Guitars without truss rods...

Jimmy_Rage

Member
Messages
2,014
I am normally very wary of guitars that don't have a truss rod because temperature changes, string tension and other factors have a way of completely screwing the action.

But my Sugi DH496C freaking rocks. Great action, very playable and a beautiful neck.

While I'm frightened what would happen if the neck warps, etc, I believe the guitar was designed this way because that's practically impossible if you don't do anything stupid.

Reclaimed wood, so it seems really stable.

It's the best guitar I've ever had for pairing with a Fishman Triple Play, I'm constantly amazed at how well it tracks.

I've heard a lot about graphite necks being stable as well. Also some cheap guitars don't have truss rods.

Anyone else have a no-truss-rod guitar?
 

Harryq

Member
Messages
518
I built a tele to be a replica of the first two pickup Esquires from 1950. I built the neck from two pieces, laminated lengthwise, of quarter-sawn maple. It's close to an inch thick all the way down. I built it in 2007, and it's still dead straight with 9-42 strings. With 10-46 it pulls into just a hair of relief.
 

Hudman_1

Member
Messages
626
I couldn’t image owning a guitar without a truss rod where I live (Michigan). We experience 4 seasons - sometimes all in the same day.

The temperature changes between seasons combined with furnaces and A/C units affects humidity which makes wood unstable. Tweaking the truss rod compensates for that.
 

Bryan T

guitar owner
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,785
I have a Martin with a non-adjustable neck. It has a “t” made of ebony. I can’t run the strings I would prefer, as they cause too much relief. But the guitar sounds great and is stable.
 

Drak

Member
Messages
5,061
Reclaimed wood, so it seems really stable.
I was just watching this YT on Bill Kirtchen this morning.
And funny enough, right at the 4 minute mark as they're discussing the guitar...
He mentions its an ALL Pine build, body and neck, with no truss rod.
And its made of reclaimed wood as well.
Funny coincidence.

 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
Messages
6,650
I have quite a few guitars with no adjustable trussrod, but only one steel string with nothing at all in there.

My two Danelectros have the aluminium reinforcing bar in them and are straight as a die fifty years on. My Fylde acoustic from the 70s has a square section aluminium bar in there and is also pretty straight.

My Martin 0-17 has the ebony bar and way too much relief, so really needs a compression refret to get it straight - for the time being I use silk and phosphor strings on it and cope with the relief.

That leaves my little Gibson L-1 as the only one with nothing at all. It occasionally takes on a little more relief that I'd like but it's very responsive to a heart press, which I've done twice on it over 15 years. It's currently dead straight with no relief at all which is fine my by me - it's not a guitar that takes kindly to being hammered with a 1.5mm stubby anyway!
 

Dave Weir

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,174
I've made a few with no truss rods. I haven't heard of any problems with them.

This one I've had for several years and with 11's it is flat on the high E and just a hint of relief on the low E. Neck is one piece of Ipe.

Temperature doesn't have much effect on wood. Moisture doesn't have much effect on a truss rod. So necks with one way truss rods, that depend on the relationship between the wood and steel, often need seasonal adjustments.
If you get wood that is well seasoned, and want's to be straight, humidity changes aren't going to bother it.

The issue for me is how to accommodate different string tensions, and different user preferences for relief.
 

sahhas

Supporting Member
Messages
14,851
I have a solid rosewood neck guitar that I’ve had for 19 years , it’s still good.
I have another guitar that is a combo of oak, aluminum bars and a maple strip, no trussrod, it’s fine, working on a guitar that will be fiberglass and aluminum bars with richlite fingerboard, I will report back when it’s done
 

rhinocaster

Supporting Member
Messages
22,996
For me it's not really a belief that you cannot build a stable neck without a truss rod, I just don't see the point of limiting adjustability of the neck for no inherent gain in tone, feel or look.

I'd likely feel differently if my favorite guitar tones came from guitars with no truss rod but that's simply not the case.

But I think it's kinda badass...:D
 

Dave Weir

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,174
For me it's not really a belief that you cannot build a stable neck without a truss rod, I just don't see the point of limiting adjustability of the neck for no inherent gain in tone, feel or look.

I'd likely feel differently if my favorite guitar tones came from guitars with no truss rod but that's simply not the case.

But I think it's kinda badass...:D
Yeah, I don't think anyone could pick out which of my guitars don't have truss rods. I'm sure they add some sonic component to the mix, but I don't think it's identifiable or significant.
I tried it mainly because I wanted to use one piece of wood, with no glued on fret board or skunk strip. Now I just drill and install the rod from the end. Pretty cheap and easy insurance.

This is a 1945 Gretsch that had no truss rod, and about 1/4" of relief. I took off the fret board, leveled it out and installed a two way rod. Now it's got another 70 years in it.
 

jnovac1

Supporting Member
Messages
6,054
Yeah, I don't think anyone could pick out which of my guitars don't have truss rods. I'm sure they add some sonic component to the mix, but I don't think it's identifiable or significant.
I tried it mainly because I wanted to use one piece of wood, with no glued on fret board or skunk strip. Now I just drill and install the rod from the end. Pretty cheap and easy insurance.

This is a 1945 Gretsch that had no truss rod, and about 1/4" of relief. I took off the fret board, leveled it out and installed a two way rod. Now it's got another 70 years in it.
beauteous!
 

RayRay

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,505
Here’s my S/S 21 from @Ron Thorn ... solid BRW neck with no truss rod. More stable than most of the posters here on TGP ... wait that’s actually not saying much. Hahaha. But yeah, super stable and plays so wonderfully well.

BRW bobbins and spalt fingerboard / headstock inlays. I love this guitar.

Neck is oil finished. Looks polished because I play it a lot :)

 
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