How to straighten your guitar neck with an adjustable truss rod
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 and facilitates neck 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 Headstock style of adjustable truss rod (above)
Loosen all strings (it is not necessary to remove strings from guitar). Pull loose 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 top (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.
If neck is bowed, tighten the adjustable nut clockwise also,
If neck has hump, loosen the adjustable nut counter-clockwise
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 while 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 Buttend type-truss rod adjustment
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, and also follow the same pattern of correction as outlined.
If there is string buzzing after you are certain the neck adjustment has been completed, especially relevant locate the fret at the playing position that causes the buzz. File the fret down, level and re-crown it. Finally, if necessary, lower the fret by gently tapping with hammer.
The New Gotoh Side-Adjuster
To make the same truss rod set-up and neck 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 noteworthy, Gotoh does not offer these mechanisms left handed. 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