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Mats Eriksson

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Mar 19, 2021
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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.
 

tbonesullivan

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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.
 

DrKev

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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.
 

GWDavis28

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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)
 

Mats Eriksson

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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...:))
 

Mats Eriksson

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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.
 

GWDavis28

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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)
 

Mats Eriksson

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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.
 

GWDavis28

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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.

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)
 

Mats Eriksson

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

GWDavis28

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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)
 

Mats Eriksson

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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"...:)
 

Mats Eriksson

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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...:)
 

St_G

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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?
 

Mats Eriksson

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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:

Mats Eriksson

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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?

No, the shop decided too, that it was just stuck, and didn't want to take it further. They immediately decided that you have to remove the neck and loosen the wheel by other means, and should they ruin it, like the spoke wheel would crack, it's better left to be done at the authorized service at the wholesaler.
 

Mats Eriksson

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UPDATE: Now, this weekend it came back, with a brand new neck, and we tested thoroughly at the shop that the wheel did turn easy both ways. "before christmas" was promised, at least. So I can't really complain about the turnaround time. They fixed it in "due diligence" or whatever that stupid expression is called...

It plays and feels and are setup the same. No diff there. The neck is even darker than their regular roasted necks, and definitely the old one, which irks me a bit. Now the black dots are not even visible in broad daylight. I have another totally rosewood neck, one piece, that is way lighter than this one and even there the dots and markers are white.

But anyway, good service, and now the case is closed.... or gig bag....;-)
 

Mats Eriksson

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Quick hint to EBMM: white markers, please, on the rest of the roasted necks form now on....as it is now you can just as well do the neck without them and save some production costs.
 

Mats Eriksson

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What happened now, with the new neck is that I can't intonate it properly, all strings stays well on the flat side of the 0 cent, at leasr 3-4 cents and the thick strings even more between 5-8 cents too flat. If I try to shorten the saddles more, I run out of screw threads and the screw turns loose. And its accompanying springs too...rattles and falls off...

Out of the ashes into the fire...
 

Fusionman

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Might need to shim the new neck to get a better angle and string height and possibly get your intonation back on track.
 
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