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How does it work?

A truss rod is an interior metal bar running the entire length of a guitar's neck. When tightened, it counteracts the tension created by the strings (the strings pull the neck forward; the truss rod pulls the neck backward). Proper use of the truss rod enables you to "balance" the tension on the neck and adjust the amount of bow to fit your playing style. The truss rod is fairly rugged, so you shouldn't worry about experimenting with different adjustments. Through practice, you will find that you can compensate for seasonal changes, different string gauges, different playing styles, and slightly worn frets simply by adjusting the truss rod.

Typically, a properly adjusted truss rod will leave a neck with a bit of forward relief. You can use your strings as a "straight edge" by pushing them down to both the 1st and 14th frets simultaneously.

Then the gap between the string and the 6th fret can be observed. A gap slightly thinner than a business card is about right. From this point, you can adjust to your own preference.

Truss rod app 1
Strings should be tuned to how you play the guitar (standard or alternate tuning) while adjusting the truss rod. You'll need a 1/4" thin walled nut driver to make the adjustment. Tip: A magnetic tip screwdriver with no tip inserted often fits.
Truss rod loose
TRUSS ROD LOOSE: When the truss rod is too loose, the neck bows forward. This raises the string height but a slight amount of forward bow can reduce string buzz. Turn the truss rod nut clockwise to counteract this condition.
Truss rod tight
TRUSS ROD TOO TIGHT: When the truss rod is too tight, the neck bows backward. This lowers the string height and increases string buzz. Turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise to counteract this condition.
Truss rod straight
TRUSS ROD CORRECT: When the truss rod tension is right, the neck will be straight from the 1st fret to the 14th fret. When we say "straight," we really mean a very slight forward bow, as described above.
Truss Rod Adjustments

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