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Electric Guitar Manual

How to Adjust Guitar TRUSS ROD

Learn How to Adjust the Truss Rod of the Guitar Neck, and DOWNLOAD a FREE RULER to Measure the Height of Strings.

In the event that a string squawks when we press a fret of the first three starting from the nut, it is possible that the guitar lacks some neck curvature.

To correct this, we must Adjust the Truss Rod of the Guitar Neck, or the screw that is usually found just below the nut. This screw may be uncovered, or covered with a lid.

You can also find this screw, on the opposite side of the neck (image on the right), especially on acoustic guitars and electric basses. Although also in some electric guitar models.

guitar Truss Rod location

The Truss Rod is responsible for counteracting the tension exerted by the guitar strings on the neck, either by excess or by default, or depending on the gauge of strings that our guitar mounts.

guitar neck curvature

Although the mast cannot be completely straight, it must maintain a certain curvature to avoid warping (in the images some exaggerated curvatures appear so that the concept is understood).

guitar neck curve

How to Adjust Guitar TRUSS ROD

To give the neck a little more curvature towards the strings, we will have to turn the screw counterclockwise. And to curve the neck in the opposite direction, we will have to turn the screw clockwise.

This would be normal, but although it is rare, there are some left-handed models that work just the other way around.

How to Adjust Guitar TRUSS ROD

To Adjust the Truss Rod of the Guitar, we must loosen the strings first, adjustment the screw to the required side 1/4 turn, and tune again.

Then we will have to wait a few minutes to give the wood time to settle. If necessary, we adjust another quarter turn using the same procedure, without exceeding the successive adjustments, the complete turn of the screw or when it offers excessive resistance.

It is convenient to give the wood time to yield comfortably. Since a neck can continue to give slightly up to a couple of days after its adjustment. So it is better not to go crazy, and gradually adjust.

It is very interesting to write down on a piece of paper the adjustments that we are making to the Truss Rod, in order to be able to reverse the steps, in the case of not being satisfied with the modifications. So we can keep everything as it was, before making the adjustments.

If the problems persist after a full turn of the screw, or when the screw offers excessive resistance, my advice is to take the guitar to a luthier to have it checked.

How to Adjust Double Truss Rod

Double Truss Rod neck Guitar

If your guitar model is one of those with Double Truss Rod, my advice is to take it to a luthier to adjust it. Since these models are more complex to adapt, but they have the advantage of being more stable to changes in humidity or temperature.

How to Measure Neck Relief on Guitar

We can check the state of the curvature of the neck, placing a capo on the first fret, then we press the sixth string at the 16th fret, and then we measure the gap that would remain between the 7th fret and the sixth string. This gap should be between 0.3 and 0.5mm. As you can see, it is a really minimal measure.

How to Measure Neck Relief on Guitar

In the case of acoustic guitars, instead of pressing on the 16th fret, we would have to press on the fret that joins the soundboard of the instrument. Generally this fret would be number 14, and the measurements would be similar.

For measurements we can use a precision metal rule. Since these types of rules measure the distances from the tip, and are marked each half millimeters. We may also need a magnifying glass, if the view is not with us.

guitar setup tools

We can also print on thick paper or cardboard, this Home Rule to measure the height of the strings of our electric guitar.

Ruler to Measure Height of Guitar Strings

Ruler to Measure Height of Guitar Strings


Electric Guitar Setup: Learn to Adjust Your Guitar