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Fender Strat '96
Hi Steve,
 I just got a Fender Stratocaster made in Mexico in 1996. The guitar has its history one can tell just by looking at the marks and scratches all over it. It has a maple neck with no rosewood over it... hope you understand what I mean (I'm not a native english speaker).
I wanted to adjust the truss rod, to eliminate some buzz, since the neck was pretty flat. But found out that when turning it with the allen wrench, it offered no resistance... nor clockwise or counterclockwise.
Could it be a damaged truss rod? How hard is it to fix that problem?
Thanks in advance,

      Either your truss rod is broken or your truss rod nut is stripped. Both things mean that the rod should be replaced. Truss rod nuts strip because there is something wrong with the truss rod. Replacing the truss rod on that guitar would cost $600. It would be much cheaper to replace the guitar. We can replace the whole neck, with a new neck from Fender for about $400.
Steve Mason

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Hey, thanks for your fast reply.
I took my axe to a guy here in town that makes repairs and setups and he told me that I had loosen the truss rod all the way. So he turned it back a couple of turns and it regained the resistance.
So, I think my truss rod is ok, but I asked how much it could cost to replace it and he said 45 dollars!!! Gotta love that guy ha ha.
Thanks again,

      I got to thinking later that if you were trying to loosen the rod, to raise the action until it stopped buzzing, it would loosen until the nut fell off. Fender truss rods only tighten. The string tension is supposed to pull the neck the other way. The rod pulls against the string tension. If the neck is warped backward (a "back bow"), the truss rod can't fix it. I'm glad you got it fixed. Broken truss rods are very rare. I think that your man has never replaced a truss rod. The fingerboard must be steamed off, the rod steamed out, a new rod fitted and installed, everything refitted and glued back together then the frets replaced, and the finish dealt with. A good man will need to spend 10 hours on the job. The guys who do this for a living charge about what a plumber charges ($50 to $100 per hour). When it's done it should look like it hasn't been worked on. The Fender factory can make and fret a guitar neck in under an hour, and spray and buff the finish in about a week. So, a new neck is a much cheaper than lots of hand luthierie work.

      But, if your rod won't loosen to fix your buzz, you still have your buzz.  You need what is called an "action set." The truss rod is adjusted. The frets are filed into line. That puts a little flat spot on top of any fret that was too high. The fret tops are then rounded and polished. All of the adjusting screws affecting the height and length of each string, are adjusted. Finally the bone nut grooves are filed. Someone who knows what they are doing will charge you $80 to $150 for an action set. The kid behind the counter at any music store will give you an "action set" for much less, but their action set does not include fret and nut filing. A buzz is the string hitting a too high fret. The music store kid can raise the saddle or warp the neck until the buzzing stops. A luthier will file the high fret back into line.

Steve Mason