View Full Version : Truss rod or no truss rod?

08-08-2011, 11:34 PM
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/

08-09-2011, 12:27 AM

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.

08-09-2011, 02:59 AM
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.

08-09-2011, 03:32 AM
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.

Uke Republic
08-09-2011, 03:50 AM
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.

08-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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.

08-10-2011, 03:51 AM
Not to hi-jack the thread, but Baskervils - what kind of banjo uke is that?

08-10-2011, 03:59 AM
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.


08-11-2011, 07:33 AM
Looks like a cavaco banjo (a cavaquinho with a banjo pot).

- FiL

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