Can A Truss Rod (or slot) go bad?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by mtmartin71, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. mtmartin71

    mtmartin71 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've got a 2 year old Gretsch Power Jet that I love the way it plays, feels, and sounds. I had a really good setup done on it recently and shored up some minor issues and also to handle the neck really bowing. One issue that seems to remain is that this guitar, much more than my others, can fall way out of whack on the truss rod with climate changes. I live in CO which is the bane of wood instruments anyway plus I just installed a swamp cooler last summer which put too much moisture in my house (or so it seemed). I hadn't played my Gretsch since early November of 07 and went to grab it for a gig just this last weekend and found that I could fit a deck of cards under the strings now. It seems this guitar keeps falling out into big a bow with significant climate changes. I'll go ahead and adjust it myself, but I'm wondering if the guitar has developed a defect. My first summer with it, I did not have the swamp cooler and that winter, I don't recall it falling out as far. Just this last Summer is when I struggled with it and now this Winter. Thoughts? Is this just normal for some guitars and I just have to work with it, or is this symptomatic of a stripped truss rod slot?

    Thanks,

    Matt
     
  2. larry1096

    larry1096 Member

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    If the truss rod still moves the neck, the rod is probably OK. Could just be a rubbery (sorry for the technical jargon ;) ) neck. Some are inherently less stable than others, from my experience.

    If the truss rod keeps adjusting it back to playable condition, it's not really a problem-just aggravating.

    Larry
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Yup. +1

    You can try to maintain a more stable humidity environment for the guitar, but beyond that all you can really do is keep adjusting as needed. Fortunately most all the movement is in the neck itself, so simply adjusting the truss rod should maintain the setup. Some necks just seem to be hypersensitive to humidity changes, and unfortunately there's not much you can do about it.
     
  4. mtmartin71

    mtmartin71 Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. Sounds like as long as it will adjust back into place, it's still good to go. I'm willing to make those changes to keep this bad boy.

    Matt
     
  5. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    One thing to watch for, if you have an acorn-nut Gibson style trussrod it's easier to see, but be careful that you don't crush the wood under the nut or you don't get to the end of the threads. At that point, you'll notice the nut is much harder to turn (or it springs back). Then simply remove the nut and put a washer on there. You'll have to cut or grind the outside of the washers to fit, but you'll get a few threads and that means a few more turns of the nut which is more than enough.

    As Larry said, some necks are rubbery (I prefer pasta analogies, fettucine if it's flexible, linguine or angel hair if it's really weak). Since removing the fingerboard and installing graphite rods is a drastic measure, you might be happy just tweaking the trussrod with seasonal changes. Count your blessings the trussrod nut isn't on the neck heel.
     

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