neck debate

handlebarmike

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I'm building a tele-style (maybe franken-tele) and I want to make the neck of mahogany. BUt I'm debating with friends that the fender style one piece neck will have some short grain at the fingerboard/headstock join and I think I should do an angled neck (very shallow angle, maybe 9 degrees) with a scarf joint. People have said "well, that's fine, but it's no longer a tele! If the headstock is fender-ish shape, with in-line tuners, what's so wrong with an angled headstock? Are they right? I mean, the body is certainly tele, the pickups and hardware are tele (but it does have a Stetsbar bridge with a whammy). I just don't want to build a guitar that the neck is going to be like a Gibson and the headstock is gonna pop off if you bump it... Really interested in people's opinions here...
 

String Tree

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I'm building a tele-style (maybe franken-tele) and I want to make the neck of mahogany. BUt I'm debating with friends that the fender style one piece neck will have some short grain at the fingerboard/headstock join and I think I should do an angled neck (very shallow angle, maybe 9 degrees) with a scarf joint. People have said "well, that's fine, but it's no longer a tele! If the headstock is fender-ish shape, with in-line tuners, what's so wrong with an angled headstock? Are they right? I mean, the body is certainly tele, the pickups and hardware are tele (but it does have a Stetsbar bridge with a whammy). I just don't want to build a guitar that the neck is going to be like a Gibson and the headstock is gonna pop off if you bump it... Really interested in people's opinions here...
IMHO - It isn't a Tele if it isn't made by Fender. And that goes for my Builds as well.
The Gibson people will say it is too much like a Fender ...

With that said, if you have the Tools sand, the Talent, let nothing stand in your way.
NOPE!
 

Will_Darden

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For my builds, my primary consideration is playability/tone and aesthetics are secondary. I don’t build to have decorative instruments that sound like crap, I build to have a quality instrument that sounds amazing and looks good as well.

You are building a solid-body electric from scratch and you have no design obligations to anyone but yourself. If you want a Telecaster, build it from licensed or original parts. If you’re building your own, don’t let Fender’s design cues dictate any more than you would crib a chord progression or melody when writing a song.
 

G.Rotten

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IMHO - It isn't a Tele if it isn't made by Fender. And that goes for my Builds as well.
The Gibson people will say it is too much like a Fender ...

With that said, if you have the Tools sand, the Talent, let nothing stand in your way.
NOPE!
@handlebarmike

IMO opinion this reply is correct. I guess I say that pre-emptively guessing you'll get a few different ones . The only way you can "make" a Telecaster is to get a job at Fender.

You should build whatever you want and enjoy having something exactly the way you want it.
 

tomasz

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People say all kind of BS about something being or not being a tele and they can be very picky. Just dont think much about it. Even a flat headstock will be stronger than the Gibson angled one, as you get longer short grain (if that makes sense). An F Style guitar, even if it falls down, won't break the headstock due to the fact, that it rests flat, what you cannot say about an angled headstock, that will always hit the tip, which causes the break. You can keep the transition a tad stronger, by leaving some more material, but generally, you should be safe
 

moosie

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Where's the short grain in a Fender headstock design? I think perhaps you're referring to the visible end grain at the nut transition to the headstock. That's not inherently weak.

Mahogany is a fine material for a Tele neck.

I don't see the benefit of an angled headstock on a Tele. Regarding looks, it's a personal choice. Your guitar.
 
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drmordo

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IMO it's a Tele if it has classic Tele bridge and single coil bridge PU. They are what defines the sound of the Telecaster. Everything else is just dressing. My Tele Deluxe is currently my favorite guitar, but I still don't consider it a true Telecaster even though it says it on the Fender-made headstock.

Do what you want with the neck, it will still sound like a Tele if it has the right bridge and PU.
 

boxocrap

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I'm building a tele-style (maybe franken-tele) and I want to make the neck of mahogany. BUt I'm debating with friends that the fender style one piece neck will have some short grain at the fingerboard/headstock join and I think I should do an angled neck (very shallow angle, maybe 9 degrees) with a scarf joint. People have said "well, that's fine, but it's no longer a tele! If the headstock is fender-ish shape, with in-line tuners, what's so wrong with an angled headstock? Are they right? I mean, the body is certainly tele, the pickups and hardware are tele (but it does have a Stetsbar bridge with a whammy). I just don't want to build a guitar that the neck is going to be like a Gibson and the headstock is gonna pop off if you bump it... Really interested in people's opinions here...
it's your vision..do it the way you want..listen to advice but work it your way
 

Freeman Keller

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I build guitars in the style of Fender and in many other styles. I purposely change things so they will not be confused with "the real thing". When I built my personal tele-clone I did use a mahogany neck, the heel is to Fender specs so it fits the standard pocket, the head is flat, but I used a back contour that I knew I would like. I also used a double acting truss rod. I did veneer the head to go along with the maple cap that I used on the guitar. It is tele inspired but definitely not a telecaster

IMG_4723-1.jpg


IMG_4753.JPG


I also use scarf joined angled head necks when they are appropriate to the style of guitar that I'm building (Gibson, Martin, old slot heads....). I settled on 16 degrees for my head angle (it is a common Gibson angle) and built jigs that allow me to cut and fit that angle. There are definitely some things to think about when doing a multi piece neck, I can help if you decide to go that route. Here is a typical Gibson style set neck, it could just as easily be a screw on fender style

IMG_2037.JPG


The Fender design is part of Leo's genius - it is very easy to make, does not break at the nut but requires string trees to get a good break over the nut. The Gibson design is harder to make and can break, I think using a scarf joint and minimal truss rod access mitigates that. I use mahogany for almost all of my necks - it really is the easiest wood to work and carve. Here is a picture of the neck I'm currently making for a little archtop next to the carving cradle. Scarf joined head, stacked heel, mahogany, dovetail heel.

IMG_7158.JPG



If you decide to make a multi piece scarf joined neck let me know, I can point out some pitfalls.
 

Blue Bill

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I agree with the crowd: A mahogany neck will be fine with either a flat or an angled headstock. I have a Musikraft mahogany neck on a Tele, it's a great neck. I don't see any possible advantage to adding a scarf joint. Pictures, please.

I stuck a maple veneer on top of the headstock, to make it look more Fender-y:
 

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fenderchamp

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I know that gibson usually uses quartersawn mahogany on their mahogany necked guitars, I've always assumed that it is because mahogany is not as stiff as maple, but that might have nothing to do with it, it might be for aesthetic reasons.

While I personally would prefer not to have an angled headstock on my telecaster, with or without a scarf joint, I don't think there is anything wrong with it, and my preference is simply that is seems kind of ibanez/charvel/jackson-ish and not for practical reasons.

If I was making a particularly thin neck, I would certainly consider a scarf joint, for the added strength, as I would consider making the neck out of multiple pieces of wood laminated at different grain orientations to try to stiffen it up.

Good luck with your build! I am, as many others will be, looking forward to seeing pictures of it eventually.
 

SixStringSlinger

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The first Eric Johnson Strats (not sure about later ones) had an angled headstock in order to get rid of the string tree. Pretty sure it's a Fender.

Regardless, anything you make isn't a Fender unless your paystub has a very specific signature on it and you made it on one of a few particular properties during certain hours of certain days, so what does it matter?
 

fenderchamp

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The first Eric Johnson Strats (not sure about later ones) had an angled headstock in order to get rid of the string tree. Pretty sure it's a Fender.

Regardless, anything you make isn't a Fender unless your paystub has a very specific signature on it and you made it on one of a few particular properties during certain hours of certain days, so what does it matter?

I've played some EJ strat's and I don't recall an angle on the headstock, they are quartersawn (stiff) kind of fat V-necks as I recall.

according to


One of the really cool, unique features of the EJ Strat is the lack of string trees on the headstock. Some people erroneously believe EJ Strats have slightly angled headstocks, or that the headstock is somehow cut differently in order to make it possible to remove the trees, but this is not the case.

I believe that robbiecalvo is correct in this, I didn't think "vintage stickler" dog eared Eric Johnson was going to have an angled neck on his strat, I'm suprised he would have staggered klusons, but I'm not suprised that he hates string trees, he can probably hear them rattle, and I bet they add to strings sticking in the nut with trem use too.

When I saw him a couple of years ago he wasn't even playing an EJ sig strat, it was a real '54, and you should see the pile of amps he has hooked up on stage. It was most excellent!
 

takauya

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The first Eric Johnson Strats (not sure about later ones) had an angled headstock in order to get rid of the string tree. Pretty sure it's a Fender.

Regardless, anything you make isn't a Fender unless your paystub has a very specific signature on it and you made it on one of a few particular properties during certain hours of certain days, so what does it matter?
Hmmm, really? The EJ Strat uses staggered tuners and IIRC, its headstock is a bit thinner so that the angle from the nut becomes steeper, thus no string tree, but I never heard the angled headstock thing.
 

SixStringSlinger

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I've played some EJ strat's and I don't recall an angle on the headstock, they are quartersawn (stiff) kind of fat V-necks as I recall.

according to


One of the really cool, unique features of the EJ Strat is the lack of string trees on the headstock. Some people erroneously believe EJ Strats have slightly angled headstocks, or that the headstock is somehow cut differently in order to make it possible to remove the trees, but this is not the case.

I believe that robbiecalvo is correct in this, I didn't think "vintage stickler" dog eared Eric Johnson was going to have an angled neck on his strat, I'm suprised he would have staggered klusons, but I'm not suprised that he hates string trees, he can probably hear them rattle, and I bet they add to strings sticking in the nut with trem use too.

When I saw him a couple of years ago he wasn't even playing an EJ sig strat, it was a real '54, and you should see the pile of amps he has hooked up on stage. It was most excellent!

Hmmm, really? The EJ Strat uses staggered tuners and IIRC, its headstock is a bit thinner so that the angle from the nut becomes steeper, thus no string tree, but I never heard the angled headstock thing.

I remember this info from a review in Guitar World back then (I remember because I read it so much; it happened to be an issue with a lot of stuff that interested me, not least of which was a gorgeous Strat). So I'm not sure where GW would've gotten that impression. I've never held one myself, so I can't say.

Is it possible that the angle (or whatever) is slight enough to function but not be easily noticed visually? I wouldn't think it's a Gibson-style angle. I know people's experience/opinions re. string trees vary but I wouldn't think they're something you can do away with while keeping the neck/head otherwise typical and have that work out often enough to mass-produce a product that way. My American Deluxe has staggered tuners but it still has (and needs) the B/e string tree.
 

takauya

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I remember this info from a review in Guitar World back then (I remember because I read it so much; it happened to be an issue with a lot of stuff that interested me, not least of which was a gorgeous Strat). So I'm not sure where GW would've gotten that impression. I've never held one myself, so I can't say.

Is it possible that the angle (or whatever) is slight enough to function but not be easily noticed visually? I wouldn't think it's a Gibson-style angle. I know people's experience/opinions re. string trees vary but I wouldn't think they're something you can do away with while keeping the neck/head otherwise typical and have that work out often enough to mass-produce a product that way. My American Deluxe has staggered tuners but it still has (and needs) the B/e string tree.
I used to own one but never noticed if the headstock was angled. I miss that neck though, if only the radius was 7.25" or 9.5"... It's kinda weird that 12" on Gibson is fine but 12" on a Fender neck is no for me.
Sorry to derail the thread.
 

schmee

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I'm building a tele-style (maybe franken-tele) and I want to make the neck of mahogany. BUt I'm debating with friends that the fender style one piece neck will have some short grain at the fingerboard/headstock join and I think I should do an angled neck (very shallow angle, maybe 9 degrees) with a scarf joint. People have said "well, that's fine, but it's no longer a tele! If the headstock is fender-ish shape, with in-line tuners, what's so wrong with an angled headstock? Are they right? I mean, the body is certainly tele, the pickups and hardware are tele (but it does have a Stetsbar bridge with a whammy). I just don't want to build a guitar that the neck is going to be like a Gibson and the headstock is gonna pop off if you bump it... Really interested in people's opinions here...
Actually an angled headstock like Gibson will be more break prone... than a Fender style....if that's your concern...?
 

Freeman Keller

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Actually an angled headstock like Gibson will be more break prone... than a Fender style....if that's your concern...?

Yes, which is why a scarf joined head with the smallest possible route for the truss rod access is so much better. You can make a strong argument for not leaving a guitar out on a stand. Unfortunately I get to fix a fair number of these.
 




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