Sawing up a truss rod

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Sawing up a truss rod

Postby (adam_swapp) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:13 am

I just yanked the truss rods from my new 66 360-12 project for the ritual oiling and thread cleaning. I noticed that the two rods are different lengths. If you look at the picture, the upper two frames show the rods as installed in the guitar. Note that the treble rod is a bit longer, but the bass rod has more usable thread. Therein lies the problem; the treble rod doesn't have enough usable thread for full engagement with the adjusting nut at the time of initial contact. I may be paranoid, but I'd prefer the nut to be fully engaged while the rod is under tension.

My proposed solution is to cut 1/4" or so off the upper half of the treble rod to provide sufficient accessible threads. This would, in effect, make the amount of available thread the same in both rods. This would also have the effect of shortening the rod by the amount that I cut off, making the treble rod slightly shorter than the bass rod, as you can see in the lower two frames of the photo.

I don't think 1/4" will make any difference, but I'm compelled to ask: Is there any reason on earth I shouldn't do this?

Image
You want to put that where?
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Postby (jps) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:19 am

No.
(Insert famous quote here)
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Postby (rob) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:54 am

If the neck was fine for the past 38/39 years, why modify it now? The rods were probably like that for a reason. It does look like it was "Modified" once, but not a good looking job.
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Postby (rick12dr) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:41 am

Don't worry at all about the slight difference in rod length. What I Always do on an old Rick with these rods, if I have to take them out, is get a thread chaser/cutter die, and clean up the existing threads, and also put around another quarter inch of extra thread length on the rods.
After I do this, I use an old toothbrush to clean the threads out real good. Then, before reinstalling, I put some oil or Vaseline on the threads so the adjusting nut turns as easy as possible.On the part of the rod that is not threaded, the part that butts up against the retainer nut, if the end of it is not flat and squared up, I do that as well. You can do this using a file, edge sander, or bench grinder.
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Postby (adam_swapp) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:41 am

Don,

Great minds think alike! That's exactly what I was going to do. I'd already run the die down the threads and the tap through the nuts before I took the pictures. Given the somewhat finicky nature of this old rod system, I figure they need all the help they can get to work smoothly.

BTW, did you get the email about the 12-string trapeze? I haven't heard back from you...
You want to put that where?
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Postby (rick12dr) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:52 pm

Adam, I did reply back. Must be a problem sending somehow. Email me again, please.
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Postby (rick12dr) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:01 pm

One more thing I do with the rods before re-installing them is,if there is still the black electrical tape between the 2 halves of the rod,
and if it is not sticking real good, pull it all off.Get some acetone or googone or something and de gunk the sticky residue. Then get a roll of thin [almost like pinstripe, if you can find it]
black tape and replace it. They did this to insulate the inside surfaces of the rod from rattling against each other.But before you do this, and after cleaning the old gunk, get some steel wool, and vigorously go up and down the length of the rods and clean off any rust or burrs on the rods. Wipe with a rag, then, put a bit of Johnsons paste wax on the rods all over, then buff it off. This will help the rods slide back in the channel in the neck easier.
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Postby (36012) » Sat Dec 25, 2004 9:17 am

Does anyone know how these rods were made?I have a 66 360/12 that I am restoring that has a severely messed up rod and I want to make a new one.It appears to be 3/16" cold roll steel that is flatened on both sides,threaded and folded over.What would be the best way to make one,and what tools do I need?
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Postby (larry_mondello) » Sun Dec 26, 2004 9:07 am

As you are in the Denver area , there are plenty of machine shops around you . This material is no longer made by US Steel .
A new rod can be made , but fixing an old rod is easier and far less costly . Try the "Yellow Pages" ...machine shops . Find a close one , ask if they do small jobs , then talk to them face to face . It won't be cheap to have something made .
guess who ?!>!
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Postby (larry_mondello) » Sun Dec 26, 2004 9:10 am

To "FIX" an old rod , you need as hack saw , a vice (or any thing that can hold the rod) a 10/32 die and some thread cutting fluid . Oil can do the job .

Chase the threads BEFORE you cut them off ...it makes it far easier to deal with . Losing an inch will NOT be noticed at all as far as adjutments are concerned .
guess who ?!>!
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Postby (36012) » Sun Dec 26, 2004 7:45 pm

Larry
I will most certainly try to fix it first.I didn't think cutting off some would be good,but if it worked for you than I will try it.If it can't be fixed I will check into getting a new one made.Thanks.
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Postby (rictified) » Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:06 am

I had that done to two 4001's, they cut a little off the ends, rethreaded them and made a new block for me. On one of them he cut the threaded end off and welded a new piece and then threaded that.
I also cut a little off one rod myself on an early 4003 because one was longer than the other and was hitting a pickup. (rods are backwards in early 4003's) This idea came from JH when I first saw it here a few years ago, works like a charm, length is not critical, one inch doesn't bother a bass so it won't bother a guitar.
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Re: Sawing up a truss rod

Postby (munronichols) » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:25 am

The original observation about the rod differential lengths seems to remain unanswered.
I have a '67 625 that has had a fair amount of butchering over the years ( NOT ME !)
I am doing my best to return it to a reasonable state.
Having withdrawn the truss rods I too notice there is a differential in rod lengths.
Scratching my head as I can't really see the point.
Was this question ever answered?
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