Carbon Fibre (Graphite) Rods for Guitar Neck Stiffening.
The trend towards thinner guitar neck profiles has meant that some additional stiffening may be required. The first attempts to make necks more stable was gluing two or more pieces of wood together, then inserting metal bars, square tube and U profiles, adjustable truss rods and combinations of these. Following this evolution came the appearance of new technical materials and they too found place in instrument building.
Now carbon fibre rods are finding their place in luthiery. They are light in weight and stiff enough do the job. Necks can be made thinner, remaining stable, stiff and rigid. This is important for tuning stability, vibration transfer, attack and sustain while allowing comfortable playability.
But is using standard, off the shelf, carbon fibre rod the best solution?
Carbon fibre is available in many variations and the thickness of the fibres, coupled to the stiffness of them and the resins used to bind the fibres, has a bearing on the finished CF rod.
Sever Custom Guitars owner, Davorin Sever, a custom guitar maker since 1978, has experimented with a variety of CF products and now specifies his own carbon fibre construction.
Sever found that by adjusting the formulation of the fibre and resins / additives, the final rods responded differently to sound vibration. By inserting high responsive rods into guitar necks he found improvements in the attack and sustain of the guitar. Standard “modelling” carbon fibre tends to reduce the attack and sustain.
Optimising the dimension of the profile also ensures that there is sufficient wood left in the neck below the rod cavity. A practical benefit of using a thicker rod (4mm) is the availability and durability of router cutters. 4mm cutters are 25% stronger than 3mm cutters and cut faster. Intrigued by the overall response and looking for greater strength, Sever developed the “U” profile Carbon Fibre Rod. Giving great strength across its widest dimension it is ideal for stiffening necks. Sever also discovered that gluing two “U” rods together in the neck channel to form a box section profile provided an air chamber that further enhanced the tone and sustain of the neck.
This experimentation combined with over 30 years of guitar making experience has resulted a range of Tone Graphite Rods.
The rods have rounded edges so there is no scraping of the wood on insertion which would prevent proper seating in the slot.
Tone Graphite Rods offer a more thoughtful, engineered solution to improving the performance of guitar necks.
Dylan Humphries of Daemoness Guitars has applied this technology to his guitars. “”I started reinforcing necks with graphite to make the guitars even more resilient to the conditions of international touring. The reports back from the guys who had Daemoness guitars with this technology impressed me so much I started using them in all my guitars.”