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Truss rod at the heel....Why?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Silverman, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    They were fooling with the way that the body, and the routing, was accomplished, around that time.

    We see just a few years later, these strange shaped Fender Tele bodies and this, I am told, was because the old routing approach would not accommodate the new tools they were using. Especially 72, 73 and 74 on.

    So, I'm prepare to guess, maybe that's why the "new" routing shape happened there in 1968/69. Seriously, I never wondered to myself why it had changed, and this is all I can think of. Anyone else have any ideas? Now, I'd love to figure this out.
     
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  2. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are some guys, like Walter Trout for example. He understands that some things just work, but not why. For example, when I built him a guitar, he wanted the truss rod adjust down at the heel. I asked him why, but he said, "I just do mang." :D

    I'm just guessing, although I've made about 12 necks now with truss rod adjustment at the heel. My hypothesis, is that there is far more meat at the heel end of a neck, as opposed to up at the headstock. Yeah, I know they're pretty beefy there too. But anyway, when a neck is all screwed down to the body, and assuming you notch the pickguard or loosen it to get at the screw, you simply have way more rigidity there. Nothing is moving anywhere. When you adjust up at the neck, you are pulling away from the body, and maybe that's something right there. Again, just my thoughts. But what do I know. People seem to prefer em when I explain it that way.
     
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  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    So glad to see Walter Trout getting his health back. He sounds great.
     
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  4. Beatbx

    Beatbx Tele-Meister

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    As a builder, I prefer the adjustment at the heel. As a player, I like it at the headstock (with bolt on necks.) The heel adjust anchors the truss rod deeper in the neck pocket and doesn’t hollow things out at the headstock. It does look neater too. I’ve gotten my method of neck removal down pretty quick so it’s not a big deal but still not as quick as a headstock adjustment. There is no absolutely superior approach. We just have to find our preferences.
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah and cars should have the spark plugs and oil pan drain plug right on the dashboard so we can fiddle endlessly with adjustments that should seldom need to be touched.

    I see far more ruined truss rods at the headstock, probably because hobbyist guitar players assume it's another knob to fiddle with.
    The hex head or socket gets stripped, the threads get stripped, the rod gets tightened so far that the board bulges and the rod runs out of threads.

    I also find that I read lots of great reviews about cheap import guitars, but when I buy one it seems like the truss rod needs frequent adjustment to keep the neck straight enough to play well.

    If you live in a cold climate and are not willing to run a humidifier in winter to take care of wood musical instruments, then you can expect to have to adjust the truss rod two times a year. Presumably one changes strings at least that often, and if capable of adjusting a truss rod, certainly removing and installing four screws is easy.

    If a truss rod needs frequent adjustments, IMHO either the guitar or the operator has a problem.

    Nothing wrong with personal preference, but it seems to me that there are other things happening here:

    Accepting poor quality necks with flawless finishes.
    Fiddling with the truss rod without really understanding what it does and how to use it.

    If you have some skills as a tech and spend months touring in a van, then certainly it makes sense to have headstock adjust rods and DIY the adjustment.

    Personally, my older Fender necks i had before they were vintage and before I ran a $40 humidifier every winter, never needed truss rod adjustments.
    The ones that didn't stay straight got sold.
    Seriously.

    End of rant!!!
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    OK so as an engineer, how do you feel about the old Ford design with the distributor advance adjustment being a lever on the steering column?

    Was moving the adjustment under the hood a bad thing?

    Of course centrifugal advance was added so the operator didn't need to keep advancing and retarding the spark while driving.

    But we seem to have an awful lot of guitars today with necks that need frequent adjustment like those old Fords.
    And buyers that happily accept this and buy numerous low priced guitars that don't hold an adjustment.

    I'm suggesting that players would not mind heel access if the damn necks stayed straight like a quality neck should IME.

    And to a lesser degree, I'm suggesting that experimental fiddling with what appears to be a user adjustment leads to messed up necks that don't hold adjustment because the rod is messed up or the wood is crushed from over tightening.

    How many threads tell of repeated tightening with continued bad action, followed by uncertainty of what the tightening was expected to do beyond "make it better"?
    Or threads where the player won't adjust the saddles because they read on the internet that they should adjust the truss rod.

    Sometimes it's better to put adjustments that require operator skills under the hood where only those with some tools and knowhow will attempt "adjustments".

    The sheer number of allen head truss rods with stripped hex sockets attests to the large amount of hobbyists with the wrong tools who saw something on the internet and it looked easy.

    Guess I wasn't at the end of my rant yet!
     
  7. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I loosen the pickguard and use a 90 degree screwdriver (about 3 inches long w standard on one side and phillips on the other. With a flat sawn neck I've had to adjust the rod a few times in the last few years. I don't even bother to slack the strings. I've never made more than a 1/8th of a turn adjustment, and it usually ends up right where I want it.

    I've never really heard of bullet truss rod necks breaking at the headstock; I've always thought that was a grain run-out issue peculiar to angled headstocks.
     
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