Parallel or compensated neck laminates?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by jwade, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    I've been wondering about neck laminates. For example, on a 5 piece neck, say maple/wenge/maple/wenge/maple. Are there any benefits or drawbacks to having the thinner laminates run parallel to each other, or would it work to do a center laminate that flares out to have the two thinner piece match the gradual widening of the neck at the heel?

    In case I've worded the question stupidly (as I've just woken up), here's a quick illustrator mockup to attempt to show what I'm asking about:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    I think that's just for looks. There's no way you'll get wood that's straight-grained enough for that to matter. But if you can do it, DO IT! I hate the look of these very tapered 8/9/10-string guitar necks where the outer lam is all wedge-shaped because the laminations are parallel like this.

    Edit: On the other hand, take a gander at this! There's no way in hell that's not a million billion times prettier.

    There are modifiers to this, of course. But in general the more tapered the neck is going to be, combined with how wide of a lamination combination you're going for, the more likely it is going to benefit from this little flourish.
     
  3. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Set up us the bomb

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    most companies do straight laminates. It's easier, and it works as intended. Instead of flaring them out a bit to account for a wider neck, just spacing them a bit.
     
  4. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    I dig that look a lot! I'm going to start an 8 string next week, 58 mm nut, 80 mm EOB, and I've been seeing a lot of parallel stringers that just don't do anything for me. For example, what I'll be building is based on the TAM100, but I can't get over thinking that the bubinga stripes just look out of place.
     
  5. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

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    I find those linear laminates doesn't bother when the neck is designed for only moderate width expansion.
    Keeping a not too wide string spacing at the bridge and a head/nut end wide enough to actually play complex chords will render a neck back looking just fine.

    Even my 7-string bass, having linear laminates and some expansion, as with most basses, looks just fine.

    I find that much of the expansion looks can be morphed through the neck to heel transition.
     
  6. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    As others have mentioned already, it's 99.9% aesthetics. Absolutely negligible difference in the role of the physical structure and strength of the neck just for the purpose of holding a set of strings. I will say this though, I tried a tapered laminate neck before and it was a little more difficult to work with vs parallel laminates. Only a little more difficult though. Nothing to be put off by. Just makes you have to think through your measurements a bit more.


    Check this guy out, he's been doing tapered bass necks for a while, might be of some interest to this thread:Wyn Guitars

    EDIT: I see someone posted a bass above, I think that is a Wyn bass... cool stuff.
     
  7. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    It's called "design for manufacturing". Getting tapered laminates to be properly tapered to maintain the proportionality would be an instance task. Plus, tapered laminates would be much tougher to glue. You'd still have to over-size the lengths and outside plys, so you could cut everything to be the correct final length, width and taper.
     
  8. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein SS.org Regular

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    Yuh...prepping those tapered stringers for glue-up? YIKES!
     
  9. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Ha yeah I gave up on the idea already. I sat and drafted everything out and it was going for be a pain on the ass to get the center wedge exactly right. Take off even just the tiniest amount on one side of the center piece, and it'd instantly be lopsided and effed. Nuts to that.
     
  10. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    I think you can get a tighter joint, stronger clamping, and in turn stronger bonds, with squared parallel pieces.
     
  11. neotronic

    neotronic SS.org Regular

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    Probably, you won't be able to align scarf joint properly.
     
  12. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

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    I fail to see why.. :scratch:
    Could you elaborate on this, pls?
     
  13. darren

    darren Decibel Guitars Forum MVP

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    The way I look at it, you'd want to have the glue joints running parallel to the force of the string tension. But an important thing to remember is that each string doesn't really exert an individual force vector on the neck. They pretty much get summed together to the total string tension, which would run parallel to the middle of the neck, more or less evenly distributed across the neck, assuming a moderately balanced string set. The lateral forces from the string spread from nut to bridge are pretty much inconsequential.

    In my opinion, doing tapered neck laminates offers little or no structural benefit, and seems like adding complexity to a build just for complexity's sake.
     
  14. JuliusJahn

    JuliusJahn Luthier

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    People usually do tapers for neck thrus. Ben @ Crimson does it a lot, it also lets him just plane the whole edge and then glue on headstock ears to compensate.

    Glueing it up wouldnt be any more challenging, just dry clamp in and drill an index hole at both ends, stick a nail in there before you put the clamps on. If you plane too much from one side, you'd still be using the center of it so it will always even out.

    As for the conklin image, I just think that's bad planning. All the laminates should be present at the nut without any of that "runout".
     
  15. neotronic

    neotronic SS.org Regular

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    The cut will remove some material from the neck. Than you will clean the cut with sandpaper or a plane, which will remove even more material.


    If you imagine this (the skewed ascii art lines are the laminations, the angle is too big of course, but it makes it easier to see, so i'll exploit it):
    HTML:
         / \
        /   \
       /     \
      /       \
     /         \
    /           \
    
    than we cut it in two, and clean the cut with a plane, so we get two pieces like this (note, the missing piece is the dust and shavings on our floor):
    HTML:
         / \
        /   \
       /     \
    
     /         \
    /           \
    
    now, we put them back together:

    HTML:
    
         / \
        /   \
       /     \
     /         \
    /           \
    
    And they are no longer aligned.


    This is the way I see it, but i might be wrong.
     
  16. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

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    ^ ah yes, I see your point..
    Well, this assumes that neck and head is indeed made from one and same laminated plank, or at least that the scarf cut is made after the trapezoidal planing (as in your illustration).

    I would think the cut could just as well be made before planing, and simply shape the head after being attached.
    Or attach a head made in it's own fashion.
     

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