Comparing old and new truss rod nuts, old one is very worn.

Replacing a Fender USA Stratocaster Truss Rod Nut

For some reason known only to Fender, the US American Standard Stratocasters and Telecasters use a 1/8″ Allen key to adjust the truss rod. It’s okay if the rod is working well and whoever adjusts it used a tight-fitting key of the correct size, but if not, the nut can quickly be trashed and require replacement.

Replacing the nut is not difficult but does, like every job, require a bit of care. It sits behind a walnut plug which has to be removed. The nut pushes against this plug if you use the truss rod to introduce bow into a neck.

The first step is to score the finish around the plug so that it isn’t damaged. I omitted to photograph this step.

Next the glue that holds the plug in has to be softened. I did this by placing the bit of a soldering iron into the hole. This required more heat than I expected and did cause a little charring of the plug but this is being replaced with a new one.  No pictures here either sorry!

Once the glue is soft, turning the truss rod nut anticlockwise will cause it to act against the plug and push it out.

Unwinding the nut pushes out the plug from inside

Withdrawing the walnut plug

Once it’s far enough out to grip, pliers can be used to pull it all the way out.

Walnut plug is out

Walnut plug is out

The nut can now be withdrawn using the 1/8″ Allen key.

Extracting the Fender Stratocaster truss rod nut

A bit of twist on the Allen key and out it comes

Once the nut is out it’s important to clean the sides of the hole so that the new plug will fit and the glue will adhere to the sides.

Here are the old and new nuts so you can see how chewed the hex socket was.

Comparing old and new truss rod nuts, old one is very worn.

Look how worn the old nut was

The new nut should be inserted and nipped up. I applied a smear of lithium grease to the threads and inner face before I refitted it.

I roughly shaped the new plug on my belt sander and tested it for fit.

Test fit of new Fender USA walnut plug

Should do nicely

Next job is to put the small washer back in and glue in the plug with a little Titebond. 

Once the glue is dry the plug can be carefully sanded flush…

Walnut plug sanded flush

Looking tidy!

…then refinished to match the surrounding headstock.

The walnut plug and surrounding area are refinished

Can hardly tell it’s been out

The only thing left to do was to set the guitar up with the user’s chosen 9-42 strings. I think it’s the first time in a long while that the neck on this guitar was been straight!

Fender USA Stratocaster Deluxe

Fender USA Stratocaster Deluxe



10 Comments on “Replacing a Fender USA Stratocaster Truss Rod Nut

  1. A quick point, if the hex socket is badly chewed up and you can’t get a hex wrench to grip try using a Torx bit, it will grip where the hex doesn’t (it’s also possible to gently tap in an oversize Torx bit into the damaged hex socket)

  2. Thank you for showing how to do it :)

    I need this to be done on my strat …

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. What kind of finishing clear did you used for the plug?

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