Guitar Neck Adjustment, Why It Is Necessary?

Guitar neck adjustment is esential due to the deformation might happen during building or stock of guitar and bass. 

When the deformation occurs, problem like string buzz appears. If just leave the deformation alone, the guitar will be scrapped.

Therefore,  the adjustment of guitar neck is essential.

Addtionally, to make sure to correct the neck correctly, know-how is a key. But before this, we should know the mechanism inside the neck: truss rod and the tools to turn it: wrench.  Then, we will introduce how-to. 

What Is A Truss Rod for Guitar Neck Adjustment?

The truss rod is basically a bar of metal material (usually steel) that usually lays inside the neck. The main function of the part is to protect the neck from dformation so that to remian palyability of guitar or bass.

The deformation of the neck is usually caused by the tension of guitar strings. Although a tiny force would just cause problem like string buzz, the tension force will be strong enough to break the neck.  Through the adjusting of truss rod, you will fully control the neck shape. 

Does each guitar neck contain a truss rod?

We can not say all of types of guitar or bass have truss rods in their necks. For some electric guitar brands, they don’t apply the rods because they take other material to reinforce the wood. And for some high-end classical gutiars, there are no truss rods at all because nylon strings create lower tension and the rod may influence the tone performance. 

However, we still find the part on the necks of the most of modern guitars and basses. Therefore, the truss rod is still one of the key part on guitar.

Adjusting guitar neck mainly through adjustment of the trus rod. And there are four major effects:

  • Neck relief

The up bow and back bow happens during the tension force of string. Through the adjusting of truss rod to make the neck being straight. The measurement of how straight of the neck is called neck relief. This adjustment is important to correct guitar neck. The most important is to adjust correctly.

  • String action

This mainly replated with the distance between strings and fretboard. When the deformation of the neck happens, the distance between strings and fretboard (or the height from strings to the fretboard) will be increased or decreased. The straigher neck will allow a lower action. However, please keep in mind that this type of adjustment can’t be relied on the adjusting of truss rod alone. For most of situation, it should be combined with the adjustment of bridge.

  • Fret buzz

Lower string action often causes fret buzz. Then it is usually recommended to adjust at minimum neck relief to help to counteract. 

  • Intonation

Intonation means how well the strings stay in tune. Although this kind of adjustment related with saddles mostly, the truss rod also has plenty of affects. Main reason is that the rod affects the relief of the neck and action of strings.

Therefore, the adjusting of guitar neck is mainly refering to adjustment of truss rod. However, remember to install a right type of the rod is the first important factor.  Want to check and choose right type of truss rods? visit Guitar Truss Rods to see more.

No matter what type it is, there is a nut welded with the rod. To understand the mechanism of the part, please kindly refer to Guitar Neck Truss Rod .

guitar neck adjustment

Tools For Neck Adjusting

Tools are to turn the rods. Mainly are types of  inner / outer hexagon wrenches. The wrentches make the turning easier. The option of the wrenches is mainly according to the size of nut and type (inner or outer hexagon) .Just choose correct one to make a right adjustment.

guitar neck adjustment tools

How To Adjust Guitar Neck?

Firstly, always remember to use right tools. Mostly, to adjust truss rod with standard hex wrench. But for a few, you may need Phillips screwdirver. 

Then, when you have right tools in place, before any movement, it is better to determine the amount of neck relief you have. To make this happen, you need to place a capo on the first fret. Then fret the low E string at the fret where the neck joints the body. Afterwards, placing feeler gage between the bottom of string and the top of 8th fret to check the amount of the relief.

After the determination, you can move to adjust the truss rod. But always remember to follow a standard procedure. Initially, find out the access point for the adjustable nut and turn it with the wrench.  Keep in mind that clockwise turning will tighten the rod to make the guitar neck straighter and counterclockwise loosens it to allow for a bit of upbow.

Well, we recommend loosening strings a bit when making the neck straighter. Besides, it is better to always adjust in small increments, check the effects and readjust. This means just make small movement at a step.Cause the truss rod can break when apply too much attention. 

guitar neck adjustment


Although the adjustment of guitar neck may related with other parts like bridges and saddles, etc., the core part is truss rod. Follow the step of the truss rod adjustment, the task won’t be as hard as you imagine.