May 10th, 2012, 10:12 PM
A buddy brought me his '70s Rick 4001 to work on, and I am having a heck of a time figuring out how to adjust these truss rods.
It has two rods with 1/4" nuts. The threaded rod protrudes too far to get a nut driver on either of them. They're too close together to get an open end wrench on. There's not enough space between the back side of the nut and the wood to get a socket or slip a box wrench on.
Anyone have some suggestions? I'm all ears.
May 10th, 2012, 10:31 PM
I dealt with this recently and it isn't fun.
Before you start, know that these rods don't adjust like the typical Fender or Gibson rods that we're used to playing with-- they're meant to hold the neck in place, not adjust the neck. The actual adjustment is performed "manually" by forcing the neck in position with the rods loose.
The answer to the specific question you asked and many others can be found here:
Here's a link to the "Anatomy of a Rickenbacker Bass" Series:
May 10th, 2012, 10:40 PM
Before I forget-- the fact the nuts are pointed into the headstock is a good sign; it means the rods have the correct bow in them.
I'll add one thing that I did differently from the procedure I posted in case you need to remove your buddy's rods.
Pull them out, bend them with the correct bow (feel free to go a little more than what you think is safe here, something like a 2.5" rise) and then reinsert them and adjust the neck with a prominent back-bow BEFORE putting string tension on the neck. I was afraid that if I put string tension on the neck before I firmed up the rods, that I'd undo the bend I just put in the rods.
One thing I did wrong was not bend the threaded portion of each rod flat so that I can easily adjust them-- so I'm in the same boat as you. The experts tell you to only use a nut driver so you don't over torque the rods-- I ground down a 1/4" socket and used a wobble extension and this was still too large. I ended up grinding down an old Craftsman 1/4" open ended ignition wrench I use for my MGB's carburetors. Just be careful not to use too much force.
One more thing, the bar the rods and nuts bite into is made of soft aluminum. I used stainless steel washers on either side to give the rods and nuts something more substantial to adjust against.
May 10th, 2012, 10:53 PM
And one more thing-- I tried the "soft clamp and bend the bar ends with a screw driver" method described on the Ric Resource site-- I couldn't get the ends to bend. That's why I just used the open ended wrench.
Hope all this was of some help to you.
May 10th, 2012, 11:46 PM
Rickenbacker sells a nut adjustment tool. Center of this page, $22. http://boutique.rickenbacker.com/Accessories_c_20.html#top
You can also use a 1/4" nut driver (the type that looks like a screwrdriver with a small socket welded on the end)
May 10th, 2012, 11:59 PM
I made a Ric wrench years ago by grinding down the wall of a box end wrench until it fit. Still have that in my toolbox, somewhere.
May 11th, 2012, 08:43 AM
Thanks so much for the info, guys. Very helpful.
I may have to grind down my open end wrench to do this job. I can't remember the last time I used it anyway, so it's probably of no consequence.
Even Ric's tool wouldn't work because it isn't deep enough. I've got probably 3/8" of rod sticking out past the nut, so the nut driver doesn't reach the threads.
Is it just me, or do these tuners work backwards?
May 11th, 2012, 10:28 AM
Some Ric tuners were reverse geared like early Fenders.