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 Post subject: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:03 pm 
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Since my thread about my Accent Vibrato concerns turned into trusss rod concerns, I thought I'd start another thread. I removed the truss rods on my RIC Model 1996 (325). Recall that I could not straighten the neck; the adjustment nuts were already very tight, and I could barely budge them. Here are a few of the photos I took along the way with some comments in case someone out there wants to do something similar. (BTW, I've covered most of the guitar up with plastic-like sheets with a sticky side--sort of like big, clear Post-It Notes--have to protect my investment....)

This is a view of the adjustment nuts. You can see that the one on the left (as you are looking at) it is not screwed down as far as the one on the right; note the inside of each nut:
Image

I have no intention of putting these same truss rods back into the guitar; I will buy a new pair. But, I'd like to understand what was going on here, why I could not tighten the rods any further. I bought this from a guy who could be Big John (in Jimmy Dean song), and maybe her or the guy he bought the guitar from really did some cranking on it. Maybe they could not adjust the neck any flatter either, and that's why I ended up with it? (The neck is not greatly bowed/relieved -- about 4/64" at the ninth fret.) Any analysis of what had been going on with the neck is invited.

Here I've removed the adjustment nuts and have tapped both rods down into the neck, about 1/2 inch or so:
Image

Here's a shot of the other/pickup end of the neck with the achoring nuts attached. I had to tap these out so that I could remove them. The nuts were not tight at all.
Image

Here I'm using a long Allen wrench to tap the rods back up into the neck, so that they will protrude at the neck, so that I can remove the rods from this end of the neck:
Image

I wanted to see if either of the holes--or rather the counter sunk openings--at the pickup end were both at the same depths, or if one had been deformed by all the tight attempted adjustments to the truss rods. Both recesses measured the same, about 17/32 inches. I do not know if this is OK; I think it is:
Image

Here's the rods tapped out a ways. I identified each with an "F" for "front" or "fretboard" facing. The small arrow points laterally, so I would be able to tell which was left & right (always as I face the front of the guitar):
Image

After the rods were out a ways, I put a couple of washers and the adjustment nut back on the rods, one at a time. At first I tried to tap with a net driver the rods out, like chiseling. This was slow going -- the rods were very tight. (I could not simply pull them out with pliers until they were over half-way out.) So I grabbed each rod directly behind the nut/washers with pliers and tapped the pliers with a small rubber hammer. This worked pretty well. My mistake was in not threading the nut down all the way to the end of the threads on the rods--my clamping the rods on the threads of the rods dinged them up somewhat:
Image

Here's a photo with one of the rods about half way out. I was surprised by the curve of the rod:
Image

Here both rods are out. They are covered with masking tape. You can see how curved they are, and they are not both the same. One has more curve to it (the upper one in the photo), and this is the one on the left (facing guitar). Recall that in the first photo that the nut on this rod was not screwed down as far as the one on the right side, i.e., the was a greater length of rod within the neck with this one, the left side. Apparently, the right side was a little less curved as this rod was tightened further; less rod within the neck:
Image

So, to me these seem pretty bent up. Oh, I know that they must conform to the curvature of the truss rod space(s) within the neck, but it seems strange that the curvature is a whole lot more that the thickness of the neck. Granted, with the rods in place with all the nuts on, the curvature would be less.... Nevertheless, it seems to defy logic:
Image

I see that these rods (part number 01000 - truss rod assy short scale) are sold individually, and what seems to be lacking when I buy the pair will be part number 06119 - two hole truss rod spacer. I suppose that one will be available when I order. (Mine is slightly bent.)

All commentary welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:00 am 
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Thankyou Maxwell for posting this in detail. I do not see myself ever trying to remove truss rods, but I never tire of reading the blow by blow of someones project. Hope it goes smoothly from here out.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:25 am 
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Like I said before, bending the rods is perfectly good procedure when more force is needed and I'd say that's what was done here. This is only moderate bending . . . I've seen them almost in a circle before.

What you haven't mentioned is how straight the neck is without the rods. If it's currently bowed, then the rods would be installed with the bends to counteract that.

I sure hope that adhesive on the film doesn't react with the finish.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:46 am 
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Location: Jackson, Mississippi
I, too, probably wouldn't do this (yet) to my own guitar, but ....

Wow, this sure is interesting to watch from home. I never would have thought truss rods would be removed from the head (before reading Mr. Hall's advice in the parallel thread on this). My previous thought would have been to remove them from the tail/p'up side. Interesting to see the curve - no wonder they were so hard to remove.

Good luck and keep us updated.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:30 pm 
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JohnHall wrote:
Like I said before, bending the rods is perfectly good procedure when more force is needed and I'd say that's what was done here. This is only moderate bending . . . I've seen them almost in a circle before.

What you haven't mentioned is how straight the neck is without the rods. If it's currently bowed, then the rods would be installed with the bends to counteract that.

I sure hope that adhesive on the film doesn't react with the finish.



Re: "bowed" = fretboard surface is convex, as if the neck were "bent backwards." Sometimes descriptive neck terminology can be somewhat confusing, as different people seem to have differing perceptions of what's what. I interpret "bowed" in this way, a curvature that no guitarist wants, that places the strings too close, or even touching, the middle of the fretboard, that can easily render any gutar unplayable. Is this what you mean by "bowed?"

My neck has a small amount of relief, that slightly "bent forward" concave aspect of the playing/fretting surface that is typically found and purposely adjusted to varying degrees in most guitars. I wanted to flatten (straighten) the neck from this relief (concavity), but was unable to do so (accordingly: tighten the rods to straighten; loosen and allow string tension to provide relief).

If my rods were intentionally bent as you see for the purpose of flattening a "bowed" (convex) neck, then I'd say they did their job well, maybe a little too well.

I wanted to take a photo of my neck tonight and post it along with some other thoughts, but I don't have the time now. This weekend.

As for the finish -- I'm pretty sure it will not come to any harm. Anyway, I think I still have a warranty on this, don't I?
















;) Just kidding, of course. Thanks for being an active participant in these forums! Much appreciated! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:55 am 
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maxwell wrote:
Re: "bowed" = fretboard surface is convex, as if the neck were "bent backwards." Sometimes descriptive neck terminology can be somewhat confusing, as different people seem to have differing perceptions of what's what. I interpret "bowed" in this way, a curvature that no guitarist wants, that places the strings too close, or even touching, the middle of the fretboard, that can easily render any gutar unplayable. Is this what you mean by "bowed?"


In the guitar world we use the term "bow" to refer to head movement toward the back of the back and "underbow" to mean neck movement towards the front. Simple as that.

If your instrument has underbow at rest ("relief"), then you'll want to install the rods bent to naturally counteract that, so with the nuts loose, the neck is straight or just slightly bowed.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:16 am 
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Thanks. I'm very curious about whether or not the interior of the neck--the truss rod space--has any contours that would, in turn, create a curvature of the rods. If I were to install straight truss rods , would the rods assume some curvature, or would they remain straight?


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:00 pm 
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Nice pictorial documentation of your work, maxwell.

I have a project to get to soon with a 4003S/8. It's former owner had set of strings on it that way too heavy. I'm going to remove the truss rods and bend them almost to a full circle as JH mentioned, before they get reinstalled. I'll probably put some washers on the body end of the rods as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:32 pm 
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maxwell wrote:
Thanks. I'm very curious about whether or not the interior of the neck--the truss rod space--has any contours that would, in turn, create a curvature of the rods. If I were to install straight truss rods , would the rods assume some curvature, or would they remain straight?


The truss rod slot is indeed curved. It wouldn't work if it wasn't.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Yes, this is what I had always assumed.... However, the mention of pre-bending the truss rods had me wondering if Rics had a different or alternative method of neck adjustment.


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