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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 the carbon rods find their place in luthiery. Light in weight, stiff enough do the job, the necks could be thinner, remaining stable stiff and rigid which is is important for tuning stability, vibration transfer, attack, sustain while allowing comfort 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.