so, after about 6 months on playing on my new strat I decided I want to change pickups etc. The first thing I planned was to change the strings to a bigger gauge (.011 to .052) which went awkward; I've had to learn on the way and after a day my guitar was playing even better than before. Btw the truss rod was working well at this point.

today I noticed that I was starting to get fret buzz and the guitar will felling crappy. I immediately put my strat on its side and saw that the fret board was bowed, I knew this would happen sooner or later so I got out the hex keys i got with my American standard strat and put the key into the truss rod to find that the hex key was rounded and couldn't turn it so i tried to use the other end which had less leverage although instead I find that it would not turn. I don't know if it's because of a stuck truss rod or not enough leverage. the key i got was a L shaped key btw. should i buy another key or should i see a luthier? I hope this isn't serious my dad would kill me if i f*cked up the neck
ok first you have to look at the set up thread at the top of the page.
yo can get there by clicking the green link in my sig.

you want to make sure that your bridge isnt lifted ass end after the string change.

and you want to actually MEASURE the neck releif before turning anything.

as for hex wrenches, if it doesnt fit, DO NOT USE IT.

if you strip that nut, you're the one that's screwed.

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Set up Questions? ...Q & A Thread

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Like jj said, you probably want to measure the bow (see the methods on the net). You need to take a couple measurements. If you have a real string guage, it's easier. Ask if you more help with that part. You might just need to raise the strings a bit.

Assuming that you really do need to adjust the neck, if the hex wrench fits, but you can't easily turn it, put some vicegrips on the short end to get leverage. *But* you really don't want to stress this. There are two ways to make this easier:

1) you can relax the tension by loosening all the screws. Then twist a third or forth of a turn and then tighten and recheck. This is the official and "safe" way.

2) then my way - this is a little trickier. Hold the guitar between your legs and use your
arm to *slightly* take the tension off the neck (and off the truss rod). To be clear, you can play some strings and then apply a *little* pressure on the neck - listen to the pitch drop a bit. With the pressure relaxed, you can more easily turn the truss rod. Then relax your pressure on the neck and voi-la, you're done. Expect a little settling time before considering it all done.

Note that you want to apply pressure on the neck - not the head stock. The head stock might be glued on and it's not normally a load bearing part of the guitar.

Lastly, you need to be careful with truss rod adjustments. And if you're uncertain about doing the cheat method (#2), then stick with #1 or have someone else set it up. But I've used method #2 for many years. Unless this is a junk guitar, you shouldn't find that you ever need to adjust the truss rod very much. If you're cranking away at it, something else might be wrong.