I just broke my first truss rod

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I just broke my first truss rod

Postby Mark Wybierala » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:46 pm

On a client's guitar.
I'm just sharing. I think we are going to deal with this in an equitable and friendly manner.

The neck is a bolt-on purchased on ebay by the client and was part of a "would you make me a body from this block of wood, a pattern for the body design, all of the parts, and a neck from ebay. A build/assemble job.

The neck is made from semi-exotic woods. Strat style, korina neck, spalted maple headstock veneer, bocote fingerboard, and purpleheart binding. The fretwork was so-so and the truss rod was a dual adjustable neck with the sdjustment at the heel.

Not that it matters at all but I foolishly underbid on the job. I was in the home stretch doing the final setup and there was too much relief in the neck. I capoed the strings loosened them a bit, and removed the neck. The adjustment was already very tight and 1/4 turn later I got that sick feeling of no more resistance and the rod was broken. The head of the rod came out of the hole with about six threads up to the break. The shiney part of the break clearly indicates that there was an existing fracture that was greater than 1/3rd the area of the face of the break -- I have no explanation for that but it is quite obvious.

I called the client and when he arrived I explained what happened and asked him to contact the seller of the neck. I've asked him to pursue the seller first and if necessary, I would be willing to talk to the seller also. I am considering the options of what to offer this client if the seller is not responsive. I do not feel responsible for the broken rod but I need to maintain my credability and this client's loyalty is important to me. There may be a chance to pull this rod out if I do some surgery to the heel but the rod is already under a lot of tension and it would depend on how much glue from the fretboard installation is holding the rod also. I could pull the fretboard but I'll only go down that road if I need to. I'm speaking honestly and openly to my client about the loyalty issue and will probably offer any additional work at 50% of my labor rate. I could build him a better neck at cost.

Any experiences or suggestions? Its hard to walk the thin line of being considerate, not giving yourself and time/work away, maintaining loyalty, without apearing guity or being a hack.
Mark Wybierala
Posts: 463
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am
Location: Central New Jersey

Re: I just broke my first truss rod

Postby Karl Hoyt » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:29 pm

judging from the description of the neck: it's a rookie -built neck. too many wierd combinatioins of wood, poor fretting.......and it appears that the truss rod was getting ready to shear .......

If it were me, I'd encourage the gentleman to pursue some sort of recourse with the EBAY seller. then I'd hook him up with an allparts or wdmusic strat neck for a reasonable price....

this person will respect your candor and willingness to work with him in a bad situation:

Hope this helps:

Karl Hoyt
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:04 am
Location: Cape Cod

Re: I just broke my first truss rod

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:23 am

Hi Mark,
I think you are on the right track. You are being as fair as you can be. Hopefully your customer will feel the same way.
It might be the first one you have broken, but it probably won't be the last. Some truss rods won't adjust the necks properly, may be already damaged, and how tightly they can be adjusted before breaking is somewhat unknowable. Deciding on a policy that is fair to you and the customer for the "unknowns" created by the manufacturer and stating such might be a good idea in the future, but the present situation does put you in the spot of being a builder with a defective product supplied by the customer. You are both dealing with a problem created by a third party who was also most likely unaware of the defect, and might assume that the rod was broken by an unskilled technician.
Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1361
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: I just broke my first truss rod

Postby Mark Wybierala » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:42 pm

Update, everything seems to be going well. My client has provided a Warmoth neck and the guitar is finished and actually plays very well. I'm in total agreement with the conclusion that the neck was of poor quality. There is some fella here is the US building necks of odd wood combinations for the sake of providing odd wood combinations which are exactly what this particular client is looking for... -- he's found a niche. He just got unlucky in this case with a static forward bow that was too much for the trussrod and a defective truss didn't help. The fretwork could have been remedied by a couple hours on my bench. I wish him well. The supplier has offered a replacement neck rather than a refund and my client will probably bite to build another wierd guitar. I don't know of any neck supplier who is providing necks with impressive fret work and I can't fault this neck for anything other than the premature relief which has happen to me also. Maybe he will improve his quality control -- or not...

Some lessons learned.
Mark Wybierala
Posts: 463
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am
Location: Central New Jersey

Re: I just broke my first truss rod

Postby David King » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:17 pm

Mark I'd be really interested to know the provenance of the truss rod if you could find that out easily.
Truss rods don't just break but if there's a batch of faulty ones out there it would be nice if we could all know about it.
David King
Posts: 2660
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: I just broke my first truss rod

Postby Mark Wybierala » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:35 am

I couldn't tell you. It is the style of the dual adjustment rod from Allparts but not the same manufacturer. Allparts, Stewmac, WD and LMI do not sell this rod.
Mark Wybierala
Posts: 463
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am
Location: Central New Jersey

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