How a Truss Rod Works


Not quite sure how that steel rod in your guitar neck works? The video clip below should explain things.The same principles apply to electric guitars, bass guitars and acoustic guitars with truss rods.

As the clip shows, a guitar truss rod is a steel rod that runs down the length of most guitar and bass necks (with the exception of classical guitars). Loosening it or tightening it can help to straighten out a bowed neck.

The Adjustments

- Loosening a truss rod relieves tension on the neck and allows the pressure exerted by the strings to pull the neck forward and correct any bow, in most cases.

- Tightening a truss rod increases pressure and can straighten a forward-bowed neck by increasing its resistance to the pressure exerted by the strings.

Accessing the Truss Rod

There is a lot of variation in terms of the access point to a truss rod. In general, most Acoustic guitar truss rods can be accessed through the sound hole of the guitar (although some may be accessed at the head of the guitar). Most electric and bass guitar truss rods can be accessed at the head of the guitar.

Straightening a bowed neck is the first step in any guitar or bass setup and is an essential element in gaining the best sound and feel possible from your instrument. The clip above was taken from Fret MD: Acoustic Guitar and Bass Setup and Maintenance and was narrated by the video’s host, Al Markasky.

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