Tech Tip:Changing My String Gauge...Do I Need Adjustments?

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The following tips for aspiring guitarists are courtesy of John McCarthy of The Rock House Method, publisher of video lessons for musicians at every skill level.


Tanner Jacobs; Milford, CT


Q: I have 10 gauge strings on my guitar and I’m thinking of going up to 11’s or even 12’s. I heard that if you change the gauge/tension you have to adjust other parts of the guitar. Is that true? And if so, do you have any advice on what I need to do?


A: You are correct if you change the strings to a thicker or thinner gauge you will have to make adjustments to the neck and possibly the bridge.

The strings create tension on the neck of a guitar. If you have heavier gauge strings there will be more tension on the neck. The truss rod inside the neck helps to counteract the string tension so if you change the string gauge the neck will require an adjustment to counter this tension.


If you have a floating tremolo bridge such a Floyd Rose tremolo system, you will also have to adjust the springs that allow the bridge to float in the back of your guitar.


Both of these adjustments are difficult and a qualified repair technician should do the adjustments.


Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House