We know adjusting your truss rod can be intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never worked on an acoustic guitar before. You may be asking, “What is a truss rod? And why would I need to adjust it?” Never fear! We’re here to demystify the process with simple instructions and our easy to follow How-To video series.
What’s a Truss Rod?
A truss rod is an adjustable metal rod embedded in the guitar neck that allows you to adjust how much curvature or bow is in the neck.
If there’s too much forward bow, the strings at the middle of the neck are going to be harder to push down and play than they are at the nut.
If there’s too much backward bow, the strings will rattle against the frets and buzz.
When Do I Adjust My Truss Rod?
A good sign that it’s time to adjust your truss rod is if the action on your guitar feels off (the action is the height of the strings above the fretboard).
Here’s how the action can impact your guitar:
If your strings are harder to press down on, the action is most likely too high.
If you experience buzzing or rattling against the frets, the action is too low.
If the seasons have changed around you, humidity and heat can affect your guitar's neck.
Step-by-Step Guide to Adjusting the Truss Rod
Watch our friend Mike Adams as he walks us through a truss rod adjustment.
1. Get your truss rod tool and insert it into the end of the neck through the soundhole. Note: some guitars will be adjusted through the top of the headstock, but all Orangewood guitars will be adjusted through the soundhole.
2. Determine if you need to tighten or loosen your truss rod:
Forward Bow Fix (Tighten)
If there’s too much forward bow, you’re going to turn the truss rod clockwise slightly.
Backward Bow Fix (Loosen)
If there’s too much backward bow, you’re going to turn the truss rod counterclockwise slightly.
Note: When making your adjustments, be sure to only make quarter-turn adjustments at a time. A little goes a long way with these adjustments.
3. After making each adjustment, tune your guitar and check to see if the issue has been fixed.
With a little practice, we know you’ll be adjusting your guitar like a pro. If you’re still having trouble, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out our Care & Maintenance page for more How-To tips and tricks.