Examine just about any guitar on the market and you will notice that the body and neck are two separate pieces. If you look inside the body of an acoustic, you’ll notice what appears to be a nut you could turn with the right kind of wrench. Electrics have the same kind of nut but in a different location.
What is this nut? It is actually not a nut at all. It’s the end of a metal rod inserted into the neck of the guitar to combat the stress of strings constantly pulling on it. The rod is known as a truss rod. It can be adjusted to increase or decrease tension as needed.
Now, a South African company has come up with a way to construct an electric guitar with no truss rod. Better yet, the guitar is a single piece instrument. In other words, there is no joint between body and neck. How did they accomplish this? By designing the guitar with carbon fiber. It is carbon fiber through and through.
Joining Two Carbon Fiber Pieces
Though the Lassie appears to be single-piece construction, it is possible to make a carbon fiber guitar that starts out as two separate pieces. Other makers have done it. Salt Lake City’s Rock West Composites explains that the secret is in the procedure used to join the two pieces.
Both body and neck are made from a material known as a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). To create this material, fabricators combine carbon fiber fabric with an epoxy resin. Once the resin cures, it creates a rigid plastic that is reinforced by the carbon fiber fabric within.
The two guitar pieces can be fabricated using either manual layups or additive manufacturing. Manual layups are the norm. Once the they are complete, they are joined by applying more epoxy where the two pieces meet. The same high heat and pressure process that cured the original pieces cures the joint as well. This creates a single piece final product.
No Adjustments Necessary
Getting back to the Lassie, one of its biggest benefits is that it never has to be adjusted after initial setup. At least that’s what Rubato Guitars says. They claim the carbon fiber material will never warp due to temperature changes, moisture, and the constant pull of the strings. Moisture and temperature changes are one thing but standing up to the strings is another deal. Customers will have to take Rubato at their word.
Rock West Composites says that carbon fiber should hold up quite well over many years of play. They say it is stronger and lighter than both steel and aluminum, which obviously makes it stronger than wood as well. Its properties should allow a carbon fiber guitar neck to last for years without warping or bowing.
As for the sound, carbon fiber should make little difference in an electric guitar. The sound of an electric is all in the pickups, not the body of the guitar itself. So a good set of pickups along with the right strings could make the Lassie sound as good as any Stratocaster on the market.
As an added benefit, the Lassie shouldn’t produce any unwanted noise as a result of vibration. Unlike a wood guitar, there is nothing in the carbon fiber body to reflect sound back to the pickups.
One final note: the fret board is made of maple. It is fastened to the carbon fiber neck underneath, giving the musician a traditional feel while still preventing the neck from bowing and warping. How cool is that?