Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 78
COLUMN Dan's Guitar RX
rod and turn it with needle-nose pliers? Whatever
the reason, it didn't work. Though the Allen nut was
somewhat mauled, I was able to insert a StewMac
Gripper truss-rod wrench and turn it counterclockwise. Gripper wrenches have a tapered hex that starts
slightly smaller than the actual size, and tapers
wider as it's inserted - wedging into a worn nut and
The rod was very stiff and difficult to move, and
when I turned to loosen it, I heard a "click"; I guessed
that I'd freed/broken the rod from the anchor nut at
the body end, and I could hear it rattle in the channel.
Using the Gripper, I twisted it sideways a bit to lock
into the nut and was able to pull out the rod..
2) ...far enough to grab the bullet with locking pliers.
3) Along with the rod came the steel thrust washer
that rests at the bottom of the access hole in the neck;
when the bullet is tightened, it bears against the steel
washer rather than crushing the wood.
4) The thread on the anchor end of the rod wasn't
A Tricky Truss Replacement
By Dan Erlewine
customer recently sent the neck of his '78 Strat to the shop along
with a note that said, "There's no room to tighten the truss rod, and
I fear if I crank on the nut, it'll break; the Allen head is not stripped,
but it's worn. I think the bullet is locked, or maybe cross-threaded. - Joe"
I sighted the neck and it was very up-bowed. I wasn't sure it would
straighten even if I could get the truss to work. The rod's bullet-shaped
Allen nut was definitely locked, and from the looks of it, more than one
person had used the wrong tools to adjust this neck.
1) The nut had been ground flat on one side - maybe to grip the
Photos: Kate Erlewine.