On an acoustic guitar, where the truss rod is accessed at the sound hole, which

way do you crank the truss rod to make the action higher?    On an electric guitar,

where the truss rod is at the headstock, which way do you crank it to make the

action higher/taller?

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Diana, I know there are others much more techie than I who will hopefully jump in here, but the simple answer is that either way, (in my mind) you would loosen the rod to relieve tension on the neck. That way the tension of the strings will pull the neck upwards, in theory raising the action of the strings.


That being said...I suspect there is much more involved here, such as raising or lowering the bridge, and dressing (filing) the frets. I will watch with interest to see how others respond, as it is so hard to find a decent luthier where I live.

At the headstock, slacken the truss rod to increase relief (bow forwards) by turning to the right. At the base of the neck slacken the truss rod to increase relief (bow forwards) by turning to the left.


Do not use the truss rod to adjust action - that is done with saddle height. The truss rod should only be used to compensate for string tension. Also worth noting that electrics and acoustics can have truss rod adjustment at either end.

Not just string tension - also the bowing of the neck to suit your playing style. While it's not quite the same thing as action, it's really a form of action. The saddle, nut and relief work together to create the action.

I half agree, but I was trying not to make it too complicated. It's good to separate neck curvature from action, even though action is affected by curvature because it affects the free vibration of strings to a certain extent independently of action.


My usual order of service when setting up a guitar is first relief on the neck, then action at the bridge, nut slot depth, then back to the bridge action, finally intonation. That's assuming the frets are level etc.

Hey Diana,


I just go to my "guitar guy" Larry.  He's been doing that stuff for like 25 years ... so I don't have to worry.  And unless you know what you're doing, I'd pay a few dollars and have a pro do it!


God Bless



Has Larry got a brother up in Canada? Could use a good "guitar guy" around here!
But you truly don't need a guitar guy to adjust your truss rod...

I have never adjusted or changed the nut or bridge/saddle on my acoustic guitar

and it does not appear to be easily adjusted.  I have had this guitar for over 10 years and

it has started a buzz at the higher frets. I think the strings have gotten too close to the

fretboard maybe because we are having a very damp spring after a very dry winter?

I think I will just give the truss rod a 1/4 turn to the left and say a prayer!


I don't know whether you have left hand or right hand threads, but you should be loosening it. Generally, they have right hand threads, so you would be counter-clockwise I think...
Hi Diane - if you adjust the truss rod through the sound hole then left will be loosening it. As you move it, do check it feels like it's loosening a little. If it resists and needs lots of force to shift then you're better off not shifting it and finding a tech. I'd either buy a guitar magazine or call a localish shop to find someone who could help.


I talked to Larry this weekend.  He said "Nope.  No brothers in Canada."  LoL 




The nice thing is that if it doesn't work you can always turn it back : )


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