Dual-Action Truss Rods

Nearly every guitar with an adjustable truss rod has access at one of two places, through the sound hole or through an access cover in the headstock. These both have disadvantages: 1) through the sound hole: usually requires you to loosen the strings to make adjustments. This is an inconvenience, but worse, they require the luthier to drill a hole through the upper transverse brace weakening this crucial structural member 2) Access through the headstock: requires a truss rod cover which needs to be unscrewed while maneuvering a screwdriver around strings This often leads to scratches. It also interrupts the lines of the peg-head and interferes with complex peg-head inlays.

What I’ve done is devise a truss rod installation technique that allows the user or repairman instant access to the truss rod for “on-the-fly” adjustments. It doesn’t weaken the structure of the instrument and it is nearly invisible to the player.

Carbon Fiber (CF) Reinforcements

All Shadowfax Guitars come with unique carbon fiber neck reinforcements. Most CF rods used in guitars are 1/8” or 1/4” wide. These rods serve to stiffen the neck to counteract the force of the strings’ pull and they do that well. However, they also add unwanted mass to the neck. To solve this problem I use 1/16” wide rods. This adds the necessary stiffness while keeping the mass down. A secondary benefit to CF rods is they reinforce the neck-headstock junction.

Laminated Necks

The word “lamination” is often spoken with disdain in the guitar world, mostly due to cheap foreign instruments and plywood. There are however, instances where a lamination is better than a solid piece of wood; the neck is one of those. A laminated neck is more stable than a one piece neck because the grain is oriented so any deformity caused by humidity or aging is counteracted by the other laminations. The laminated neck also has a very appealing look to it, and figured woods can be used to enhance the “panache” of the guitar. One exception to this is on classical guitars, I normally don’t put laminated necks on classical guitars because it is not consistent with the classical look.