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Installing truss rod adjustment nut on the top (instead of bottom)

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Yonatan, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm working on my first neck build. I'm trying to work out how the truss rod gets installed. It's the double action kind, I'm routing the channel from the top, and I plan to have the adjustment nut by the headstock.

    Now, the usual recommendation (and the only way to get the truss rod working as most people would expect) is to have the adjustment nut on the bottom.

    However, I'm looking at the neck that I used for my previous build, which is an eBay neck with a double action truss rod, and as far as I can tell, the adjustment nut is just under the fretboard, meaning that the adjustment nut must be on the top! So is this standard practice these days for some manufacturers?

    Also, I'm trying to work out something else, if I put the adjustment nut on the top, it seems like I could just route the channel the full length of the truss rod (the gap for the adjustment nut portion would be covered by the fretboard), while if I put the adjustment nut on the bottom, I'd only route the channel until the nut, then I would drill a hole after thicknessing the headstock to accommodate the adjustment nut, and then install the truss rod by angling it in? Also, seems that putting it on the bottom might result in it needing to be placed slightly more towards the headstock? Does all this make any sense?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
  2. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

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    The nut goes on the bottom. Some rods require enlarged routing for the nut area. I rout the headstock down to about the right thickness leaving the last inch or so (where it will curve up toward the nut) so I can drill in to meet the nut. The TR channel ends about where the nut will go. Here is a diagram to show what I'm talking about.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Perfect, just one question and it will all be clear to me: In your diagram, where is the part I circled in this picture?

    Screenshot_20201008-182108~2.png
     
  4. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

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    Lotta ways to skin that cat.
    I use the bitterroot rods and yes the nut goes on the bottom
    The installation/access method I use involves no drilling, just a different router bit and some think-ahead planning.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yonatan, here is a picture of two LMII double acting rods. They are similar to most manufactures in that they have a fixed rod (or in this case bar) and a threaded rod. The threaded one has a set of standard threads on one end and reverse threads on the other (like a turnbuckle). They are oriented so that tightening (clockwise) pulls the ends together as in the bottom rod/ The fixed rod / flat bar pushes up in the middle of the fretboard and the ends of the rod push down under the nut and at the heel - that counters the bending of the neck under string tension

    IMG_1536.JPG

    The rod on top is flipped over with the adjusters on top. It still will work but now the rotating rod is pushing against the fretboard which is not ideal.

    Short story is that the rod was designed to be installed with the rotating rod on the bottom.

    There is another style of rod that looks like the one in Meteorman's picture that has the rotating rod inside a square channel. This is the old Martin single acting rod - it works on a different principal that the ones in my picture. It does not require as deep a route and the adjuster is higher at the headstock. In my opinion they do not work as well.

    Last picture, here is how I install a double acting rod. The adjuster is down, the flat bar is up against the f/b. The ends of the rod push down at the nut and heel. The access hole is drilled to allow an allen wrench to hit the adjuster.

    IMG_4654.JPG
     
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  7. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Interesting, hadn't thought about that aspect. Are you concerned about damage? The rods do have some kind of coating, plus I'll wrap it all in teflon tape.
     
  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't worry about damage at all. Partially because I don't rely on the truss rod to do much at all - the neck is built flat, the strings pull a small amount of relief into the neck which is usually just about what I want. If I have a little too much relief I can use the rod to bring it back but I will bet that on an average neck I put no more than a quarter turn on the adjuster.

    By the way, the rods in those pictures have only one full turn on the adjuster - gives you some idea of how powerful they really are.
     
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  9. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

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    On the bottom.
     
  10. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks everyone for the help! So I got the truss rod channel "router planed" out. One thing is not clear to me: What prevents the TR from slipping out the access hole? Is it because the access hole is slightly angled? Or should the truss rod be snug enough not to slide around. Mine can slide a bit (just a bit) in the channel. If that's a problem, do I need to veneer the sides (I have lots of nice shavings from the router plane!)? Or could I just wrap the TR in enough teflon tape to prevent it from sliding? TRchannel-routed.jpeg

    Edit to clarify: In the case of my TR, the nut is actually *wider* than the rest. I've seen examples where the nut is narrower, thus routing the part of the channel where the nut sits narrower than the rest of the channel prevents the TR from slipping out. That doesn't apply to my TR, the part of the channel where the nut sits has to be a bit wider. So there is no inherent "block" in the shape of the channel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One puts a little tension in the rod and that holds it in place. The ends press down and the middle up. You can also put in couple of dabs of some silicone sealer to keep it from rattling, and that would no doubt secure it in place too. You'd have to ensure that it didn't ooze up to mess with finish. Original stewmac hotrods were designed to be removed. They were a consistant shape from end to end and fit into one rectangular slot. Import rods not so much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  12. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    A couple pics of the truss rod installed and the template/jig I use to rout the channel. I use a 3/16" router bit with a router bushing. At the top of my template you can see it's not just a straight channel it's a little wider.


    .
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    @guitarbuilder Thanks! Simple enough solution. I wonder if I should deliberately not seal it in (just rely on a bit of tension to hold it in), in case it ever needed to be removed, in which case I could possibly slide it out (I'd need the access hole to be completely parallel for this to work)?
     
  14. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for sharing!

    I don't have a router (yet) so I did this with a router plane (and chisel to clean up the ends every few passes). Once I got the hang of using the router plane (trick is to know *exactly* how much to lower each each pass) it went rather quickly.
     
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some people put silicon calking compound on rods when they install them but that is mostly the single compression style rod (old Fender or Gibson). I never put anything on double acting rods.

    The LMII rods have two little bumps of weld on each side of the end blocks. If you route the channel to their specifications (1/4 wide, 3/8 deep) the little bumps will fit snuggly at each end and hold the blocks in place. I actually have to tap the rod into place with a hammer. The working part of the rod does not contact the sides of the channel.

    Just one of the things I like about the LMII rod
     
  16. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    The import rods I use are the same as Freeman describes. Just a hair wider at the adjustment end and they can be gently hammered in. I use silicone on mine but that's a preference thing.
     
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