How to Adjust Truss Rod

The most difficult and sensitive part of the guitar that has to be adjusted is the truss rod. To play good tunes on your guitar, you need to adjust these truss rods at regular intervals. Truss rods are not present in some old or classic models of guitars. Most of the guitars otherwise have these truss rods. However, if you do not adjust it properly, it might lead to string buzz and neck bow. It might also damage the body and the neck of the guitar permanently. If the truss rod of the guitar has to be adjusted for avoiding fret buzz or lowering the action of the string, you must know and be very familiar with the guitar. If you are new to using guitar and have no experience or idea about adjusting the truss rods, it is advisable to get it checked by an expert. However, you can learn how to adjust truss rod of guitars and adjust your guitar rods but before that, have a look at the user manual provided to you with your guitar. Some guitars have different adjustments and settings of the truss rods. Also, the user manual will help you get familiar with the truss rod components.

Things needed to adjust the truss rod of your guitar:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench used to adjust truss rod

How to adjust truss rod?

  • Using the user’s manual, locate the adjustment screw given on your guitar’s truss rod. In most of the acoustic guitars, this adjustment screw is at the front side of the sound hole inside the guitar body. In electric guitars, the rod is below the protective plate on the headstock. You might need to remove this plate to access the adjustment screw of the truss rod.
  • Fit in the wrench in the slot of the screw and check whether the screw if fit properly. Let the wrench be in this slot till you are done with the adjustment of this truss rod.
  • Next step is checking the neck bow of the guitar. Check if this neck bow is curved or aligned to the bridge or if it is aligned away from your guitar strings. A slight bow of the neck inwards to the bridge is a must, however too much bow is incorrect.
  • Now turn the screw of the truss rod, by just a quarter turn. This will adjust the alignment of the bow. If the bow of the neck is inwards to the bridge of the guitar, turn this screw in clockwise direction. If the bow is outwards, turn the screw anticlockwise to loosen the rod.
  • Do not turn the screw more than a quarter turn at once. Turning it more will damage your guitar.
  • After turning the screw as per the requirement, get the wrench out from the slot. Try playing tunes on the guitar for at least a day. Playing the guitar will help the neck bow to settle down.
  • Next day again, check the alignment of the neck bow, and if necessary, again repeat the steps given above to adjust its bow.

The adjustment of truss rods is simple but you need to understand your guitar and components of your guitar well. You must understand the difference in the guitar tunes with the adjustments you made. If you are not able to make out the difference, or understand about the curve of the neck bow, take an expert’s help in adjusting the truss rod. Alternatively, you can even take it to a specialist in guitar repair. Adjusting the rod, yourself once or twice will help you understand the procedure. Just remember not to turn the screw more than a quarter turn.


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