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Adjusting String Action

String action is how high off of the frets the strings sit. If strings are too low they will buzz against frets, too high makes it difficult to play and may sound out of tune because the string has to travel so far down to the fretboard.  If you change the gauge of the strings or use a different tuning, you can get a higher or lower string action, which is also noticeable with climate change.

We will introduce you to the Truss Rod that reinforces the Neck of the guitar. When your guitar is in standard tuning there is about 100-200 lbs. of pressure pulling on the neck. The metal Truss Rod prevents the neck from snapping. The Truss Rod can also be adjusted to relieve or increase the tension so the neck will straiten or bow to your desired playing position.

If a single string is not right it may be a simple Bridge adjustment.  To adjust the Bridge, follow the steps below.

  • Use the proper Allen Wrench (included with your new guitar) to adjust the Bridge Saddle higher or lower until desired height is achieved.

If more than one string needs adjustment, then we must look at the neck. Always use caution and make small adjustments at a time, as permanent damage can occur if you over adjust.

Next, check your string height. We will use “typical” settings in our example, however your preference may vary.


1. Use a ruler to measure the distance of the 1st (smallest) string and 6th (biggest) string. We will measure at the 1st and 12th frets:

  • 1st fret 1st string = 1/32”
  • 1st fret 6th string = 1/64”
  • 12th fret 1st string = 5/64”
  • 12th fret 6th string = 3/64”

2. Locate the truss rod:

– 66 Classic and DLX is under a small plate above nut in the headstock. (See photo below) – California & Retro guitars have an opening above the nut in the headstock.

– Acoustics Truss Rod is accessible from the Sound hole.– Locate the proper Allen wrench to fit in the opening of the Truss Rod which is included with your new guitar.

 3. Strings are too low:

  • Turn Truss Rod Counter-clockwise.
  • Best practice is to only rotate a ¼ turn at a time.
  • Let the neck settle for about 5 min.
  • Tune guitar again.
  • Measure and play.

4. Strings are too high:

  • Turn Truss Rod Clockwise (best practice is to only rotate a ¼ turn at a time).
  • Let the neck settle for about 5 min.
  • Be sure guitar in in tune again.
  • Measure and play.
  • Tune guitar.

5.  When your guitar feels right and there is no buzz or difficulty playing, you’ll 6.  have a properly set-up guitar!

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