If I change my electric guitar tuning to Drop C (CGCFAD) from standard tuning (EADGBe), should I adjust the truss rod? Same question for other non-standard tunings.

  • One would hope not! But it may depend on the quality of your guitar neck, so if you notice significant difference in string height (above frets), then adjustment may be indicated. – Carl Witthoft May 29 '20 at 13:19
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    @CarlWitthoft - one would hope not, but the reality of it is that the trussrod is there partially to balance te tension of the strings trying to bend the neck in a 'bow and arrow' motion. So, when changing the tension the strings produce, the tension in the trussrod often does need adjusting - one way or the other. I guess cellos don't have trussrods? – Tim May 29 '20 at 15:01
  • @Tim: cellos are built like a tank :-) - take a look at how thick the neck is under the fingerboard. – Carl Witthoft May 29 '20 at 17:51
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    @CarlWitthoft - I guess since one doesn't grab the neck as one does with guitar, it wouldn't really matter if the neck was even thicker? But with guitar, the dimensions of the neck are an important factor. – Tim May 29 '20 at 18:04

If you intend to keep the guitar in that tuning permanently, it may indeed be a good idea to loosen the truss rod. The lower string tension will likely lead to the neck pulling back a bit, resulting in lower action – not something you want especially with those slack bass strings. But it depends on the instrument.

If you switch tuning for just a single song, then it's definitely not practical to also adjust the truss rod. Generally avoid doing that too often, it may wear out the mechanism or even lead to the neck developing a warp/twist.


You will only know when the tuning has settled. Since it's providing less tension on the neck, it won't harm the guitar, but when the action and intonation are sorted, you may find the strings rattle on the fretwires at some points. That's the time to adjust.

To keep that sort of tuning, it migt be a good idea to consider what gauge strings are needed, since the originals may be too floppy.

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