Recently I have been messing around with a Squier Affinity Strat, trying to set it up properly. I tried to adjust the truss rod and it was initially too tight. So I turned it counterclockwise, in order to loosen it. I see that after turning it counterclockwise, it becomes extremely loose and turns freely after a couple of turns (I know that I should not turn it a "couple of turns", but I wanted to understand exactly how the truss rod works and this is a guitar I am messing around with, so I guess i am fine with it).

It does tighten up if I turn it clockwise. In either case I don't see much of a change in the relief of the neck. It seems to be dead straight all the time. Is the truss rod broken?

The other question I have is regarding string tension. I noticed an remarkable increase in string tension as I lower the action. I think I have the right action that I want but the strings feel too tight for bending, especially the high e string. I am using .11-.49. Has anyone faced the problem of string too tight to bend when the action was lowered?


  • As the neck is wood, it doesn’t deform to its final position instantly when you make truss rod adjustments. I find I have to wait overnight to see the final result. Of course this means getting the exact desired relief can take a while until you have the experience to predict where it will end up after an adjustment. Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 13:32
  • Also, the truss rod is strictly for maintaining the shape of the neck - don't use the truss rod to adjust the action. The saddles at the bridge let you adjust the action and scale length of each string independently. It should not be too low at the nut on a brand new guitar, but if it ever becomes so then the solution is to replace the nut (rather than adjust the truss rod to lift the neck).
    – J...
    Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 20:33

3 Answers 3


It does tighten up if I turn it clockwise

The truss rod doesn't seem to be broken.

I don't see much of a change in the relief of the neck. It seems to be dead straight all the time.

Normally the neck should be a bit concave when the truss rod is completely loose. If not, the problem has nothing to do with the truss rud but with the neck itself. The truss rod is supposed to help straightening a neck that's bent too much under the string tension, but it can't do anything the other way around.

I noticed an remarkable increase in string tension as I lower the action

you mean, when you increased the truss-rod tension? That's expected and indicates that the truss rod actually does work and the neck was bent without it. The increased string tension means of course that the pitch goes up, which needs to be compensated with the tuners. In the end, when the strings are in tune, the tension will necessarily be the same regardless of what action you set up. String tension only depends on string weight, scale length and tuning, but not on the action.

.11 is quite a beefy string size, for bending most guitarists would prefer something thinner. If you switch to lower strings that'll indeed mean overall lower tension, which could be a problem if your neck is a bit too straight anyway. But you may be able to compensate with setting the action higher again at the bridge.


An addendum to leftaroundabout's answer.

  1. Never tighten the trussrod against the tension of the strings. Slacken them first.

  2. Never use the truss rod to pull the neck. Pull the neck manually & use the truss rod to take up the slack.

Failing to follow these two simple rules can quite likely break the russ rod, or round off the nut, or in extreme cases pop the fingerboard away from the neck.
Setting a truss rod neck adjustment is not just a case of tighten it & see what might happen. It's a calculated, experienced guess of what may be needed followed by some rational empiricism.
You should also allow two weeks' settling in afterwards.

Just faffing with it to see what happens is really, really not advisable, most especially if you have no clue what you're doing. You are far more likely to do harm than good.


If you're really concerned after doing what others suggest, then take off the neck completely, and you'll be able to see what the trussrod is doing (or not).

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