What's the truth about loosening strings before adjusting truss or saddle height?


Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 8, 2016
I'd ask this question for truss rod tightening:

If you are near the end of the rods useful travel, and you need to straighten the neck.....

Why would you want to fight the string tension getting it there?
Give the rod a little help. Some folks even put back bow pressure on the neck while tightening the truss rod.
It just makes it easier to get it where you need it to be.

I would then let the neck sit for a while without string tension. Just so it can settle in.

Is this absolutely necessary? I guess not, but it certainly has never hurt anything. It isn't really a hassle, to me anyway.


Senior Stratmaster
Jan 22, 2015
I m going to tune after anyway so I work better without tension. I saw a guy lift a fret board off the neck from adjusting truss under load . Back when I was seventeen . I thought the guitar was ruined. So it’s stuck with me. ( the kid starting crying, unfortunate scene for the poor kid.


Senior Stratmaster
Nov 12, 2013
Southern UK
I've seen a guitar break in half when the truss rod was tightened while the strings were still at pitch!!!!!

Don't do it! You may save time, but better to loosen everything off, then tighten the truss rod, then tighten the strings, then leave it, then if it's wrong loosen everything again, tighten the truss rod, tighten everything up again and leave for a day or so. Repeat until you get bored but at least your guitar won't break in half!

:whistling::whistling::whistling: - not really...


New Member!
Nov 27, 2019
It may be a little inconvenient, but the physics of the issue suggest that it is a little easier on the system to release the tension a little. It might save a few stripped saddle screws here and there.
Old thread but yes I can say for sure if you are adjusting the saddle screws, release the tension... I learned this the hard way.


Gold Supporting Member
Jan 20, 2015
Richmond, VA
What is the truth about loosening strings before adjusting the truss rod or adjusting saddle height for action?

The Fender University clip on adjusting the truss rod has them doing it at full strength tension and I started to wonder about the saddle height after somebody made a comment on my new Squire thread the other week.

Does it need to be done? Seems like more of a hassle
I removed my previous opinion about the truss rod and saddle height because I now think I was wrong, but defintely do this for adjusting intonation -- otherwise the adjustment screws will leave ugly scratches where they were dragged across the bridge plate. The downside, of course, is that you'll have to detune, adjust, then retune the string each time you move the saddle.
Last edited:


May 25, 2021
Temecula, CA
Needless to say - which is why I’m saying it 😁 - some guitars give you no choice. My tele (and I’m sure certain Strats) adjust at the heel and for that I have to loosen the neck enough to even get at it. Can’t do that without loosening the strings.


Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2014
I always put opposite tension on the neck and then adjust, even with heel adjustment. Think stringing a longbow.


Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
Palm Coast, FL
For saddle screws, anytime you're adding tension to the strings, you risk stripping the hex or even the Phillips heads. Those screws are supposed to be just snug enough to be held in place with the strings. Truss rod, same thing the neck counters/fights string tension. Help the nuts, bolts,& screws not work against them. Preadjustment and you're down to fine tuning rather than major movements.