Can This Be A Twisted Neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by hardys, May 9, 2008.

  1. hardys

    hardys Member

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    I bought just bought an 05, G0 from Guitar Center last night. Apparently, it's been hanging in the store for a long time and has a few bumps, but it sound great. It's one of those "stand outs" in the tone department and just sounded better than any other Lester in the store, including the R8 I brought in. It plays really well too and I got a GREAT deal on it.

    After I got it home I studied it very carefully and I noticed something that seems odd to me. With the guitar laying on a flat, granite counter top, if I look down the neck from the headstock toward the body, the left ear of the headstock is about 1/8 of an inch closer to the granite than the right ear. So, this makes it appear like there is a slight twist in the neck. Also, if I site down the fretboard from the nut to the body, it seems there may be an ever so slight tilt in the same direction as the left headstock ear. It's very hard for me to tell if there really is a twist, relative to the fretboard, or if it's just an optical illusion. Looking at my R8 though, the headstock ears are of equal distance to the granite surface, but the fretboard looks about the same as the G0.

    Is it unusual to have this slightly of headstock alignment? Is there a more precise way to determine if the neck may be twisted? Are twisted necks common? I'm I seeing/imagining things?
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Yes, twisted necks are very common, and yes, you may be just imagining things. I can't quite picture you're granite/level reference point so I can't say if what you're seeing indicates any twist at all. Also, though the headstock may line up with the neck ideally, it's not really a valid reference point to judge the fretboard length of the neck itself. I have certainly seen plenty of headstocks that were cut off axis (not so likely with modern Gibsons), or developed their own slight twist independent of the rest of the neck.

    Is the relief different on the bass and treble sides? Sighting a twist can be difficult, and often benefits from a trained eye to filter out all the other curves and lines surrounding it. And not all twists are bad - if it ended up with a slightly more relief on the bass than on the treble, that can be a good thing. I would say take it in to your tech for at least a quick look over before the approval/return period is done with Guitar Center. It may be fine, but if it looks to be an unstable board it could be best to return it.
     
  3. hardys

    hardys Member

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    Thanks a million for your response David. Here is a photo I found online that shows how the headstock is tilted down to the left on the high E side. My Les Paul is not as severe, but it may give you the gist of what I tried to describe before. On mine, the left ear is about 1/8 of an inch lower than the right ear. I'm at the office now, so I can't check the relief on each side of the neck. I've never noticed a headstock tilted like this, so it gives me some concern. I don't know if the entire neck is twisted or if the headstock was just not sawn symmetrically. Unfortuneately, there are no techs I trust in this area and usually send my guitars out of state. Kind of hate to go through the expense & trouble of sending it off, only to find that it's a dud and should be returned to GC.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Right - that's definitely a twisted headstock, though I can't see anything in the pic that indicates whether the neck is twisted as well. In that picture it appears to be a headstock that was just cut crooked. With modern Gibson tooling, this would be unlikely on yours though. That doesn't rule out that the headstock warping a bit independent of the neck, or the neck itself being twisted, but it wasn't likely to be cut off axis.

    What I couldn't picture in your original description was how you had your guitar oriented to the level granite that showed the difference - face down, face-up headstock off the edge, headstock resting on the granite, etc. I was just thinking of ways your method of inspection may have given you false impression of a twist, but it doesn't matter much anyway. You really need to see past the headstock and sight the fret board itself.
     
  5. hardys

    hardys Member

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    I'll go home later today and try looking down the board some more, although it's hard to tell with my untrained eye. I'll check the relief as well. I had a feeling it was unlikely that the headstock was cut off axis as you said, especially with modern CNC machines. Do you see twisted headstocks like this very often on mahogany neck guitars?
     
  6. GtrDr

    GtrDr Member

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    How does the guitar play? A twisted neck can be impossible set up.
     
  7. hardys

    hardys Member

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    I just got it home last night and have not had much time to mess with the setup. I'll give that a try tonight and report my findings.
     

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