American Ultra Truss Rod Adjustment Question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by markbmbass, May 3, 2022.


  1. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    Hey All,

    So I have an American Ultra P that I just bought new. Absolutely love the bass, but I'm afraid to make any truss rod adjustments. I have inserted the T-handle 3/16 wrench that it comes with, but I tried to turn it lightly and it doesn't want to tighten. I am afraid of stripping/rounding out the nut so I'm not going to touch it. My dealer still owes me a free setup so I'll get it to them for the first adjustment.

    Going in at an angle puts the fear into me of messing up the nut, so I'm very hesitant to make any attempts with the T-Handle. I feel like it's going to strip it for sure!

    My concern is dealing with that myself in the future. I am experienced with setting up basses to get them where I like them in regard to playability, but I don't have any experience with the Ultra's minimal access at the heel. I play Laklands which have great clearance for adjustments and of course Fender basses with the truss rod adjustment that takes place at the headstock.

    I know Fender has a two year warranty and I don't mind taking it to a dealer, but would rather not have to do that every time I need a minor neck adjustment.

    Does anyone know of any tools or wrenches that will fit the Ultra truss rod nut that would allow me to avoid using the T-handle, so the angle access isn't even an issue?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. furym

    furym

    Aug 31, 2014
    Carthage, NC
    The T handle tool is meant to go in at an angle. Push forward with some strength to make sure it stays seated and go as low an angle as you can without hitting/damaging your pickguard. Then adjust as needed. I had no trouble adjusting my Jazz Ultra.
     
  3. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    Ok, thanks. My only concern is the strength messing up the nut. I'll probably have the dealer show me the proper way to do it. Not really interested in accidentally voiding a warranty for a bass in this price range :).
     
    furym likes this.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Always flex the neck manually in the desired direction while adjusting the TR.

    Riis
     
    Lownote38, Warpeg and markbmbass like this.
  5. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    Ok, thank you. This helps the truss rod nut move?
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes. Never use the truss rod solely to move the neck or adjust relief...something will break.

    Riis
     
    markbmbass likes this.
  7. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    I wonder why the Fender manual doesn't indicate this for a $2k+ instrument? Seems like an accident waiting to happen.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Pretty much a universal set-up application. I'm not sure if any manual addresses this concern. Whenever possible, I use an L-shaped hex key (right hand) while flexing the neck with the left. Truss rods are designed to maintain a desired relief once muscled into position.

    Riis
     
    markbmbass likes this.
  9. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    I've always used L-shaped wrenches too, which seem to catch the nut good when going in straight. Just not used to this minimal access to it at the heel of the neck like on the Ultra.
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  10. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    You can make a shortened L-shaped hex key by cutting the short side even shorter. That's what I do for modern Fender truss rod adjustments.
     
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Never had any problem with the Fender supplied ball driver at the headstock or heel. Fortunately i’ve watched my (late) cracker jack tech adjust the necks of my basses enough so I was familiar with the bending of the neck in concert with truss nut adjustment.
     
  12. Did you loosen the strings prior to attempting to adjust the truss rod? There's a lot of stress on the nut and wrench trying to counter the string tension. Loosen them off so they're floppy then try it. As someone here said, 'encourage' the neck in the direction you want it to go. It should turn smoothly. Then tune them back up to pitch. 1/4 turn at a time. And no, you don't have to wait a day to let it settle.

    Disclaimer - I'm not a luthier, but I have been working with my own Fender products for 40 years.
     
    MdC64 and markbmbass like this.
  13. markbmbass

    markbmbass

    Apr 19, 2012
    I haven't had tried yet but will definitely try this when I do. Thanks!
     

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