Truss Rod: Tired of the Heel Adjuster, I've Decided

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ChicknPickn, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've never paid anyone to set up a guitar of mine. Which is not the same as saying it wouldn't have been a good idea once or twice.

    But I think I've reached an understanding about truss rods - - given the choice in any new guitar, I'm not gonna buy one that adjusts at the heel. In my small flock of Fender guitars, most are the traditional style, and what a PITA it is when trying to fine-tune relief on those instruments.

    On the other hand, how sweet it is to just put that wrench into the headstock and make a quick adjustment. Patience is a virtue, I know, but the older I get, the more hurrier I am.
     
  2. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Agreed.
     
  3. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    Same here. Leo didn't get it right the first time around.:eek:
     
  4. GeneB

    GeneB Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    So do I And removing the neck maybe twice a year to do a seasonal adjustment makes me uncomfortable.
     
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  5. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Do what works for you. I rarely have to adjust the truss rod and when I do I take off the pickguard and adjust it with the neck on. Not a pain so far, but I agree the headstock adjust is definitely easier. It wouldn't sway me either way when buying a guitar though.
     
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  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I also like my two Warmoth necks, with the adjustment on the SIDE down at the heel area. Easily accessible, but leaves the headstock "un-molested". ;)
     
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  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Totally agree, stupid idea.
     
  8. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

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    I've never understood the reasoning behind that idea.
    Apparently it's about a two-hour job to replace a headlight bulb on one of the Renault Megane series. Same lack of thought. I can change one on my Audi 80 in two minutes, including the time to have a chat with a passer-by.
    I saw a magazine review of a guitar recently and the heel truss rod adjuster was similar to a thumb-wheel except that it had circumferential holes for a rod to move it. It looked fairly inobtrusive as well.
     
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  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    Heel adjustment is stupid. Always has been. Even Leo figured out very quickly that it was a mistake. So when a new guitar is made with a heel adjustment and the only available excuse is that Leo did it, that’s doubly stupid. Hard stop.

    Ive had otherwise bright people state that putting the access on the headstock stresses the wood. Guess what? Same holes, same routes, same mechanical motion. Try again.
    Leo did it. Leo fixed his mistake. Don’t buy a guitar with heel access.
    Unless you like dents in your body, then it’s ok.
     
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  10. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    The only reason I would have a heel-adjust neck is if the guitar was built that way back when it was a thing. And I can’t afford one built back when it was a thing, so it’s a moot point.

    My favourite is my Danelectro—no adjustment, so nothing to worry about!
     
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  11. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

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    That's interesting, Dan, I never knew that. I've never even seen a Danelectro in the flesh, never mind played one! Tell me more.
     
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  12. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    No preference. I tend to set them up and leave them. Just noticed my '68 has a heel adjust, but I've never had to mess with it in 20 years. One of my rosewood necks is also a heel adjust, but has never needed it. Good karma I guess, stable environment. I couldn't imagine an environment where I'd have to adjust 20 guitars seasonally.
     
  13. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    Well, the EB/MM heel-end adjuster is the best in the business. The Fender design is simply stupid. It's not just that you need to remove the neck to cleanly adjust the rod -- it's also terrible that you cannot do so under full string tension, and just have to guess, remount, and guess again. Furthermore, you're repeatedly undoing and rescrewing wood screws into a wood neck, which is, mechanically, completely ill-conceived Leo Fender was astounding but not perfect. The heel adjust is simply terrible. You just have to pray that you have a really stable neck -- as many are, fortunately -- and that you live in SoCal where the seasonal changes are... nonexistent.
     
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  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    Agreed... But... I have both. My CS '69 Stratocaster has a truss rod adjustment at the heel that needs adjustment in early winter after the humidity breaks and in early summer when it returns. It's quicker and easier with the adjustment at the headstock but after the first two or three times is no big deal. It's part of general maintenance. Adjust the truss rod. Check intonation. Clean the guitar. Apply a tiny bit of teak oil to the rosewood fret board. Change the strings. Anything in between can be handled with saddle height adjustments. The whole job takes less than an hour. I have six guitars I play regularly. I do the maintenance as needed when they're out.
     
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  15. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    they could at least put a channel to adjust them there, like some vintage teles had.

    the most insulting is how on some guitars (strat, jazzmaster, etc) they had a mini channel routed out in the pickguard alone but not the wood underneath. like what in the hell is that supposed to do? is it visual confirmation that there is in fact a truss rod in there? it is totally non-functional.
     
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  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are advantages and disadvantages to each style of truss rod (non adjustable, single acting, double acting) and each configuration (head adjust, heel adjust). I build a lot of different kinds of guitars and try to use the truss rod configuration that makes the most sense - best head and neck design, easy access, best performance. Life if full of compromises.
     
  17. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Afflicted

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    The last heel adjust Strat I owned promptly got a new neck. The original got wrapped up and left in the case. Preserves resale value anyway.
     
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  18. Fender-guy

    Fender-guy Tele-Holic

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    All my guitars are heel adjust and I have one with no truss rod. I haven’t touched them in years and constantly check relief. So I’m not sure why you guys find it a pain unless you’re constantly fiddling with relief. That’s a humidity issue not the location of the truss rod.
     
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  19. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    I agree, but do own one Strat with a heel adjustment and luckily have never had to adjust it. I like the idea of the wheel-at-the-heel adjustable truss rod, which I initially saw on Vox guitars 50 years ago: https://reverb.com/item/40956771-vox-starstream-1960s-sunburst ,
    and others have adopted over the years including Fender on it's Elite series which is now discontinued. But typically, my preference is the headstock adjustment. It's simple and it works.
     
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  20. SparkleFart

    SparkleFart Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    The spoke wheel adjuster on my 2016 American Elite thinline might have been a little less stupid...

    elite.jpg

    ...but the bridge concept? I like the guitar overall but that bridge still bugs me o_O:lol:
     
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