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Epiphone El-Capitan broken truss rod

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by hantiband, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Hello,

    I would like to ask for some advice nad have a few questions.

    While adjusting the truss rod due to high relief (0,8 mm i.e. 0,0315 inch) it was broken. A 10 mm (0,39 inch) piece remained in the adjusting nut. The truss rod was broken just behind the D washer.
    I suppose the thread was seized and/or the steel of the truss rod was week.
    I would like to fix this bass because I love its warm deep sound.
    Local luthiers are not happy with this job because of the risks. If the fingerboard cannot be loosen and removed in one peace without any damage the frets shall be removed, the fingerboard shall be restored and refretted. The costs are near to the worth of a new bass.
    I had an idea. I realized that the truss rod remained in the aluminium U canal in the neck has got still about 10 mm (0,39 inch) thread. I tried to cut the fingerboard beside the first fret (at its head side), remove its peace. Then I scraped the aluminium U canal by a drill to make the end part of the truss rod free. I filed the burr from the end of the broken thread. So that I could reinstall the D washer and the nut. Finally I glued the piece of the fingerboard to the neck.
    Other solution was using a StewMac truss rod repair kit. Despite, I think it is for cutting wood hole only, not aluminium U canal.
    My questions:
    1. Do you have any other idea to fix the broken truss rod of my El- Capitan?
    2. Where can I purchase a replacement neck mounted with truss rod and fretted fingerboard?
    3. Where can I purchase a fretted fingerboard and a new truss rod?

    Thanks for good advices and answers!
  2. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
  3. Thanks for your advice. I thought a better solution: find and buy a similar bass with a broken body then using its nek for a retrofit.
  4. There is more to be learned by repairing than by replacing all else remaining equal.
    Good luck & take care. Bob
  5. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    I had a similar problem once. I used a Dremel with a tiny downcut bit to remove a small amount of wood around the broken end of the truss rod. Enough to expose new thread to make it possible to get a washer & nut on the threads. It solved the problem, essentially doing the same job as the StewMac kit. Would I rather have had the StewMac kit? Sure. But Dremels are might handy.
  6. Dear Bob, Jakelly,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I think I will try to repair the El-Capitan. First I plan to consult with one or two local luthiers. Dremel seems more cost effective than StewMac kit because StewMac is very expensive.

    Jakelly, what kind of Dremel downcut did you use for the repair? The hole in the head of the El-Capitan is maybe too deep to use a short tool.
  7. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    Sorry, I don't remember what size or kind of downcut bit. They probably make long bits, not sure though.
  8. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I don't think the stewmac tool was designed for "U" channel truss rods. Given that a pro repair would likely cost more than the bass is worth, I think the dremel idea is your best shot. That is unless you want to learn to do it properly, remove the fret board, replace the rod, and re-attach the fretboard. Then do the needed fret work.

  9. After visiting a few luthiers and asking advices I decided to fix the bass by myself.

    I made a small window at the fingerboard close to the first fret using a low speed a drill. The U canal was visible and touchable this way. I used the drill as a router and removed a part of the U canal to make the and of the truss rod free. I placed the D washer and the nut. The operation was successful. I covered the window by a piece of wooden figured sticking film.

    The El Capitan works well!
  10. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Good fer you!