How To Adjust Guitar Neck With 6 Simple Steps?

A guitar is an amazing instrument that is easy can be quite easy to learn. The whole range of instrument selection can be overwhelming at times. It all boils down to a simple design with a body, a neck, and the strings.

Sometimes, having a guitar does not end on playing it. You also need to maintain it and check for neck warping. You will also want to know how to adjust guitar neck. Guitar necks can warp on various reasons. The temperature may affect the integrity of the wood and warp the neck. The string tension, which consistently pulls the neck towards the body, is one of the key factors attributed to warping.

First Things First

Upbow Or Backbow

A bowed guitar will affect the playability of your instrument. An upbow increases the string height and makes it difficult to play. A backbow decreases the height and will give you annoying fret buzz.

Before the invention of the truss rod, such problems are nearly impossible to address. You will need to employ the service of a luthier to have your guitar fixed. Luckily, it was an issue discussed a century ago. It was in 1920’s that the mechanism was patented. Today, you can find it almost on all guitars.

​Where To Find The Truss Rod

Guitar companies and manufacturer have devised this so you can quickly adjust a neck warp on your own. In fact, it’s not all that hard to set the relief of your guitar neck. Most of the time, you can find the screw at the headstock of your guitar. Some other models have it on the heel of the neck.

What You Need To Adjust The Truss Rod

1. Allen key of appropriate size.

2. Straight edge.

3. Screwdriver

The Allen key depends on the model of your guitar. Some older models of electric guitars are 1/8 inch gauge. Most electric guitars use 5/16 inch and ¼ inch Allen keys. Most acoustic guitars use 5/16 inch Allen keys.

How to Adjust Guitar Neck

Determining The Warp

1. Firstly, determine the warp of your guitar. Find out if it has an up bow or a backbow. An upbow is characterized by the headstock leaning forward. The backbow has the headstock leaning backward.Location of the Truss Rod Adjustment Screw

2. Locate the position of the truss rod adjustment screw. Most electric guitars have them at the headstock. Most acoustic guitars have them at the base of the sound hole. You might want to consider loosening the strings so you could put them aside while making the adjustment.

3. Usually, the truss rod adjustment screw located on the headstock is covered by a piece of plastic engraved with a logo of the manufacturer. Some of them are screwed with small screws. Some models can freely slide on the side. Carefully unscrew and remove the cover.

Use The Appropriate Size Of Allen Key

4. Just beneath the cover, you will find the truss rod adjustment screw. Pick the right size of your Allen key and turn depending on upbow or backbow.

  • For an upbow, rotate the screw clockwise to increase the truss rod tension and correct the upbow.
  • For a downbow, turn the screw counter-clockwise to decrease the truss rod tension and correct the backbow.

One Turn At A Time

5. Carefully turn the key one notch at a time. With each turn, check the level of your fret using your straight edge. The fret level should be parallel with your straight edge.

Pro-tip: Sometimes, there is a delay in the response of the wood of the neck. Wait for the wood to bend before making another adjustment. Be careful when turning the key as a forceful and abrupt turn might cause damage.

6. Repeat this process until you get the proper alignment of the fretboard.

This process is not that hard at all. Just watch every turn you make to avoid damaging your guitar.

In Summary

The guitar neck is a delicate part that needs to be frequently checked for warping. The strings put up a constant tension of this part which makes it prone to warping. The Good thing is, guitar manufacturers have devised a way to counter the warp.

Remember not to force the Allen key as this may lead to damaging your guitar. Carefully perform each step watching safety precautions.

I know you have been experiencing high string action and fret buzz that’s why you asked how to adjust guitar neck. I know how annoying those problems are. For so long you may have been doing your best to play your guitar with this issue. Hopefully, now, this simple tutorial has solved your problem.

Let me know if you have enjoyed this tutorial by leaving a comment below. Feel free to leave your suggestions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

How To Adjust Guitar Neck With 6 Simple Steps?
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Ha Mocani - September 15, 2017

Excellent Article!! Thanks for sharing this kind of information.


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