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You can play with a broken truss rod, but not for long. A broken truss rod affects the curvature (aka relief) of your guitar’s neck. If the curvature is not badly impacted, then you can still play it – but should be replaced eventually.

However, remember that the neck and/or the rod should still be replaced once the truss rod is broken. This is because it will be impossible to alter the neck’s curvature when needed to ensure the guitar will sound the best it possibly can. 

As someone who has played guitar and bass for over 7 years, I can confirm that a truss rod is essential to appropriately adjust the tension on your guitar strings.

I can also confirm that keeping the tension set properly will ensure that your guitar will sound as good as possible. 

In this article, we will go over the importance of truss rods in the guitar, how to know if the truss rod is broken, and some different options on how to fix a broken truss rod. We will also go over the costs of repairing the broken truss rods. 

We will also go over frequently asked questions regarding truss rods. These questions will include how easily truss rods break, If a broken truss rod can damage the guitar’s neck or not, and what to do with a broken truss rod.

Also Read: What To Do With a Broken Guitar: Selling & Recycling Guide

How Important Is Truss Rod in Guitar?

This is a very important parts of any acoustic or electric guitar because it enable us to adjust the guitar neck

Guitar truss rods are extremely important – they are required to help withstand the tension that steel strings will place on the neck of the guitar.

Since most guitar necks are made of wood, they will need to be adjusted as wood will change, bend, contract, etc., with the changing of the four seasons. 

In some instances, the truss rod is unnecessary, such as in classical guitars that play nylon strings. This is because nylon strings typically will create and cause less tension, thus will put less pressure on the guitar neck. However, this is the exception to the rule. 

Almost all other guitars will have a truss rod. They are a requirement since the truss rods will help the guitar withstand the higher and more intense pressure that comes from tightly stretched steel strings than nylon strings. 

How Do I Know if My Truss Rod Is Broken?

Normally, the neck should be a bit concave when the truss rod is completely loose

There are a few different symptoms of a broken truss rod. Here are a few ways to know if your truss rod is broken:

1. Your truss rod spins freely when turning it in either direction. 

If it does spin for more than one complete turn when turning in either direction, the rod could be broken. This also means that it is a possibility that the barrel nut is coming off. 

2. The rod is way too rigid.

If the truss rod is adjusted too rigidly or tightly, it will need to be replaced. The first sign that this happened was that there was probably a loud snap when the rod was adjusted too tightly, which is probably when it was broken. You will know that the barrel nut is spinning freely while the rod does not move.

3. Clicking sound when adjusting the truss rod.

Once a truss rod is broken, and there is a clicking sound when you try to adjust it, then chances are that the truss rod is broken. There will be an audible clicking with no change in the tension or curvature of the neck either way. 

How Do You Fix a Broken Truss Rod?

A broken truss rod can be replaced or repaired by many different ways

There are a few different options to repair a broken truss rod. Here are a few of those options, along with an additional explanation. 

1. Peel the fretboard off and replace the rod. 

This will involve removing the neck, fretboard, and the frets, then lifting the neck from the guitar. From there, you would simply replace the broken truss rod with a new one. 

One disadvantage of replacing the truss rod this way is that it can be pretty expensive to refinish the fretboard and refret it properly.

However, there are some additional options to replace a broken truss rod that can be less expensive.

2. Get a truss rod replacement kit.

It will include the following:

  1. Truss rod itself.
  2. The nut to adjust the tension.
  3. A type of handle allowing you to drive the rod through the neck without removing the fretboard.
  4. Various kinds of nuts and washers

With these kits, you should not need to remove the fretboard and the frets. The handle with the truss rod kit can attach to the rod itself to help you drive it through the neck, along with a relief cutter to help cut a larger hole through the neck itself if needed to remove and install the new truss rod. 

You can get a truss rod fixing kit from stewmac here.

3. Get a new guitar neck.

Getting a new guitar neck will include a new truss rod. You can simply go ahead and apply the new neck to the guitar and keep playing.

However, if you need to adjust the rod to get the proper curvature, please do so in small increments. This will ensure that it will last longer and reduce the risk of accidentally making it too tight in the first place. 

4. Get a new guitar

Sometimes, it is worth it just to scrap the guitar and get a new one. If the guitar you have is less expensive than the replacement kit or the cost to reapply the neck and the frets, this may just be the way to go. 

If the cost to replace the truss rod is more than the neck for your particular guitar or more than the cost of the guitar itself, then it may just be less expensive to replace your guitar and get a brand new one, which will, of course, give you a new guitar with brand new components. 

If it is worth it or not to just purchase a new guitar instead of replacing the truss rod is entirely up to you. 

Cost To Fix (Or Replace) a Broken Truss Rod

The cost of replacing truss rods will almost always exceed $500

Replacing a truss rod can require the removal of the fretboard to pull the rod out. The cost of the rod itself, plus the cost to refret and refinish the neck, and the fretboard, will usually cost over $500.00. 

If you choose to replace it yourself, you will need a truss rod kit, usually costing about $200.00 plus the rod. 

There is also an option to replace a broken truss rod by replacing the neck of the guitar. Simply by purchasing a new neck, which will include a new truss rod, you can save yourself a great deal of money. Costs for the neck can vary. 

Consider checking with your guitar manufacturer or your local music store to find a compatible instrument neck.  

Also Read: 5 Factors Of Good Guitar Neck: Ft.Wood Material, Radius, Cost


Q: Is It Easy to Break a Truss Rod?

It is actually challenging to break the truss rod. As long as you are gentle and adjust it in tiny increments, then it should be fine.

The truss rod is much more likely to break if it is adjusted quickly over several increments back-to-back quickly in a shorter period. 

Q: Can You Break a Neck With a Truss Rod?

It is technically possible to break the neck of a guitar with a truss rod. If the truss rod is too tight, it can create additional pressure on the neck of the guitar, which can result in cracks in the neck’s wood or even cracks in the neck’s fretboard if the tension is too great.

This is why it is a good idea to slowly tighten a truss rod incrementally if you need to tighten it to correctly adjust the curvature of the guitar neck (this curvature is also referred to as relief). 

Q: What Do You Do With a Broken Guitar Truss Rod?

A broken truss rod will eventually need to be replaced. Only a few options are available when you have a broken truss rod.

  1. Keep playing. You can keep playing the guitar as it is while the truss rod is broken. However, know that eventually, your guitar will not sound as good as it possibly could and that the truss rod or the neck will have to be replaced.
  2. Get a new neck. Get a new neck for the guitar, which will include a new truss rod. Check with your manufacturer for compatible choices.
  3. Replace truss rod with no repair kit. This will require you to eventually remove the fretboard and the frets and replace the truss rod in the neck. Getting the fretboard refretted and refinished can wind up being pretty expensive, though. The next option below will be a little less expensive.
  4. Get a truss rod repair kit. Truss rod repair kits include a few tools to enable you to do it without removing the neck and the frets on the neck. They will cost approximately 250 dollars, however.


We discussed different options to replace a broken truss rod. We covered if the guitar can be played with a broken truss rod and the importance of the truss rod in playing the guitar.

We also went over how to know when the truss rod is broken and how to replace it. We also covered the costs of replacing them. 

We also addressed some frequently asked questions, such as how easy it is to break a truss rod, if a guitar’s neck could be broken due to a bad truss rod, and what to do with a broken truss rod. 

Ifandi S.

About Ifandi S.

Ifandi started Strumming Bars to answer all the questions of a guitarist. As a self-learned guitarist, he remembered how frustrating it was to not find answers to his many questions in the journey. With Strumming Bars, that's no longer the case!

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