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Stubborn truss rod

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Captain Awesome, Jan 28, 2002.


  1. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    PDX
    OK, I've decided I need to make the neck on my Ibanez just a little straighter, but even if I apply almost enough pressure to bend the hex wrench, the truss rod nut will not move at all. What could the problem be, and can I fix it?
     
  2. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Hi,
    Can you remove the nut? Sometimes it helps to lubricate the threads and bearing surface. Candle wax can be mildly effective, but something like 3 in 1 oil or graphite paste is better. Good luck!
    Carey
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well all the advice I have read, says that if it is difficult to move, then don't do it! The most likely thing is that it is tightened as far as it will go and you will only succeed in breaking it!

    I think the point is that some basses can get lower action or less relief than others. Generally I have found that cheaper basses cannot be setup as well (optimally?) as more expensive ones. You get what you pay for!
     
  4. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    From a 1997 Bass Gear magazine (a special issue from Bass Player):

    "A properly relieved neck has a gradual up-bow going from around the 9th fret toward the nut, but remains straight from the 9th fret to the last fret. The result is an overall curve in the fret tops between the first fret and the body joint."

    With that being said, here's how they recommend adjusting the truss rod:

    "1) You may have to completely remove the neck to make your adjustments. 2) Always loosen the truss rod nut first, since it may already be as tight as it goes. In fact, remove it completely and brush or blow away any dirt from the threads of both the rod and the nut. Then put a tiny dab of lubricant on the threads inside the nut (use Teflon Tri-Flow, Vaseline, Magic Guitar Lube, or oil), being careful not to get any on the bare wood. 3) Re-install the nut until just snug, without putting tension on it. Then make a small pencil mark on both the nut and the neck. When the marks line up, that's your starting point... 4) One half-turn on a truss rod nut is a lot. Once the nut is snug, tighten it 1/8 - 1/4 turn and then check your progress. Expect to remove and install the neck several times during this process. The effect of the rod adjustment can take days or weeks to be complete. You may adjust the neck perfectly one day, only to find a day later that the neck kept moving from the rod's tension... Don't panic if this happens; simply re-adjust it. 5) If the truss rod nut is extremely tight on the rod, or recessed into the hole, watch out! It was probably over-tightened by a previous owner or amateur "repairman." Over-tightening can break the truss rod or compress the wood, without straightening the up-bow. In this case, follow the removal, cleaning and lubrication steps above and then add one or two thin washers before threading on the nut. Often, this will give the nut a new grip and allow further rod adjustments. 6) With a stubborn neck, it may be best to losen the rod completely, clamp the neck straight (or even into a back-bow) and then tighten the truss rod nut."

    If it's your action that you are trying to fix, I would recommend that you try adjusting the bridge saddles first, to see if that gets you where you want to be (unless your neck is obviously twisted and gnarly like an old stick). I don't think I would ever have the cajones to try to adjust a truss rod myself, but if you are going to do it, I wish you good luck!

    EDIT: My own bit of advice: Make sure that the wrench you are using is an exact fit and that it fits squarely inside of the nut. You sure don't want to round that bad boy out! Also, don't force anything! If there's one thing I learned as a mechanic, it's that you shouldn't ever have to force a screw, nut or bolt into place. And like my dear daddy always says, "There's snug and then there's broken."
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well that's basically what I said, in about a quarter of the space! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Really? I read your post again and then I read my post again -- they don't look like they say the same thing to me.

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Bruce Lindfield said - before this :

    "if it is difficult to move, then don't do it! The most likely thing is that it is tightened as far as it will go and you will only succeed in breaking it!"


    I rest my case! :D
     
  8. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Bruce, with all due respect, you said, "Don't do it" and I said, "Don't force it." There is a difference.

    I also said that by cleaning and lubricating the threads and adding some thin washers, he may be able to get some more adjustment out of it.
     
  9. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    PDX
    Ok, enough of that, ;)
    But thanks for the advice guys. Hategear, I have adjusted the bridge saddles down to right above the "buzzing point", and it plays pretty well how it is, even though I would like a little less relief. I think the wrench that came with the bass could be misshapen too, it doesn't go in very well. I'll just leave it alone for a while, I guess...
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well that was not what I was saying - it's just annoying when people ignore you and go on to say more or the less the same thing - I find it very rude - if I was in the same room I would be saying something like "can anybody here me!?"

    Like - why did I bother to say anything - don't expect any help from me next time! :mad:
     
  11. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    PDX
    My apologies, I just don't think this is something to argue about... I don't see what's wrong with two people saying the same thing, it's reinforcement.
     
  12. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    In regard to some of the comments made above: Tolerance is a two-way street. In general, people need to learn how to be upstaged without having a tantrum about it.