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coaxing the nut out of the hole!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Mickey Mao, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Mickey Mao

    Mickey Mao

    Jun 7, 2011
    SF Bay Area

    My truss rod nut was sticky, so I decided to screw it out and clean/lube the the threads.

    I unscrew the nut until it is off the TR threads, but now I can't get it out of the hole in the headstock. It turns freely, but the nut is too tight in the hole to easily extract.

    It emerges about 1/4 inch from the hole. Not quite enough to get a good grip with pliers. Pic below.

    And of course, I can't easily screw it back in, as the TR won't start onto the threads...I guess that the TR is not quite centered in the hole, and there's not enough clearance for the nut to find the rod.

    I'd like to get the nut out, so I can replace it with a fresh one that fits less snugly. Maybe I'll ream out the hole in the headstock as well.

    Any ideas?

    Freeze spray to shrink the nut?
    Drill a hole in the side of the nut, hook in a cable, and attach to a winch?

  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Loosen the strings until there is no tension on them. The TR nut is then much easier to remove. Same with re-installing it.
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I can't see from your picture, but I'm assuming that the nut takes an Allen wrench? If so, the trick to getting the nut out is to use one of the long T-handled Allen wrenches, long enough that the handle is out past the end of the headstock. Stand the bass up vertically, and put a drop of thick gel-type superglue down into the Allen socket in the nut. Stick the wrench in there and let it harden for a few minutes. Then start turning the wrench and pulling up on it to "screw" the nut out of the hole. It's hanging up on the paint; the neck was painted after the nut was installed.

    For reference, if you're having trouble getting the nut's threads re-engaged, try this: Using the long T-handled Allen wrench engaged in the nut, and the bass standing up vertically on your foot, turn the wrench while pushing down until you can feel it contact the end of the truss rod. With a small hammer, tap lightly on the end of the wrench. Don't beat the crap out of it, Bubba! Then turn the wrench 1/4 turn, tap it again, repeat, repeat. This will usually kick the rod and nut into alignment and get that first thread engaged.
  4. Phendyr_Loon


    Sep 4, 2010
    Is the TR but made of steel? Use a strong magnet.
  5. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Does the nut have it's internal threads exposed? Possibly you can you screw the end of a long bolt into the nut and pull it out. You may have to turn it while pulling.

    If it's not American, thread is likely metric.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    grind the end of the hex wrench on a belt sander or bench grinder for a few seconds; this will create a sharp edge or even a burr on the end, which you can use to catch the nut from the inside by pushing the wrench kinda sideways while pulling it out.
  7. Mickey Mao

    Mickey Mao

    Jun 7, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks for all the tips. I'm going to try the superglue method first...seems to be the simplest. If that doesn't work, I'll escalate to JB Weld and some serious tugging.

    Then, the bench grinder trick, if all else fails....
  8. Is the recess painted, or is that a plastic insert? From the pic it looks thick enough to be an insert. I've never seen that, but if that's what it is, pull it out.
  9. Mickey Mao

    Mickey Mao

    Jun 7, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    the recess looks to be a piece of darker wood, glued into the hole. I don't think I can pull it ou tw/o damaging the headstock, but I'll at least take some sandpaper to it to open it up a bit....
  10. No way it's wood. If it's an insert, it's plastic. I'm sure you could get under the edge of it with something pointy, and pull it out. Actually I think you'll have to.
  11. I have usually been successful by putting side pressure on the nut with the wrench, making it tight in the hole and then slowly pulling is out. If that does not work, screw the nut back on and scrape the side of the hole, it's just binding up on some crud.
  12. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012
    Perhaps enticing it with kind words or easy listening music.
  13. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Maybe a nice dinner.

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