Fixing a Twisted Guitar Neck – Stay Calm!

twisted neckInjuries to your instrument can seem more frightening than injuries to your own body. That means if you scored a sweet deal on a new guitar, simply to get how and after some close scrutiny discover that the guitar neck is twisted, it may very well be the most frightening experience of your life.

It’s twice as worse if your beloved guitar has been taking a hiatus in its case for the past few months and you open it to find the neck twisted, because then you can’t return it, and basically, you’re on your own.

We’re here to tell you that you’re not on your own, and we can guide you through, step by step, how to fix a twisted guitar neck.

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So, How Is It Done?

First off, before you approach the job, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Seeing your guitar in a mangled state is not only an awful thing, but it can also make you a bit sporadic. Take a moment to relax and tell yourself that everything will be alright, your guitar can be saved.

Once your hands have lost their jitters and your head is clear, take your guitar in your hands. Look at the headstock. If there is a plastic plate on it, just above the nut beneath the strings remove it. If you see a screw or a hex hole, this is where you will fix your guitar neck.

If not, don’t panic; simply look at the end of the fret boar or, if you have a hollow body, in the sound hole. Once you locate the piece, familiarize yourself with your new best friend; the truss rod. This trusty guy will fix your guitar neck.

How to Adjust the Truss Rod to Counteract Twist And Yaw

To untwist your neck, simply tighten the truss rod. Never under any circumstance turn more than a quarter turn at a time. Every quarter turn, observe your neck. If your neck hasn’t completely aligned yet, simply continue tightening and checking.

If you notice that tightening the truss rod isn’t doing anything, or the neck isn’t so much as arching or un-arching in the slightest, stop what you are doing. This is the key moment where you decide whether or not a trip to the guitar technician will be worthwhile. If this guitar is one of your pride and joy instruments, then the answer is obvious. If it isn’t, you may want to factor in costs as a decider.

Find Out the Underlying Causes And Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again

The important thing to do once your guitar neck is either back from the tech or you have fixed it yourself is to take a look at where you had the guitar. Necks don’t tend to twist on their own; there had to be some opposing force working on the wood to cause the problem. If you had a pile of things on top of your case, or your guitar was shoved under your low-hung bed, you may want to reconsider where you keep your instrument.

Once you have diagnosed and solved the issue, keep an eye on your guitar. If it begins to warp again, you may want to consider a replacement, as there could be a number of issues including rot or bad wood. If you still have problems fixing a twisted guitar neck, you might want to consult a technician near your location to help you out. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

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  1. December 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    It would be helpful if you gave more detailed instructions on truss rod adjustment. Which way to turn the nut to tighten or loosen depending on it’s location relative to the neck. Also, bare in mind that tightening a truss rod to take out side to side twist will move the fret board closer to the strings and cause buzzing. This article may also be confusing for anyone with a classical guitar, as pictured in your photo to illustrate twist, as typically there are no truss rods to be adjusted.

  2. mick-Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    This is so misleading- firstly adjusting a truss rod will not cure a twisted neck like the one shown. The truss rod is for adjusting forward or back bow on the neck NOT a twist. Secondly the guitar shown is a classical which has no truss rod anyway.
    If you have a badly twisted neck then basically you’re screwed – it may be possible to straighten it out using steam and/or heat but it’s a very long shot that it will work and may make things worse.

  3. Rob Ruttan-Reply
    February 20, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    This seems more like advice for a bowed than a twisted neck; I’ve been told the truss won’t help a twisted neck. Am I wrong? I hope so…then I don’t have to remove the frest & re-plane the neck, as I have been advised to do so often.

  4. Rob-Reply
    February 9, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    It is like any other screw. Righty, tighty, lefty loosey. Turn to the left to add more slack in the neck, turn to the right to take out slack.

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