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What Is a Truss Rod?

Learn the function and maintenance of a truss rod on your ukulele!

by Frances Lin

What is a truss rod? What does it do? In this article, I will explain the function and maintenance of a truss rod should you have purchased a ukulele with one built into it. The truss rod is an important part of instruments with longer necks, so if you play the baritone ukulele, you likely have a truss rod built into your instrument.

We will discuss what a truss rod does, how you can adjust it, and why you need to know some general information about it. Guitar players can benefit from this article as well because truss rods are also present in many guitars.

What Is a Truss Rod?

Although the truss rod is inherent in many instruments, there is not a lot of information out there that only talks about truss rods. In the next video, you can watch a discussion about basic and advanced setups with ukuleles, which includes some helpful information about truss rods.

This video includes important information on why refining your setup choice can really improve your playing joy and comfort when purchasing a ukulele as well. ULTP offers both setups with all the ukuleles purchased, so learning more about the process can be beneficial. You will likely find truss rods in baritone ukuleles because the scale length is longer than any other ukulele. But what does a truss rod do?

Truss Rod Function and Maintenance

If you are reading this article, chances are that you are a baritone ukulele player or a guitar player. Remember that ULTP has courses and Q & As for the baritone, so joining ULTP Nation is a wonderful way of delving into more about this beautiful instrument.

So why truss rods? Truss rods are adjustable rods placed down the center of the ukulele neck that stiffens it. If the neck is not flat, it will make a buzzing noise. Adjusting it perfectly will dial in enough curvature or relief, so that ukulele necks can bow a little more. In the setup of a new instrument, the truss rod adjustment can be made to enhance playability. A wrench can be used in the sound hole to adjust the truss rod. Sometimes ukuleles have the adjustment mechanism at the top of the neck. Use caution when adjusting the truss rod by yourself, and make little cranks during the adjustment (a quarter turn is good). Weather and humidity can also affect the necks of ukuleles, especially the baritone ukulele. Most baritones have truss rods built into them.

Baritones with Truss Rods

Now that you have an idea of what truss rods are, what their function is, and how to adjust them or get them adjusted, here are a few specs on some baritone ukuleles in the ULTP shop that have truss rods built into them. If you are in the process of buying a baritone ukulele, you may want to research which ones have truss rods. If you have unusual humidity where you live, you may want to keep that in consideration when shopping for a baritone ukulele. Here are a couple of baritone ukuleles in the ULTP store that have truss rods.

PONO AB Solid Acacia Baritone

One of the best ways to learn about potential instruments is to research the many videos available on ukuleles sold in the ULTP store. This video discusses the PONO AB Solid Acacia Baritone, Pono AB Baritone. This beautiful baritone fills the space of an affordable ukulele at its price point while having the all important solid wood body.

This baritone is made of acacia wood which is in the same family as koa wood. Its beautiful satin finish complements the instrument which also has the truss rod built into the uniquely structured neck. It has grover tuners, an ebony headplate, bone nut and saddle, and an ebony fretboard. It does have a 20” scale length given that it is a baritone. Remember that baritones are tuned as D-G-B-E (different from all other ukuleles). If considering a baritone purchase, this is a fine instrument to choose.

PONO BE Baritone

I am including some information on this baritone because it is just a unique instrument to mention. It is an electric baritone with a slim body for easy holding. ULTP is a proud PONO dealer, so visit the website for more on the selection of baritones there. You will likely find the perfect instrument for you. This baritone has an excellent sound and is made of solid mahogany. The thin body makes it portable and easy to play.


It has a solid mahogany neck, an ebony fretboard and plate, and a 1 ⅜” nut width. The 20” scale is typical of a baritone. It also includes the truss rod as a feature. This is a great option for musicians who have an acoustic baritone already, so I included it in this article.


Hopefully, this article demystifies the function and maintenance of truss rods in ukuleles and in guitars. It is an important feature of baritone ukuleles, so if you play the baritone, it is important that you understand what truss rods are and what they do. Furthermore, how you approach the adjustment of your truss rods may be easier after reading this article. Enjoy playing, and keep practicing!

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