Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Stripped Truss Rod Head

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Razor, Oct 4, 2003.


  1. Razor

    Razor

    Sep 22, 2002
    Dallas
    I have a P neck where adjustment to the truss rod is made with a hex/allen wrench from the opening in the headstock/nut area. I know that the truss rod works but I believe the head of the truss rod, where the wrench fits into to actually turn the rod has been stripped out. In lieu of trashing the whole neck what options to I have to get something into the head to remove the truss rod?
     
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Is it a dual action truss rod a the regular single action type?

    If it is a single action type, you might be able to back the nut off and replace it with a new nut as long as the threads on the rod itself are still okay. If it is a dual action you might be able to get something else in there to move it, but you're only going to be able to do this a very limited number of times before the nut strips out again.

    Can you post a pic of what it looks like and a bit more of a description of what is wrong?

    You could also steam the fingerboard off and replace the truss rod. A new truss rod will cost you something like $15. The real expense in replacing a truss rod is having to refret the fingerboard. No biggie if you can do it yourself, but most shops will charge around $200-$300 just for the refret job.

    :^)~
     
  3. Bass Kahuna, could you expand on steaming a fretboard and replacing the truss rod? I have a beater yamaha bass (fretless) that I wouldn't mind doing this on as the truss rod (threads and all) is trashed.

    Im the hands on type, although my skill is limited to setting basses up and finishing than assembling a warmoth bass. (not much I know)
     
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Perhaps I can help clarify this. Most fretboards are glued on using water-soluble glues. If you steam the fretboard, the glue will loosen, and you can very carefully remove the fretboard.

    Underneath the fretboard, you will see a channel routed through the middle of the neck, containing the truss rod. When the fingerboard is removed, you can remove the exposed truss rod and insert a new one (can get them at www.stewmac.com and some other places as well). You then sand the glue remnants off both the neck and the back of the fretboard, clean it up using naptha, and carefully glue the fretboard back in place. You need to be exceptionally careful that the fretboard goes back on EXACTLY as it was before.
     
  5. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA
    Uh, if it's got a headstock-adjust truss rod without a truss rod cover, like a Fender, it's a vintage rod in a curved channel with anchors pressed into the neck at both ends. That means that under the fingerboard (if there is a separate fingerboard) there's also a curved filler strip of wood glued over most of the truss rod. This is quite another matter to remove and replace, since steam inside the neck may well warp it. You'd probably have to chisel it out, pull the rod, and make a new filler strip.
     
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Sure!

    There is a very good online tutorial on the Project Guitar site that explains how to do this with simple home tools. It is at:

    http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/removal.htm

    The main thing to remember when doing this it patience, patience, patience!

    :^)~
     
  7. awsome, looks like I have a project over thankgiving break!!!
     
  8. quick question, he says leave frets in or the board will curl. The neck had the frets removed (never had anything to fill the slots- don't look at me, I didn't do the job, Im just trying to salvage a free bass). Does this mean the board will curl no matter what? is there anything I could do?
     
  9. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    The fingerboard will probably curl no matter what you do, even with the frets still in it will curl a bit, so just be extra careful when taking it off not to crack it. I would suggest that once you get it off to clamp it between two stiff boards to help it keep it's shape until you get around to glueing it back on.

    The main reason, to me anyway, to leave the frets in when taking the board off is too keep the board from potentially cracking at one of the fret slots. The tang of the fret still embedded in the fret slot will help prevent the board from bending while you remove it.

    There are also tutorials on the same site (just one subdir up....) that step you through putting the fingerboard back on, etc. There are good books out there too, but the project guitar site does a pretty decent job from a home hobbyists POV, and heck, the is no cost associated with there pages! Print `em off for future reference in your shop.

    You will almost definitely have to do a refrett job on the board after it is reglued back down, as the original frets are going to move around and pop up a whole bunch throughout the process. If you're comfortable doing a truss rod replacement and refret yourself, it is a very cheap repair. If you can get the frets in, you could even take it to a local shop after just to have them dress the frets and do a setup, which is usually pretty inexpensive.

    Good luck, and take your time!

    :^)~
     
  10. how about for a fretless ebonol fingerboard? would the procedure in the link work with this? cuz i'm figuring hot iron + plastic = disaster
     
  11. Razor

    Razor

    Sep 22, 2002
    Dallas
    Sorry for the delay in responding back to everyone. I appreciate and value the replies I have gotten on the thread. I really can't get a good picture due to inadequate lighting in the hole where the head is located (half inch or so inside the neck via headstock).
    It's an all maple neck and it's kind of the same situation when you have a stripped pickup height screw. On those I have always been able to dremel the head into a flat slot for removal with a screwdriver but on this problem I can't figure out what tool will allow me to make the truss head accessible by another type of tool for removal.:meh:
     
  12. Gander

    Gander

    Jun 5, 2002
    Texas
    Hi Razor, You might see if you can find a skinny screw extractor or "easy out". It is cone shaped, slips down into the Allen slot and grips when you apply downward pressure while turning it ccw(looking down on the truss rod nut). If you have trouble getting the easy out to cut into the Allen nut you could probably take a small 3 cornered file and file a small slot on the inside of the nut for the cutting edge of the easy out to cut into. Hope this makes sense and helps.
     
  13. Razor

    Razor

    Sep 22, 2002
    Dallas
    Makes perfect sense and sounds like a good plan. I will look for one at the hardware store. Thanks.