1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Vintage, Modern, V & C Series, Signature & Special Editions

Moderators: rickenbrother, ajish4

1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:46 am

Hi Folks,

I've got a 1986 360/12 with TI Flats and I'm doing a set-up on the guitar.

rick.jpg


When I purchased the guitar I couldn't set it up because it had the old-style truss rod adjusters, and I couldn't get a socket over them. So I took it to a shop and they installed these aftermarket hex sockets that can be much more easily turned via allen wrench.

photo of original nuts -
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JvhoKnRpi01AmhLw973L18vuSCVT8EAe

photos of new adjutment nuts you'll see something wrong right away but read on to find out...
https://drive.google.com/open?id=10gkcGl_wv1BOKJsZPttfJLWN4tBbJ5N- and
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1J4GrKh73Vxeq20N0f2UoUS8f41A1_4N2

Now I want to do a full set up because I was not happy with the set up the shop did, and I like to do things for myself anyways, esp with a Rick, to get it playing just the way I want it. So I loosened the truss rod adjusters until there was no tension and I could almost turn them by hand. Then I started tightening them evenly.

I'm measuring neck relief by fretting the 1st fret with a capo, fretting the last fret with my finger, and slipping a feeler gauge between the low E strings and the 7th, 8th, and 9th frets. I'd like to try somewhere in the .004" to .006" range based on what I've read online from other Rick owners. Currently I'm pretty close to .006" and it's playing WAY better. I'd like to try more, but I'm afraid to tighten the rods any further, because the adjuster nuts that the shop installed appear to be digging into the truss rod block and grinding aluminum out. This does not seem right at all... you can see from the photos linked above.

My first thought, is, perhaps I've fully adjusted the rods. I did all these adjustments yesterday and did not give the neck much time to settle, but now, 12 hours later, the neck hasn't changed at all, so it seems "settled" to me.

What is causing this and what should I do about it?

Thanks!
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (jps) » Tue Dec 17, 2019 1:17 pm

akpasta wrote:Hi Folks,

I've got a 1986 360/12 with TI Flats and I'm doing a set-up on the guitar.

rick.jpg


When I purchased the guitar I couldn't set it up because it had the old-style truss rod adjusters, and I couldn't get a socket over them. So I took it to a shop and they installed these aftermarket hex sockets that can be much more easily turned via allen wrench.

photo of original nuts -
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JvhoKnRpi01AmhLw973L18vuSCVT8EAe

photos of new adjutment nuts you'll see something wrong right away but read on to find out...
https://drive.google.com/open?id=10gkcGl_wv1BOKJsZPttfJLWN4tBbJ5N- and
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1J4GrKh73Vxeq20N0f2UoUS8f41A1_4N2

Now I want to do a full set up because I was not happy with the set up the shop did, and I like to do things for myself anyways, esp with a Rick, to get it playing just the way I want it. So I loosened the truss rod adjusters until there was no tension and I could almost turn them by hand. Then I started tightening them evenly.

I'm measuring neck relief by fretting the 1st fret with a capo, fretting the last fret with my finger, and slipping a feeler gauge between the low E strings and the 7th, 8th, and 9th frets. I'd like to try somewhere in the .004" to .006" range based on what I've read online from other Rick owners. Currently I'm pretty close to .006" and it's playing WAY better. I'd like to try more, but I'm afraid to tighten the rods any further, because the adjuster nuts that the shop installed appear to be digging into the truss rod block and grinding aluminum out. This does not seem right at all... you can see from the photos linked above.

My first thought, is, perhaps I've fully adjusted the rods. I did all these adjustments yesterday and did not give the neck much time to settle, but now, 12 hours later, the neck hasn't changed at all, so it seems "settled" to me.

What is causing this and what should I do about it?

Thanks!
Even with those new-fangled TR nuts you still have to adjust the neck the way you normally do with the old style rods. These new-fangled nuts so not preclude the need for that. Also, you should have stainless steel washers between the nuts and the thrust block; all you're doing tight now, as you have found out, is to dig out the aluminum under the nuts.

Do more research on how to adjust the old-style hairpin rods, there's a lot of good information out there to find. In the meantime, I'd suggest removing the strings and backing off the rod nuts to loosen everything, otherwise, you just might find the end of the fingerboard go pop (separate from the neck).
User avatar
(jps)
RRF Consultant
 
Posts: 36418
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:00 am
Location: Not of this Earth

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:25 pm

jps wrote:Even with those new-fangled TR nuts you still have to adjust the neck the way you normally do with the old style rods. These new-fangled nuts so not preclude the need for that. Also, you should have stainless steel washers between the nuts and the thrust block; all you're doing tight now, as you have found out, is to dig out the aluminum under the nuts.

Do more research on how to adjust the old-style hairpin rods, there's a lot of good information out there to find. In the meantime, I'd suggest removing the strings and backing off the rod nuts to loosen everything, otherwise, you just might find the end of the fingerboard go pop (separate from the neck).


Ugh, that is so irritating, the shop I took the guitar to-- a reputable shop in san francisco-- said they were going to replace the block and the nuts.... all they did was replace the nuts and they clearly did not install any washers. Personally, I think they should have known better, they're highly respected.

Where do I go for this research? I skimmed around the forums but there's no sticky's or guides posted anywhere.

I pulled the nuts off and the treble-side bolt is a bit bent now, but mostly looks okay. The damage to the thrust block seems minimal. What kind of washers would I use? There's not much room between the bolts and the headstock to install a typical washer.

Should I be able to remove the thrust block entirely? I can sort of pull the rods out a tiny bit, but I'm afraid to do much more. The block also kind of gets stuck in the headstock and doesn't seem to wanna come out. If I coudl remove the thrust block I could clean it up and sand it totally flat, which could help.

According to this article - https://hazeguitars.com/blog/rickenback ... adjustment I don't have a 1986 Rick at all, it's gotta be 84 or earlier. They don't seem to have washers between the thrust block and the nuts. Am I missing something?

Here's what I'm dealing with now
IMG_1666.jpg

IMG_1667.jpg
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (jps) » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:53 pm

Due to the shape of the cavity (tapering) you can't just pull the thrust block (TB) off the rods, the rods need to be back off into the neck so the TB can be raised out of the cavity. The slots the rods are in are open at the heel end of the neck to allow them to be slid through them; you probably will need to remove the neck pickup to allow for that. Easy to do, it's just two screws to remove then place the pickup alongside on the body (use a towel to lay the pickup on to protect the finish). To push the rods into the neck you will probably need to use pliers and/or a screwdriver to push them in towards the nut. What I have done is push the rods in a little bit at a time while unscrewing the TR nuts of the ends of the rods. This is all much easier done than trying to explain it, really.

As to washers, you should be able to find fairly small ones that will fit, maybe you will have to file one edge flat but probably not. They may not have been "original equipment" but they are what's needed between a rotating object (the TR nut) and a stationary one (the TB) to prevent the galling you are experiencing. Regarding the slightly bend rod end, you can gently bend it back straight with the pliers, just be careful to not mash the threads on the rods.

Just because a repair tech may be highly respected doesn't necessarily mean they know everything about all instruments. :wink:
User avatar
(jps)
RRF Consultant
 
Posts: 36418
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:00 am
Location: Not of this Earth

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:11 am

Thanks for the advice folks.

I got some washers that fit but the aluminum block was damaged in such a way that it tilts back when I tighten it down now, instead of applying force to the part of the rod it’s supposed to push down on. It’s no good. I tried pulling the truss rods out through the bottom of the neck by the body but had no luck. It was in too deep. However I was able to just pull the rods out through the top by the headstock! I was able to get the block off easily and I’m going to get some scrap aluminum or steel from a friend and make a new one. I’m also going to mod a thick feeler gauge into basically a gasket for the top so this can’t happen again. I’m going to make my new one taller and deeper so there’s more body pressing against the headstock on the back and the rod at the bottom. I feel like this ought a be a simple job!

I’ll give it a go and let you know how it turns out!!
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (jps) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:48 am

I must have forgotten to say that pushing the rods into the neck is just to make it easier to get the block off, then you pull the rods out through the headsotck.

Make the new block out of brass; this was suggested my Mark Arnquist a long time ago when I had to do so with one of my basses. And as he suggested, and apparently, you already plan to do so, is to make the block a bit longer so there is more for the end of the rods to go through to prevent the block from rotating forwards.

It seems like this is really difficult. but it really is not too hard to do this simple mod. Sometimes, these are the kinds of things we may need to do to create a closer bond to our instruments. And, we learn more about our instruments and find that they are difficult (depending on what needs to be done) to work on without resorting to an $$$$$ tech to do this for us.
User avatar
(jps)
RRF Consultant
 
Posts: 36418
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:00 am
Location: Not of this Earth

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (maxwell) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:40 am

...by the way, did you happen to see a similar thread posted in this forum a few months ago (by aborman)? It’s listed three topics below yours:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=416225


Anyway, it would be really great if you can take a few photos before you reassemble things. I’d love to see an overall shot of your truss rods, as well as the ends. Photos of your new block — by itself and in position — would be nice; old block & new block in a side-by-side comparative photo would be interesting. Like you said, finding info about working with these old truss rods is a challenge.
(maxwell)
Junior Member
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:14 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (collin) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:14 pm

Most guitar techs don't know the first thing about Rickenbackers, and the old style truss rod system functions differently than just about all other guitars.

That sturdy block is helpful, but as pointed out before, that only helps one half of the equation.
User avatar
(collin)
Senior Member
 
Posts: 6682
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:28 pm
Location: Corona, CA, USA

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:35 pm

Hey Folks,

So I've sourced some scrap aluminum, and I'm going to make a new block, that's taller than the one I have. I believe I will need taller truss rod threads to accommodate a taller block, which means I'll have to cut material off the non-threaded end of the truss rod, and use a threading die to clean and cut new threads in the threaded end. I only need 3/4"-1" of extra length so I don't think this will effect the functioning of the rod itself.

Essentially I am going to do what a local shop has done - http://sfguitarworks.com/guitar-repair- ... ck-repair/

Anyone have any reason to think I should NOT do this?

Haha,

Thanks.
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (maxwell) » Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:50 pm

collin wrote:...That sturdy block is helpful, but as pointed out before, that only helps one half of the equation.


collin, would you please expound on the other "half of the equation" -- problem and solution? I've read through the thread, but I'm not seeing it/getting it....
(maxwell)
Junior Member
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:14 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:26 pm

Hey all,

I made a new truss rod block, as well as a full-size washer for the nuts to push against. I also had to cut about 1/2" off the contact-side of each truss rod so that I could get more threads to accommodate the taller block. Here's some photos.
IMG-1705.JPG

IMG-1706.JPG

IMG-1707.JPG


It totally works, but I need to make some adjustments. Particularly, due to the sloped back of the headstock, the block is sticking out too much for the name-plate to be put back on (you can kinda see in the photos). So I'll need to pull everything apart again and either file the back of my block match the curve on the back of the headstock, or just make the block skinnier overall. Also the adjuster nuts are a bit tall, and make it difficult to adjust with a standard L-shaped allan wrench, so I'll need a longer tool to adjust them as well. I think with those minor adjustments I should be able to get the name plate back on without an issue.

I am able to get closer to the neck adjustment I want. Rickenbackers tend to play better with less neck relief than most other guitars. You seem to gotta get real real low action to make them smooth, for me, there was no way to get there aside from this modification.
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (maxwell) » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:56 am

That's pretty good. It's cool that you have the materials, tools and skills to do this. Please continue to post your progress.
(maxwell)
Junior Member
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:14 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (akpasta) » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:45 pm

Hey folks,

An update. First, I did some research and it appears my guitar was manufactured several years earlier than it was advertised, in 1982, which explains why it has the old-style rods!

I had to make some additional modifications to get this working properly. First I had to replace the adjusting nuts, which at this point were totally stripped from all my testing and experimenting. Luckily Fender MIM truss rod nuts are exactly the right thread size for the Rick truss rods. They have a nice wide allen socket at the top. https://reverb.com/item/257145-genuine- ... ckage-of-2 . I did have to cut them a bit shorter (remove material from the threaded end) and also remove some metal tabs from the inside of the nut, there's like some metal separating the threaded area of the inside from the allen shaped area, which serves as a 'stop' for your rod. I just punched the metal tabs out. I actually fracked up my truss rod threads not realizing these tabs were stopping the rod from moving. The rods had no more room to advance when I torqued the nuts and it ended up destroying the threads. I heard a giant POP and feared I had really ruined the rod, like snapped it or something, but it was just the threads skipping inside the nut. I had to cut some additional material off the rods and re-cut the threads. I think in all I've removed maybe 3" inches from each rod and they still seem to function just fine.

I also added a washer to both the top and bottom of the tension block. The nuts will dig into the aluminum on top AND the rods will do the same on the bottom, so this was a necessary fix.

See photo below. It adjusts easily and does not obstruct the name plate at all! Unfortunately I did have to remove a bit of material from the headstock so that these larger nuts would not protrude, which would otherwise cause the truss rods to possibly bend and also obstruct the name plate. I maybe could have accomplished this without removing material, but I did it anyways, and, well, it's not the end of the world I guess. You can't see when the cover is on anyways.
60047366662__ACA03B56-224A-41E4-921A-1172AEF8BD4E.JPG

Now that I was able to get the neck relief set where I wanted it I started noticing issues with some other components that were not noticeable before!

First, the bridge saddles for the B and E strings were cut a bit too low. They buzzed like crazy in a way that I could not adjust out. So the only way to solve it was to remove the bridge, remove the offending saddles and cut some feeler gauge to use as a shim underneath those 4 saddles. It gave me an opportunity to get a closer look at this custom made bridge I was so curious about. The quality is much better than what Rick makes these days.
IMG_1804.JPG

IMG_1807.JPG

It appears it was manufactured by "Stars Guitars." There's little information about them online, but I did find this- viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11598 . Actually there is a bit more info out there if you Google "Stars Guitars San Francisco." It's funny, this guitar was sold by someone in Michigan and shipped to me, in San Francisco, where this custom bridge was originally built!

Anyways, I shimmed those saddles and the buzz was removed.

Onto the next issue. It was never clear before because I couldn't get enough relief out of the neck, but my frets are not all level. Not totally surprising for such an old instrument. I've got things adjusted pretty good and I noticed one trouble-spot, the fourth fret buzzes against the E strings when they are fretted on the 3rd fret. I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I just filed the damn thing down a tiny tiny bit, and eliminated the buzz. Eventually I may pay for a fret level, but for now, I am fine.

All in all, I've gotten the guitar to a place where it plays well enough and sounds great. I think I could probably get the neck flatter and the action lower if I got the frets leveled and replaced my 12-saddle nut, as some of the grooves may be worn or cut a bit too low. Currently, if I go any flatter with the rods, I start to get some open-string buzzing near the nut. But for now, I am happy with it as is!
IMG_1776.JPG
(akpasta)
New member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: 1986 360/12 Truss Rod Adjustment Issue

Postby (maxwell) » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:22 pm

Nice work - pretty cool how you figured how to fix all the problems. I enjoyed reading all this.
(maxwell)
Junior Member
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:14 pm


Return to Rickenbacker Guitars: by John Simmons

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests