I am new to this site and I posted a blog which now I am unable to find.
So I will do it here again.
I have a Lowden 035 which is about 10 years old.
I recently adjusted the relief in the neck and it the process I apparently came to the end of any further adjustment of the truss rod. It tightened up and allowed no further adjustment.
At the moment the neck is fine with a little relief and playability is good.
My problems is in the future. If I need to adjust the neck again I have no way of doing it.
Any ideas how I can fix this problem without major surgery? Any ideas are most welcome.
Tough to say without seeing it in person. A compression refret might solve the problem. No need to do it until the frets wear out or the relief becomes an issue.
A possible quick-fix might be to install a thick washer (.050" or better) between the truss rod nut and whatever "wall" the nut butts against. It might give you another couple of additional threads to work-with.... but that's assuming the rod has those threads available.
Of course, as Nathan says, it pays to have someone take a gander in person.
Thanks Nathan and Mike. I will eventually have to take it to a good luthier I am sure. The truss rod adjustment nut is in a very difficult spot to reach. Just getting the allen key in to adjust it is a job on its own.
It would seem there is no easy fix unfortunately.
BTW what is a compression refret and how could that solve the issue? Sorry for my ignorance!
In addition to the excellent fix Mike gave you (I used it often), see the drawing for another method that worked for me 9 out of 10 times.
The purpose of this setup is to GENTLY force the neck into the proper geometry. If you approach it as illustrated, a neck without enough relief can be brought back AND the truss rod tightened while in that position. You'll then have a straight neck and you can loosen the rod to add relief.
I've also used it to straighten necks with a "little" back bow. That has about a 1 in 4 success rate.
Using either method, fully relax the truss rod before you begin. I use a "Quick Grip" clamp as it has a tactile feel.
In all cases, adjustments should be made in very small increments. Need more force? Add it. Just don't overdo it :)
A compression refret is used to correct a neck by using fretwire with identical topside measurements but different tang thicknesses to force the neck into shape. It's an advanced fret job. Lots of trial & error. Unfortunately, it doesn't fix the original issue of limited truss rod action. Google 'compression fretting' it for more info.
I hope some of that is helpful :)
Thanks Paul. Very interesting. I will keep it in mind when or if the need arises.
Like I said, at the moment it is playing great but we never know what the future holds and this looks like a good fix. Thanks for the response.
Putting a washer in between the truss rod nut and the neck block should be doable but it should also be combined with Paul's advice. You could use a peice of 2x4 instead of a steel tube. There's some info here at the Lowden site.
Thanks John for your response. It seems that the washer fix and the clamp fix are the two easiest and best solutions to the problem.
I will probably have a go at the washer solution first should the need arise and follow up with the clamp if necessary.
Thanks once again for all the responses everybody. You have set my mind at rest knowing that there are some fixes out there.
Stew Mac also has a truss rod restoration kit. It is pitched as a fix for stripped threads but it would work with a bottomed-out adjustment nut, too. It provides the tools to allow deeper threading of the rod Look for it... .
I just looked at the Stew Mac tool. Dan E. has a helpful video on how to use it!
The price has really increased, however. When I needed this several years ago, it was about $165. Still, lot's cheaper than disassembling and reconstructing the fingerboard, neck, etc., etc
I had a similar problem with a neck, recently, and I've followed some the advice given here (never clamped the neck, didn't need that), but with a few changes/improvements.
1. Get several washers. Add one and see if it fixes the problem. If not, add another, and so on.
2. Cut more threads into the nut. That depends on the kind of nut you have, though. It won't work with Gibson/Guild/Martin style nuts (I believe they're threaded the whole way). It works really well with Fender nuts, though.
3. If the nut sits against the body (like it does with Fenders whose neck is adjusted from the body), you'll need to shorten the nut so it's not pressed in by the body. Take it to a grinder and you'll be set.
I think 2 and 3 aren't applicable in your case, but hey, might be useful in the future.
Thanks Larry and Eliya for your contributions. I will have a look at the Stew Mac site and see about that restoration kit.
I need to have a closer look at the setup of the nut for adding washers. It is in a very tight spot. But next time I change strings I will check it all out.
Thanks again everybody.
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