Hello and good morning nation!

I have been building solid CBG style guitars for the last 3 to 4 years now and in all my builds, I always install a non-adjustable truss rod into the neck. Usually 1/4 inch thick metal rods.

The reason I do this was from watching too many manufacturing videos on how they build guitars and how they install truss rods. I figured I must be doing the right thing. My ignorance tells it reinforces the neck.

However, I saw a video from a Fender authorized shop, and the builder was installing a truss rod. And to my surprise, the truss rod was a flimsy wiggling thing, like a string of spaghetti.

I understand the truss rod is to settle any bowing that the neck may accumulate over time. But what about reinforcing, does it reinforce? Am I wasting metal rods?

I saw acoustic guitars built too and they get a nonadjustable permanent truss rod shaped like a T.

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Like Tom said, most 3-4 stringers don’t need it if using maple, Seagull has been making the 4 string Merlin with maple necks without truss rods with great success? I like two-way truss rods strictly because of the setup aspect, trying to adjust relief without it is quite a lot of work. You’d be surprised of how many beginners that know nothing about relief or how affects their playing, but I say, if that’s how you do it & it works for you, then keep doing it, it’s your thing?

Thanks Brian Q!  Had no idea about Seagull necks, interesting.  Unfortunately, maple is a mail order wood for me on the island.  It's not in hardware stores and guitar shops that do carry it are at double StewMac prices.  Though there is a specialty wood shop, which is sponsored by Ace Hardware store. Last I was there, they had a huge redwood log size of a semi truck in the yard.  Been meaning to visit them again, but it's real far and deep in an industrial park area. I can only visit it once a year with my schedule.

Hi again IG, thanks for coming back, It's always good to hear how members' suggestions benefit others.

One thing that is also important in designing a stable neck is grain orientation. I always use neck material that is sawn on the quarter from the log, for full size and CBg style guitars. This is a way to add resistance to string pull when not using a rod.

In the photo, you can see what I mean if it ain't like that I'll come back another
day and pick the eyes out of the stack.

The other photo shows how I would oppose the grain to get stability from timber cut just off the full quarter...

And of course, a nice stiff fingerboard also helps.
Cheers Taff

I should mention that not all Maple necks are quarter sawn. But that is a hard and pretty stable species.

A simple metal rod does not offer much reinforcement.  As mentioned, an adjustable metal rod laid into an arched channel can be tightened to introduce some back bow.  Watch a YouTube vidoe of someone cutting a channel into a Fender style neck.


If you install a two way truss rod that can bend both ways, you can just cut a simple straight channel that need not be arched.

If using a fixed truss rod or beam, there are lots of choices in aluminum or carbon fiber.  As mentioned, a bar on edge has a wider profile and more rigidity than a square or round rod.  It's also easier to route a square edged channel and fit it in tightly than a chaneel to house a round rod.


Another way to stiffen the neck is just add a 1/4" fretboard.  That makes the whole neck thicker and stiffer.  If you shape the back, you don't have to worry so much about removing too much material.

If you put in any kind of rod, it should fit in snugly for the best function.

Another option is a laminated neck.  Instead of one piece of wood, glue 3 or more together and cut to size.  The varying grain directions make it stronger and stiffer than a single piece of wood.  This is sometimes used on full sized bass guitars without truss rods.  It can also be really pretty!



An Adjustable Truss Rod would also be great for if you're modifying 3 or 4 string Cigar Box Guitars into versions w/ 5, 6, or more strings. One of the Truss rods I have is a reverse action truss rod (lefty tighty righty loosey) because it came out of an old Left Handed Requinto.


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