Playability is stiff

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by bluesking55, Nov 20, 2017.


  1. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    Um, it doesn't change the string height at first fret. Not sure what you mean by that.
    I do have feeler gauges and like the nut slots to be low enough that the nut is in line with the other frets.
    Fret work I now leave to the pros, but other stuff I will still tackle if I have time.
     
  2. Gevalt

    Gevalt Member

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    Yeah it does. Why wouldn't it?
     
  3. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    OK, adjusting the truss rod and changing neck bow would affect string height at the nut but only very, very slightly, compared to changing the height of the nut slots.
    And a minuscule amount, compared to the distance from string to say, the middle of the neck around the 7th fret or so. That is easier to measure and feel, IME.
    Still not sure we're talking about the same thing here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  4. Gevalt

    Gevalt Member

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    I'm talking about nut action. You're talking about nothing at all.
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    there are a bunch of long and contentious threads about this, but the upshot is that even if we could conflate "stiffness" of playing with the actual stiffness of a neck (and @kimock's anecdote suggests that the relationship might be not there or even the opposite) actual accounts of testing say quartersawn maple is not stiffer than flatsawn to begin with.

    @David Collins reports hanging weights off of various square stock boards mounted horizontally at one end and oriented one way vs the other, measuring deflection ("cabinet drop", i like that) with micrometer-level precision and finding that the QS direction was not stiffer.

    i suspect this internet myth is mostly from folks feeling like their eric johnson strats are stiff to play, which i think is mostly from the smallish frets with the thick finish up the sides of them, or maybe the shallow-holed trem block and slightly different headstock scoop.
     
  6. TylerE

    TylerE Member

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    This makes a lot of sense. By far the easiest bending guitar I have is my Strandberg... which being a headless has essentially zero non-vibrating string length.
     
  7. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    @walterw While I don’t disagree that the arguments have been made, my experience is different then the science may say. I don’t buy into internet myths and only formulate opinions based on first hand experience. To me, a quartersawn neck feels stiffer. I also feel like it vibrates differently than a flatsawn neck. Your experience might be different. That’s ok.

    PS: I know a thing or two about building necks too..

     
  8. teleman55

    teleman55 Member

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    Go one gauge lighter on that guitar.
     
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  9. TexMax

    TexMax Supporting Member

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    I was the guy selling the Cab neck.
    I have been putting together various types of partscasters since the mid 80s and have probably built at least 100 of them, including maybe 25 bodies that I made myself. My experience has shown me that all necks and bodies are different, to varying degrees, in terms of their stiffness. Wood simply varies - more flexible, less flexible, heavier, more dense, lighter, less dense, wetter, dryer, etc etc etc which will all effect how stiff an assembled guitar feels. When you have a bunch of necks and bodies all at the same time and do lots of swaps back and forth, you can easily get a feel for the degrees of stiffness in each neck and body.
    I prefer a sort a medium stiffness to maybe slightly buttery feeling string tension, and in my experience the best way to achieve that is to pair a stiff neck (optimal for note articulation - sharper attack) with a not so stiff body, or a buttery, less stiff neck with a stiff feeling body (softer note attack). The outcome is personal preference, kind of like the difference between tube and solid state rectifiers - sag vs immediacy in note attack.
    There are a few other mitigating factors, namely truss rod adjustment and tuner type that will affect stiffness. With Strat style guitars, stiffness can also easily be offset by adjusting the trem spring tension to get the desired stiffness. With Teles, not so much - you are really at the mercy of the inherent stiffness/tensions of the woods - and it can be difficult to dial in a guitar to your liking using only the truss rod adjustment. I switched over from Strats to Teles 6-8 years ago and found it much more difficult to build a great Tele than a great Strat. Some of that has to do with the difference in the bridges, but I found it to be primarily an issue of the properties of wood having more impact on a Tele.

    I think differences in stiffness and sustain from neck to neck and body to body go a long way to explaining why building partscasters is so hit or miss, unless you have a bunch of necks and bodies to swap around to find the best combos. I think that is also probably the reason the Fender Custom Shop and other boutique guitars are typically several notches above regular production guitars - you're paying for a knowledgeable, experienced person to find and assemble those optimum combinations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  10. blondestrat

    blondestrat Member

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    Set up the guitar until it plays the way you like, it doesn't have to have the same measurements as your other guitars. The setup helps the stiffness.
    Yes there are a lot of other factors and I don't doubt you guys know this, but You guys are making it harder for beginners to learn this stuff.

    Things that I Don't recommend: changing the string gauge- use the strings You like, then work with the setup. Why would I use a string gauge that I don't prefer?
     

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