Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by RvChevron, May 29, 2008.
Which one is more heavy duty, rigid and hard??
In this case, weight and hardness are two unrelated measurements. Zinc (or in the case of guitar hardware, Zinc alloy) is usually quite dense and heavy, but relatively soft. Carbon steel is much harder, stronger material.
Which one would you recommend for using as inserts into maple neck?
BTW, the carbon steel neck kit costs about twice as more than zinc alloy.
If you're talking about placing stiffening rods into the neck, then go with steel, graphite, or carbon fiber. The idea is to get the maximum stiffness to weight ratio (insert innuendo here). If this is a custom fabrication, there are other metals such as aircraft-grade aluminum or titatium that would be much lighter than steel, but rather expensive.
It's just the metal inserts into maple neck of a neck kit. Using bolts to install the neck (strat) instead of just wood screws.
In this application, you should absolutely go with steel for two reasons: first and foremost, you dont want these inserts to strip out so a softer metal would make little or no sense. Second, Zinc tends to have a duller resonant quality, absorbing more high end than steel. This is far more apparent in trem blocks, but the logic would still apply to some extent since the neck/body joint is a major point of resonance.
You should also consider getting a thicker neck plate since the machine screws will be able to exert more pressure and can bend a standard neck plate quite easily.
Where are you getting your neck inserts from?
Thanks for the answer as I have absolutely no knowledge in this field.
I've been looking at these two:
From Onyx Forge in the US, zinc alloy:
$25 for 5 zinc alloy inserts and 5 machine screws
From Mancester guitar tech in the UK, carbon steel:
GBP45, that's almost $90 for a super heavy duty 2.5mm thick stainless steel neck plate and 4 carbon steel inserts and 4 stainless steel machine screws. The neck plate is the thickest, 2.5mm is 0.10"!
You've made it very clear that I should go with the one from Manchester guitar tech. Thank you!!
Now, I know someone who has installed a neck kit from Vintique and hear absolutely no difference whatsoever.
I simply think that using inserts and machine screws with thicker neck plate makes for a much better connection/mounting/installation.
Zinc alloy is also commonly known as "pot metal." Think of toy metal cars like Hot Wheels and Matchbox. Or those EZ Anchor drywall inserts. Those are all zinc alloy. Steel out performs zinc by a country mile in every category except ease of manufacturing and corrosion resistance.
I think the only solution I like better is the one James Tyler came up with. Of course, there are no after market equivalents that I can find...
i remember when we first started carrying suhr guitars, i asked them why they used plain ol' neck screws instead of the fancy machine bolt thing, and the answer i got was that the regular neck screws sounded better.
The only justification I know of that checks out is if you travel and could benefit from having your guitar broken down and reassembled.
I might use the inserts if the hold of the neck screws into the maple was worn out and in question; otherwise I think the existing screws are the better choice. Zinc inserts would not be recommended at all.
If you know what size insert and thread you need, you could probably find some from a warehouse for a few bucks. I think this thread had some links:
Remember that high carbon steel rusts with exposure to moisture...make sure you are getting high carbon stainless steel
I'll make sure I get high carbon steel then.
Thanks for the advice.
Be sure to read that other thread that K-man posted. It brings up some interesting challenges with installing neck inserts that you should be aware of before you buy anything. Specifically, you should be aware that if you're off by a couple of degrees on any of the holes you drill, the machine screws will not line up properly and therefore won't tighten completely. It gets slightly more complicated because the fingerboard has a radius, so you can't just flip the neck over and expect it to be square to the drill press.
Just food for thought but a little foresight could save you lots of headaches...
As the saying goes "there's never enough time or money to do it right, but there's always enough to do it twice."
Thanks for the advice.
Rest assure I myself "won't" be the one doing it.
I'll put this job under the hands of a seasoned luthier/tech.