Fact or fiction..figured necks??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by sugarlou, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. sugarlou

    sugarlou Supporting Member

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    I have heard some people state that birdseye or flame maple necks are not as stable as a straight grained plain maple neck. The claim is the grain is not condusive to holding its "shape" as well. Any thoughts?
     
  2. mge80

    mge80 Member

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    More mumbo jumbo from self-proclaimed "experts".
     
  3. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    While it is true that quarter sawn maple - or any lumber for that matter - is the most stable I have never seen a figured neck that behaved badly - and I've been using figured necks for years.
     
  4. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Has more to do with how the neck is dried.
     
  5. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    theoretically, yes, a straight grained , non figured neck is less likely to twist, or at least will move in a more consistent, predictable, manner. It will also be stronger, with a fully quartersawn, tightly grained piece being the strongest. It is common practice in cabinetshops - if there are actually any left that use solid wood anymore- to use straight grained pieces of wood for table legs rather than bird's eye.
    Having said that, as long as the piece of maple is dry, of a decent size, and has a properly installed truss rod then you should be good with a figured neck.
     
  6. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    To an extent true, BUT in practice not an issue .The vintage style truss rod is a far bigger killer of necks due to the longitudinal compression it exerts almost forcing the neck to deform along its weakest line (twisty).
     
  7. sugarlou

    sugarlou Supporting Member

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    So...I am getting kinda mixed opinions here..The answer seems to be yes, but it should be OK.
     
  8. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Well, Tom Anderson doesn't even offer figured/birdseye necks anymore. And John Suhr won't warranty them past 90 days. You think guys who build as many guitars as they do/have would know something about it.

    Regardless, I find a figured neck irresistible, and I've had a few over the years and have never had a problem.
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    There are certain types of figure than can correlate with less stable wood, but not because it is figured. For example, a beautiful flame (not to be confused with curl) can sometimes come from what's known as compression wood, which will be less stable, though flame can also be found in other areas of the tree from which would be fine.

    And though I have no testing or data to back this up, in my experience I've often found birds eye to me harder and more stable than much other rock maple, though this again is likely correlation. In any case, figures like birds eye or a tight curl do not cause a wood to be less stable. It is also no more accurate an indicator that it would be to say would is going to be stable solely because it is plain.
     
  10. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    I've played many guitars over the years, and the only one I've ever had a problem with was a Fender CS Custom Classic Tele, which had by far the most flamed neck in my collection ... warped and needed to be replaced.

    Could be a coincidence, but I can't help feeling there's at least some truth to this. The CS replaced it with a nicely figured birdseye neck, and so far so good.

    Not to hijack the thread, but I have noticed in general that despite taking meticulous care of my guitars, I still see more fretboard shrinkage from new Fender guitars than any of the other makes I have.
     
  11. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Could be that the 2nd largest mass producer of guitars in the world (Fender CS) isn't letting them age adequately? However, I think Gibson probably puts more guitars out with shrinkage and other issues b/c of how quickly they mass produce.
     
  12. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Well maple has a tendency to twist. So a lot of times a luthier will take two opposing pieces of maple and glue them together to make the neck. This process tends to resist twisting and warping. When people want a figured neck they probably don't want it to be multi-pieced. So stability can be a problem in these one piece necks. As it can in all one piece maple necks.
     
  13. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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    So, DeTemple necks will twist? C´mon......... I don´t buy it. There maust be more to the equation......
     
  14. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I see you've read this too.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but I've owned a dozen or so guitars and the only one I've ever had problems with as far as the neck warping and doing funny things was also the only one that had a flamed neck.

    It has been ironed out, washers put in to get more play out of the rod, frets leveled, etc. many times to try and sort it out. I think with a combination of those things it's finally 'almost there' but it has a little bit of rising tongue syndrome and not enough fret left to dress them down, so eventually I'm going to have to take the frets off and plane the board level and put new frets on.
     

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