, plectrum, scratchplate, bridge, tone dials, cable, strap, and fretboard inlays… do I really need to continue? The range is endless, and custom truss rod covers are the tip of the iceberg in my opinion!
Sometimes the subtle and minute decor changes on an electric guitar make all the difference, and thankfully, there are tons of ways for you to get your truss rod cover involved. Perhaps you’d like a shiny and metallic cover for your heavy metal guitarist friend’s birthday, or maybe you’re looking for something more rustic and organic such as a wooden carved truss rod cover.
Ultimately, customer truss rod covers are yet another fantastic way to make your guitar stand out in a world of many, many guitars. I encourage you to take your time exploring all the websites and retailers out there, because the more I looked, the more unique styles and colors I discovered.
The first truss rod cover that I came across belonged to a friend of mine – a simple wooden cover with metal rims, it looked pretty slick. I remember telling him at the time that it would be awesome if he could get it engraved with something meaningful and he shrugged it off, assuming nowhere would do such a thing. Well, these days there are many places that are willing to engrave truss rod covers, just search online and you’ll see for yourself.
Despite producers of custom truss rod covers existing, they are certainly less prevalent than online stores that sell regular truss rod covers, so you need to keep your wits about you. It should generally be pretty clear if a product is engravable as it will show a few examples of different engravings. However, if you can’t find anywhere that allows you to enter your own phrase or name, then that sounds like a dud!
One pro tip that I learned from experience was to be careful when searching for “custom truss rod covers”. I kept finding promising results, only to discover that they were prebuilt truss rod covers for “custom” named guitars such as the Les Paul Custom. These products even show the word “custom” on the cover sometimes which makes it even more deceiving!
Overall, find a seller who offers an engravement service for your truss rod cover and I can assure you that you will not regret it. It’s a fantastic way to add a beautiful touch to a gift, remind yourself of your favorite Jimi Hendrix quote, or even simply list your home address in case you leave your Les Paul on the bus again.
The final thing that I would always consider when shopping for custom truss rod covers is the shipping costs. I know, I know – how boring am I? However, there is a good reason for this, and it’s the same reason why you should be cautious when shopping online for plectrums, guitar strings, and any other tiny product.
Truss rod covers are pretty small – in fact, they are so small that you could easily fit them in an envelope. Chuck in a bit of bubble wrap and that is going to be a surprisingly cheap and safe package for you to send. However, things aren’t always this simple – did you consider international shipping costs?
Even if the package is the size of an envelope, if it’s been sent from Australia to the UK then it’s going to cost you a fortune! Considering truss rod covers are small accessories that won’t likely cost you more than $30, it’s seriously important to investigate shipping costs in advance because otherwise, you might end up paying double or even triple the cost of the cover itself!
Thankfully, websites selling custom truss rod covers should always list their international shipping costs on their website somewhere, so look out for that. In my opinion, a lot of businesses inflate their “shipping costs” to make more of a profit which is annoying, but do your research and I’m sure you’ll find one that is reasonably priced. As long as you purchase your truss rod domestically (i.e. not from another country), then you’re probably all good.
My Top Custom Truss Rod Cover Recommendations
We’ve covered everything from what truss rods and their covers are to why you might want one and what you should look for in one, so there’s only one thing left to do – go over some of my personal favorites. The selection out there is truly enormous so I hope that at least one of these ideas gives you some inspiration!
Etsy is a fantastic online marketplace, especially when you are looking for something so niche that even Amazon doesn’t sell it – that’s why I visited the website immediately when I started researching truss rod covers, and I was not surprised to find a ton of options. By far my favorite however is the Etsy store named GuitarHeads.
Despite being the first truss rod cover seller I found, GuitarHeads really dominates the Etsy market due to its variety – it features plastic covers designed for many different guitars including Gibson, Ibanez, Epiphone, and Taylor, and allows the customer to choose their own personalized engravement. The Etsy store also sells a variety of engravement and etching services for truss rod covers of different materials, in addition to one-off products and designs.
GuitarHeads custom truss rod covers are overall a fantastic option, especially if you love supporting Etsy stores. My only issue with this product is the fact that the material cannot be customized – you’re dealing with plastic here, which isn’t always the look you’ll want to go for.
- Designed in a variety of dimensions for different guitars such as Ibanez, Gibson, Taylor, and EPS
- Customize the truss rod cover with white text engraved on black background
- The store boasts an average rating of 5 stars out of 5, across a whopping 7,200 reviews
- For each guitar brand listed, there are further specialized covers depending on model
- Handy illustration of dimensions available for use on the Etsy store
- You won’t find every guitar brand in GuitarHeads’ catalog, just eight or so
- Despite dimension customization, you cannot change the colors, materials, or fonts of these covers
- The cover is made of plastic, whereas many people would prefer something more metallic
This next custom truss rod cover is one that went under my radar until just recently. Take a look at Philadelphia Luthier’s online store and you’ll see they have a ton of incredible truss rod cover options, but my favorite has to be this “signature” option. I’ve bought one to gift my father for Christmas, and he’s going to love it – it features his name written in a stylized signature font, and it’s designed specifically to fit his Gibson banjo.
Don’t worry if you don’t play the banjo though – this style is available in tons of options, and if you still can’t find what you need, Philadelphia Luthier’s portfolio is nothing short of massive, so I’m sure you’ll find something you like!
- Wonderful signature style makes your guitar look famous
- Available in many different options, including niches such as banjos
- Signatures can be uploaded as images, so you can get really creative with them
- Available for both right and left-handed orientations
- Made from plastic
- Mounting screws are not included – why?! That’s so inconvenient!
There sure are a lot of excellent custom truss rod covers out there, but there’s only one product on this list that ticks every single box of my criteria, and that’s Terrapin Guitars’ truss rod covers. In case you haven’t heard of them, this company specializes in creating pickguards for a wide range of guitars, but they also produce other accessories such as truss rod covers.
So what’s so special about the truss rod covers available at Terrapin Guitars? Well, the customization options are just next level. Firstly, there are eight different cover styles available, with the website providing the dimensions of each style. Once you’ve chosen a style, you can then choose which material the cover should be made from (my favorite is textured black), and you can also choose from over fifteen different fonts!
Once you’ve chosen these, you even have the opportunity to remove the mounting holes for permanent installations, remove the cut beveled edges, and even upload your own PDF for custom cover printing!
All of that customization is pretty incredible if you ask me, and the price is no more expensive than other options on this list. Fantastic.
- You can change the font of the text!
- You can choose the material for the cover!
- A huge range of additional customization options
- Under $30 for a fully customizable truss rod cover
- Mounting screws included
- The only problem I have with the company is that they are U.S based and I am UK-based, so shipping can be expensive for me and takes forever
We’re now heading toward the end of this guide to the best custom truss rod covers, and I don’t blame you if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed – we’ve covered a lot. To help break things down, let’s summarise the most important bits of info with the following FAQ!
Question: What is a Truss Rod Cover?
Answer: A truss rod cover is a small piece of material that can be mounted onto a guitar with screws, covering the hole that is used to access a truss rod.
Question: What is the Purpose of a Truss Rod Cover?
Answer: The primary purpose of truss rod covers is purely decoration, although some people claim that truss rod covers prevent dust build-up and the escaping of resonant frequencies.
Question: What does it Mean if a Truss Rod Cover is “custom”?
Answer: Custom truss rod covers will give the customer an option to engrave or etch their cover with a personalized message, quote, or name, and will often provide further customization options such as color, style, dimensions, and material.
Well, despite its niche nature, we sure have covered a lot of information about custom truss rod covers! It just goes to show that there is research to do when it comes to just about any online purchase, and I hope that my advice will help you when you do so!
I would personally highly recommend Terrapin Guitars’ covers due to their high level of customization, but just bear in mind that if you’re outside the U.S. like me, it may cost you a pretty penny in shipping!
Good luck with your journey, and don’t forget to do your own research and check the reviews of every product, because you never know what positive or negative feedback you might uncover!