Pick up the guitar and hold it at eye level, looking down at the neck. Decide if the neck is bent convex, down the middle or crowned, bent up in the middle.
Lay the guitar down on a flat surface. At the top of the neck, just behind the nut, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove three screws that hold a small metal holder to the neck. This will reveal a 1/4-inch nut which is your guitar’s bar adjusting screw.
Turn the bar adjusting screw clockwise with a quarter turn once to raise the neck in the middle if it is crowned in the middle. Check while working by holding the guitar at eye level and continue to turn the barbell lever clockwise until the neck is flat. If the neck is convex, or ‘bent down’, turn the ratchet lever counterclockwise until the neck is flat. Replace the locking bar cover.
Pick the strings. Listen closely to where the strings pass over the last thread on the guitar, the cutter closest to the front pickup. If the string buzzes or is too high of fret for comfort, use the Phillips screwdriver to loosen the four screws a quarter located on the back of the guitar’s neck plate, the 2-inch chrome plate on the back of the guitar that holds the neck to the guitar body.
Turn the 1/8-inch screw counterclockwise a quarter of a turn at a time to tilt the neck down. Set = the screw is located in the middle of the neck plate, between the screws that you loosened with the Phillips screwdriver.
Turn the screw clockwise to tilt the neck up if you have decided that the neck is too low or the strings are too far from the frets. Tighten the Phillips neck screws when the adjustment is complete.
Check the rear neck disc. Loosen the four Phillips neck screwdrivers if there is no microscrew screw.
Gently press the 1/32-inch shims between the neck and guitar body until flushed with the guitar body. Do this on both sides of the neck.
Tighten Phillips neck screws. Tune the guitar and play it. Check after setting the string and neck height. If the neck is still too low, loosen the Phillips screws and add more shims until you are satisfied.
Tips and warnings
To adjust the neck of a Fender guitar, including the popular Stratocaster and Telecaster models, you can accomplish the task in three ways. Fender guitars are set at the factory, but over time adjustments must be made. Even on a new guitar, personal preferences can dictate the adjustment of the neck to accommodate different styles of music. Whatever the reason, with a few simple tools, you can adjust your Fender neck in minutes.