How To Straighten Your Guitar Neck With An Adjustable Truss Rod

How To Straighten Your Guitar Neck With An Adjustable Truss Rod

Straighten Your Guitar Neck

Straighten your guitar neck

Straighten your guitar neck

How to straighten your guitar neck with an adjustable truss rod  at the head stock

Straighten your guitar neck:

The neck of your guitar is adjustable.  It has been made of selected hardwood, and it is kiln-dried to insure proper curing.  The adjustable rod both strengthens the neck and facilitates adjustment of a bowed neck.

Because all guitar necks are subject to great stress as a result of string tension and seasonal change, there are times when a neck could take on a slight bow (or warp) or neck hump.  This will rarely occur.  However, if it does, there is no cause for alarm if you follow the procedure below for proper correction. 

Angled Head stock typical of adjustable truss rod location to Straighten Your Guitar Neck  (above)

Loosen all strings (it is not necessary to remove strings from guitar). To  straighten your guitar neck pull loosened strings to one side so free access to neck adjuster can be gained.

Remove cover (if it has one) so neck adjuster is exposed.  Generally it’s an Allen screw or a hex nut.

Sight down the neck from the tuners (as sighting a down the barrel of a rifle) in order to see just how much of a bow or hump the neck has taken.  Hold the neck up at eye level and sight along the edge of the fingerboard on both treble and bass sides.  It best to place a straight edge on the neck during this process. There are special ones made with cut outs for the frets called a Notched Straightedge below.

Straighten your guitar neck

Straighten your guitar neck

 

 If neck is bowed, tighten the adjustable nut  clockwise    

 If neck has hump, loosen the adjustable nut  counter-clockwise

Adjusting the guitar truss rod to straighten your guitar neck

Adjusting the guitar truss rod to    straighten your guitar neck

Place Allen key or hex  wrench on guitar neck adjustment nut and turn very gently (small fractions of a turn at a time).  Keep checking the neck as you proceed with each nut turn.  Once the neck is straight give the adjustment nut a very slight added turn to compensate for the tension the loose stings will add once they are installed and tuned.  TIGHTEN  for ” BOW ” and LOOSEN  for HUMP. 

 Special Note: Be careful not to tighten the nut too much  ( i. e. when it becomes hard to turn ), because it could result in stripping the threads or perhaps even breaking the truss rod.

Below: see example of a end of the guitar neck Heel or Butt end type-truss rod adjustment 

Adjusting the guitar truss rod to straighten your guitar neck

Adjustments at the butt end of the neck

 

 Also, on certain models of Solid Body Guitars the adjustment of the truss rod is made at the lower end of the fingerboard called the Heel or Butt  End. The procedure of adjustment on those is same as above, follow the same pattern of correction as outlined.

Also, if there is string buzzing after you are certain the neck has been straightened, locate the fret at the playing position that causes the buzz. Lower the fret by gently tapping with hammer.  Finally, file fret down, level and re-crown it.

The New Gotoh Side-Adjuster
for Warmoth Pro Guitar Necks

Adjustments at the side end of the neck

Adjustments at the side end of the neck

Mechanics

For easy and convenient truss rod adjustment

Adjustments at the side end of the neck

Adjustments at the side end of the neck

 

Because, truss rod set-up and adjustment more convenient, Warmoth “Pro” Construction necks feature the Gotoh side adjustment mechanism. Inserted between the usual truss rod adjustment nut at the heel and the truss rod, this ingenious device uses inclines and wedges to adjust the rod tension. Initial set-up is still accomplished at the traditional butt end but future small adjustments are then conveniently done on the side of the neck.

Most of all,  Gotoh does not offer these mechanisms left handed.  Furthermore, lefty Warmoth “Pro” necks only offer heel adjustments on straight necks, and peg-head adjustments on angled necks.

For easy and convenient truss rod adjustment

    

The factory setting is with the side adjustment mechanism centered within its operating range. To adjust your neck for the first time, use the following steps:

Neck Adjustment Procedure

  1. Tighten the slotted heel-adjust nut (See A) until the fingerboard is perfectly flat (has no forward curve.) This should cause the side adjust nut to be recessed into the heel approximately 1/16″ (1.6mm).
  2. Attach the neck and tune the strings to pitch.
  3. Detune strings and make necessary relief adjustment using side-adjust nut
    (See B) and allen wrench. Repeat as necessary.

About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md.and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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