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Builders, can you sum-up your neck building philosophy into one sentence?

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
In my formative years I found value in posing such questions to myself (and still do) because in order to answer adequately I was forced to review the entire enchilada in detail, and by doing so discoveries were made and revisions put into place. Perhaps such a habit could help you as well.

I will start:

" Each step of the neck build advances the neck towards the finish line whilst correcting for any wood movement that is the result of the preceding step, the goal being no need to remove fretboard material specifically in order to compensate for unregulated/unexpected wood movement at the end of the process. "
 
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John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
I'm out of the biz but for me it was simple (and very similar to Terry). The process of building a neck boils down to flattening the playing surface (or whatever the playing surface gets glued to) at every step. Do something, flatten...shape a bit...flatten...glue something...flatten. Goal being by the time you install frets, it's stopped moving and squirming around, and your final flattening of frets should be removing practically nothing...thousandths of an inch.

There's just nothing more important than starting from a dead flat playing surface that's stable. Absolutely nothing.
 

Jack Daniels

Member
Messages
1,889
Mine is similar to the above, but I will add that the truss rod encapsulation is key to a good sounding neck. No air gaps anywhere. Round channels routes etc.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
I'm out of the biz but for me it was simple (and very similar to Terry). The process of building a neck boils down to flattening the playing surface (or whatever the playing surface gets glued to) at every step. Do something, flatten...shape a bit...flatten...glue something...flatten. Goal being by the time you install frets, it's stopped moving and squirming around, and your final flattening of frets should be removing practically nothing...thousandths of an inch.

There's just nothing more important than starting from a dead flat playing surface that's stable. Absolutely nothing.
Its a matter of letting the internal stresses in the neck relieve themselves as you go along until...the way I do it...a specific stress is applied, at which point the neck is powerless to do other than "what it is told"
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
Mine is similar to the above, but I will add that the truss rod encapsulation is key to a good sounding neck. No air gaps anywhere. Round channels routes etc.
Agreed 100%! That requires the truss rod slot to be cut in one pass via shaper or other non-deflecting tool. No multiple plunges, and obviously a finessed take on the Gibson 1924 single action, i.e. "curved just-so" rod. Not an arbitrary droop in the middle, no way
 

Grez

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
218
My focus is on making a stiff neck that will minimize the amplitude and raise the frequency of the resonances that are inevitably part of the system.

Why, in my view, the neck resonances will interact with the fretted notes less, minimizing dead and overly resonant notes and hopefully driving more energy into the body. Since a large number of the instruments I make are semi-hollow or fully hollow, activating the body is part of the "the sound" for me.

Yes, I do take care to allow parts to rest after certain operations and to insure that parts have acclimated to my my shop before use etc., but I see this as more of a process thing required to meet minimum quality/stability standards, not my overall conceptual goal for how I want a neck to behave.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Just curious. How many necks/bodies/guitars do builders just throw away because they just aren't up to snuff.

I kept track. I'm at about 10% total...stuff that just doesn't want to be a guitar. Sorry Terry, don't mean to distract from your thread, but I think it's an interesting thing to consider just how much individuals toss out because it just doesn't make it.

To me it feels like it's part of the same question. What's your philosophy, and then how much to you toss because it doesn't get there?
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,866
I'm at about 10% total...stuff that just doesn't want to be a guitar.
Do you think high production neck builders adhere to similar criteria?
That is, do 10% of the average commercial necks have performance or reliability (or whatever) issues over the long run? (they might:eek:)
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Do you think high production neck builders adhere to similar criteria?
That is, do 10% of the average commercial necks have performance or reliability (or whatever) issues over the long run? (they might:eek:)
I suspect they can control the process much better than i can, from procurement to seasoning and the overall process. I suspect they do better than I could as a tiny shop, and that a larger, high quality shop can be more efficient overall.

I couldn't hazard a guess what large, mass produced builders do...Fender, Gibson, etc. No clue. I can tell you that everything I've seen from PRS and Taylor plays really nicely. I hate how Taylors sound but they all play very well. PRS generally plays well off the rack. Both tend to stand up to time, so whatever they're doing works. More or less everything else I've seen from larger builders is hit or miss, but I rarely have seen something that is so bad as to be unfixable.

I'm not sure I answered your question. I just don't know what larger builders do. As a small builder, tossing out a few necks is not a big deal. Tossing out a few hundred or thousand necks, for large builders, is a big deal. It's hard to compare.
 




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