Laminated neck questions

Greplington

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Hey all, I'm planning my next build, which will be a full custom design taking some key design specs from a tele, a few influences from an SG, and a lot of original design elements from my own brain. I was toying with the idea of a neck through build, but the timber I have for the neck is too short. Now I'm thinking about a laminated neck instead (just because I can). I have 2 questions about it...

Firstly, I have rock maple and black walnut in suitable sizes. Would a core of walnut with maple either side make for a good, strong neck? Possibly with some veneer in between for visuals.

Secondly, I'm thinking about doing an angled headstock, partly because I'm using 3-a-side tuners and I think it will work better, but mostly because I haven't done one yet. I can make the laminated blank deep enough to be able to cut the neck angle in on the bandsaw. Would I end up with a stronger result by doing that, or by cutting and gluing a scarf joint instead? I know cutting the headstock angle will eliminate the issue of trying to match the lines of the laminations, but if it's likely to be weaker I'm not sure its worth it... Headstock will most likely have an overlay of the same timber used for the body.
 

Maricopa

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Yeah that will work fine. I like scarfed headstocks better than 'cut' ones, but with a multi-piece neck the short grain issues are reduced.

Maple/Walnut/Rosewood on a couple different guitars.
 

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KokoTele

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If the cutout for the truss rod nut is confined to just a center section of wood, then the other laminations will support it and should help with the short grain issues. Otherwise, You just have parallel laminations of short grain and they don't really provide any extra support.

Maricopa, I really like those backstraps you did. They're beautiful and provide excellent support to the headstock.

The only downside I see to that approach is that you have to do a very careful job of carving the transition symmetrically because any differences will stick out like a sore thumb. I've done it as part of repairing a broken headstock and wound up making myself little paper templates to use as guides.
 

Maricopa

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The only downside I see to that approach is that you have to do a very careful job of carving the transition symmetrically because any differences will stick out like a sore thumb.

Being careful is the part I like. :p
 

Greplington

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If the cutout for the truss rod nut is confined to just a center section of wood, then the other laminations will support it and should help with the short grain issues. Otherwise, You just have parallel laminations of short grain and they don't really provide any extra support.

Maricopa, I really like those backstraps you did. They're beautiful and provide excellent support to the headstock.

The only downside I see to that approach is that you have to do a very careful job of carving the transition symmetrically because any differences will stick out like a sore thumb. I've done it as part of repairing a broken headstock and wound up making myself little paper templates to use as guides.
Yeah the truss rod will be solely in the centre walnut section. Probably only about 1/3 of the width of it too, so nice and solid. The headstock will actually be asymmetrical so any slight differences shouldn't be too bad.
 

Maricopa

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"The only downside I see to that approach is that you have to do a very careful job of carving the transition symmetrically because any differences will stick out like a sore thumb."

Wanna really make yourself crazy... :cool:
 

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RolandG

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... I have rock maple and black walnut in suitable sizes. Would a core of walnut with maple either side make for a good, strong neck? Possibly with some veneer in between for visuals.
What about three slices of maple, with the grain reversed on the middle slice to make the neck stiffer? Then use thin slices of walnut in between. How thin? As thin as your saw can cut them reliably.
 

crazydave911

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What about three slices of maple, with the grain reversed on the middle slice to make the neck stiffer? Then use thin slices of walnut in between. How thin? As thin as your saw can cut them reliably.
I've seen slices cut to .050 but I doubt you have that good a saw,I know I don't lol
 

Greplington

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I've seen slices cut to .050 but I doubt you have that good a saw,I know I don't lol
I haven't tried anything that thin on my saw. I think the table saw could manage it ok, not the bandsaw I have though. I've done about .1 on the table saw before, but I can saw and then put it through the thicknesser...
 

Greplington

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What about three slices of maple, with the grain reversed on the middle slice to make the neck stiffer? Then use thin slices of walnut in between. How thin? As thin as your saw can cut them reliably.
I may be able to do that, but it would necessitate making the pieces narrower, which would result in a neck blank that I'd have to do a scarf joint on because it wouldn't be thick enough to cut the headstock angle. Not that that is definitely a problem of course...
 

pshupe

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I dont think Rickenbacker use walnut anymore (if they ever did..?): the darker laminations are dyed maple.
Their spec page just says "Neck wood: Maple".
It does look fantastic either way!
There were lots of Rickenbacker guitars made with walnut laminations. There was, and still is, I believe, an all walnut version. Not sure if/when they went with all torified maple but I do not think it is up for debate about walnut being used?

Regards Peter.
 

crazydave911

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There were lots of Rickenbacker guitars made with walnut laminations. There was, and still is, I believe, an all walnut version. Not sure if/when they went with all torified maple but I do not think it is up for debate about walnut being used?

Regards Peter.
Ricky used lots of walnut, unfortunately on guitars I wouldn't have 🙄
 

AAT65

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There were lots of Rickenbacker guitars made with walnut laminations. There was, and still is, I believe, an all walnut version. Not sure if/when they went with all torified maple but I do not think it is up for debate about walnut being used?

Regards Peter.
That’s a good point, there certainly are still walnut-bodied versions, the W models - but again they just describe the neck as “maple” (& they have maple fretboards).

“Eastern hardrock Maple is our wood of choice for necks and bodies, while other woods such as walnut, vermilion and shedua are used for decorative details” - still doesn’t identify the dark neck laminations as walnut… unless they mean that they are just decorative…
 

Trageser22

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Hey all, I'm planning my next build, which will be a full custom design taking some key design specs from a tele, a few influences from an SG, and a lot of original design elements from my own brain. I was toying with the idea of a neck through build, but the timber I have for the neck is too short. Now I'm thinking about a laminated neck instead (just because I can). I have 2 questions about it...

Firstly, I have rock maple and black walnut in suitable sizes. Would a core of walnut with maple either side make for a good, strong neck? Possibly with some veneer in between for visuals.

Secondly, I'm thinking about doing an angled headstock, partly because I'm using 3-a-side tuners and I think it will work better, but mostly because I haven't done one yet. I can make the laminated blank deep enough to be able to cut the neck angle in on the bandsaw. Would I end up with a stronger result by doing that, or by cutting and gluing a scarf joint instead? I know cutting the headstock angle will eliminate the issue of trying to match the lines of the laminations, but if it's likely to be weaker I'm not sure its worth it... Headstock will most likely have an overlay of the same timber used for the body.
Sounds like it would be plenty strong and be a looker as well. I just put this together today. Curly maple, quarter sawn walnut and paduauk
 

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