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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:49 pm 
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Rickenbrother wrote:
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.


Well, working on these expensive guitars is a thrill, so to speak. What I really found difficult was figuring out how to best accomplish each task leading up to the removal of the truss rods. All this took a long time, venturing into unknown territory, and I was sort of sweating it all the way, yet confident that I was not going to irreversibly damage something. So many little, "tap, tap, taps," and then repeatedly checking progress. I was really pooped out when I finally got those rods out. Now that I've done it, the next time will be much faster and be less stressful.

Since I was going so slowly, it was not really inconvenient to stop every so often and take a few photos. Actually, I took so many, because most did not come out right; the digital age is cool. You can do the same! BTW, somewhere on YouTube is a 30-second video of someone tapping out the rods from a bass.... (Oh, yeah! From what I could see, those bass truss rods are really thick (heavy gauge). I don't think bending those will be easy, especially in a circle. If they are, indeed, thick, then you probably will not have to bend them as much to still have the curvature work effectively for you. I think that if the rods are thick and you put "too much" curve in them, then they will be really, really difficult to install into the neck. But, I'm just guessing.... based on my limited experience and the YouTube video I saw.)

I will also likely put a washer or two in at the body end of the rods. I'm not sure if the recesses have been distorted or not, but I believe that the further apart the anchor points (nuts) are, the more effective adjustment to the neck will be. If I put on too many so that the adjustment nuts at the headstock are not securely engaging the rods, I can simply tap the rods an inch or two back out at the body end and remove what I need to without having to remove the entire truss rod(s). When you think about it, this truss rod system is really a convenient, user-friendly design.

Good luck!

PS - Here's the bass truss rod video (it's not YouTube). The guy doing the repair easily pulls a rod out (the rod is straight):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8903114@N07/5569164144/


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:04 pm 
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maxwell wrote:
From what I could see, those bass truss rods are really thick (heavy gauge). I don't think bending those will be easy, especially in a circle. If they are, indeed, thick, then you probably will not have to bend them as much to still have the curvature work effectively for you. I think that if the rods are thick and you put "too much" curve in them, then they will be really, really difficult to install into the neck. But, I'm just guessing.... based on my limited experience and the YouTube video I saw.)


Identical rod material and hardware, just longer.

FYI, one of our guys can change out a rod in under a minute. It's not as delicate as it might appear to you. Also, the newer ones are covered in shrink tubing and there's a little more room in the slot.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:13 pm 
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I was probably more afraid of breaking the neck-body joint than anything else....

Thanks for the tip about the new truss rods. I am just about ready to order a pair. The short scale ones are a little hard to find. When will you have them available? I'd sure like to have the newer ones, and won't mind waiting a little while for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:10 am 
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When the nuts feel hard to turn it’s not necessarily due to high tension on the rods.

The treads on the rods should be clean and healthy. If not the nuts might of course be harder to turn.

With tension on the rods the nuts are forced against the spacer, and this friction makes it harder to turn. Some of this friction is relieved by forcing the neck back when adjusting the nuts. A washer between nut and spacer reduces this even more. Also put some grease on the washers to make things run even smoother. (Teflon bicycle grease or something that does not flow, but stays where you put it.)

Another thing is that when tightening the nut the treaded end of the rod will obviously be dragged through the hole in the spacer. This might be a major source of friction if the threaded end is not moving freely through the hole. Treads might get hooked up on the edge of the hole, and the edge stripping threads. (In one of your photos the threads does seem a little shiny at one point, which might be due to this.)
In worst case the edge of the hole can eat into the threads and the rod so much that the rod gets stuck and won’t move any further. Then obviously the nut will be very hard to turn. (This happened on one of my basses, where a previous owner ended up snapping the rods due to this. Myself, I prefer an aluminium spacer to alleviate this kind of problem.) The holes in the steel spacer is bevelled on the back to avoid treads getting stuck on the edge, but it can be a good idea to smooth it out more with file to remove any sharpness. Also, a little grease on the treads won’t hurt.
The spacer not sitting straight and perpendicular to the rods will worsens this problem, but from your photo the spacer seems pretty straight to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:41 am 
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Thanks, Right-Lefty. I appreciate your insight as to what might cause the adjustment nuts to be so tight -- or seem so tight -- that they can no longer be tightened and become ineffectual. I've looked over the spacer and neck. I took some photos:

Here is simply the top of my spacer. Not much to see here:
Image


Here is the underside, and also not much to see:
Image


Here is a profile view of the front (outer) edge. You can see that it is somewhat bent, very slightly, between the two holes, and closer to the left side hole (as you view the guitar from the front):
Image


Here is a view of the truss rod neck cavity. Can't see much from this perspective:
Image


Here's another closer to being parallel with the surface that the spacer sits on. I can't really visually dectect an uneveness of this surface, although something allowed the spacer to bend. I'm thinking that the small cut-out at the front of the cavity to allow access for a small screwdriver to pry the spacer out may have contibuted to allowing the spacer to bend in this area:
Image


I have seen photos of truss rods having been really bent, and these are the ones so bent that a nut driver can no longer slip over the adjustment nuts. I did not think that my truss rods were bent here (at the spacer), but when I was removing the truss rods I threaded the adjustment nuts down further than where they originally were. As I did this, they became very tight until they threaded past that area where the bottom of nut/top surface of spacer were. Beyond this spot, the nuts again became easy to thread. Upon close examination of the rods, I could detect a very slight bend. Here's a photo. (I overlooked positioning the nut; the top/bottom are reversed.) If you look at the left side ("bottom") of the nut, you can see a shiny spot where a thread has been flattened. This is where I had to force the nut as I threaded it down beyond this point. The bend is about here. Those marks on the threads further to the left is the damage I caused when I held the rod with my pliers as I removed the rod from the neck. (If I were to re-use these rods, that damaged area is well beyond where the adjustment nut could possibly go during adjustment, and I would not expect any problem in this regard.) Anyway, take a look:
Image


I could find a bench vise and flatten out my aluminum spacer, if I wanted to. I can appreciate your wanting to use a metal softer than the truss rods in case the treads of the rods got hung up on an edge of the spacer holes. But I've been thinking of making my own out of steel, from something I can easily find at a good hardware store, something like a small right angle brace. As you suggest, I would bevel the edges of the holes on the underside of the spacer where the rods touch. I plan to go looking for something today. I can appreciate the use of aluminum, as this would not rust in case of high humidity or accidentally wetting and create problems (fusing?) with the metal truss rods. I'm thinking that two or three thinner layers of metal comprising the spacer would provide something more resistant to bending (increased strength from lamination). You could probably cut out thinner layers (of aluminum) on your own with metal shears and more easily drill the holes....

The suggestion of using a washer between the adjustment nut and the spacer is a good one, and if I have any extra room after adding washers to the body end of the truss rods, I'll do it. Using a little lubricant sounds good, too.

There is an Internet dealer who has the short scale truss rods in stock, and I think I'll just order them now, even if they don't have the newer shrink-wrap covering. Well, OK.... later!


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:03 am 
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maxwell wrote:
Good luck!

PS - Here's the bass truss rod video (it's not YouTube). The guy doing the repair easily pulls a rod out (the rod is straight):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8903114@N07/5569164144/

Thanks for the heads-up, maxwell, though I've had experience pulling out/re installing truss rods. 8-)
New style:
Image
4003

A well as old style:
Image
4001FL

Image
4001 truss rods.

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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:53 am 
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Are these (top & bottom) photos taken of your current project? I see that the rods have some, but not a great degree of curvature. It looks to be what I would expect the truss rod space to be.

I've been thinking, that if a neck is significantly bent, then perhaps clamping the neck for a few days to straighten it would be a good way of getting it back straight, then tighten the new truss rods.

Thanks for sharing. I hope to see more, especially if you bend your rods in a near circle and install.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:41 pm 
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Maxwell, I haven't yet started on the S/8 project. The 4003 in the picture above is a 4 string. The truss rods in the piture are from that 4001FL.
The tool I've been using for the past 25 years to adjust Rick truss rods just gave out on me. I've haven't had luck finding a suitable replacement from a local hardware store, so I might be calling RIC on Monday. After I get a new tool, I can start the new project.

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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:17 pm 
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If I sounded a little off the beam, it's because I know absolutely nothing about the bass guitars, including Rics. I hope you're able to get the new tool.


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 Post subject: Re: Truss Rods
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:34 am 
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No worries maxwell! We're here to share info and help each other. 8-)

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