Stuck Truss Rod

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by tmkirk, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. tmkirk

    tmkirk New Member!

    Aug 22, 2021
    I've been gifted a Torino Red, 2001 Indonesian Squier Affinity Strat on which to learn to play guitar. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, so I thought I'd set it up myself.

    The relief on the middle frets is pretty high, so I went to tighten the truss rod nut, but I can't tighten it any further than it already is (although I can spin the nut all the way off). I took it to the service guys at a well-known, national guitar retailer. They also tried tightening it and said that the truss rod is stuck and I'd be better off just buying new guitar (promptly pointing me to the sales floor). Is it possible that the wood around the truss rod has expanded to "lock it up" and prevent it from tightening? Can/should I add machine oil or graphite into the channel to "unstick" it? It's not so bad that it's unplayable so I think buying another guitar is not in the cards, but I don't want to do more damage than good.

    Would light machine oil seep into the wood cause more expansion and thus exacerbate the issue? Is there another issue it could be?

    Thanks from a newbie guitarist.
  2. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

    Jan 22, 2016
    I would not oil it, but try giving it a gentle tap. If that doesn't work, put lighter strings on it.
    Boyd L and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  3. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    May 21, 2010
    I'd take the neck off the guitar, remove the truss rod nut and hold the neck by the headstock. Then I'd give it a few hefty blows with the heel of my hand. That's usually enough to make the rod rattle in it's slot.
    Boyd L and Cerb like this.
  4. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Strat-O-Master

    Mar 18, 2014
    If Thru'ny's method doesn't yield satisfactory results, you might try clamping it with pressure forcing it in a downward bow while applying heat. You might do this by placing a block in the center and a clamp on each end. Put some sort of padding between the block and neck to avoid denting.

    The heat is a bit tricky, as you don't want to burn the finish. A heat lamp suspended several inches above the neck works well. You want the neck to get nice and warm, but not hot enough to melt the finish or the fret markers. The heat does two things, it softens the glue between the fingerboard and neck allowing it to reposition itself, and it helps the wood to retain the memory of the new position. Of course when you take the clamps off, it will spring back to mostly it's original position, but should have moved enough to get rid of the relief, and hopefully allow your truss rod to work.

    Don't get too crazy... placing a straight-edge across the frets while applying pressure from the clamps, you might have 1/8" from either end of the neck to the straight-edge. Apply the pressure with heat for a few hours, then remove the heat and let it sit over night, leaving the pressure on.

    Here's a video of a guy doing it. He's using a clothes iron for heat and an iron plank to help evenly distribute heat. If I were doing that I would cut little pieces of corrugated cardboard to place over the fret markers to protect them from the heat.... they burn very easily.