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View Full Version : Vorson electric ukulele truss rod doesn't work?



kissing
03-09-2015, 12:46 AM
I have spent some time tinkering with the Vorson steel-string electric ukulele to get the playing action feel better.

Basically, the stock setup is very high, with the strings measuring about 3mm at the 12th fret (that's the average string height on classical guitars!). I managed to get the action down to about 2mm at the 12th fret by setting the bridge screws as low as possible.

I wanted to adjust the truss rod, but I can't get it to work.
Mind you, I have plenty of experience with truss rods. At first I thought that perhaps this truss rod has an unusual hex-key diameter. So I went to the hardware store and bought an entire set of Hex keys.

However, now I don't think it is as much as the Hex-key not fitting, but the truss rod being angled at the headstock in such a way that wood gets in the way of the hex key fitting at a straight angle.

Have any other Vorson electric users had success adjusting the truss rod?




http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/20150309_2121231_zps3lyel6p6.jpg (http://s4.photobucket.com/user/pactio_kiss/media/20150309_2121231_zps3lyel6p6.jpg.html)

anthonyg
03-09-2015, 12:57 AM
I can't comment on the Vorson in particular, however the first thing you must assess when intending to adjust the truss rod is, is the issue something that CAN be fixed by adjusting the truss rod?

Is the neck bowing up in such a way that straightening it would help or is it just fitted at the wrong angle to begin with?

Anthony

Fred Ukestone
03-09-2015, 01:31 AM
What is it that you are trying to achieve by adjusting the truss rod?

kissing
03-09-2015, 01:39 AM
As I have stated, I am familiar with truss rod adjustments.
The neck currently has a tiny bit more relief than what I prefer. I have been doing setups on ukes and guitars for years, so I am not seeking advice on what to do with a truss rod. I am looking for specific advice on how to get this truss rod to actually work.

I am having trouble with getting a Hex key actually fitting into the truss rod.
I want to know whether this is simply a design flaw in the Vorsons in general, or whether I actually have a dud.

It is definitely handy if the truss rod actually works. Adjustments may be necessary due to seasonal change or if I want to use a different gauge set of strings.
I had changed the strings to a slightly heavier gauge than what it was originally - as expected the neck bowed forward a little bit more than it did with the lighter strings. I popped open the truss rod cover to make a small tweak.. and found that the truss rod is not turnable with my hex key set.


If I don't find a solution, I might have to take it to the local luthiers and see what they can do.

bnolsen
03-09-2015, 02:34 AM
if you run out of saddle adjustment the proper thing to do is to shim the neck pocket, typically with business card stock. You should be adjusting your truss rod before doing anything else during a setup.

It can be a pain to reverse engineer the truss rod hex key. You put back pressure on the neck while adjusting? Ideally the truss rod should have zero tension on it during adjustment.

Icelander53
03-09-2015, 02:56 AM
One of the first things I read about truss rods is that often on the low end they do not work or work right so that makes that mostly for show I'd guess.

stevepetergal
03-09-2015, 03:25 AM
Since I first learned that builders have been making ukuleles with truss rods, I've wondered if they truly believe their customers will be using them. Is that really a truss rod in the Vorson, or a hex-head bolt made to look like there's a truss rod? (Sort of kidding) In addition, I've wondered how well they work. Does a truss rod give you the intended adjustment capabilities you want (need??)? If it works as intended, is it sufficiently controllable on such a short neck? Is it "smoke and mirrors"?

I'm not impugning builders and manufacturers. I'm simply skeptical, by nature. Any thoughts?

Underling
03-09-2015, 04:08 AM
You could try a round headed hex key they are designed for use at strange angles. Hex keys are also fairly easy to bend so you might be able to bend one so it will fit. My other thought was maybe its metric(or standard) whichever you aren't using.

WhenDogsSing
03-09-2015, 04:09 AM
In the process, have you inadvertently rounded off the female truss rod end by using a hex key a little too small? Does the hex key you are using fit snugly in the truss rod female hole? Is your hex key too long to fit properly in the truss rod hole?

None of these questions are intended as an answer to your dilemma but the answers to them might be of help in determining a course of action.

kissing
03-09-2015, 05:57 AM
You could try a round headed hex key they are designed for use at strange angles. Hex keys are also fairly easy to bend so you might be able to bend one so it will fit. My other thought was maybe its metric(or standard) whichever you aren't using.

The hex keyset I bought comes with both metric and non-metric. The 4mm and the 5/32 inch seemed to be the best candidates.



In the process, have you inadvertently rounded off the female truss rod end by using a hex key a little too small? Does the hex key you are using fit snugly in the truss rod female hole? Is your hex key too long to fit properly in the truss rod hole?

None of these questions are intended as an answer to your dilemma but the answers to them might be of help in determining a course of action.

I don't think it's a problem with the female truss rod end at all.
I think it's the headstock, and how the female truss rod end is fitted and located.

I have just taken some photos that I believe may possibly explain the problem.

The truss rod is in a "compartment" in the wood of the headstock. This "compartment" of wood shields the truss rod from having the Hex key go in and adjust it.

As you can see, a typical hex key cannot be entered into the "compartment" into the female hex opening at a right angle, due to the wood getting in the way of the entrance:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/20150310_0242391_zpsdmywbu8s.jpg (http://s4.photobucket.com/user/pactio_kiss/media/20150310_0242391_zpsdmywbu8s.jpg.html)

What it looks like when I try to use a hex key:
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/20150310_0242551_zpswoy73i01.jpg (http://s4.photobucket.com/user/pactio_kiss/media/20150310_0242551_zpswoy73i01.jpg.html)
The hex key cannot be entered in a perpendicular angle into the truss rod..



if you run out of saddle adjustment the proper thing to do is to shim the neck pocket, typically with business card stock. You should be adjusting your truss rod before doing anything else during a setup.

It can be a pain to reverse engineer the truss rod hex key. You put back pressure on the neck while adjusting? Ideally the truss rod should have zero tension on it during adjustment.

The reason I wanted to adjust the truss rod is not when I lowered the action at the bridge, but when I decided to install higher gauge strings.
Naturally the heavier gauge strings generate a bit more bow on the neck, which is easily alleviated by the truss rod. I didn't make that clear enough in the opening topic because I was fixated on the hex-key situation :s

Whether or not strings should be completely loosened while making a truss rod adjustment seems to be up to debate.
Most people I've spoken to adjust the truss rod while the strings are still in tune. I do it that way too. Have not seen it bring any damage to instruments, and it is probably more practical.



Since I first learned that builders have been making ukuleles with truss rods, I've wondered if they truly believe their customers will be using them. Is that really a truss rod in the Vorson, or a hex-head bolt made to look like there's a truss rod? (Sort of kidding) In addition, I've wondered how well they work. Does a truss rod give you the intended adjustment capabilities you want (need??)? If it works as intended, is it sufficiently controllable on such a short neck? Is it "smoke and mirrors"?

I'm not impugning builders and manufacturers. I'm simply skeptical, by nature. Any thoughts?

I've owned several ukuleles, both acoustic and steel-string electric that have perfectly functioning truss rods that do exactly what they were designed to do. Eg: Pono, Risa.
I've also owned short scale guitars and basses that are similar in size to ukulele with perfectly functional truss rods.

Personally I think it makes sense to have a truss rod on tenor, baritone and steel-string ukuleles. It gives you more control over the neck. Higher tension strings, even if they are nylon, can generate enough force to cause the neck to bow forward. Without truss rods, we are left with fewer options (saddle, nut) to compensate for the change in action/playability in the neck. More and more classical guitars also come with truss rods too. Mine has a truss rod, and it has been very handy.




One of the first things I read about truss rods is that often on the low end they do not work or work right so that makes that mostly for show I'd guess.

It depends on what you define as "low end". Inexpensive guitars from well known brands such as Squier, Epiphone, etc - as low-end as they are, their truss rods are all functional. I wouldn't be surprised if a totally no-name brand churning out junk had truss rods that didn't work.

The Vorson is well made for what it is. I would expect that the truss rod was intended to be functional... but we shall see :)

chiefnoda
03-09-2015, 06:46 AM
Hi Kissing

Can you use a T-handle hex wrench? Like this (4 mm)

http://www.officeworld.com/Worlds-Biggest-Selection/BDH13160/14Q1/

Maybe Home Depot or Ace Hardware?

Cheers
Chief

WhenDogsSing
03-09-2015, 07:24 AM
Looks like you need to take a Dremel w/a grinding bit small enough to fit in there and grind some wood away. It won't show after you put the cover back on.

WhenDogsSing
03-09-2015, 07:26 AM
I adjust my truss rods with full tension on the neck, never had a problem.

bnolsen
03-09-2015, 07:45 AM
I adjust my truss rods with full tension on the neck, never had a problem.

I'm used to working on basses. A bit higher tension, longer truss rod, more stuff to go wrong. Last thing I ever want to do is snap a truss rod.

spookelele
03-09-2015, 09:03 AM
can you send it back still?
this on top of the "not as advertised" seems like you've bought a whole lot of headache.

d-mace
03-09-2015, 10:37 AM
Looks like you need to cut off the end of your hex key to shorten it - then it should fit.

spookelele
03-09-2015, 10:45 AM
Looks like you need to cut off the end of your hex key to shorten it - then it should fit.

or try a ball end wrench.

77150

stevepetergal
03-09-2015, 11:23 AM
Looks like you need to take a Dremel w/a grinding bit small enough to fit in there and grind some wood away.

This is unquestionably your answer. I've done this very thing in other similar circumstances.

kissing
03-09-2015, 03:06 PM
can you send it back still?
this on top of the "not as advertised" seems like you've bought a whole lot of headache.

I am working on some arrangement with the seller for a partial refund. Too much headache to ship it back overseas..

kissing
03-09-2015, 03:08 PM
Thanks for the advices everyone. I do have a grinding dremel set at home that I bought when I was installing pickups, perhaps I can put them to use. First I will visit the hardware store to see whether a T-rex wrench or ball end wrench are viable options. Will update if i get a solution!

Camsuke
03-09-2015, 04:41 PM
Cut the Allen Key down so it will fit into the confined space?

kohanmike
03-09-2015, 07:17 PM
I second the suggestion to use a Dremel to open up the space under the cover plate. Since getting a Dremel I've been able to easily modify all kinds of things I couldn't in the past.

kissing
03-09-2015, 10:19 PM
Cut the Allen Key down so it will fit into the confined space?

Erm, with a saw?

Olarte
03-10-2015, 12:37 AM
I don't remember but didn't the Uke ship with a cheap bag and a key inside?

kissing
03-10-2015, 02:22 AM
Cheap bag: check
Allen key: not found

:(

Olarte
03-10-2015, 02:28 AM
I'll look for mine and see if its any shorter or standard

Olarte
03-10-2015, 03:03 AM
Sorry Sam, I found the bag and the receipt but no allen wrench.

However I looked at some other allen wrenches and I found a 3/16" (inch) to fit fine and it does move....i moved it half way each way and back to where it was.

does yours move at all? I wonder if it got some glue in it? I had to brush off some material which looked like it could be glue. maybe a small spray of silicone or wd-40 might loosen it up?

Good luck.

stevepetergal
03-10-2015, 04:56 AM
Please, do NOT use a silicone spray!!!!

stevepetergal
03-10-2015, 04:58 AM
Cut the Allen Key down so it will fit into the confined space?

Again, I have done this very thing, in other circumstances. An excellent suggestion.

Olarte
03-10-2015, 05:12 AM
I guess I meant only a drop right in the but but I suppose you are right. :o

Please, do NOT use a silicone spray!!!!

kissing
03-22-2015, 01:31 AM
In case anyone is revisiting this topic, I have posted my resolution here:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?105907-Vorson-Truss-Rod-Problem-FIXED&p=1668415#post1668415

Camsuke
03-22-2015, 10:21 AM
Erm, with a saw?

Yes mate, a hack saw.