neck reinforcement

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
JohnW400
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neck reinforcement

Post by JohnW400 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:42 pm

This may be a silly question, or not. And this may not be the right sub forum. (sorry if that's the case)

What is the standard method of neck reinforcement for a classical or flamenco guitar?

I have 2 crossover models that use a truss rod (Buscarino Cabaret and a Cervantes Signature)and then I have an Alhambra 7P-CWE that uses an ebony strip

I can tell you that Alhambra should have used a truss rod because after using Labella #500 recording strings for a while that the action got higher. I'm looking to buy a 'real' classical guitar (as opposed to another crossover style) and was wondering what most makers do to avoid this issue. I thought heard that Ethan Deutch uses metal reinforcement , just not adjustable, for his guitars. is that a standard practice?

Thanks

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CarbonElitist
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:03 pm

More and more modern classical guitars are implementing the use if truss rods. (it makes no sense to do otherwise.)

Edit: My original post said "most" modern classical guitars have truss rods. This was a bit of an exaggeration. But it is becoming a lot more common, as it should.
Last edited by CarbonElitist on Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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simonm
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by simonm » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:42 pm

CarbonElitist wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:03 pm
Most modern classical guitars are implementing the use if truss rods. (it makes no sense to do otherwise.)
This is news to me.

My impression is that very few brands or individual luthiers use truss rods and only the premium guitars in any brand use ebony strips.

I would say the "standard method" is no reinforcement with strength depending on the choice of the individual piece of wood used for the neck and the thickness/orientation of grain of the neck.

On the forum Trevor Gore uses truss rods but builds plenty of steel strings too. The Hill company, I believe uses truss rods and perhaps another brand or two as well. The bulk of Spanish made classical guitars do not.

Richwilly

Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Richwilly » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:06 pm

Ebony reinforcing strip on the back of the neck is commonly used. Some luthiers use a carbon fibre rod in the neck, both my David Rouse guitars have them. The 7 string also has an ebony strip.

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CarbonElitist
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:21 pm

simonm wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:42 pm
.
Yeah, I misspoke. But they are definitely becoming more common, as they should. (hill guitars, cordoba, yamaha, alvarez, etc. All put truss rods in their guitars.)I like being able to adjust the relief to compensate for seasonal changes. And I also would rather not have to fork out several hundred dollars down the road to fix the warped neck trussless guitars eventually develop.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Richwilly

Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Richwilly » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:01 pm

Why would you assume that guitars made without a truss rod would suffer from a warped neck? Luthiers have for centuries built instruments without them.

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CarbonElitist
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:22 pm

Richwilly wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:01 pm
Why would you assume that guitars made without a truss rod would suffer from a warped neck? Luthiers have for centuries built instruments without them.
Because a strung neck is under constant tension. Without some sort of reinforcement (doesn't necessarily have to be a truss rod, I admit) the neck will bend over time. Just because something is a tradition does not mean there isn't a better way to do it. The fact that many of those old guitars have to be planed and refretted is a testament to this.

Personally, I prefer truss rods because I like to have the ability to compensate for the changes caused by temperature and humidity, all with a quarter turn of an Allen wrench.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Richwilly

Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Richwilly » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:40 pm

Perhaps the trend for narrow profile necks has something to do with that. A guitar with an ebony fingerboard and traditional neck is unlikely to warp. Repairs to old instruments due to fret and fingerboard wear are another matter entirely.

I have many friends and acquaintances with instruments nearly 50 years old that display no warping of the neck at all.

However, I have nothing against change in the name of progress and if I were to be bowled over by a guitar with a truss rod I certainly wouldn't let it put me off buying it.

Alan Carruth
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:01 pm

Richwilly wrote:
"I have many friends and acquaintances with instruments nearly 50 years old that display no warping of the neck at all."

And I've seen more than enough ten year old Classicals with too much neck bow. It may be more common than it used to be, since 'modern' glues tend to have lower creep resistance than hide glue.

Ebony reinforcement slows down the movement, but doesn't stop it. A 'normal' carbon fiber rod will limit it. There is a CF D-shaped tube that should totally eliminate the issue and not add any weight. I'm sure there are people who will claim to be able to hear the difference, but I know of no 'blind' tests that support that contention.

The big advantage of an adjustable rod is the adjustment. The big disadvantage is the added weight. One of my former students made himself a titanium rod that was really light, but I don't know of on on the market. Too bad. Maybe I'll talk to the guy I get my rods from. They would be expensive...

Along with the adjustable rod you'd really want to have a removable neck. Usually action issues on older guitars are at least as much the fault of body distortion as the neck itself. It's possible to make a guitar on a solera that has a removable neck, but not usual. The type of neck joint does not seem to make any difference in the sound, although, of course, you'll get arguments about that one.

Richwilly

Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Richwilly » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:01 pm

Thanks Alan, interesting post.

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Peter Frary
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by Peter Frary » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:50 pm

My Douglas Ching classical has a carbon fiber reinforcing bar beneath the fingerboard. It's not adjustable but the guitar is 25 years old and the neck hasn't moved one iota. On the other hand, my 1965 Ramirez doesn't even have the ebony strip (became standard the next year I believe) but the fat 2x4 like neck hasn't shifted either. Both my Hirade guitars have adjustable thrust rods but I've never needed to diddle them. Seems to make them heavier than the older Hirade models...
I play a Tiny Tenor 6 so I look taller on stage!

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CarbonElitist
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Re: neck reinforcement

Post by CarbonElitist » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:42 am

Alan Carruth wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:01 pm
The big advantage of an adjustable rod is the adjustment. The big disadvantage is the added weight. One of my former students made himself a titanium rod that was really light, but I don't know of on on the market. Too bad. Maybe I'll talk to the guy I get my rods from. They would be expensive...
I never thought the weight of a truss rod would be an issue unless it was made out of rebar. :lol:

Btw, thanks for the interesting posts. (I'm saying this without irony.) I haven't been on this forum long, but I've seen a few of your comments on other threads and they've all been pretty enlightening. I've been entertaining the thought of building my own guitar and I've been using your comments to make mental notes.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

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