Stripped Truss Rod Nut

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Crimson36, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Crimson36

    Crimson36

    Oct 24, 2011
    Hello, I bought a used Warwick Thumb BO 5 bass (2001) years ago and when I was setting it up initially, I noticed the truss rod nut was somewhat stripped out. I was able to get it in a good spot and have left it alone for a long time but I would like to be able to make some changes now. If you are familiar with Warwick Thumb basses, this era of the bass has a non-replaceable rod and nut, and I have been told by a luthier that the fingerboard is impossible to remove without destroying it. A replacement neck/full repair and replacement of the rod would cost what I paid for the bass.
    Unfortunately, I'm struggling to get anything to gain purchase on the interior of the hex nut. The primary issue is the rod itself, which is protruding into the nut interior, giving me a very shallow recess in which to place my hex key. I've considered many options, and the best idea I currently have is to use a security hex socket (a hex key with a circular hole in the center of the key-face) in order to allow space for the rod while I push deeper into the nut. I believe that the security socket I have does not have a large enough hole in the center, so I am considering boring it (the hex key bit) out slightly, making a larger hole and maybe allowing enough space to get the key deep in the nut. I'm open to other suggestions (grinding small slots in the nut to allow for other turning mechanisms, etc). Let me know if you have any good ideas! I love this bass and want to be able to adjust it so that it plays perfectly for more years to come. I've attached some pictures (it was hard to get good lighting and good focus, sorry) so you can see what I'm talking about.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. AlenH

    AlenH

    Jun 18, 2019
    Austria
    Difficult to see what's going on with those pictures, but did you consider putting a washer under the nut?
     
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Do you know what makes the nut unable to be replaced? I'm not seeing why it wouldn't come off.
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  4. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Likewise. It looks like it could be replaced if you could get a good grab on it to back it out.
     
  5. AlenH

    AlenH

    Jun 18, 2019
    Austria
    Doh.... should have read the post properly! Tried using a hex socket? You can get extended versions which would probably allow space for the rod, much like the socket you would use to remove a motor spark plug.
    Another alternative is to use a key that is slightly oversize (with enough room for the rod) and pack it out with aluminium foil... the foil will crush as you place over the nut and start turning and hopefully give you enough purchase on the nut to slacken it. Then.... once the nut is off... if you can’t get a long enough alternative nut to cover the exposed rod... use a washer.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Crimson36

    Crimson36

    Oct 24, 2011
    So I have talked with a Warwick rep and they told me that it isn't a removable nut. Here is a picture of the rod from their website.


    Unfortunately it's a totally round barrel on the outside of the nut, so a socket won't work. I like the aluminum idea except that I can't take the nut off. I'm hoping there is a way to either create a tool or modify the nut slightly in such a way that I can turn it consistently and easily in the future.
     

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  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Ah. It's their version of a two-way rod. Sucks that it is made like that.

    I think I would put a drop or two of penetrating oil in the hole and sit the bass so it could weep down in the threads. Then, "pre-relieve" the neck with some mechanical force and hold it while attempting to turn the nut. If the nut is not seized and the rod is not under tension, it might not take very much torque to turn it, which would make it much easier under these conditions.
     
    Bassdirty likes this.
  8. underwhelmist

    underwhelmist

    Nov 16, 2018
    UK
    On bikes and cars with rounded-out cap screws I have had some success using a torx bit instead of a regular allen style key. Torx bits are a six pointed star shape, you might be able to tap one in so that it would grip the nut enough to turn it?

    Thinking about it, I'd use a one-piece torx driver, you don't want the bit getting stuck in there. Something like this:
    torx.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    Low Commotion and Lownote38 like this.
  9. Crimson36

    Crimson36

    Oct 24, 2011
    I think the penetrating oil is a good call, and I can definitely try pre-relieving the neck to keep from turning against the strength of the strings. If I can get a grip inside the nut i will definitely try these ideas out. Also I agree it's a shame it is being made this way. I was told the fingerboard can't even be removed, they would have to sand the fingerboard off, and then pull out the rod and replace the board with a new board. Bad design.

    I was considering a torx as well. The issue is that whatever I choose to do on that route (tap in a torx, create slots in the nut to make a flathead or PH screwdriver fit it, etc) I'm making a modification to the nut that I can't take back. In your experience does the new torx shaped indent in the nut stay put? Would I be able to use it well for future adjustments? And then there's still the issue of the protruding rod giving me very little room to find purchase inside the nut. The torx picture you provided has a hole in the face like what I would require, but it's not a big enough hole. And if I made the hole big enough to fit the torx around the rod, i'm worried there won't be a "star" shape left, only "points" which would make the torx tool too weak to turn the nut.
     
  10. underwhelmist

    underwhelmist

    Nov 16, 2018
    UK
    When I've used the torx trick I've never re-used the screw/bolt, so I don't know if this would be something you could do repeatedly. I suspect you'd just chew the nut up a bit more each time and eventually be back where you started.

    The hole in that driver is for a "security" torx screw, for stuff they don't want you to take apart. I think you're right, if you bored the hole out to fit over the truss rod there wouldn't be enough meat left to drive the nut. I think I'd try Chasarms' approach first. Good luck.
     
  11. That doesn't look like a double-action rod. Is there a wider shot showing the rest of it?
     
  12. Crimson36

    Crimson36

    Oct 24, 2011
    Ask and you shall receive. The item description is "Warwick Parts - 2-Way Truss Rod, Steel 630 mm (post 1996)"
    I doesn't look like most two-way truss rods i've seen either, I'm just going off of what I've read. I wish there were more detailed diagrams of the rod and how it's placed in so I could come up with more out of the box methods for fixing it. Like what prevents me mechanically from getting the nut off and replacing it? I can't tell just by looking. But until I understand it I don't want to make changes I can't reverse.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Ok now I get it. It does indeed have an ordinary nut screwed onto the rod. But in order to make it double action it's captured in the wood via the groove they machined into it. That little wood block propping it up is meant to illustrate this. So, you would indeed have to remove the fingerboard. Your guy says it's not possible? Find somebody else. They're ALWAYS removable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  14. ScottfromCalgary

    ScottfromCalgary

    May 10, 2015
    Calgary
    Can you cut or slot opposite sides of the rod in order to use a large flat-head screwdriver on it? Perhaps a small drill bit might work? I had a Custom Shop Peavey Cirrus 6 with a similar issue but I couldn't do a thing about it (method suggested above wouldn't work in that case) and ended up getting rid of it - too bad because it was a beautiful bass.
     
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Always removable? yes. But, removing them in such a way that you can re-use them is a different story. It completely depends on the type of adhesive used to attach the fingerboard. And, even if you could, it would be far more cost effective to destroy it and replace it.

    Traditionally, luthiers build instruments with the idea that themselves or someone else will one day have to repair them. With modern instruments like an electric bass guitar, this is not really the case.
     
  16. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    How about one of these:

     
  17. That's not been my experience. A few years ago I had my guy remove the fingerboard from a Pedulla thunder bass and replace it with a scratch-built fretless one. I have the fretted one, intact and was told if I ever change my mind he can put it back.
     
    Lownote38 likes this.
  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I don't think it would work, as part of his problem is the portion of the rod that is protruding into the hex hole. It is preventing the tool from getting deep into the hex opening.
     
    Crimson36 likes this.
  19. vaesto

    vaesto

    Jun 21, 2010
    Hi. Once I've seen similar problem. A solution was rater doable: remove first fret, cut the slot all way to neck wood, remove/cut/unglue piece of fingerboard from slot to the nut. You have an access to the TR nut this way. Fix it and put back the piece of fingerboard. Sure, it is not easy, but easier than removing entire fb.
     
    staurosjohn likes this.
  20. Lizooki

    Lizooki

    Feb 24, 2008
    I would ask around and find out who is the ABSOLUTE BEST TIG WELDER in your area.
    Take the strings off and take the bass to him and show it to him.
    A good tig man might be able to put a socket head in there and weld it so you can adjust it with a hex wrench.
    BUT, if he misses, it'll probably be stuck forever unless you do like vaesto says.

    It wouldn't hurt to ask tho'.