What’s Truss Rod: How To Adjust The Truss Rod

Everyone who has a guitar get scared of the bend in the neck of guitar. You should scared of it if you don’t have a truss rod in your guitar.

Now, Majority of people don’t know about it.

What is a truss rod?

A Truss Rod is a metal rod that is installed inside the guitar neck to stabilize it. It helps the guitar to stay straight as most of the types of wood are not hard enough and they cannot be straight for a long time due to the humidity and other factors.

What is truss rod

Now, not every guitar has a truss rod in it and it is very hard to adjust the neck of a guitar that doesn’t have a truss rod in it.

What if the guitar does not have a truss rod?

Everything will be alright if your guitar does not have it but if there will be a bend in the neck, then you can’t adjust the neck.

For adjusting the neck of that guitar, you will need to install it in the guitar or you’ll have to Buy a new guitar.

How to Identify The Truss Rod In The Guitar:

truss rod

If your guitar has a truss rod then you will see the metal rod in the guitar under the fretboard. Just have a look at this picture.

You can see it through the sound hall of the guitar. Many guitars have it at the nut also where you have to check it by removing the steel plate with screw driver.

Problems after bending of the guitar’s neck:

You’ll face various problems after the bending of the neck like:

  • High action 
  • String Buzz
  • False sound

And that is where the part of the truss rod comes in.

Truss Rod

Now, Not every guitar has a truss rod. Many guitars does not have it like Concert Guitars and many other guitars(cheap guitars).

Also, There are many acoustic guitars, electric guitars, & other steel string guitars that does not consist of a truss rod. So, before buying any guitar, just check that whether the guitar has a truss rod or not.

Most of the guitars are made up of wood and wood is not a very much stable material, therefore it is a great addition to the guitar’s neck.

Types Of Truss Rod:

A truss rod is basically a rod that is installed in the guitar’s neck and it is of 2 types.

  • Non-Adjustable
  • Adjustable

Non-Adjustable Truss Rod:

Non-Adjustable truss rods are generally made up of graphite that is installed in the guitar neck.

It stabilizes the neck of the guitar but it does not help in adjusting any bow in the neck.

Adjustable Truss Rod:

Adjustable truss rods are also of 2 types.

  • Single Action: You can adjust the guitar neck from only one end as the other end is fixed. Most of the guitars have the single action truss rods.
  • Dual Action: You can adjust the dual action truss rod from both the ends.

How To Adjust Truss Rod:

Adjusting a truss rod is very easy but some guitar player thinks it is very hard and they might break it by adjusting it.

Adjusting truss rod can be done in these 5 steps:

  1. Does The Guitar Need Adjustment?
  2. Confirm the type of bow in the guitar neck.
  3. Loosen the guitar strings by untune it.
  4. Adjust the truss rod by allen key.
  5. Retune the guitar and leave it for few hours.

Step 1: Does The Guitar Need Adjustment?

The first step of the guitar neck adjustment is to check whether the guitar needs to be adjust or not. Now, How to check whether the guitar needs adjustment or not?

There are different factors which defines that the guitar needs adjustment, like:

  • String Buzz: If your guitar’s strings are producing buzz sound then your guitar needs to be adjusted.
  • Fret-String Difference:  If the difference between frets and strings are very high and it is painful to play at higher frets, then the guitar needs adjustment.
  • String Gap: If the guitar have more or less than 5 mm gap at the 12th fret, then also the guitar needs adjustment.

These 3 are the main checkpoints for the adjustment. If you feel any of these points in your guitar then you should go for the next step of guitar adjustment.

Step 2: Check The Type Of Bow In The Guitar Neck

The first question in some people’s mind is that What is Bow?

Bow is the type of curvature the guitar currently has. There are 2 type of bow;

  1. Forward Bow/Up Bow
  2. Backward Bow/Back Bow

Back Bow in truss Rod
Up Bow in Truss Rod

And your guitar needs to have a Normal Bow that looks like:

Normal Bow on Truss Rod

Once you understand the type of Bow in the guitar neck, you can jump into the next step.

Step 3: Loosen The Guitar Strings By Untune It

Now after understanding the type of bow in the guitar, lose all the guitar strings so that while you are adjusting the guitar’s neck, the guitar strings do not break.

It does not matter whether your guitar has Up Bow or a Back Bow, You should loosen all guitar strings.

Step 4: Adjust The Truss Rod With Allen Key

After loosen the guitar strings, you’ll need to adjust the truss rod finally with the help of allen key.

Allen key is a great tool that helps us in adjusting the neck without any problem. 

How to Adjust the guitar’s neck with the allen key?

truss rod with allen key

Adjustment of forward bow
Rotate allen key in clockwise direction

Forward Bow:

If the guitar has a Up bow, that means if the gap between strings and fretboard is more than 5 mm at the 12th fret, then follow these steps.

  1. Fix the allen key at the sound hall part of the guitar as seen in the picture.
  2. Rotate the allen key in the clockwise direction.

Note: Rotate the allen key only quarter times at once.

Adjustment of Back Bow

Back Bow:

If the guitar has a Back bow, that means if the gap between strings and fretboard is more less 5 mm at the 12th fret that cause the string buzz and it sounds very bad, then follow these steps to fix the back bow.

  1. Fix the allen key at the sound hall part of the guitar as seen in the picture.
  2. Rotate the allen key in the anti-clockwise direction.

Note: Rotate the allen key only quarter times at once.

Just remember that if you rotate the allen key very much then you might hurt the truss rod and break it. So, don’t rotate it more than a quarter times as it takes some time to adjust the neck.

Step 5: Retune The Guitar And Leave It For Few Hours

When you complete the adjustment of the guitar neck, just retune the guitar and leave it for few hours to set.

It takes at least 2-3 hours for the guitar neck to completely adjust. If it still does not adjust, then rotate the allen key one more time and then re-tune again and leave for some hours.

Bottom Line:

There are many reasons that cause the bending of the guitar neck like:

  • Humidity.
  • Tuned strings for a very long time.
  • Guitar in standing position for a long period.

But if the guitar has a truss rod then you can easily fix the bending by just 5 steps.

  1. Does The Guitar Need Adjustment?
  2. Confirm the type of bow in the guitar neck.
  3. Loosen the guitar strings by untune it.
  4. Adjust the truss rod by allen key.
  5. Retune the guitar and leave it for few hours.

With the help of these steps, you can easily fix the guitar neck easily.

Summary
What's Truss Rod: How To Adjust The Truss Rod
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What's Truss Rod: How To Adjust The Truss Rod
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Truss Rod is steel or any other hard material rod that is installed in the guitar neck for stabilizing it and helps in adjusting the guitar's neck easily with the help of allen key.
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