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Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement

GUEST,Andy 11 Aug 11 - 10:28 AM
Big Mick 11 Aug 11 - 10:36 AM
cooperman 11 Aug 11 - 11:05 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 11 Aug 11 - 11:13 AM
Big Mick 11 Aug 11 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,999 11 Aug 11 - 11:23 AM
Jeri 11 Aug 11 - 11:38 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Aug 11 - 11:44 AM
Bernard 11 Aug 11 - 12:19 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 11 Aug 11 - 12:59 PM
Brian May 11 Aug 11 - 04:22 PM
alex s 11 Aug 11 - 04:36 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,999 11 Aug 11 - 05:43 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Aug 11 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,999 11 Aug 11 - 06:22 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Aug 11 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Andy 12 Aug 11 - 04:23 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Aug 11 - 06:19 AM
JohnInKansas 12 Aug 11 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Aug 11 - 05:12 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Aug 11 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 13 Aug 11 - 12:55 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 18 Aug 11 - 12:28 AM
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Subject: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 10:28 AM

A lady friend of mine who performs regularly at our club has a Yamaha guitar, about 30 years old. Not satisfied with its sound of late, she asked the advice of an instrument repair guy who told her that, in his opinion, the truss rod had broken, or was in some way defunct.
Can anyone tell me the possibility of this problem being corrected by someone other than an expert? She doesn't want to pay out a small fortune for a repair, so could it be done by me, who has engineering skills, a certain amount of technical knowledge a steady hand and patience?
What's the odds of making a satisfactory job without ruining the instrument?
All advice appreciated.

Regards

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 10:36 AM

Andy, it is doable, but may I suggest that you pick up a copy of The Guitar Repair Guide located at http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0879309210/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/191-6746995-2941033. I have this reference and it allows me to do all but the most complex work.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: cooperman
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:05 AM

Is the neck concave bowed then? That doesn't usually affect sound, more action and playability. In my experience broken truss rods are quite rare. Can you get purchase with a wrench? It may be seized - get some penetrating oil on it. Try undoing it first. Generally tighten the rod to remove concave bowing. If the wrench just spins round then there is indeed a problem!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:13 AM

I have done this job once. It requires removing the fingerboard so it is a rather big job. The truss rod will sometimes break or strip the threads if it is over tightened. It will probably never break of its own accord. Often people will over-tighten the truss rod trying to compensate for another problem such as a defective neck joint or a bellied bridge. If so you may do a lot of work to find other major problems as well. Mick's suggestion is wise but I would further suggest checking with your local library because they perhaps carry the book or other similar ones. The truss rod is only designed to adjust the bow of the fingerboard. If you push a string down at the 12th fret there should be a very slight gap between it and the sixth fret. If you have a truss-rod problem it should be readily apparent if you insert an allen key and attempt to turn it.
If you have a bad rod and the guitar may not be worth the replacement work there is a simpler fix. Using two C-clamps and a piece of wood clamped over a pivot at the back of the neck you can bow the neck back a bit. (strings off) Then heat the fingerboard with a heat lamp ( a hairdryer will do) This will soften the glue between the fingerboard and neck. Allow the fingerboard to cool while still clamped in position. Once you have straightened the neck like this use light or extra light strings and tune down a full note and use a capo on the second fret for concert pitch. With luck this should create what a friend calls a Lazarus guitar. (one brought back from the dead)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:18 AM

One of the reasons I recommend that reference book is that it takes you step by step through analyzing and resolving the problems. One of the best section deals with the truss rod.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:23 AM

Andy, there is a great article on it with a google of

fun and games with the dreaded truss rod

Worth reading.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:38 AM

Clickified: Fun and Games with the Dreaded Truss Rod
I had to read it, because I remember Hermie and Hermie's Music Store.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 11:44 AM

I agree with cooperman - the truss rod usually does not affect the sound at all (unless overtightened in which case buzzing and choking can result)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 12:19 PM

Well, if the truss rod is broken (unlikely!) or the threads have stripped (more likely!), the sound could be affected simply because the loose rod is rattling around inside the neck... not a job for the faint-hearted, though!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 12:59 PM

Another thought Andy:
Many Yamaha guitars of that vintage had an unwritten lifetime guarantee. If she is the original owner and has proof of purchase it may be worthwhile to check with a Yamaha dealer. If the rod was over tightened though they will probably call it abuse. If something broke from normal strain it may be covered.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Brian May
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 04:22 PM

Look on Frets.com - really good advice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: alex s
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 04:36 PM

I had a Harmony Sovereign and the truss rod weld broke, apparently quite common with those guitars. As far as I remember it was not too difficult to re-weld.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM

From the "fun and games" link that Jeri put up, I note that the truss rod shown there is only one of several configurations suggested in luthiery information. The one shown is quite common, I believe; but there are variations that are recommended in some of the literature. Before starting a repair it might be a good idea to try to find information specific to the maker of the one you're intending to do the surgery on. The information you might want would be pretty basic, so you shouldn't really need to look for "blueprints." A "kind of construction" should be sufficient.

I would expect that a single builder would be likely to use the same basic configuration on all their models, although there could be a case where you need to get an idea of a less usual kind used in a specific model. (I doubt that most makers vary their methods much once they've found out what works for them.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 05:43 PM

FYI, John, if there's a fault with Jeri's link, she simply blue clickied the post just above that which was mine. That said, your point is very important. NOT all truss rods are alike. Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 06:09 PM

No fault with the link K-1, but several posts seemed to imply the assumption that they're all alike.

One difference I've seen is that only a few builders have the "industrial strength" machinery to drill a hole 30 inches deep, so lots of them cut a groove from the top. Some just cover the groove, after the rod is "laid in" using only the fingerboard. Some glue (or "force fit" with or without glue) a cover strip in the groove to make a flat surface under the fingerboard, and a few "pot" the rod in place by filling the groove with epoxy or similar gunk. A variation on the drill/groove method is a hole drilled 2 or 3 inches from each end, and a groove to join the two short holes so the rod stays centered (at the ends).

Some of the original assembly methods could make it as easy as taking the nuts off both ends and pulling the old rod endwise. Most others will require removing the fingerboard, and with some of these the rod just lifts out. With others you may have to pull the fingerboard and then do an "archaeological excavation" to get to the rod.

Oh yeah, and some (guitars especially) use a "double rod" to facilitate "differential adjustment" based on some hallucination that the maker believes in.

As I do hardly any real repair work, I don't see enough instruments to know how common these varous styles are - only that they all exist and somebody apparently uses them.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 06:22 PM

I have two guitars, neither with a truss rod. I think my old Telecaster had one, but I could be confused about that.

Good lord, Im just used google images to look at

truss rods for guitar

Whoa.

Thanks, John.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 07:10 PM

Recollection is that a couple of the major luthiery suppliers (e.g. Stu-Mac & International) were offering "graphite composite twin-bar truss rods" a whle back at a nice price and seemed to say they were shipping some; but I haven't updated my decade(s?) old catalogs so I don't know what's most popular now. I suspect that most significant makers stick to the more conventional parts with only a few variations in the constructions of the necks(?).

For those using grooves, for a time square and rectangular rods had some popularity (they don't have to be round), but I haven't heard of any people knowing they had one of those in an instrument.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 04:23 AM

Thanks to all for the advice. Nice to know that catters are still all too ready to help each other. Will muse over the postings and decide what to do. Don't fancy removing the fingerboard, sounds a nightmare job. However, thanks again, looks like it's decision time for me!

Regards

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 06:19 AM

Do try twiddling the truss rod. If it won't turn (slacken) and tightening does nothing then you have a truss rod problem. Not until.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 08:46 AM

Possibly the best thing you can do if you feel the urge to make significant or complex repairs on your guitar would be to get one (or several) of the decent books on "how to build your own XXXX guitar." (Different books deal with different kinds of guitars, so try to pick one that's for the kind(s) you have.)

Study really hard.

Even if you never build one, you need to know a little bit about the innards of the beasts, before you poke hard enough to break the skin and make your pet mad at you. IF you don't treat them with respect, THEY CAN AND WILL BITE YOU, although some real repair shops (like appliance repair persons) do get a giggle or two out of bailing the "home fixers" out of the problems they thought they were solving.

Building one pretty much "from scratch" isn't really all that complicated, once you understand what you're trying to do and the conventional ways it's done. This usually comes together at about your own third of fourth actual creation(?). The hardest part for most may be getting a decent finish on what you create (which may not actually be a guitar in any conventional sense, but is pretty likely to make more or less pleasant sounds, and should make you proud.)

If you study hard enough at the beginning, you'll probably figure out that the parts and materials for a DIY build are going to cost you about as much as buying something better than what you're likely to build, after someone who practices more has done the hard stuff for you; but by then you'll know enough to have a good idea of what repairs you can do safely and what you should take to someone who "knows the real secrets."

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 05:12 PM

Andy, I think your friend should take her guitar to a different expert. How likely is it that a steel (or whatever) rod inside a guitar neck will break?

Another thing she could do is contact Yamaha customer service for some advice.

My guitar was acting up, and I took it to the music store. The problem was that the little plastic piece at the downstream end of the strings was in backwards. The clerk turned it around for free. He could have told me it needed $200 worth of work, and I would have believed him.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 06:24 PM

Trussrods can be mullered. But it's not that common.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 12:55 PM

Yes. They can also be marinated (no need to refrigerate) and cooked on the grill.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Guitar truss rod replacement
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 12:28 AM

Bruce said "I have two guitars, neither with a truss rod."
Most older Martin guitars had a T-bar rod imbedbed below the fingerboard but no adjustment nut on either end.


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