guitar neck tension

EXPLAINED: How Much Tension Is On A Guitar Neck?

Are you curious about the amount of tension a guitar neck sustains when the guitar strings are tuned up?  Take a look:

How much tension is on a guitar neck?

The amount of tension on the guitar neck depends on the thickness of strings but it could be up to 200 pounds. A typical electric guitar has a string gauge that is .009, .011, .016,.024,.032 and .042. The heavier the strings the more tension on the neck. For an acoustic guitar the bigger the horse-shoe type, the more tension.

The pressure between an electric, classical and acoustic neck tension is different as well. Electric guitar necks are typically made with maple or a softer wood so that the strings can be pressed down more easily. The result is a lighter tension when the neck is straightened out. Acoustic necks are made from a harder wood like rosewood, which is tougher to press down on and results in a heavier tension when the neck is straightened out.

What Is The Purpose Of Tension On A Guitar Neck?

  • The guitar’s neck must be properly adjusted for string height and fret buzz.
  • Adjusting the truss rod can help take out or add to the amount of stress (tension) placed on the neck.

Guitar Neck Tension Calculators

A guitar neck tension calculator is a type of tool used to find the exact amount of tension that should be placed on your guitar strings. They can be found on the internet for free and using a calculator is easy and straightforward. Check this one out –

How To Use A Guitar Neck Tension Calculator:

  • First, go to the website where you found your calculator.
  • Enter the gauge of your strings and the scale length of your guitar into the calculator.
  • Click calculate. You will now know how much tension should be placed on your guitar’s strings.

How Much Tension Should I Have On My Guitar Neck?

The amount of tension on a guitar neck, like a Fender Stratocaster, depends on the strings and tuning. In general, the strings should be kept at a lower tension to avoid damaging it. A higher tension will not damage the strings, but reduce its playing lifespan. The amount of tension on the guitar neck is dependent on a number of factors including string gauge, steel thickness, length and tuning.

High tuning and thick strings require a higher level of tension on the neck to stay in tune. When too much tension is applied, the neck can warp or damage your guitar body if it is made of a more fragile material like lacquered wood. It can also lead to player fatigue as well after extended period of time, so you should back off some tension from the pegs and neck when playing for extended periods.

Related reading – guitar neck joint typesHow to measure neck reliefHow to check guitar neck bowReplacing a guitar neck

How Do I Adjust The Tension On My Guitar Neck?

  • Adjust the truss rod nut using a hex wrench.
  • The truss rod is located at the end of the neck near where it connects to the body of the guitar. It’s an adjustment bolt, typically threaded to turn counter-clockwise to tighten and turn clockwise to loosen.
  • Turn it until you’ve reached your desired tension and remember that turning clockwise loosens tension, while turning counterclockwise tightens it.

How Do I Know If My Guitar Neck Needs Adjusting?

First, you should play the guitar and make sure that the strings are not buzzing. If they are, then there is a possibility that your neck needs adjusting. You can also take care of this by raising or lowering your saddle height to compensate for any buzzing.

As your guitar ages it can develop into a warped guitar neck which will cause your strings to buzz, but usually don’t make a really bad sound. Sometimes when the neck is warped it leans towards the bridge and too low action causes buzzing on the lower strings while the higher strings are ok. You can take care of this by raising or lowering your bridge height. If the warps are severe, then you may have to set up a truss rod adjustment.