Knuckle sandwich to whoever came up with heel truss rod adjustment

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Sam Pajanna, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Sam Pajanna

    Sam Pajanna

    Mar 12, 2016
    I'd like to meet the jerk who made the decision to put the truss rod at the end of the neck in American Standard basses. Why on earth would they go back to this stupid configuration? I'm guessing to save money. I bought one used, didn't come with the wrench, and for me to adjust it with a normal hex wrench I have to take the whole pick guard off. Which I just did the other day, but I've changed strings since, and it needs another adjustment. Plus, I just ran around town looking for a suitable wrench and came up empty-handed.

    I hate everything and everyone right now.
  2. Sam Pajanna

    Sam Pajanna

    Mar 12, 2016
    I'll probably feel better after I eat something. Hanger.
  3. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    It's "authentic" who wants progress in a Fender? :rollno:
  4. You don't have to remove the neck completely to adjust the truss rod. Loosen the stings a bit. Loosen the bottom screws about 3/4 ways and top about 1/2 way and the neck will tilt up and you can make your adjustment. Put the neck back into to pocket and re-tighten the screws.

    Hope this helps!
    noeinstein likes this.
  5. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
  6. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Have a Snickers... you're just not yourself, right now...
  7. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Can you take a good pic of the adjustment area?
  8. There's a reason they supply the wrench for those. The same (non-Fender) wrench can be bought from hardware supply places for less than $15. When I ordered my current AmStd P, which is also used, I made sure to order one of those wrenches too. They sometimes pop up in the TB classifieds for dirt cheap.
    Atshen likes this.
  9. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    There is a certain logic to the heel adjust since drilling a hole at the headstock end removes wood from the thinner, weaker part of the neck. BUT, the fact they did not make the adjuster accessible without unscrewing the neck is a flaw (aka feature) worthy of a good flogging. Personally I wish everyone used the spoke wheel adjuster.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    There have been problems with Fenders that have truss rod adjustment at the headstock. I have seen quite a few that have cracked fretboards between the nut and the first fret caused by the truss rod nut crushing the neck fibres in that region. I much prefer a heel adjustment preferably with a spoke wheel adjuster.
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I've been really lucky with my top adjusting necks, and the Highway one necks have been OK adjusting from the heel, so I'm knocking on wood.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    In Praise of Heel Located Truss Rod Adjustment Nuts

    Have you ever seen a broken Gibson headstock? Sure you have. Les Paul headstocks have been known to snap off when their case falls face forward on to the floor. (Number one cause is falling off a guitar stand, often caused by a member of the audience "helping" during tear down!)

    How 'bout broken Fender headstocks? Pretty rare. You know why? The headstock is left whole at the weakest point, where the neck is the thinnest. The truss rod adjustment nut is located in the right place, at the heel.

    This "complaint" concerning Heel Located Truss Rod Adjustment Nuts (herein after referred by the acronym HLTRAN) comes up periodically on this forum. It just doesn't make sense.

    HLTRAN adjustment protocol:
    1. Loosen the strings.
    2. Loosen the bolts.
    3. Tilt the neck and adjust.
    4. Reverse steps.
    5. Play
    That's four steps not including the playing part. Some folks loosen the strings before adjusting the truss rod nut no matter where it's located. That's one less step.

    So how much time does it take? It takes one minute if you know how to use tools. Seriously. I've timed it. Maybe it will take a minute and a half if you are mechanically challenged. (If you're confused by which end of the screwdriver fits in your hand you are mechanically challenged. In which case, why would you want to make any adjustments to something as fragile and complex as a guitar?) If it takes a couple of tries to get it right, it's maybe an extra five minutes in the set up process.

    Now if you're running a busy shop and doing five or ten set ups a day on which all the guitars possess HLTRAN's then there is a real cost in time used. Complaining is not only called for, but maybe some strong language and an internet rant or two. Of course, many of those guitars will not have a HLTRAN, so that's moot. Plus, those guys are really fast.

    Even if you possess two guitars with HLTRAN's, and you're new to set ups but have figured out which end of the screw driver is the one to use for the neck bolts (it's different from the one you use on the HLTRAN), and you decide to do both on the same day, it's still only an extra ten minutes.

    Gloom! Despair! The Agony! That's an awful lot of time and trouble to adjust the most important thing you own.

    Respectfully submitted, with tongue loosely placed (just like neck bolts in Step 2) only half way into cheek.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  13. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    You can get the official fender wrench for $9 on amazon. Or get a full set of ball end hex wrenches for under $20.

    But truss rod wheel FTW. Fender could do better.

  14. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    +1, Highway One... no problem, especially with the cutout in the pickguard...
    fhm555 likes this.
  15. One of my basses has a crack at the first fret because of Headstock end adjustment. I have 75 reissue with the bullet nut adjustment. I heard a lot of these basses, even the originals, had this problem.
  16. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I like the Stingray truss rod adjustment at the heal, very easy to access. Late model Yamaha BB series also has a truss rod at the heal. And it too is easy to access and adjust.
    Bob Lee (QSC) likes this.
  17. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    As long as there's a groove in the body to allow the insertion of a ball-end allen wrench, I'm not fussed about a heel end adjustment. What gets me annoyed is when there's no groove in the body for the wrench.

    And no, I don't think it makes sense to have to loosen the neck bolts for every neck adjustment. Those bolts/screws (and the wood they go into) take alot of stress and the less they're moved the better. Not to mention that a fair number of instruments end up needing shims that can be disloged if adjusting the truss rod this way.

    All this to say when it comes to heel truss rods, if you have to loosen the neck, there's something wrong with the design. If all it takes is a ball-end allen key, then that's just fine with me.
  18. This maker got it right; no messing around with trial and error adjustments.
  19. You forgot the actual second step where you affix a capo, bungee, or rubber tubing around the strings at the nut to keep them in place during the whole fiasco :)
  20. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Necessary only if you take the strings completely slack. That slack takes too long to re-tune.
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