KTS Titanium Neck Reinforcement
In addition to bridge parts, KTS manufactures truss rods and reinforcements that are placed inside the neck to correct deformation caused by string tension and external conditions such as temperature and humidity. The photo shows Titanium Neck Reinforcement, a neck reinforcement material used by Ibanez, Atelier Z, MTD (Michael Tobias Design), and many other brands. It is a product for manufacturers and builders, and is not well known to the general public, but our products are helping in invisible ways as "KTS Inside".
"Can you make a bar like this out of titanium? "
It wasn't long after the bridge saddle was commercialized that we received an inquiry from a manufacturer in Nagano, Japan, which is known as one of the best neck makers in Japan. They wanted to use it as a reinforcement material for both sides of the truss rod. Up until then, iron, carbon graphite, and ceramics had been used as the materials. As I explained in the tune-o-matic saddle manufacturing process, processing metal into a rod shape is one of KTS's specialties. A prototype bar with a cross-sectional width of 6.0mm and a thickness of 3.0mm was actually built into a neck, and after repeated tests, it was adopted for use in the basses of a Japanese luxury brand. Later on, it has also been accepted by many of the world's most popular Ibanez Guitars & Basses.
(Photo: Ibanez guitar headstock with sticker showing KTS Titanium Reinforcement installed)
"KTS Titanium Reinforcement was the one solution."
We spoke with an "Ibanez Product Specialist" who is involved in the planning and development of Ibanez products to get his opinion on why he chose the material and its benefits.
"The necks of stringed instruments are mainly made of wood, which is a natural material with its own unique characteristics. As a mass-produced manufacturer, Ibanez has always been concerned with maintaining uniformity and consistent quality in its products, and KTS's titanium reinforcement was one solution. Titanium is a lightweight material with adequate rigidity and flexibility as a neck reinforcement material, and has excellent acoustical properties, making it a perfect match for stringed instruments. Ibanez products using KTS's high-quality titanium material and neck reinforcement supported by superior processing technology have been the choice of many artists and customers for over 10 years.
Rainforcing material, which is installed in the neck on both sides of the truss rod, is not designed to improve sound quality. The purpose of the reinforcement is not to improve the sound quality, but to reduce the deformation of the neck due to string tension or environmental changes, or to stabilize the movement of the neck when the truss rod is adjusted. At the time of its development, we did not expect it to improve acoustically. However, since then, some excellent acoustic qualities have actually been demonstrated by the builders.
"The notes seem to jump off the board!"
Here are some impressions from Michael Tobias, a luthier at MTD (Michael Tobias Design), when he started using KTS neck reinforcement in 2008. As a newcomer to the industry, KTS was thrilled to hear from this legend. It has been a part of his work for over 10 years now.
"The most obvious difference is the way it feels in my hand. The titanium makes it seem more solid but much more alive. Sonically it is more even, and the response is quicker. The note seems to jump off the board. It's a very interesting phenomenon ." -Michael Tobias
Graphite or Titanium?
So how does it differ from the most common existing carbon fiber (graphite) reinforcements? Rusty Vance, a luthier at high-end Australian guitar brand Vance Custom Guitars, explains this below.
Vance Custom Guitars (Australia) introduces KTS Titanium Neck Rods
Vance cites the advantages of carbon rods, which he has used for years, but also points out that the KTS titanium neck reinforcement is more supple and stable than carbon rods, providing richer tone and harmonics. Incidentally, he uses both carbon and titanium depending on the type of guitar.
When you hear the word "reinforcement", you think of it as a stiffening material to prevent deformation. Many people may think that a flexible material like titanium is not suitable as a reinforcement material. However, no matter how hard the reinforcement material is, it is impossible to prevent 100% of the warping of a neck made of wood (of course, it might be possible if you use dozens of reinforcements...). Thus, adjustment with truss rods is inevitable.
The KTS titanium neck reinforcement is not designed to hold the neck in place, but rather to keep the neck in a straight line so that the elasticity of the neck can resist the tension of the strings, temperature, humidity, and other external forces that constantly try to deform the neck. The strength of the neck varies depending on the grain of the wood. The neck does not necessarily deform at the center of the neck. Adding reinforcement has the effect of warping the neck in a balanced manner.
KTS uses a processing technique called cold rolling to produce these stiffeners. To explain it in simple terms, titanium wire rod is pressed, crushed and stretched to make a flat bar with a rectangular cross section. The material is then work-hardened to a good hardness for neck reinforcement, and has optimal elasticity, i.e., it tries to return to its original state when it is stressed and deformed. We put a lot of time and effort into manufacturing the metal rods that play an important role in this invisible area. Based on the zero complaints we have received from tens of thousands of shipments to manufacturers since its development, we recommend KTS Ti-Reinforcement to all guitar makers and builders.
*KTS Titanium Neck Reinforcement is a product for manufacturers, so it is not basically sold to the general public, but it can be purchased in small quantities from Stewart Macdonald in the US. For more information, please visit their web store.
If you are a manufacturer interested in this product, please feel free to contact us via email.
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