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MAKING THE NECK --  4

I use a single Gibson style truss rod.  This is a rod anchored at one end (the body end of the neck, in my case, and set in a curved groove in the neck.  the groove is deeper in the middle than the ends and there is a filler strip on top of the rod which is curved in the same curve as the slot.  The adjustable end is at the peghead where there is a metal washer (for a bearing surface) and an adjustable nut.  Tightening the rod in effect shortens it and forces the rod into a slightly straighter form, and this straightens the neck - if all goes well.  Based on some 30 years of running a repair shop and building guitars it seems to me that this mechanism works as well as any and better than most - if the neck is well built as well.  

neck4-777.jpg (42120 bytes)  I recently had a machinist friend make up a batch of 100 truss rods.  

wpe4.jpg (12465 bytes)    Here I am beginning to install the truss rod.  I am using a small router to cut the pocket which holds the truss rod anchor.

 

 

 

 

wpe5.jpg (8179 bytes)   The anchor pocket is cut.

 

 

 

neck4-222.jpg (24760 bytes)The anchor end of the truss rod.

 

wpe6.jpg (10771 bytes)   The truss rod in place.

 

 

 

 

  Truss rod in place before the filler strip is in place

  The curved filler strip which will hold the truss rod in the curve which is important to its proper function.

neck4-765.jpg (57336 bytes)   I make my own truss rods.  They are of the Gibson style.  A 3/16 steel rod (I buy drill rod from a machine supply store) that is threaded on both ends with a 10/32 thread.   One end goes in the anchor (made of 1/8" steel) and the other will receive the adjustment nut.   As noted above, sometimes a I have a batch made up by a machinist friend - saves a bit of time and I am not fond of metal working.

 

 

wpe9.jpg (4420 bytes)   Here is a completed truss rod.

 

neck4-223.jpg (27484 bytes) The pocket in the peghead for the truss rod.

 

 

wpeC.jpg (12547 bytes)  The truss rod is placed in a curved slot and covered with a curved piece of maple which matches that curve.  An earlier photo showed the jig used to cut the slot on the spindle shaper.  Here the covering pieces are being glued in place.

 

 

Next, I cut the pocket in the peghead which will accept the truss rod nut.  I use a tool called a counterbore.  This is really just a drill (1/2" in my case) with a 3/16 rod sticking out of the end.  Machine shop suppliers carry them in all sizes.  I pull the truss rod out of the slot (after the filler is glued in, and the rod on the counterbore guides the drill perfectly.

 

wpeB.jpg (9163 bytes)  Here is the counter bore in action.

 

 

 

And again.

 

 

 

   

Here is the truss rod pocket cut by the counterbore.

 

 

neck4-224.jpg (26784 bytes)  The finished product.

wpeE.jpg (8498 bytes)  Several pegheads with truss rods installed.  As I mentioned  above, I use the Gibson style truss rod.  After almost 30  years of repairing guitars, my experience is that this style works very well.  Some complain that this is not a double acting rod - i.e. that it does not both remove and add relief to the neck.  This is very easy to fix.  After the truss rod is installed,  I pre-tension it (about 1/2 turn ) which adds a small amount of backbow to the neck.  Then I sand the fingerboard surface flat again and voila, I have a double acting truss rod.  This is one of the reasons I remove a lot of waste wood on the spindle shaper - having the neck blank close to final size makes this step work more effectively and predictably. 

This website and all of its content, text and images are copyright 1997-2011  by Charles A. Hoffman.  All rights reserved.

 

2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN. 55404

hoffmanguitars@qwestoffice.net  or choffman@hoffmanguitars.com

(612) 338-1079