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Thread: Truss rod or no truss rod?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
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    23

    Default Truss rod or no truss rod?

    Hello everyone,

    I need some advice from the fine folks here at UU. I'm planning to get a second uke. Looking at kala's solid acacia and some mainlands. The most my budget would allow me would be a pono, but i won't go higher than that. I'd like to know if you would consider having a truss rod a must in selecting a uke? pros and cons of not having a truss rod? I'd like to make the most out of my purchase. \m/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    774

    Default

    Hi,

    Truss rods and ukuleles are funny things. The small scale of the instrument combined with the use of lower tension nylon strings really allow for the absence of truss rods in most manufactured ukuleles to be the norm. Several custom builders use stabilizing rods in the neck for added support and Mele tenors and Baritones have non-adjustable or fixed rods in the neck. Luthiers who make steel string electric ukulele (Monkeywrench, Jupiter Creek) use fixed rods in the neck to add strength, etc.

    As far as I know (and someone correct me if I am wrong) Pono is the only manufacturer to use adjustable truss rods in the tenor and baritone models only. Obviously this allows for subtle adjustments in the relief of the neck and thereby affecting string height and action. Our band now endorses Pono ukuleles and I play Pono baritones exclusively.

    However, Pono ukuleles also use lower profile frets than other manufacturers, so you have to apply a bit more pressure when fretting. Many players don't like this about Ponos. It's really about personal preference.
    Mike Kaplan




    "To this day, if I ever meet grownups who play ukulele, I love 'em." --Paul McCartney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Millsboro, DE
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Having a couple of Ponos with truss rods and a Kanile'a, and previously a Kala without I agree 100% with Ukulelecowboy. The truss rod does give you the opportunity to fine tune neck relief, but it is not a necessity. If it was, then you would see them in most of the high end ukuleles. That said, I like being able to tweak the Ponos a little, but the presence or absence of a truss rod would not be a big part of my trade space in selecting a ukulele.
    Larry from Delaware
    Kanile'a T-1 Deluxe, Islander MT-4
    2000 Collings D1 (Canon), 1993 Larrivee OM-09 cedar top (Lady), Taylor GA-3 12 string, Martin 00C-16DB
    Carvin LB-20 fretless bass

  4. #4

    Default

    I thought the general train of thought was that a nylon string ukulele doesn't really need a truss rod.
    Most ukes don't have one, just like how most classical guitars don't have one either.

    It's a good idea on steel string ukes.. though last time I checked, Jupiter Creek does not have truss rods on their steel string electrics.

    I once emailed them about whether their Baritone steel string electric had a truss rod. They said it was unnecessary, and didn't have one.

    Neither does the Epiphone Mandobird steel string electric.
    Last edited by kissing; 08-09-2011 at 04:02 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Republique Uke
    Posts
    1,731

    Default

    Out of all the brands we carry Pono and Ko'olau are the only two that do it as a standard feature on tenor and baritone instruments. It is easy to adjust.

    "It's not on a map, it's right on your lap" ~ Sailor Jim

    UkeRepublic.com
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    44

    Default

    The lack of a truss rod is why it is essential to have an older used uke, especially one with a thinner neck like a baritone, checked by a luthier. That is a great benefit with buying new. Most don't need them and you can baby them.

    Cavaquinhos are steel stringed, but don't have truss rods. I think that they are manufactured to take the pressure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    1,282

    Default

    Not to hi-jack the thread, but Baskervils - what kind of banjo uke is that?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    344

    Default

    1000% with what has been said so far.

    At most, I would consider carbon fiber or metal reinforcement rod in the neck just to keep it flat as the wood ages. But, few companies offer that on standard models.

    I don't really see electric or steal string ukes as an option for me, so I've never considered them...

    One consideration I may make would be on a 8 string uke. The extra strings and tension may be enough to bend the neck slightly. But, most of those that I have seen have thicker necks to begin with and don't really need it.

    ~DB
    Music is 80% physical/technique, 19% mental/theory, and 1% magic/luck.
    SwingUkulele.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Looks like a cavaco banjo (a cavaquinho with a banjo pot).

    - FiL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jnobianchi View Post
    Not to hi-jack the thread, but Baskervils - what kind of banjo uke is that?

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