A truss rod nut IS NOT for hanging on...

hearth_man

Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
192
Reaction score
89
Location
Eastern, PA
Why? Why do people think cranking on the truss rod nut is the way to fix any action issue?

Along with apparently being more than willing to use a socket with a 12" handle to "straighten" the neck perfectly flat, no relief. Even if that requires enough torque to drive the truss rod nut washer deep into the headstock to the point the wood under the truss rod cover is driven upward.

I can't tell you how many times I have purchased an otherwise structurally sound guitar, especially electrics, that when I go over them to clean and set them up to my tastes that the truss rod nut is so darn tight. The nut is not bound on the rod it has just been over tightened to the point I described above. I have mentioned in other posts that I tend to acquire my guitars like my wife and I do our dogs, as rescues. Many of my guitars have not had the best of lives what with dings, nicks, gouges, bent tuners not to mention spills and dirt. But almost all of these guitars though they may not win a beauty contest were structurally sound. And these are not just entry level guitars. The previous owners have probably spent between $600 and $1800 on most of these guitars, and that's if they were purchased used. These guitars were purchased from a number of different places including; Guitar Center, Ebay, online music stores small and large as well as directly from individuals. (have not had this issue when buying from LTG members though, no surprise)

The thing that really gets me is that after I clean and setup these guitars I have never needed to tighten the truss rod nut much past snug to get .015" relief. I only ever use an old short wood handle 1/4" nut driver for these adjustments. It has a 1" diameter handle. If I can't get enough torque in my hand from that, I am doing something wrong.

Thanks for listening to my rant. It just happened again. I recently picked up a 1978 Starfire IV and the previous owner had cranked the heck out of the truss rod nut, why? I am just finishing setting it up now and the nut goes a little past snug and I'm there.
 
Last edited:

hearth_man

Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
192
Reaction score
89
Location
Eastern, PA
You are the voice of reason. But I would think that if you were tightening a screw and it started to get very hard to turn you might stop and not continue to turn it even harder.

But again, I do appreciate you being the voice of reason.
 

GAD

Wrinkled Member
Über-Morlock
Gold Supporting
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
16,463
Reaction score
7,628
Location
NJ (The nice part)
Guild Total
101
You are the voice of reason. But I would think that if you were tightening a screw and it started to get very hard to turn you might stop and not continue to turn it even harder.

But again, I do appreciate you being the voice of reason.
Here's some 1AM reason for you:

People are DUMB. :)
 

wileypickett

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2009
Messages
3,891
Reaction score
2,378
Location
Cambridge, MA
It's a guy thing I suspect -- men are inveterate tinkerers.

If a nut CAN be tightened or loosened, we're going to -- by god -- tighten or loosen it!

What's knowing what we're doing got to do with it?!
 
Last edited:

GAD

Wrinkled Member
Über-Morlock
Gold Supporting
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
16,463
Reaction score
7,628
Location
NJ (The nice part)
Guild Total
101
I was taught, "Tighten it until it strips, then back it off a half-turn."
My dad’s commonly used phrase in a similar vein: If it don’t fit, force it; if it breaks it probably needed fixin’ anyway.

It especially tickled me as a kid since my dad was an engineer and did NOT talk that way.
 

gjmalcyon

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
3,602
Reaction score
1,326
Location
Gloucester County, NJ
Guild Total
11
And because of that I suppose you never became professional mechanic ? ? ?

I am a fairly competent "shade tree" mechanic. Wrenching on my now-departed 1980 BMW R100RT did teach me the value of a torque wrench to avoid the use of "EZ-Outs".
 
Last edited:

PreacherBob

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2022
Messages
377
Reaction score
494
Location
Leesville, SC
Guild Total
14
Yep. I replaced a truss rod on a USA custom shop dread several years ago for a man that tightened the truss rod while he still had full tension on the strings..medium strings. Mediums are rated at nominally 175lbs, lights 150lbs, custom lights 135lbs, nominally. It adjusted from the headstock, Allen wrench type. Pretty chunky mahogany neck. Broke the barrel off. Not sure what he was trying to achieve but you should’ve seen the back bow on that neck when I removed the strings. He was fighting wood plus 175lbs. that’s a $500-$600 job. Loosening to the left for relief with string tension at pitch is generally not a problem, though not advisable. It seems some folks try and short cut loosening the strings. My usual MO is loosen the strings two full turns on the tuners, tighten rod 1/8th turn, tune the guitar back, and repeat until you get the results your aiming for. Some necks change substantially with 1/8 turn, some takes 1/4 turn to respond. Also It always takes a combination of working with the nut, neck relief, and saddle height together to get what players want, and that’s takes time a patience. Seems a lot of folks to have that “fast food” mentality
 

BradHK

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
171
Reaction score
358
I am a fairly competent "shade tree" mechanic. Wrenching on my now-departed 1980 BMW R100RT did teach me the value of a torque wrench to avoid the use of "EZ-Outs".
Or even worse having to use a heli-coil! Gotta love those old BMW Motorcycles. Easy to work on but I agree, torque wrench required. This is my BMW that I wrench on (with a torque wrench of course 😁)
1650655374847.jpeg
 

Brad Little

Senior Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
3,924
Reaction score
914
Location
Connecticut
I'm always a little surprised at the people on the AGF who attack the truss rod to set the action on new acquisitions, even brand new guitars.
 

GAD

Wrinkled Member
Über-Morlock
Gold Supporting
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
16,463
Reaction score
7,628
Location
NJ (The nice part)
Guild Total
101
I am a fairly competent "shade tree" mechanic. Wrenching on my now-departed 1980 BMW R100RT did teach me the value of a torque wrench to avoid the use of "EZ-Outs".
You should see how it is with carbon-fiber framed bicycles. Carbon fiber has great rigidity but poor crush tolerance in a tubular bike frame so *everything* has to be precisely torqued and everything has acceptable torque markings on it. It was quite the change for this guy who last bought a bike during the heydays of chrome-moly and who first learned by working on Schwinns with Vice Grips and Channel Locks. I did get to buy a nice new Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza torque wrench calibrated in Newton-metres, though, so that was fun.
 

BradHK

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
171
Reaction score
358
You should see how it is with carbon-fiber framed bicycles. Carbon fiber has great rigidity but poor crush tolerance in a tubular bike frame so *everything* has to be precisely torqued and everything has acceptable torque markings on it. It was quite the change for this guy who last bought a bike during the heydays of chrome-moly and who first learned by working on Schwinns with Vice Grips and Channel Locks. I did get to buy a nice new Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza torque wrench calibrated in Newton-metres, though, so that was fun.
Agreed. Carbon paste is also your friend with carbon bikes. It helps balance that fine line between slipping and crushing.
 

Nuuska

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
5,635
Reaction score
2,759
Location
Finland
Guild Total
9
Then there's this "Use bigger hammer!" - which has some truth in it - using big enough hammer might loosen the object on first blow - while a smaller hammer would only expand the top end of the object being hit - thus making it even harder to go to desired direction.
 
Top