Neck with no truss rod

DanglingNutslots

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I saw this old electric guitar with no truss rod. It was just a neck with good frets.
Just wondered, if it is possible to have good playable electric guitars with no truss rod in the neck.
I have a few older guitars where the truss rod no longer works. The necks aren’t moving though so perhaps it’s acting like a reinforcement rod?
 

hamerfan

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I have a few older guitars where the truss rod no longer works. The necks aren’t moving though so perhaps it’s acting like a reinforcement rod?
If the truss rod is broken, it is loose and in a worst case can rattle. If its stuck at the end of the thread, it can be saved with a washer. In the second case it just saves you from getting worse.
In both cases give it to a luthier and see what he can do.
 

DanglingNutslots

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If the truss rod is broken, it is loose and in a worst case can rattle. If its stuck at the end of the thread, it can be saved with a washer. In the second case it just saves you from getting worse.
In both cases give it to a luthier and see what he can do.
Heh, I did. His recommendation was to leave them alone until/if the neck moved. So far so good.
 

Boreas

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There are two possibilities. One is that it doesn't have a truss rod, period. I will come back to that. Second is that it does not have an adjustable rod. Martin guitars up to about 1980 have steel rod, either square tube or T shaped to reinforce the neck. It is not adjustable, but usually doesn't need to be because the necks were so well built. If I offered you a 1937 D18 you would probably accept it.

The other is simply no rod at all. Classical guitars (nylon or gut string) traditionally do not have rods but because their string tension is only 80 or 90 pounds (compared to 100 on an electric or 175 on a steel string acoustic) they don't need one either. In fact relief is intentionally planed into the neck because the strings won't pull it.

At 100 or 105 pounds a well built neck on an electric guitar could probably get buy without a truss rod, either for support or adjustment. In fact its possible to have too stiff a neck, I just built an archtop guitar with an adjustable rod plus two carbon fiber beams and string tension barely pulls any relief into the neck.

Bottom line, measure the relief and decide for yourself.
I am not a luthier. I have never figured out why an adjustable rod - arguably the most mis-understood part of a modern guitar setup - is considered superior to a rigid, non-adjustable steel or carbon fiber bar. Why would the relative thickness of the neck matter if the rod has no give? The only thing I can think of is when the wood tries to challenge the bar, that the wood gets crushed/compressed and creates a gap where under pressure, allowing the neck to bow. But I would expect this to be minimal with rock maple compared with Spanish cedar.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/History/Martin/MartinRods/martinrods.html
 

DanglingNutslots

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I am not a luthier. I have never figured out why an adjustable rod - arguably the most mis-understood part of a modern guitar setup - is considered superior to a rigid, non-adjustable steel or carbon fiber bar. Why would the relative thickness of the neck matter if the rod has no give? The only thing I can think of is when the wood tries to challenge the bar, that the wood gets crushed/compressed and creates a gap where under pressure, allowing the neck to bow. But I would expect this to be minimal with rock maple compared with Spanish cedar.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/History/Martin/MartinRods/martinrods.html
Maybe because not everyone wants the relief set by the factory?
 

Boreas

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Maybe because not everyone wants the relief set by the factory?
Perhaps - but does that make it superior? Did the adjustable truss rod simply unleash the "relief wars"? Did it open Pandora's box? Undoing misguided customer adjustments is likely most luthiers' bread and butter.

Gibson had them for a long time, but Martin kept cranking out instruments for a hundred years without them. Stodginess perhaps, or perhaps reluctance to admit or even find a real benefit? Plenty of musicians have been able to "tolerate" vintage Martins. But I guess electric players may be a different animal altogether - even with lighter strings. Indeed, perhaps it has been the move toward lighter strings on electrics that necessitated more or less relief. Dunno...🤔
 




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