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Thread: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss Rod

  1. #1

    Default RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss Rod

    This is such a great video I had to share it. I cannot believe that with the extreme bend in it that it would have been possible for it to have gotten "flipped around" from over tightening, which means it had to have left the shop like that.
    You can find links that show that Gibson has actually intentionally installed truss rods like that, even though it makes no sense.

    Jerry's (careful) sleuthing and repairing is amazing to watch.


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  3. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Truss rods have been installed like that in Gibson mandolins as long as there have been truss rods in Gibson mandolins... and they work. (They were also installed in other ways in various years by various iterations of the Gibson company before returning to the curved type like this one.)
    There is no reason that the rod in this video should not have worked if the neck was not defective. It was not installed "wrong", nor did it "flip over".
    Of course, I skipped through a lot of the video just trying to find the point he was trying to make so I suppose it is possible that I missed something of interest (but I doubt it).

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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Ya know, most of us think it's a good idea to take the strings off before proceeding with a major job like this . . .

  6. #4

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    John, if you caught that part of the video, you didn't miss anything important.

    YouTube viewers seem to love these guys, but they get a lot more wrong that right. Not to sound overly harsh, but I wouldn't let them change strings on any of my instruments. Just recently they had a perfectly healthy 1960 D-18 that needed a neck reset and replacement of a shaved bridge (about 0.285" thick according to their measurements). Instead of doing the reset and a proper bridge replacement, the took out the original bridge plate, cracking the top in two places while doing it, installed a large/thick Padauk bridge plate and a misshapen oversized bridge. The new bridge is too thin too...because they didn't reset the neck. They also reshaped the neck because it had some dings in it. My eyes still hurt.

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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    I'm nowhere near an expert on instrument repair or maintenance, so I tend to watch some videos of this nature...

    I've watched a few of Rosa's vids, but for me, he comes across as snarky, and so opinionated, that I've just stopped viewing him in general.

  9. #6
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Quote Originally Posted by Denny B View Post
    ...I tend to watch some videos of this nature...
    Problems include:
    There are usually multiple ways to do a repair correctly.
    There are even more ways to do a repair incorrectly.
    Any of them can end up on video.
    Until we have a lot of experience it can be difficult to tell the difference.
    There seems to be a tradition among luthiers of strongly held opinions.
    There seems to be a tradition among luthiers of making up explanations for things and stating them as fact.
    Etc...

    Learning lutherie includes learning who to listen to and who to avoid. When I was learning I was fortunate enough to not do too much major damage to important instruments when following poor advice. That is, the early part of learning. I'm still learning and hope to always learn, but one of the things I have learned is where to seek advice and where not to.

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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    All I will add is that if the truss rod was indeed operating, I would probably have handled this repair differently.

  12. #8
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Really good video,but a crooked headstock,and messed up truss rod etc.got signed off by Gibson for a $10,000 mandolin? I am wondering what year is that mandolin and who signed the label?

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    Really good video,but a crooked headstock,and messed up truss rod etc.got signed off by Gibson for a $10,000 mandolin? I am wondering what year is that mandolin and who signed the label?
    I'm not a big fan of modern Gibson workmanship (I've had some experience with their mishaps) but in this case I don't see anything that could be thrown at them (except the gap under headstock overlay which is common but cosmetic only). I see mandolin with deliberately shaved neck and likely overtightened truss rod. Some lube and additional washer could be all that was needed. Perhaps neck heating and clamping against flat caul to help it a bit if it won't go where it should.
    I'm amazed about his selfconscience about the whole construction being wrong. Any mandolin maker/ restorer worth his salt should know basic methods of construction of the instruments, especially Gibsons.
    Adrian

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  15. #10

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    The title is in part clickbait to get views and also a little bit of bragging rights. I think that is pretty common to want to be the guy who was able to fix what the others weren't able to.

    FWIW, I've seen many online interviews with Paul Reed Smith and he (also) likes to summarize his pre-building background, as being the guy who could fix what the others couldn't -- guitars that had been refretted 5 or 6 times and didn't have any wood left, things like that -- supposedly, all the local dc area shops knew him and that's how he built a reputation and got the jobs nobody would do. I have no idea if that is true, but it sure makes good press. And, if his guitars are any indication...

  16. #11

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    The second half of the video is out where he replaces the block inlay fretboard with a blank one, and uses wood binding rather than ivoroid. At least it's a clue to future buyers that the neck has been assaulted in some fashion.

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    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    He took a messed up expensive Gibson and made it playable again. Clearly, the neck was screwed up.

    I don't see what all the negativity is about. Sure, his personality could be an aquired taste, and I didn't really care for it. But the fact that he fixed Gibson's (or someone else's) screw-up, made a mando playable, and had a satisfied customer, in the end should be all that's important.

    Unless it's just cat-fighting amongst luthiers. Surely that never happens..
    Last edited by ccravens; May-31-2021 at 10:24pm.
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  19. #13

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    There's no cat-fighting, just a stark contrast between competent repair and the opposite.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Quote Originally Posted by ccravens View Post
    He took a messed up expensive Gibson and made it playable again. Clearly, the neck was screwed up.
    I wouldn't call the mandolin before the repair messed up. I'm not so sure about the mandolin after the repair.
    Just looking at the chewed inside of the TR channel makes me wonder....
    Adrian

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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    I've watched a lot of his videos and find them quite entertaining. He tends to look for the quickest way to get something done and often flies on instinct, hoping something will work. He's useful if, like me, you enjoy repairing inexpensive instruments where there's nothing too much at stake. He also shows the value of ingenuity. As for the criticisms, many are deserved but others are covering them well enough.
    Cary Fagan

  23. #16

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Some of you will remember a similar discussion that came up a few years ago: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ar-Setup-Video

    Since that time, both of those 'Loar Setup' videos have been taken down. As that thread unfolded, it was obvious (to me anyway) that Mr. Rosa means well and that his feelings were probably hurt by some of the criticisms. Being one of the most vocal critics, I'm sorry if I hurt his feelings.

    That doesn't change the basis for my criticisms. Great guy or not, I don't care for some of his methods and I would not choose him as my luthier. Some of my best 'on-line' friends (hi Bernie!) here argue that J.R. is a "more than competent luthier and repair guy" and would be happy to hire him. To each his own.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    I wouldn't call the mandolin before the repair messed up. I'm not so sure about the mandolin after the repair.
    Did you not see the twisting and bowing in the neck before any repairs were even attempted?

    Did you not see the mandolin repair, neck straight and legit relief, and the customer happily playing it and attesting to it's superiority after the repair? You think the guy who owned the mando might have a clue?

    Sorry, but it seems like a lot of piling on and almost no one stepping up to say exatly what he did that made the instrument worse off. Or what you could have or would have done better.
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    There's no cat-fighting, just a stark contrast between competent repair and the opposite.
    If you or someone would educate me on how his repairs were incompetent (your words), and what you would have done different or better, that would be a help. I know that sentence sounds snarky, my apologies, but I'm not a luthier and admit that I could be wrong, and am willing to hear specific criticisms.

    It would help me see this as legit complaints, instead of a luthier cat-fight.
    Chris Cravens

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  27. #19

    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    First, this video is just one of many where he displays basic misunderstanding of original construction. This is particularly true with vintage instruments. When people offer facts and correction, those are dismissed. That's just his approach, and it's how he's trained his apprentice. As I mentioned above, in another recent video they did considerable damage to a vintage D-18 without ever addressing the real and obvious issues of a neck reset and a thinned bridge. It's a pattern.

    In this video he started with the idea that the truss rod had failed somehow. I'm not convinced of that, but I didn't have it in my hands. Then after removing the rod he told everyone it was upside down. It was not. Gibson has made them like the for over a century. That was pointed out in the comments and dismissed. If he knows that little about how these instruments are built, he really shouldn't be working on them. I'm not at all certain the fretboard needed to be replaced. The customer signed off it apparently, but it looks nothing like the original and it's bound in the wrong material. Those may not be functional issues, but I think it further demonstrates his disregard for doing the work right.

    He may be a very nice guy, but he's just not a very knowledgable repairman. And FWIW, I'm not a professional luthier. I only do work on my own instruments, and within my own limitations. The rest of the work goes to the pros. That said, I'm an engineer and I know enough about how instruments are built and how proper repairs should be done to know poor work when I see it. I've made a lifelong study of it, and I have a considerable collection of vintage and luthier-built instruments. It's in my best interest to know how to choose the right repairman. Jerry's not on the list.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: RSW's Jerry Rosa & The Mysterious Sam Bush Upside-Down Truss

    He put the mandolin back into playing condition, but I believe (not having the instrument in hand but from some experience as restorer) the situation was such that much less invasive method could be used that would retain originality of parts and fit ot them (notice that after his "planing" of neck a step resulted at the crosspiece that was left unfinished even in the final shots). Less invasive method would also be a lot cheaper for the customer on the other hand.

    Few years ago I reworked a Gibson F-9 that had failed neck joint and several other issues so I'm not a big fan of Gibson workmanship but I don't see that here. And even if you need to rework the trussrod it can be done in way that would be less rough to the instrument.

    You cannot judge ability of restorer by satisfaction of customer. My friend took his old violin to luthier for repair of a long worn spot along fingerboard (common spot saused by loose bow in case). WHen I met him later he showed me how it turned out being happy about the violin. BUT, the luthier filled the spot with some filler and overvarnished whole violin with rather amateurish darker varnish layer (likely because he failed to match the color of touchup filler...). I never told my friend what I though but once he will try to sell the violin he will find it lost at least 50% of the value. The violin was built by well known czech master prized for his tone and workmanship likely worth above 20K Eur but now I guess is not worth more than 5K... so the repair cost him 15K.
    Adrian

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