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Thread: What's up with that truss rod?

  1. #26

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Our son's 310 had a hex nut. I needed a long one [socket] to get hold of it, IIRC, small - maybe 8mm (could be thinking of my Eastman), but I can check if he brings it along when he visits next month.
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  2. #27

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Hmmm, I was going to guess that this neck has a fixed support bar of some sort -- no adjustable truss rod -- but the buyer wanted it to have a truss rod cover so it looks "normal".
    Somehow reminds me of the entire high fashion industry - and the low fashion industry too.

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  4. #28
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    I am thinking that the word would be "traditional" rather than "normal".

  5. #29
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    "If" it is a 2-way, and installed backwards, asking why there is a truss rod cover on the headstock is almost like a punchline. Or should I say, why wouldn't there be a truss rod cover? But the worker evidently didn't really understand the construction.
    If there is a truss rod in there backwards and there's no access hole in the neck heel, time to get out the sonar and specialty tools.
    I've worked on a number of truss rods that need the rounded over allen wrench due to angle issues. StewMac sells a good set, but probably available elsewhere for less.

  6. #30
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Looking carefully at the enlarged pictures, it appears there are hex lines on the inside of the nut, indicating it is an Allen key/wrench that is required. I would try and remove some of the obstructive material with a dremel to gain better access.
    Mike

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  8. #31
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Hmmm.

    Looking at the upside-down pic that was provided by the OP, extremely magnified, peering closely into the very deepest recess of the nut, I think I might agree. The nut appears horribly thrashed inside, enough that there might be both false "threads" and a false "allen" fitting appearing in the pics, which probably explains our confusion about this. But if it is really there and I'm not subjecting my hopes into it, there might be enough of an allen fitting deep inside there to grab with a very perfectly matched allen wrench.

    If it is there, there isn't much allen fitting left; it could be what appears to be the depth of a thread or maybe two. So the wrench has to be perfect or else what is left there will also get scratched away. The angle has to be perfect too. And yes, any and all finish or glue that would impede outward progress of the nut needs to be removed first. I would also squirt a little of some sort of cleaning oil down deeply along all the inside and outside surface of the nut to try to allow the nut to turn, in hope that this cleaning oil would also penetrate into the threaded area of the truss rod itself.

    If it is there, there is so little allen fitting there that even with high magnification it is really hard to say for sure. But there may be shadows that might point to it being there.

    I wonder if instead of even trying to find the mystery allen wrench to fit this, if there might be some sort of tool that expands when inserted within a thrashed nut like this, and with unscrewing allows the nut to be removed. Any thoughts on that?

    As has been mentioned by others here before, I'd really hesitate to hammer with an impact wrench in that area of the neck.

    Reminds me of my old Harley days...

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    Edit: Speaking of Harley days... Perhaps another solution would be to carve a standard screwdriver fitting deeply into the nut with a dremel tool???
    Last edited by dhergert; Sep-25-2021 at 10:24am.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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  10. #32
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    It might be possible, regardless of whether the hex in inside or outside, to use a very well fitted "easy out" to back the nut out of there. Then a new one could possibly be used to get things working again.
    Far to much work to adjust a truss rod!

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  12. #33
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    It might be possible, regardless of whether the hex in inside or outside, to use a very well fitted "easy out" to back the nut out of there. Then a new one could possibly be used to get things working again.
    Far to much work to adjust a truss rod!
    So here's an important question then... Is the fitting we're looking at a truss rod nut, or is it actually permanently attached to the truss rod itself? If this is a 2-way truss rod, won't unscrewing it simply increase the string play? Will it eventually come out, or will it break if unscrewed enough to do so?
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  13. #34
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    So here's an important question then...
    That was actually several important questions and unless someone knows the answers for sure, an X-ray is about the only way to get a safe answer... and it was already getting too time consuming for a "5 minute" truss rod adjustment, now it's getting expensive as well!

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  15. #35
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    In short, considering the cost of this mandolin: if the truss rod needs adjustment, I'm afraid it's toast.

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  17. #36

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    In his post, #11, Willi said the neck was okay for now.
    Play it.

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  19. #37
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    OP says he just received it. Return that thing as soon as you can. If you can.

  20. #38

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Just a guess -- I haven't worked on a 310F -- but have worked on hundreds of cheaper guitars with a similar problem. I enlarged the pictures all the way and it is impossible to tell what is going on. In my experience, often the peghead overlay is a super-thin veneer of plastic or other non-wood material. I'm guess what we are seeing is just some excess plastic that got "tucked in" rather than removed when the mandolin was built -- like ya say -- quality control. So first I would take an x-acto or similar knife and see if that "flap" of plastic can be easily removed, giving you the access you need. I doubt we are looking at solid wood, but if it is I have a teenie 3mm wide blade chisel that works perfect for that job. It is razor sharp and won't take long.

    Good luck!

  21. #39
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Hmmm.



    Reminds me of my old Harley days...
    You speak the truth, Don. The most comprehensive education I ever received was cutting my teeth on my 1973 AMF H-D FLH. I go to the Southeast Antique Motorcycle Association hoe-down every year in these parts, and a couple of years ago ran into a guy who had a bike just like my old one. Told him owning it made me a decent mechanic and half a machinist. He said, "I bet it taught you a lot about patience, too." Yessir. That it did.

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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Ward View Post
    You speak the truth, Don. The most comprehensive education I ever received was cutting my teeth on my 1973 AMF H-D FLH. I go to the Southeast Antique Motorcycle Association hoe-down every year in these parts, and a couple of years ago ran into a guy who had a bike just like my old one. Told him owning it made me a decent mechanic and half a machinist. He said, "I bet it taught you a lot about patience, too." Yessir. That it did.
    Yup. I loved my 78 Sportster. Restored it, polished it, bagged it, windshielded it, drove it as much as my back could stand. It was a beauty; I had to mentally remind myself I wasn't in a parade in order to keep my mind on the road. Finally had to give it up because my back just couldn't live with any seat I put on it. It was the last motorcycle I rode after 35 years of riding, and it was a nice last bike. 1000CCs of kick-started V-twin magic.

    Those old shovel heads had an automatic "time to rest" mechanism. After a little more than 90 minutes on a hot day, the valve springs would overheat and loose their ability to function. You'd loose compression completely, and have to pull over and wait about 30 minutes for the springs to cool, then you're good to go for another 90 minutes or so. That was Harley reliability in the 1970s. I understand you could replace the springs with some new-fanglled valve springs that wouldn't do that, but I never did. My back was so bad, I needed a break at least every 90 minutes anyway.

    As much as I enjoyed the Sportster, between riding it and regularly enjoying big-bore range target practice, I was also causing myself noticable hearing deficit. And I was becoming a candidate for lower back fusion surgery, something that at that time was not a sure thing. So considering how much I'm enjoying music now, and considering that I'm basically pain free in my lower back now, it's a good thing I stopped both of them when I did. I wouldn't change how things worked out now.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  23. #41

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    You can't make good cheap F5 mandolins. $2k is about the bare minimum I think. This kind of proves it.
    Richard Hutchings

  24. #42
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    You know, the $199 blowout price for the MK LFSTB (Dragonfly) F-style mandolins back in 2016 was amazing, but their original list prices were about $1K. I handled 4 of them, 3 as gifts and one which is now my backup mandolin.

    While they were all poorly setup from the box, with a good setup they each played and sounded actually pretty decent, and everything works including the 2-way truss rods.

    Still, Q&A was probably only mediocre with these MKs, as there were some pretty visible trim and finish differences between the 4 that I handled. But nothing so bad as the truss rod situation with the OP's mandolin.

    "Good" is a pretty subjective word. If you want the tone of a finer instrument, you probably need to buy that instrument. But I'd say that the $1K range for a playable and enjoyable F-style mandolin is not an impossibility. ...At least back in 2016; maybe things are different now.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  25. #43

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Yeah, I really haven't gone shopping in a long time and with the CNCs, they can probably even dial in some kind of tone and get them built for under $1K. I know a lot of new mandolin players like them but I've never played a cheap on I like.
    Richard Hutchings

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  27. #44
    Registered User Willi Bahrenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Soooo, I just tried out a 4mm hex wrench with a ball end on the truss rod and guess what: It worked perfectly! After a little poking and wiggling it connected and I was able to adjust the truss rod smoothly in both directions.

    I never would have guessed! Frankly, I never thought those ball ends on my wrenches had any purpose at all. Well, you live and learn...

    Big thanks again to the community for all the input and suggestions. And an extra big !THANK YOU! to Steve Mead who first suggested the ball end solution!

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  29. #45
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mead View Post
    I once had a " the loar" and had to use one of those ball end hex wrenches to adjust the truss rod. A standard one would not work, funky angle. I believe it was metric though.
    Yep, this worked!

  30. #46

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Glad to hear it was a success!
    Richard Hutchings

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  32. #47
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Those ball ends are helpful for situations where the wench cannot be aligned properly with the fastener, but they can be rougher on fasteners because there is less contact area, so things can wear faster. To continue with my truss rod diatribe, there is no reason that the truss rod pocket could not have been made to allow straight access to the socket so that a regular Allen could work.
    Glad it working for you.

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  34. #48

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Belated follow-up but our son arrived for a visit today and brought his 310F. I was wrong that it was a hex nut because, as the poster discovered, it needs an Allen wrench. This one is 4mm, and though the hole in the neck does not align perfectly with the hex "socket," the ancient 4mm wrench I have slips through and fits well (long end in, of course).

    It looks like this one might have been better off, or perhaps not abused to begin with, because it works just fine.

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  36. #49
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    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    Yours is instantly recognized for what it is.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  37. #50

    Default Re: What's up with that truss rod?

    That's a modern two-way adjustable truss rod. Use a 4MM Allen key on the short leg.

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