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"Truss Rod Maxed Out"

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by TomH8, May 20, 2017.

  1. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    33
    Sep 4, 2016
    Texas
    Straightening out a bowed neck is possible. But You really need a luthier and not just a "tech"
     
    Nate D and Strat-Slinger like this.

  2. problem-child

    problem-child Strat-O-Master

    800
    Aug 28, 2008
    Left Coast, USA
    Dan is the man. As long as it's a forward bow you have some easy options to try. If it's a back bow and you have a single action truss rod, well that is another can of worms.
     

  3. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Problem Child, My bow is as you say a forward bow. It is not huge and seems stable no matter the weather changes summer to winter to humid to dry. However, I aim to have a neck where the T rod actually operates as intended. Of course if I want to use this neck to play slide, it is probably in the ball park action wise. Action isn';t hatefully high, it just isn't within Fender Specs or to my liking as my Maple Neck 1990 twin is to this 1989 Rosewood one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

  4. problem-child

    problem-child Strat-O-Master

    800
    Aug 28, 2008
    Left Coast, USA
    Your issue is a bit different. You need to get that truss rod nut sorted out. Without the guitar in hand I don't have much for you on that. If the nut is just spinning my immediate suspicion would be either a broken truss rod or a broken truss rod... Doesn't sound good for the home team. I hope I'm wrong. I guess it could be stripped threads under that nut. I know the nut just spins but is there any change in feel as you spin it? Stripped threads would feel like (spinning clockwise) it tightens (even just a tiny bit) and then spins freely again.

    If that is the case you would need to create some tool like a tiny L shaped fork to get under it and pull out while you unscrew it. Again without the guitar in hand this is all just a guess.
     

  5. problem-child

    problem-child Strat-O-Master

    800
    Aug 28, 2008
    Left Coast, USA
    One other thing. Action height and relief are not next door neighbors. Relief is measured in hundredths of inches. This should not be expected to make significant changes in action height unless you are seriously out of spec. Look elsewhere for action height adjustments.

    *Neck radius
    7.25”
    9.5”-12”
    15”-17”

    Relief
    .012” (0.3 mm)
    .010” (0.25 mm)
    .008” (0.2 mm)

    *From Fender Tech Talk
     

  6. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Thanks Prob Child. From what I understand, in order to get a decent benchmark to set up action, intonation etc it is important to be able to adjust the neck almost straight and then go from there. Having put a straight edge on my neck, it is definitely showing an 1/8 to 5/32 dip in the middle as one can view that much light under the straight edge.
    And since the Nut just spins, no adjustment is doable without rectifying the issue causing the T rod nut to not loosen or tighten.
     

  7. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    I bought a Mexican 60s Tele neck off eBay without a nut. To cut a long story short, by the time my local guitar tech had fitted a new nut & gone to set it up, he found a similar problem to the one you describe. He said he couldn't do anything about it.

    So I listed it on eBay describing the fault & expecting to sell it for a huge loss, but I got a message saying "try contacting XYZ guitars - they could fix it". So I did - and they did fix it. The guy drilled into the nut (or something) & got the rod working again. It's still fine now. Once I knew that I could trust this new guy, I got him to refret my favourite Strat.

    The moral? If one person says he can't fix it, someone better might be able to.
     
    Nate D, altar, Guy Named Sue and 4 others like this.

  8. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Thank you Stratman323. I AM usually that someone better because I am just stubborn enough to go thru hell to not let a problem beat me. AND I usually don't have extra cash lying around to pay someone to fix ANYTHING, for me. Cars, Trucks, house, guitars, amps etc.
     

  9. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    OK, I woke up this morning to a text from my nurse friend who has my Strat neck. Woo hoo he said no breaks. So now that leaves me to figure out how to get the old nut out and how to get the T rod system working again. Time to put a back bow in it and see if I can capture some threads.
     

  10. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    48
    539
    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    It could be maxed to the right. If its the Fender bi-flex truss rod then you can turn it counter clockwise , it will give relief then it goes into a neutral state, then it starts to backbow.
     

  11. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Hi and thanks Dick Blackmore. The reason I have delved into figuring out what the heck is going on with my Truss rod is that no matter how far I turn it even counterclockwise, it just spins and spins and spins without feeling looser or tighter or affecting the bow to make it more concave, or to bring the concave toward straight or back bowed/convex. Like I said, the nut just spins freely AND it is not a case of the head being stripped and simply letting the allen wrench spin inside it. I can plainly see all this because I have the walnut plug out thus providing an unobstructed view to watch it spin.
     

  12. Mr Dunlop

    Mr Dunlop Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 30, 2014
    usa
    Sounds like its stripped at the anchor. Good luck fixing that. Probable best to just replace the neck
     
    JMJD06 likes this.

  13. Taylor412ce

    Taylor412ce New Member!

    Age:
    54
    1
    Oct 19, 2017
    Northern California
    Sounds like the best case senario would be a stripped nut. After removing the wood plug try and remove the nut. Using needle nose plyers gently pull on the truss to determine if its firmly secure in the anchor. If not secure refer to next paragraph. Inspect the threads and if damaged replace with a new nut. Add a little bit of lubricant to the inside of the nut. Add a couple washers and reinstall nut and tighten. There’s the possibility that the truss itself is stripped. So keep this in mind.

    You could have some damaged wood in the truss channel just beyond the nuts washer. Which means there’s nothing to compress against. On the other end, the rod could have pulled from the anchor. Either of these repairs would call for accessing the truss. Removing the fingerboard and/or removal of the skunk stripe. For most folks this will require a visit to a good guitar tech or luthier. Stew Mac has a truss rod rescue kit for a limited type of repair. Replacement necks can be had for less than $200 unfinished. Nitrocellulose finish at Re-Ranch is $15 a can.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017

  14. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member

    Strike 1, strike 2, strike 3.

    Yer out!
     

  15. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Thank you Taylor. I had a friend Xray the neck and he sent me one picture of the anchor end on up to about the 8th fret. I wished he had also taken a pic of the headstock end as well, but I had to take what I was given especially since it was done for free at a big hospital.

    Anyway, my plan based on him saying they saw no break or oddities from the anchor point on up the full length, leaves me planning to address the nut end and trying to get it out. Yes I considered there could be stripped threads, or simply the nut was backed all the way off, the neck is bowed some and now needs to be seen if the rod can be massaged into a place where I can catch a few threadfs and screw the nut on, or get the nut out and do like you say.

    As for Fretboard removal and skunk stripe removal, I will cross that bridge when or if the situation warrants this. Yup, I know the cost of new necks, I can see quite a few advantages to going this route and getting a new one or spare one whatever I will call it.

    Thanks again for your input and time to advise.
     

  16. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Problem Child, Mr Dunlop, and Taylor, I have given consideration to all of your assessments for potential causes of my issue prior to removing the walnut plug. Since prior to removing the plug, the nut either appeared to just spin or else had a potentially stripped hex head that was not visible, I decided to verify the nut itself was indeed moving and not stripped by removing the plug to see inside.

    Nut head not stripped, wrench actually does turn nut. Now for the question of how it feels when turning. It seems to have some measure of friction but doesn't seem to vary whether turning to tighten or loosen. I have given thought to stripped threads on the rod or nut, and issues at the anchor end as Mr Dunlop stated. Like ProblemChild and Taylor mentioned, it is possible the rod itself is stripped like on the threads of the nut or rod or worse the end at the anchor is loose somehow or somehow the wood inside the channel damaged and causing issue with lack of compressing. Thanks again for all your suggestions everyone. I will do my best to find the answer and keep you posted.
    Needless to say I am hoping for the least troublesome solution.
     

  17. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    OK, So today I made the decision on how to proceed. To do the ultimate test for my truss rod issue would involve the least invasive exploration I knew to do. The end result is it is as I predicted. The "Rod" is broken at the "Anchor point." I found this out by deciding to chisel out a small exploratory spot in the end of the skunk stripe just above the round metal anchor.

    Because the anchor was partially covered by the sticker where the guitar/neck builders signed it, I used a hair drier and a single edged razor blade to carefully remove it. This exposed the end of the skunk stripe and anchor at the heel of the guitar.

    Then, I used my razor and gently scored both sides of the skunk stripe about the length just covered by the sticker. Then I took my 1/4 inch chisel to gently remove a bit of the stripe about 1/4 inch from the round anchor. As I was hitting the chisel with hammer, the anchor began to raise out of the neck. I then pried it up gently and it came totally out. Looking back, I also could have tried using a magnet to try to lift out the anchor once I had the sticker off and prior to chiseling the skunk stripe. Before all my posts and even me getting the neck Xrayed, I could actually hear the anchor rattling. Now that the anchor is out, my diagnosis was confirmed.

    So, now I will be proceeding to get the skunk stripe out to make access to remove and replace or repair the rod.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  18. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Pictures of Damage
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Well as always, I ponder for ways to fix things without doing as much UNDOING of the factory build as possible. I often will try to keep the original.

    So I will say I am doing my best to avoid removal of the skunk stripe with hopes to re-insert a fixed or new rod/attachment/washers/nut and walnut plug and have a neck that is almost good as new. In so doing, I said to myself, "can I get the broken rod out of the neck through the access hole in the head stock?" So, I began driving the rod out far enough to grab the nut with vice grips and tap it the rest of the way out with hammer blows on the Vice Grips.

    I started by using my nail set punch to drive the rod in as far as the new end of the stripe. I was then able to use an allen wrench to hammer against the end of the rod till it fully buried itself against the stripe thus exposing enough of the nut for me to grab with Vice Grips. Done deal, on the extraction.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  20. chilipepperman

    chilipepperman Strat-Talk Member

    37
    Dec 19, 2012
    Maryland
    Pictures
     

    Attached Files:

    vid1900 likes this.