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TheLeadFlatpick

J-45 Standard with broken Truss Rod...

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Hello all, first post here, but Ive used this forum as a resource for a long time. Anyways, Just bought my first Gibson J-45 (2018 standard) from a Certain Big box guitar-centered store used and it supposably has a broken truss rod. I called the store about it and they said that the threaded truss rod end broke off and that the guitar will need a new truss rod. But, I knew I had watched a video before about this problem with a gibson and it was an easy fix, besides the expensive specialty tool needed to do so. The price was very right and so I took the plunge and bought it, but I’m wondering if I may have been wrong thinking it will be able to be re-threaded and not need a truss rod replacement. They said that the truss rod end is in the neck about an 1” deep, so I don’t know of thats too far in for the truss rod to be able to be re-threaded. I may be a little soon posting here as the guitar wont arrive until Wednesday but I wanted to see if anyone here can give me some advise as to whether it is going to be salvageable or if it is going have to be replaced? Sorry about the long post and thanks to any who replies.

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I had this done to a older Gibson I have but it was broke off right at the washer. It was taken about 1/2" deeper.

s400%20nut_zpskmg61v6k.jpg

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Thanks for the reply,  I wonder if there is a max depth that the truss rod not can be moved up to by re-threading like that. Hopefully it can be an 1” deep and still work fine. Personally I’d be fine with the truss rod being an 1” deep if it will prevent a truss rod replacement

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I would think it depends on the neck. This Super 400 has a very thin neck in that area and it seems okay.

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If the repair is possible without replacing the truss rod, I wonder which one would be better long term and/or resale-wise? I can have the truss rod replaced if need be, but I would think that rethreading the old one would be a more invisible repair (until you remove the truss rod cover, that is) than having the fingerboard removed and the truss rod replaced.

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This is a tough one.

If you're lucky enough that there's enough material left that the truss rod end can indeed be re-threaded, which doesn't look like it to me, and if you can indeed find a luthier equipped and experienced enough to do the procedure, by all means go for it. It's the least invasive measure and the most cost-efficient on top of it.

If the fretboard does need to be stripped off however, which would be the default case, things don't look so pretty and it gets really expensive really fast depending on how well the job is done. The fretboard would need be removed, the truss rod replaced, the binding around the fretboard redone, and the neck would need refinishing work. That's a lot of work altogether, taken it all goes smoothly (which it may not), and not very many luthiers are competent and experienced enough to do all that on a high-end guitar like this. It's a highly invasive procedure that is costly, takes a lot of time and effort, and may leave marks nonetheless which would devalue the guitar.

If the neck is already still straight, with minimal relief showing at the 7th fret when doing the Gibson relief test, you might want to consider to play the guitar a little bit first before making the plunge. If you two don't bond, don't sweat it and move on.

Edited by Leonard McCoy

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I was kind of afraid that there wouldnt be enough material to re-thread.  Its supposed to be playing very well and not currently needing a truss rod adjustment at all right now, but I think by the time it goes through shipping that will change. I have an experienced luthier picked out who has the tools and experience to either re-thread the old or replace the truss rod. He wouldnt quote me how much re-threading it would cost (But considering how easy it looks to be to do, I dont expect it to be much), but he said he can replace the truss rod for $200-300.00. He (my luthier) sounded pretty confident that he could save the old truss rod, but I guess I’ll find out next week. I got the guitar cheap enough that even if I do have to have the truss rod replaced, I will still have gotten a really good deal on it. I do plan on playing it for at least a little while before having the truss rod replaced, if thats the case of what needs to be done. 

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What's nice is you can try the rethreading which is only a 30-45 minute job and if it doesn't work you can plug it and do the replacement.

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28 minutes ago, Dave F said:

What's nice is you can try the rethreading which is only a 30-45 minute job and if it doesn't work you can plug it and do the replacement.

Yeah Thats something I was wondering about. The only reason I can think of that would prevent being able to rethread the current truss rod is that if the neck is too thin to go as deep as needed to be able to re-thread the truss rod.

Edited by TheLeadFlatpick

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Heres a picture of what I mean about the neck being too thin to go deep enough to rethread it, but on a Taylor. If an inch of the truss rod end broke off, I would probably need to drill 1” 1/2 deep into the neck to be able to rethread it again, and if the neck is too thin, I could see it breaking through the back side of the neck. I guess when the guitar gets here Ill know if its possible or not

D6916DFA-8157-4EA3-878F-BD1B1B9A54C9.jpeg

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The J-45 arrived today and it its about 3/4” of the truss rod broke off and this thing plays almost like a dobro! Action is 3.5mm on the treble side and about 3.75mm on the bass side but the saddle is VERY tall so Ill sand it down alot and that should improve substantially. I’m thinking that after looking at it there’s a chance the truss rod can be salvaged, but Ill let you guys know what the verdict is later this week when I take it to my luthier. Thanks for your help guys, the guitar looks brand new and the case too,  it’d be a shame if the truss rod had to be replaced

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Status Update: The truss rod may be able to be repaired, but as deep as it is it would have a negative affect on the integrity of the neck, and as prone as gibsons are to headstock breaks, my luthier advised against it

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Too bad, but the price he quoted for the replacement looks pretty good. Plus , if he has to replace the fretboard (most likely), here's your opportunity to do a little customizing. 

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13 minutes ago, Dave F said:

oo bad, but the price he quoted for the replacement looks pretty good. Plus , if he has to replace the fretboard (most likely), here's your opportunity to do a little customizing. 

I thought so too, and he is actually going to remove the neck to pull the truss rod out instead of pulling the fretboard, so its (hopefully) going to be an invisible repair. He said since the end is already broke off at the headstock he can pull it out from the other end of the neck when he takes it off the body. I had never heard of this being done before but he said he’s done it this way alot. He said he will send me pics once he gets the neck off so I can see how he does it. Once I get those pics Ill post them here. Im extremely glad he doesn’t have to pull the fingerboard to fix it.

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10 hours ago, TheLeadFlatpick said:

Status Update: The truss rod may be able to be repaired, but as deep as it is it would have a negative affect on the integrity of the neck, and as prone as gibsons are to headstock breaks, my luthier advised against it

From the photos I feared as much, that the break-off point of the truss rod was too far recessed into the channel at the headstock side.

His plan to remove the neck (like with a neck reset) to get to the broken truss rod is quite clever actually—certainly less invasive and visible than actually removing the fretboard. He would just have to drill into the dovetail heel a tad, I imagine, to get to the truss rod end in order to pull it out. Let's just hope the truss rod isn't glued down across the entire truss rod channel, to the underside of the fretboard, or in other wild places.

Edited by Leonard McCoy

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Status update: he removed the neck today and found out that they have changed the trussrod design, he said they used to put the truss rod in, that they used to put it on in after putting the Fretboard on through a hole in the dovetail, but now they install them before putting the fretboard on in the way I thought they always did. Anyways he said he’s not going to charge me any more than the original quote because it was his fault, but it is going to take a little longer than it already has (he’s still very backed up). That was a major bummer for me, I was really hoping he didnt have to remove the fretboard😔

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When I read how your luthier wanted to tackle the problem, I thought that he perhaps devised a new,  clever way to remove the truss rod easily, but hearing the bad news that was cleary not the case. I have no idea why your luthier thought Gibson were inserting truss rods through the heels after the fact. This must have no longer be the case (or even never) since at least the new dawn of Bozeman making acoustics, that is since Ren Ferguson took over and revived the acoustics department. In the many Gibson factory tour videos new and old available on the Internet you also never see the truss rod being inserted in post-production like this. Perhaps in vintage Gibsons he had observed it being done like this? Who knows.

Edited by Leonard McCoy

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2 hours ago, Leonard McCoy said:

When I read how your luthier wanted to tackle the problem, I thought that he perhaps devised a new,  clever way to remove the truss rod easily, but hearing the bad news that was cleary not the case. I have no idea why your luthier thought Gibson were inserting truss rods through the heels after the fact. This must have no longer be the case (or even never) since at least the new dawn of Bozeman making acoustics, that is since Ren Ferguson took over and revived the acoustics department. In the many Gibson factory tour videos new and old available on the Internet you also never see the truss rod being inserted in post-production like this. Perhaps in vintage Gibsons he had observed it being done like this? Who knows.

When I dropped the guitar off with him he had just did a neck rest on a 70’s square shoulder J45 that had the truss rod installed in the way he mentioned, and thats why he thought this one was like this, too. He thought they must have changed it recently, but I would think that all montana made have been made like this, and probably just done the other way during the Norlin era

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I guess its time for another update: So, he got the new truss rod in for the guitar, but it didn’t fit, he shortened it but it still wouldn’t work, so he had to order a new one and take it to a machine shop (I really don’t know why he had to take it to a machine shop, I’m not sure exactly what the issue was that was preventing it from working, but I’ll ask him when I pick up the guitar). He got the new truss rod back two weeks ago, so I should be getting back next week or so, he’s been really busy. Also, the truss rod was threaded another 2-3” further in the neck, so I guess the reason it broke where it did is because there was a weak spot there.

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