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Are stiffer guitar necks better?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by DugT, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    It is a 2015 Schecter Banshee Elite-6 made in North Korea. They currently sell for $1000. It doesn't take much truss rod tension to straighten the neck.

    The two walnut stringers in the middle go all the way through the head.

    It's neck is compound radius 12-16" and it has stainless steel frets.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
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  2. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yes, of course.
     
  3. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMO, maple is more rigid than mahogany.
     
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  4. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    The stiffest neck I have is on an Ibanez Prestige Talman which is like a Tele Strat hybrid. It is an excellent guitar.
     
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  5. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    I'm not sure whether anyone's mentioned it, but quartersawn vs. flatsawn necks seem to have the potential to be stiffer or more flexible, respectively. There have been threads about that here.

    Some older Peavey models had necks made from two pieces of maple (some with RW fingerboard on top of that, of course), which I read was at least partly to try to increase stiffness and reduce the chance of warping. At least one of their "shredder" models, the Tracer, has that type of neck, and it's pretty wide and thin.

    They can still be had at pretty reasonable prices. Here's a photo of the back of a Tracer neck, where you can see the seam, especially in the headstock area. I have seen a couple of photos of seam separation in these necks, though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It depends on the quality of the wood I think. My mahogany/ebony necked LTD is freakin rubber. My Les Paul is my most stable-necked electric.

    The CV strat I owned with a maple neck was worse than the LTD. I’ve never had an issue with an MIA maple neck on a guitar. Basses seem to be hit and miss.

    And then there’s the Bullet tele I bought for $99. That thing is stiff as a... well... a very stiff board. Go figure.
     
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  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    That guitar is a neck through, and is also a 5 piece neck, which is stronger than a one piece. It's not going anywhere.
     
  8. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    My 1994 Peavey Predator has an excellent stiff neck so I quickly googled the Tracer. It looks great except for the sharp turns that the first two strings have to make in the nut.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not concerned about it breaking or going anywhere but it is quite flexible and it seems like I have to retune it a lot. Apparently it can have all of the right ingredients and still be flexible, maybe because it is so thin and long.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  10. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't like thin necks, actually can't stand them and can't stand flexy necks.
    I find Epi 335 necks too flexy for my taste for example, and those are not shredder thin.

    We know that shredder guitars are used for very critical playing, so clearly thin necks are not bad for music.

    I'd venture to guess that for amp based (high gain distorted) sound the guitar behaves a bit differently than for guitar based clean sounds.
    For clean sounds like an electric to be very solid and barely resonant.
    Stiffer necks are less resonant, and thin necks seem to be driven to vibrate more by the strings.
    Resonance is usually greater at resonant frequencies and lesser at other frequencies.
    So a neck might resonate on certain notes and remain still on others.

    The resonant frequency of a bass neck can be pretty close to the fundamentals played on bass, resulting in some dead notes where the neck sucks energy via resonance.
    Guitar seems to have less of that note specific issue, but it does seem like delicate flexy necks have less punch and sustain acoustically.

    Playing clean through a clean amp, there is no amp gain to replace the lack of guitar sustain.
     
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  12. PaulNYC

    PaulNYC TDPRI Member

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    Which "science" says this? Is there a principle of stiffer guitar necks for music?
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Wood called "mahogany" grows all over the planet and seems to have quite a range of hardness weight and strength.
    Maple does too and there's "soft maple" as well as hard maple.
    I'd say the average neck mahogany is a little weaker than the average neck maple, but I've been seeing maple necks more in the 21st C that are really not stiff and strong for the dimensions.
    Have to wonder what maple they use in Indonesia?
    We read ad copy claiming Canadian maple is shipped to China, when China has billions of acres of unexplored forests?

    Uh huh...
     
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  14. DugT

    DugT Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not sure why we are talking about Mahogany. The guitar in question has two Walnut stringers. I think someone saw the dark stringers and assumed they were Mahogany but they are Walnut.
     
  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    There's ways of achieving stiffness - I don't think you should use too much "artificial" stiffness from rods and inserts. It mostly should come from the neck wood itself. That is why folks are probably best off, playing the thickest neck section they can readily manage, with a minimal or "vintage" truss rod. And be picky about which thick neck. I've had the best luck with "bone" maple that is not full of heavy figure but is also not as fair as Wonder Bread (or the complexion of an Irish lass).

    However.

    It does not follow that a stiff necked guitar, with a well fitted, solid join at the heel, will necessarily feel stiff while played. To me, the objective is to have the guitar feel fairly slinky, while still having a thick, stiff neck.
     
  16. sloppychops

    sloppychops Tele-Holic

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    Well, a flexible neck is better for bends, right?
    IMG_0805.JPG
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just discussing your original post that asked about "stiffer guitar necks".
     
  18. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    If it's got a truss rod up it, it's stiff.

    If it hasn't, it's broken.
     
  19. capohk

    capohk TDPRI Member

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    I have a 2004 Epi Dot (335) which has a 60's style thinner neck. It had a twist in it that I ended up fixing by removing the fretboard and inlaying a carbon rod either side of the truss rod. Before I did this, it was a bugger to tune because even the weight of my hand on the headstock would bend the neck enough to send it sharp or flat.

    After the carbon rods, it was a different guitar, both tuning wise and tone-wise - a noticeable difference in the acoustic tone when strummed unplugged: more responsive and direct (to my ear anyway)

    I post this because it's the only first-hand experience of different stiffness in the neck on the same guitar I have had. I would definitely say that in this case, stiffer was better. I'm now adding the carbon to future builds.
     
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  20. BerkshireDuncan

    BerkshireDuncan Tele-Meister

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    +1 for tuning stability.

    Why make gigs more fraught than they need to be?
     
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