Problem with new USACG neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by melodiusthunk, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Having recently bought a two-piece strat neck from USACG, I notice that the thickness of the rosewood fretboard appears to have a more or less constant wedge (i.e. the edge thickness at opposite sides of the board is unequal). It is noticeable visually, and upon measuring with a rule marked out in 32ths of an inch, I measure at least 1/64" of wedge.

    Is this likely to pose more than a cosmetic problem down the road after cutting and fitting a nut for this neck? The relief appears to be more or less equal at both sides of the neck (within 2 or 3 mils). The magnitude of the error is 3-4X what I would normally expect from a (well-controlled) CNC process in hardwood, so I'm thinking that USACG screwed up on this one.

    In the event that this defect does compromise playability, I am also wondering whether or not it could be repaired (presumably by pulling out the frets, resurfacing the board, refretting and if necessary sticking a uniform thickness shim in the neck pocket). Or should I just tell myself to grin and bear it (they messed up other aspects of the order too, which I have either accepted or corrected by my own hand).

    Artificially aged in Hubbardston...
     
  2. poolshark

    poolshark Supporting Member

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    Understanding that necks have been entirely handmade for all but the last ten or fifteen years, I'd consider what you describe to be the smallest of cosmetic flaws. It won't compromise playability, other than possibly requiring a very routine saddle adjustment. You should return the neck if it really bothers you, but if you've already modified it, you very likely own it.
     
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  3. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Member

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    Think about this: The fingerboard is thickest (tallest) in the center. Near the nut, the board is narrower meaning the sides are closer to the center line then the other end of the board. This will cause the board to look thicker at one end then the other. The board is the same thickness all the way through..meaning is probably .250 at the thickest/tallest location. Everything else is just in relation to that point. There will not be any issue from this.
     
  4. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    As ong as you can get the neck straight with the rod, I wouldn’t worry about it from a functional standpoint. If it was milled in a way that at best there’s a slope over some region of the neck, that would be a problem.

    Otherwise, seems just a costmetic thing. It would bug me probably but sometimes with these things you just have to take what you can get.
     
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  5. burningyen

    burningyen Member

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    I think OP is saying the rosewood is thicker on the bass side vs. the treble side, or vice versa.
     
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  6. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes, this is what I meant. I am hoping that Cardinal is right, and the impact is just cosmetic, and then only to someone who's leaning in for kiss...:cool:

    The FB is a once in a lifetime piece of Mexican Kingwood that I picked up form TGP member Archey last year; it would be a real shame to lose it.

    If my experience on this build is to become the norm at the "new and improved" USACG, then I feel that I can no longer recommend them as a neck supplier. I hope they get their panties sorted...
     
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  7. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Member

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    I can see no long term issues with that construction. It might not be your perfect situation, but It won’t have any issues based on the dimensions alone. As long as the wood was seasoned and the build followed proper build process, it should be fine.
     
  8. Muttlyboy

    Muttlyboy Member

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    I'm thinking that since you went through special efforts for a particular fingerboard, you should get the opportunity to hear what it sounds like. (You may not be able to get any more of that fingerboard wood.

    Set it up on your guitar with a pre-slotted Tusq nut.

    If it won't play right, have USACG do the right thing.
     
  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Man, that is a shame to have a one of a kind piece of fretboard wood, turn out wrong like that.

    Maybe we should pretend we wanted it thicker on one side?

    Isn't that the way folks do it these days? :^
     
  10. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel Supporting Member

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  11. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks to everyone who has responded; considering that the (stainless) frets are already on, and also that I have already returned this neck once (at my own expense, to have the back profile adjusted, since the CNC program and the profile advertised on their website don't agree, and since they subsequently botched the re-profiling operation so that I had to complete the job myself...), I don't have any confidence that USACG has retained the skill set to fix this.
    I think i have enough confidence to pay my local skilled guy (Dave Dick at D-string guitar repair, Sturbridge, MA) to have a nut crafted and have any fret leveling & crowning done as may be found necessary. My main concern was determining whether or not to sink any further effort and expense into this neck after discovering the "slanted floor" FB.

    Pics of the wood can be viewed at https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/kingwood-fingerboard-blank.1879895/
     
  12. Muttlyboy

    Muttlyboy Member

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    You went to a lot of trouble to have these guys build you something special.
    If I was in your position, before I would go ahead and pay a skilled guy a couple hundred,
    I would pop in a Tusq nut, and get the guitar to be basically playable.

    If the guitar seems to sound good and lively, then I'd go ahead and send it off to your guy to make it perfect.

    If the guitar sounds dead, I'd call back USAGC and tell them that the neck is no good, and give me a refund
     
  13. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    I did business with Tommy for years and never had a complaint and he stood by his product 100%. From the sound of things they ain't him. Good luck with it.
     
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  14. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Member

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    Does it play well? If it does, forget about it.
     
  15. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Likewise, and so i was reluctant to believe things could go downhill as far and as fast as they appear to have. Perhaps they will regain their stride after they bring two new CNC routers online later this summer. just have to wait and see.
     
  16. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    With all due respect - the OP has a lot invested in a neck he is not happy with. It's not like it came from the "ready" line and - that fret board was not cheap not to mention a couple of shipping charges, time packaging, waiting, etc., etc. It's "you should get what you paid for" not "you pays yer money and you takes your chance" if you know what I mean. If they are touting themselves as "new and improved" then take them to task because obviously they are not what they advertise to be.
     
  17. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    19 Sept update: After deciding to push ahead with finishing this neck, I am happy to report that it feels, plays and sounds wonderfully. Thanks again to all who contributed their input to this thread.
     
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  18. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    This should be corrected by them and clearly noted until it happens.
    Which profile was mis-matched?
     
  19. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    The '54, which is advertised as 0.85 @ fret 1, tapering to 0.94 @ fret 12; mine came in at 0.875 @ fret 1 and 0.985 @ fret 12. When I sent it back for rework, what came back was so badly shaped I had to finish the thing myself using a straight edge, contour gage and a detail sander.

    Shortly before posting here, I managed to find a thread in which Ron Kirn suggested he'd heard that the new owner had let some of the company's most senior and skilled staff go, stating that they made too much money. If true, that would go a long way to explain the troubles I encountered. I sincerely hope the company gets these problems sorted sooner rather than later.
     

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