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sad tale of a "stripped out" truss rod - do you know a fix?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by thunderbyrd, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i saw a miserable and depressing thing today, i hope some clever person here can come up with a solution.

    we have a gear rental outfit here in kentucky. i do a lot of business with them and have good relations with them and go by often to check out new mid-level fender gear and new stompboxes. it's a great thing to be able to rent a new guitar or amp for 30 bucks or so and keep it for a month and find out if you really want it.

    a friend told me they had a very sexy fender bass in, so i dropped in. the bass was, indeed, VERY sexy, but it's also about $2000, so it won't be coming home with me. but as i was leaving, i noticed a telecaster laying on the counter. a very nice telecaster! i have a big letch for Robben Ford's early sixties tele and that's what this one looked like, yellow with a dark rosewood neck. i immediately made up my mind to bring it home and check it out. but it turns out, this was a returned rental and whoever had it had stripped out the truss rod - apparently some idiot had stuck the allen wrench in there and just took off turning away. the manager told me they hadn't caught it when it came back in and now they are stuck with it.

    so: yes, i know one can get a great neck from warmoth and other places. but the problem is, this neck was perfect! dark rosewood, good heft, big frets! it is exactly what i want in a tele and i want that neck.

    he shot me a price, but i can (probably) get him to come down some from that.

    anybody know a good trick to fix this? it is seriously one groovy guitar and i'd like to have it.
     
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  2. drneilmb

    drneilmb Tele-Meister

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    It depends what "stripped" means in this situation.

    If the hex socket in the truss rod nut is rounded out so that the hex wrench no longer grabs, then yes, some very skilled or lucky people can get that damaged nut off AND get a new one on.

    If the threads on the end of the rod itself are "stripped" then there is not really any clever way to fix it.
     
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  3. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a late 60's Bass I bought on Reverb.
    The seller did not disclose.... yada yada...

    The truss rod was so tight....
    When I went to loosen it, it stripped...

    Now please note that I had never done this before but...

    I researched how to... and removed (steamed off) the rosewood board and pulled the truss rod. (Pulled the frets first, it needed frets anyways)
    Fixed the stripped broken threaded part of the rod.

    Reason the rod was so tight in the first place, the neck was all warped and had humps here and there.
    Someone also stuck a big shim in the neck pocket.

    I planed the neck level, sans fret board, and then glued it all back up.
    Leveled the board and did a re-fret.

    Came out amazing if I do say so myself. Can get super low action on it (if you want) with no rattles or buzzing.

    Not a job for the faint of heart.
    There were times during this ordeal when I was asking myself what have I got into here?
    ... and thoughts that I'd never get it right, and it would be firewood.

    If a rank amateur like me can do it....
     
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  4. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This. ^^^

    If it’s the hex nut that’s stripped out, you can get a tap in there, get to bite, then thread it off and put a new nut on there. It’s actually not as uncommon a fix as you’d think. If the threads are stripped, you’re looking at removing the fretboard and replacing the rod. It can be done. And frequently is. But if you can’t do it yourself, it’s not a cheap fix. The price would have to reflect that for me. No matter how perfect it was otherwise.
     
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  5. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    but i am fainthearted - i've done very little repair work. i don't even know how to set up a guitar. if i had of had this guitar in my possesion, i would have been smart enough to lower the action via the bridge screws, if it needed it, and that's really about all i've ever had to do to any of my guitars. i'm not precious about set up, i don't like low action on a fender guitar. i've got a buddy who is always going on about fret buzz and everything, but i never seem to have those problems. high-ish action makes a fender guitar sing and play right, IMO.

    but taking a neck apart? i can't imagine i'd ever get it back together.
     
  6. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    StewMac sells a tapered hex wrench called The Gripper for this problem. Often, it's not stripped all the way down , and the tapered wrench allows you to get down past the stripped part. I have one, and it worked for me.
     
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  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    this is very interesting, i will look into this.
     
  8. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Meister

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    Also keep in mind that both the rod and the nut has threads. If the threads inside the nut are all that stripped, you’re about to make out like a bandit. Both the rod and the nut have threads with the potential for stripping. Someone with more experience with this exact dilemma can chime in to the likelihood of which being the case, however.
     
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  9. johnnycnote

    johnnycnote Tele-Meister

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    I posted this on another forum a while back. Hope it helps!

    I stripped my truss rod nut and was unable to tightened it. This is the process I used to replace it:
    Guitar was good to go at this point and played it for a few months before I finally got around to replaced the wood plug:
    • Used a dab of wood glue and pushed in the new wood plug as far as it would go
    • Using an Exacto knife, whittled away and shaped the wood plug until approx 1/16" was left exposed
    • Sanded the wood plug until flush with the head-stock
    The whole thing was about $40 including the gripper wrench and original Fender parts. Good luck!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Stooge Mac also sells a thing called a Truss Rod Rescue kit that contains a thread-cutting die on a rod, with a counterbore cutter for the wood that allows you to create a short length of new threads on the end of a stripped rod.

    The kit is expensive and not worth the cost of a single fix like yours (cheaper to buy a neck instead), BUT find a local repair shop that has this tool. You remove the neck and remove the plug, then take the neck in to have threads cut. You take it home and do the rest (replace the nut, replace the plug, spot refin).

    You save $$$ by doing the time-consuming work yourself.

    Looky here:

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...-rods/stewmac-truss-rod-rescue-tool-sets.html
     
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  11. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    ok, if there's anyone still interested. the guitar as is has been priced to me at a third of it's new cost. the problem with the truss rod is that the nut itself is stripped on the inside - you put the allen wrench in there and it just turns free. the status with the rest of the rod is unknown.

    how would anyone have stripped this nut? by trying to use the wrong sized allen wrench? and could it have happened because the rod would not turn at all?

    i have a guitar tech friend who can fix a lot of things, but i doubt he would be willing to take the neck apart.
     
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  12. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A stripped nut is a totally easy fix.
    I would buy guitars with stripped truss rod nuts at 1/3 price by the dozen and make a career out of it, if I could.
     
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  13. mojek

    mojek Tele-Meister

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    Good news! You can fix it as johnnycnote described, make nice X-mas project
     
  14. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you have a friendly garage or engineering shop? I'd guess they have decades experience with damaged nuts, have the best tools and know how to use them.

    They might well sort it in a couple of minutes for the cost of a couple of beers.
     
  15. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Before you make a move on the guitar, get an accurate diagnosis of the problem. See if you can "borrow" it and take it to a good tech or luthier to see if it is a stripped nut or a damaged rod. Once you get a diagnosis and an estimate of repair, your decision will be easy.
     
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  16. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    How did it happen? Pretty simple, really.

    Someone who didn't know what they were doing continued to tighten the nut until it bottomed out, cross threaded, and stripped. The fact that even end high end guitars often use parts made from cheap pot metal doesn't help.

    A new truss rod nut is an easy to find, 5 dollar part..but I'd want to know exactly what was going on before taking a chance on the guitar.

    It could be that the rod is broken off at the anchor end and the whole thing, nut and all, is spinning freely inside the neck..in which case steaming off the fretboard and replacing the rod is the only remedy.

    Which isn't as difficult as it sounds....but unfortunately, unless it's a precious vintage piece most techs won't bother. Takes up too much valuable time/bench space.

    Once again.....Leo Fender made the necks easy to remove and replace for this exact reason.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
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