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How to Adjust Acoustic Guitar Action – Some Basics
There is a perceptible difference when a guitar is set up right and is at its best. Strings will sound with
the exact notes and will break less. The guitar itself becomes a pleasure to play. As opposed to a
correctly set up guitar, a badly set up guitar has strings breaking often and not all notes sound as they
are meant to sound. So what does one do when a guitar doesn’t play or sound perfect? If you want to
adjust the acoustic guitar action, here are some basic correctional steps to guide you.
Any musician or luthier worth his salt would tell a person that a setup for an acoustic guitar involves
examining the truss rod, the nut and the saddle most closely. Each of these parts has their own
significance in making the guitar sound perfect and each part may give rise to a different set of
The truss rod is accessible either through the sound hole or through the headstock. Adjustment to this
part of the guitar is highly tricky and can ruin the instrument if not done correctly. If the neck is not
straight, the guitar needs truss rod adjustment. In such cases, when adjusting the truss rod is needed,
enough time should be given to do it in a proper and efficient manner. If done in a hurry, one is likely to
break the rod. If you are absolutely sure that you do not want to go ahead and use the services of a
professional, hold the guitar. Mark the nut’s starting point. Slightly loosen the rod and see if it turns
without any hindrance. If it does, add a few drops of oil or lubricant and spread it on the nut. Then the
truss nut should be adjusted to its starting point.
If you find the strings of the guitar are hard to tune, it is probably the nut that needs to be adjusted. This
is something that is fairly