Fender style truss rod..

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Raccoon, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Raccoon

    Raccoon Active Member

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    I'm relatively new to this guitar building stuff. Got 3 guitar under my built.. they've all been les paul style guitars. I've also used the stewmac hotrod style truss rod's because of laziness.. I just wanted to make a straight/non-curved cut with the router.

    Right now I'm building a telecaster and I'm looking to install a one way truss rod with a curved channel.. where the adjustment is at the heel and the anchor is at the head. I'm using a one piece maple neck.

    This may seem like a weird question.. but I've noticed a lot of people cut out most of the channel with the router and then use a drill for the rest of the channel on the heel and head. Why bother? Why not just use the router for the whole channel and make a bigger strip? I imagine it comes down to aesthetics.. but why does it matter on the heel when no one is ever gonna see that part of the neck? Am I missing something?

    Also.. this is for a friend.. so a little help of the curvature would be great. I like straight necks so I've never worried about this sort of thing. Where should the neck bend.. somewhere in the middle? I could experiment but this is more of a hobby and I'd rather get it right the first time... especially since most the guitar I make for myself I could care less about that sort of thing.
     
  2. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    Astetics...yes. Vintage correctness...yes. Maybe stronger headstock? Possible. To me the idea of building any neck, is to leave as much original wood as I can in tact. Nothing sounds as good as the original wood being left alone. My one piece necks are drilled from both ends and only slotted down center section like how Fender did it in the 50's. So you have to make a few more jigs. If you're only doing one, a few more jigs is a pain in the ass. If you are going to do several, then whats a few more jigs? The heel is probably the one area that it will make the least amount of difference. So if you cut corners...that is where I suggest doing so.

    One other thing I see many builders do is make thier channel way to wide. Sometimes a 1/4" wide for a 3/16" rod. That is absoulutely unacceptable and sounds like ****. My neck process has the channel just barely large enough for the rod to fit in. In fact I have to push it down into place with dowel rod before adding the filet strip. Capture the rod as tight as you can. The rod does not move inside the neck at all. It mearly tries to straighten itself out when tension is applied.

    Everyone has a difference of oppinion of where the rod should curve. I recomend you looking at your favorite guitar and see where the deapest part of the relief is located. Arange your truss rod shape around that.

    Joe
     
  3. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    Yeah most builders and factories make it too wide @ .250. Most original Fender necks and Gibsons were around .1875 or so but .25 original Fenders do exist! To say they sound like $h!t is a bit drastic. Many great guitars exist out there with a .250 rod channel. I have made them both ways over many years and am currently a few thou over .1875. The rod has to move in there for the neck to work. It needs to pull on the anchor. If its too tight it wont do a damn thing. A neck with a frozen and or glued in place rod will not work. If you are clamping the rod in there dead tight you are flirting with disaster. You may have seen an old fender neck frozen up where the rod had to be cracked loose in order to work... I have had internet guitar building gurus question a flat bottom route (cut with a flat bit as opposed to a ball) as if that makes an appreciable difference. Well every vinage guitar ever made has a flat bottom route, and again the rod needs to move in there to work. So the bottom line is a tight fitting rod thats not frozen into place. Some factories even make a 2 stage channel so the rod sits in one then there is a wider route for the filler strip to sit so there is no pressure on the rod. You need to use a sheath then which imho is not good for tone, but thats another thread... :beer

    To the o.p. Running the channel out the back of the neck is pointless because you still need to drill the hole for the bolt. If you can route a curved channel you should have the ability to figure out how to drill that hole. Not to mention the fact it is deep at the heel there you are almost cutting the neck in half. That can't be good!
     
  4. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    Ok, maybe sounds like **** was drastic. I believe that large gaps around the rod cause loss of tone and sustain. A good sounding neck with gaps could possibly be a great sounding without. I personally use a square bottom bit for this channel. I think those minuscule corner areas allow just enough room for the rod to work with no movement from side to side.....and with no loss of sound/tone that could be measurable.


    Good luck with your build.

    Joe
     
  5. Raccoon

    Raccoon Active Member

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    I'm just lazy and dont wanna make anymore jigs... but I might as well.
     
  6. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel Supporting Member

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    You can see how I do it here.
    You need to draw a cross section of your neck to figure out the curvature of the rod and the length of the channel. As said before a flat channel for a single action rod will not work. The need to drill for anchor and nut is simply because the channel is curved and you do not want your router bit to appear on the other side of the peghead… 5 jigs are needed: the router sled, the curved channel jig, 2 drilling jigs (one for the heel and one for the peghead) and a 3/8" OD / 3/16" ID bushing. You'll also need 2 long aircraft 3/8" and 3/16" drill bits. Yes, a 3/16" channel looks much better…
     
  7. Raccoon

    Raccoon Active Member

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    Man... your jigs look so much better than anything I could do! Haha! Thanks for the help!
     

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