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making a truss rod?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Howe, Mar 14, 2008.


  1. Howe

    Howe

    Feb 9, 2008
    right so, after hours of trying..to locate a truss rod for my 30 inch scale project..

    I can't order online since I don't have a way to pay (credit card ect) mind you I did manage to find some one who'll make one for 50 bucks.


    but anywho, 50 bucks is abit steep price wise for me for something like a single truss rod, so I'm gunna take a stab at making my own.
    I've got hoards of tools, and machining experiance so fabrication isn't the issue.

    basicly, I don't understand fully how they work, and how I'd make one since I've never been able to see out outside of a neck.
    so if some one could point out some drawings, or discribe how it's made I'd apprieciate it :)
     
  2. Busker

    Busker

    Jan 22, 2007
    $50 to make a truss rod? You can make one for probably less than $10. Basically, you need a 3/16 mild steel rod available at most hardware stores. Mild steel is "regular" steel, not high carbon steel or stainless.

    If you just need a basic truss rod like Gibson & Fender uses, one end has to be threaded to take the adjusting nut, the other end needs to be anchored somehow, so the rod will not turn inside the neck.
     
  3. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    You can get an LMI dual action for like $25, there are a million ways to pay, send them a check, postal money order, etc..
    If you are hard pressed on making one at least get an idea of how they work. Check out LMI or StewMac and I would suggest dual action for ease of use. Also I hope you have some metal working tools like a welder if you are making your own. Sorry to rain on your parade. :)
    Good luck,
    Dirk
     
  4. Hi Howe.

    If You think what's the function of the truss-rod, You'll understand the way it works more easily. The pull from the strings introduces a bending force to the neck, and the truss rod needs to counter act that (among other things).

    The traditional one-piece truss-rod has to have a pre bow in order to make that effect, the modern two-piece that sits in a steel or aluminium channel doesn't, as it has its own anchor points. The dual actions are variations of these two.

    I've made both in the past and the trad. version is way simpler for a DIYer, IMHO of course.

    I'd make it from a pre-threaded rod covered possibly with shrink-tubing in order to avoid rattle and have a threaded anchor plate on one end and a sliding nut on the other.

    A few of the cheapos I've worked with didn't have the bow in the channel, but rather a block of wood in the middle of the rod to make the same effect. Works, but is a perfect place for symphatetic resonances also, so at least don't put the block exactly in the middle of the rod if You go that road.

    Hope this helps at least a bit.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  5. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    the single action rods that ive worked with are awesome. easy to make and cheap too. when you install it id suggest not installing it on a curve. instead install it oposite the string angle (about an 1/8 of an inch difference from heel to nut) . this method works sooooooooo much better and is easy too.

    goodluck

    joey k
     
  6. orgmorg

    orgmorg

    Jan 25, 2008
    Dismal, Tennessee
    Whatever you do, don't use "all-thread" - the threaded rod typically available at hardware stores and such. It is real weak stuff.
     
  7. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    How strong does it need to be? We've got lots of high current very large copper cables at my work, and it's mostly all suspended from unistrut hanging on allthread which hangs from inserts in the concrete beams in the ceiling. They weigh a lot more than the tension of all your strings combined, and haven't caused any problems.

    Maybe I don't get it. I've never built a trussrod. Have you ever had a trussrod failure attributed to the allthread?
     
  8. Howe

    Howe

    Feb 9, 2008
    hey, thanks alot for the input guys.

    I really didn't realize it was that simple, I thought there were some voodoo magic involved or something >.<

    looks like tomorrow, I'm grab some steel rod, thread it up on one end, then think I'll pin on a anchor on it. I really like the slope idea away from the strings really simple ingenious way of doing it, the block trick sounds abit trick in placement thought.

    thanks again guys.
     
  9. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Check out this picture, courtesy or Bill Cumpiano's website:

    [​IMG]

    Bill co-write what is essentially the acoustic guitar building "bible"... in it, he fabricates basically *every part* of the guitar except the tuning pegs, and strap pin... this picture is his "update" to the truss rod design in the book, and is a very sound and easy to make design. You just heat the 3/16" mild steel rod with a blowtorch until it is pliable, and then you "fold" just to one side of center... you want one end to be about an inch longer than the other. Thread the longer end, and the picture should explain the rest.

    I have build several truss rods like this, and they work beautifully... I prefer the spoke-wheel adjustment nuts (a la Music Man), which Stew-Mac sells for just a few dollars. I don't know what they'd charge you for international shipping, but I doubt it would be much just for a nut or two... you can also just use a nut from the hardware store, but you'll want to probably use a brass one. I usually buy the Stew-Mac spoke wheel nuts 3 at a time, as that's usually how I end up making my truss rods.
     
  10. Howe

    Howe

    Feb 9, 2008
    thank you SDB, thats a very useful drawing.

    I'm glad I went fishing and didn't make my truss rod today, I think I'll go with that plan, and just make my own nut out of brass stock, thanks :)
     
  11. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    The block shaped piece that captures the non-threaded end of the rod is very important... easiest to make out of brass stock, though steel or even aluminum would work just fine. It gives the nut something to push against when you tighten it, facilitating the bowing action.

    I'd recommend covering the entire rod assembly in heat shrink tubing, which should help eliminate any vibration. If you don't have any handy, you can also use friction tape, which is basically a cloth tape. It was used like electrical tape before they had the vinyl tape, and it doesn't break down like the vinyl tape.
     
  12. asad137

    asad137

    Jan 18, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Physicist
    Is this supposed to be a double-action truss rod?

    Asad
     
  13. No, it's a single action rod.

    This is the style rod that I make, quite easy to make.
     
  14. asad137

    asad137

    Jan 18, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Physicist
    Whew, ok -- I thought I was going crazy when I couldn't figure out how that rod could be made to bow in both directions!

    Asad
     
  15. orgmorg

    orgmorg

    Jan 25, 2008
    Dismal, Tennessee
    Yes I have, actually. The nut seized onto the rod and the rod snapped when I turned it.
    The allthread in your shop is probably a bit bigger, and can suspend quite a bit of weight in that manner.
    When it's 3/16 or 1/4" however, it gets a bit dodgy.
    When I took that trussrod out, it was quite rusty, as well.
    Most trussrods that you buy are stainless steel.
    I know it seems like moisture shouldn't get in there, but it can.
     
  16. Sorry to derail, as I'm not a builder, and never saw a reason to start a thread asking this silly question: I've always wondered why the pressure of the adjusted rod never pried the FB off the neck. Am I way off base in thinking that way? If someone could answer that quickly, I'll back away quietly. :)


    Thanks!
     
  17. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Hey Eric,
    I would answer that question with I've never seen that happen with modern glues. From my experiences the glue these days is stronger than the wood itself.
    Dirk
     
  18. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    Good to know, and yes. it's much bigger. I wonder if a bit of anti-seize on the threads might have prevented it. (Not an argument.. just an idea)

    stainless is probably a better idea, but I doubt many of the diy ones are.
     
  19. orgmorg

    orgmorg

    Jan 25, 2008
    Dismal, Tennessee
    Probably, or even just some oil. But these days, a good quality double action rod can be had for $12, so I don't see myself messing with making my own single action rods.
     
  20. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    My thoughts exactly, Maybe if I was building a lot of basses, it might eventually make sense to come up with my own design. For the couple bucks I'd save, and the marginal improvements I might be able to make, it's tough to justify the effort for the few basses I'd build for myself.
     

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