Removing a damaged Fender truss rod nut

How do Fender truss rod nuts become damaged?

Removing a damaged Fender truss rod nut is not the easiest of tasks. But this job turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.

A customer came to me with a USA made Telecaster that appeared to have a rounded over or stripped truss rod nut. The plug that covers the nut had also been damaged. My first thought was that someone had tried to adjust the truss rod nut using a metric hexagonal key rather than the correct 1/8″ key. And in doing so had rounded over the internal part of the nut. The nut on these USA made Stratocasters and Telecasters are located behind a walnut plug and are not easy to see. So it is not easy to check that you are using the right size hex key.

After further investigation it became clear to me that the nut was completely stuck. In 35 years of adjusting truss rods I have never come across a nut that was so stuck and immovable. This also gave me a clue as to how the walnut plug that covers the nut became damaged. My guess was that when adjusting the nut, the hex key was pulled up to try and get greater purchase on the nut. In doing so, part of the walnut plug broke off.

So how to extract the damaged Fender truss rod nut?

As this job began I thought it would make an interesting topic for one of my Servicing & Repair videos. But at the start of filming I didn’t know quite how difficult this job would turn out to be. Indeed, at one point I thought I would be making a video about my failure to remove a damaged Fender truss rod nut!

To remove the damaged truss rod nut I initially tried to use a Stewart MacDonald Gripper Rod. This would normally work, but the nut proved to be so stuck that the Gripper Rod would not shift it. In the end I successfully removed the damaged truss rod nut by using a screw extractor. But I had to modify this tool so that it would work with the nut.

You can watch the whole story of the removal and replacement of the damaged nut and plug by clicking on this link to my VIDEO; Removing a damaged Fender truss rod nut