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Thread: Sterling Valentine truss rod wheel stuck, won't move in any direction

  1. #1

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    Sterling Valentine truss rod wheel stuck, won't move in any direction

    Hi all!

    Just by chance I discovered that the truss rod wheel on my 4 month old Valentine Sterling is stuck and won't move in any direction, even if I use the appropriate "allen wrench" or rod that came with it. I wonder if this is normal on new guitars with truss rod wheels. I have just changed strings once and it was from an Ernie Ball 010-46 set to...yes...the very same. No change in gauge or tension.

    After a while I found it to be a tad too straight and started to buzz ever so little, and made an attempt, but it didn't move any direction and the rod used for it started to bend ever so slightly.

    Any hints, tricks or tips?

    I've seen the other topics around here, of this, and it's mostly happening on old - out of warranty - instruments, Sterlings and EBMM the like.

  2. #2

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    Sometimes on new instruments they can get kinda 'stuck' on the finish of the neck. You definitely want to loosen it first, and maybe put just a bit of graphite between the nylon washer and the neck. I had this problem with my Stingray bass, and it solved it great.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  3. #3

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    Yes. Always loosen it first. That alone solves some problems.

    Note also that cheap allen wrenches are made of low quality metal that bends pretty easily (I know from experience). A narrow shaft screw driver is often more sturdy, and the longer handle gives you more torque too. If you cannot loosen the truss rod then you should call the store you bought it from.

    Can I assume with name like Mats Eriksson you are in Europe? If thats the case, and you bought it from a European retailer, you will be covered by warranty. If there is a problem you cannot fix, the store will make it right for you.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
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  4. #4

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    I bought a small philips head screw driver and using a grinding wheel ground the point off to make it flat on the end. Works perfect!!!!!

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [2001 NAMM piece, 1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  5. #5

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    Thank you for replies! Yes, I bought it from Swedish retailer, and warranty still applies. I thought that the added "truss rod" wrench within the case (together with a proper hex allen wrench for intonation purposes, saddle heights et al) would be sufficient enough but it wasn't.

    The thing is that as I changed strings recently - I haven't felt it needed adjustment when it was new, it was perfect relief for those strings - I found that I might release it just a hair, to get a little more leeway on the bottom strings, but discovered that I couldn't.

    The shop I bought it from is 45 minutes by car from here, so not inside the town I live in. But as it has warranty left I might have to make that trip anyway (you have no idea how expensive gas are in Sweden...:-))

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
    Yes. Always loosen it first. That alone solves some problems.
    .
    Yes, but even that isn't possible! I can't turn it either way, neither with the added truss rod wrench (straight one) and numerous screwdrivers of stainless hardened steel (cryogenic treated). I can't even loosen it the slightest. I have even removed the strings completely (wasted a set) and removed the neck completely, to get a straight shot at it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mats Eriksson View Post
    Yes, but even that isn't possible! I can't turn it either way, neither with the added truss rod wrench (straight one) and numerous screwdrivers of stainless hardened steel (cryogenic treated). I can't even loosen it the slightest. I have even removed the strings completely (wasted a set) and removed the neck completely, to get a straight shot at it.
    Have you contact Sterling By Music Man's customer service yet?

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [2001 NAMM piece, 1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  8. #8

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    well, since warranty still applies I have to take it to the store first from where I bought it from. It's better than to try do something myself, and then I may accidentally whack it beyond warranty repair. But if that doesn't help I'll have to contact Sterling By Music Man customer service. Somehow I think it's better that the store does this contact, since they are, sort of, more authorized to tweak and tinker with Sterling, EBMM guitars since they are a dealer in Sweden. If they have the guitar in their hands, they sort of can tell (I still have the receipt for it of course) that it is a first owner and bought new from them.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mats Eriksson View Post
    well, since warranty still applies I have to take it to the store first from where I bought it from. It's better than to try do something myself, and then I may accidentally whack it beyond warranty repair. But if that doesn't help I'll have to contact Sterling By Music Man customer service. Somehow I think it's better that the store does this contact, since they are, sort of, more authorized to tweak and tinker with Sterling, EBMM guitars since they are a dealer in Sweden. If they have the guitar in their hands, they sort of can tell (I still have the receipt for it of course) that it is a first owner and bought new from them.
    I'd contact them as well just in case. But yah take it back to the store first is always the best way to go.

    Good luck, Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [2001 NAMM piece, 1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  10. #10

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    Thumbs down

    Taken back today, to the store, they viewed it and acknowledged it as a warranty repair. Estimated delivery/fix time : "before christmas"...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mats Eriksson View Post
    Taken back today, to the store, they viewed it and acknowledged it as a warranty repair. Estimated delivery/fix time : "before christmas"...
    Well that's a bummer. They can't just replace it? Was that the determination of the store of Sterling?

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [2001 NAMM piece, 1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  12. #12

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    Well, it was the store. They pointed to a huge stash of recently arrivals of guitars (including ebmm) still in shipping cases that they've waited for since last spring. It's all tied in with Corona lockdowns, lack of components, and especially lack of containers which has gone up in price enourmously recently, and "speed bumps" in the logistic road, or waters really, like the Evergreen freighter got stuck in the Suez channel early spring.

    All have these "slots" in the harbors and if anything rocks that one, you're up *** creek. I have no doubt if I lived next door to EBMM USA they would fix it with just a snap (with fingers). But as it is now, it's "force majeure" all over the world when shipping things. Neither the fault of the store nor EBMM as such. They do have to send the guitar, either to someone in Sweden, or abroad. If they need a new neck, well, that one has to be sent from somewhere too... across the seas, not "landline"...:-)

  13. #13

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    Note that the shop actually sold 2-3 of these, and they never had any issues with the other 2, and not with any other Sterlings either, like their basses and so on. It's a one off, but I don't feel for buying a lottery ticket this week...:-)

  14. #14

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    Apologies if this is a stupid question, but now that the shop has looked at it and determined it's return-worthy, would it be safe to... pull real hard?

    Like, with the sort of force that previously might have voided your warranty?

  15. #15

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    I've heard with them today and the guitar had arrived at the wholesaler in Stockholm. They have authorized service. They took off the neck and managed to take off the spoke wheel totally, not without struggle, and the thing is that it happens nothing when it's supposed to work. The turning of the wheel doesn't reach in and can't rotate or "push/pull" the rod in any direction. They tried to change the truss rod action by other means too, to no avail. The rod "threads" starts too deep into the wood, it seemed. Even more now, definitely a warranty repair...

    Whatever, they're on it, at least.
    Last edited by Mats Eriksson; 09-08-2021 at 11:03 AM.

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