Guitar Neck Set Up

How to set up your guitar neck

Important: before any setup, check that the strings are new, with the right thickness.

Neck curvature

You will want your neck to have an ever-so-slight curve inwards, so that the headstock will bow slightly toward the bridge.

You should have a very slight gap between the chord and the central fret.

Press at the same time first and last fret:

Distance between chord and central fret

There must be a slight space between the string and the central fret, giving your neck some “relief.” 0.3-0.5 mm is a reasonable distance.

In any case, it is good that, even visually, there remains a slight space.


Adjust the curvature

Set this distance on the truss rod (screw protruding from the neck)

Acoustic Guitar

Adjust the truss rod 2

Electric Guitar

Adjust the truss rod 1


The guitar is easier to play when the strings are as low as possible (low action).
However, if the strings touch the frets, you will have some annoying buzz.

If they are too far away from the neck, the guitar will be harder to play (high action).

The action on a guitar is affected by the adjustment of the truss rod.

  • Tightening the truss rod gives the neck a backward bow and tends to lower the action.
  • Loosening the rod gives the neck a forward bow, giving a higher action.