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Gripper truss rod wrench?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by emythefretless, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. emythefretless


    May 14, 2006
    Anyone had experience with this?


    It's so weird that I got this promotional e-mail from Stewmac today, since it was only yesterday when a luthier whom I trust gave me the sad news that my bass needs a minor surgery right because of the problem that this gadget is intended to solve.

    First, I couldn't believe my eyes, like they knew what happened... Maybe I'll order one and give it a try before going through an operation. What do you say?

    And also this guy offered me to make a new neck for the same bass. But when I told him that I'd appreciate it if he could fit the neck into the pocket as tightly as possible, he said that it was not that much of a big deal, referring to some guitars and basses with not that tight neck pockets but still resonating and ringing for years. As I know nothing on building, I was pretty convinced with what he said, but I'm still confused by the controversy. I mean, seeing that guys at Sadowsky sparing valuable time on sanding the neck and neckpocket to fit tight, I assume it must have something to do with the overall sound quality.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Fill us in on the details....bass, type of damage, pics if possible, etc.

    I'm working on a project which involves converting a stripped 3mm double-acting truss rod hex nut to a slotted one. Yes, it is actually working but needs some minor refinements.

  3. Hi.

    That's been the trick of the trade in bike/car building for as long there's been allen heads.

    Usually it's done by grinding the taper by hand. Works like a charm.

    Those wrenches seem to be reasonably priced so they're obviously a better option.

  4. emythefretless


    May 14, 2006
    Thanks guys. That's a stripped nut. I bought this bass used. An Aria stb jazz bass. Not sure about the build date but probably somewhere around 2000. When I bought it, I changed electronics and hardware and threw in some DR hi-beams. It didn't require major setup changes and turned into a wonderful bass.

    The problem is, when I switched to La-Bella super steps (tapered), the bass needed to be set up because strings came closer to the fretboard. Now the truss rod doesn't move, I had to raise the saddles, but you know, that's not the way to solve this problem.

    Now I kind of have two options, one is to switch back to DR, which will be fine with the current shape of the truss rod. Or I'll we'll install another truss rod nut (or another neck).

    I can't rely on a fixed truss rod, I'll eventually need to adjust it

    <a href="http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/?action=view&current=DSCN2382.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/DSCN2382.jpg" border="0" alt="stripped nut"></a>

    <a href="http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/?action=view&current=DSCN2387.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/DSCN2387.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/?action=view&current=DSCN2389.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/fretlesstheoriginal/DSCN2389.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Since mine is going to be an overseas order, it'll take time. But worth waiting before cutting the fretboard. Oh! Nasty stuff...
  5. emythefretless


    May 14, 2006
    By the way, great news! Congrats :cool:
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Thanks for the encouragement! That bad boy looks really stripped. The tapered hex key / tool thingy is worth a try but don't shed any addt'l metal if you can help it. If it doesn't work, don't replace the neck just yet. You may have the advantage (over me) as you have a straight shot at the nut and it appears to be removable. I'm working with a heel-situated recessed non-removable assembly. All you'll need is a Dremel tool with flex shaft and a variety of burrs, sanding / grinding attachments, and maybe some JB Weld. Full procedure TBA.

    Look at the bright side: even if the homemade repair attempt fails, you were gonna replace the neck anyway. Why not give it a shot?

  7. emythefretless


    May 14, 2006
    He said he could only take it out by removing the piece of the fretboard between the nut and the 1st fret. Kinda scary. Sad thing is, I know nothing about repair stuff. I don't have any idea on how wood & hardware stuff work. I'll have to translate your suggestion for him. I hope we'll figure some way out.

    Thanks a lot guys.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My tech couldn't come up with an inexpensive repair, either. This project was my brainchild...an act of desperation that actually panned out. Here's how I'd do it

    *Mask off the surrounding area with tape and thin cardboard to prevent scarring.

    *Prep the socket with steel wool to remove any grime or loose debris. Don't worry about any pits or irregularities as these will actually help with adhesion.

    *Mix a small amount of JB Weld and compress it into the socket with a piece of narrow dowel until flush with the nut end (kinda like how a dentist fills a cavity, eh?)

    *Important!: As the JB Weld begins to set up, indent / groove the surface vertically with a flathead screwdriver. This will provide some guidance when you grind the slot.

    *Allow 15+ hours to dry. If there's anyway you can squeeze some thin cardboard shims betweenst the nut and surrounding wood, do so as it offers some protection during the grinding process.

    *Using a Dremel w/ flex shaft and #105 engraving cutter, deepen the existing groove working from the center outwards. Use both hands to keep the tool steady as the engraver will want to skip as it begins to "bite" the surrounding nut wall. The resulting slot must pass completely from one side to the other much like a conventional screw and must be deep enough to adequately seat a flathead screwdriver.

    *You may need to slightly widen the recess to accept a full-size screwdriver. The tip should be just a tad wider than the nut itself.

    This really does work although I had a few minor miscues during the experimentation.

  9. Hi.

    Strange, I wouldn't think the nut is in that bad shape.

    I personally use the Bahco/Belzer 1418 stud remover set whenever I'm faced with a broken stud or a screw.

    sbe_1418s_wo_c_big. .

    If the nut is brass/bronze like they sometimes are, the tool might not work, but with steels I've never had any problems.
    And I have removed much more difficult broken studs from blocks and cases.

    Actually I can't see how removing the FB partially would solve more problems than create new ones.

  10. IMO you are way too late for those gripper wrenches. That nut is clean striped out. I would remove it altogether with an eze out tool ( sometimes called an extractor), where it forces a tight fit, then back the nut out and replace it.
  11. ducatiman


    Oct 3, 2006
    new yawk
    +1 on eze-out.

    i had success on a recessed (sunken) stripped nut INSIDE the soundhole (heelplate mounted nut) of a (brand new!) Ovation Matrix (acoustic-electric) working through the access hole in the back. basically done by feel and with the use of a dental mirror. tight quarters, a bitchy repair for sure. but the eze out DID work. i then had a longer nut modified at a machine shop so that the nut length exceeded the recess and could be seen from the access hole. the modification made adjustment nut more accessable.
  12. emythefretless


    May 14, 2006
    Thanks a lot, again. I'm thinking of replacing the neck with the neck of a spare bass which I don't play that much, same brand and model. Temporary solution. As you could tell, I'm a little confused.

    I had been spending time troubleshooting recording equipment and software, and right after everything came back on track, this bass got into this shape. I'm willing to play it on the majority of the tracks I'm going to record. As soon as I find a way to do it, I'll post a sample for you to get the taste of this beauty. I really do like the feel and sound of it a lot. Good wood + DP123's = good jazz bass, IMO.

    I'll let you know about the progress.

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