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rhoads56

How To Determine A Neck Angle

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Bolt-on, set neck, through necks.... it doesnt matter, the process is the same. Draw it out. If you're too lazy to draw a plan, for your first few guitars, give up now.

The neck angle can start from either:

1... The end of the fretboard (the glued side, not the top playing surface). this means part of the body will be angled to suit the fretboard plane, take a look at a Les Paul.

2... The fretboard and neck are slightly raised above the body line. (like most bolt-ons are), but it can still have a neck angle.

I'll modify this first post as i can, im too tired to go into any more detail.

neckangles.jpg

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Man, I'm glad someone actually took the time to draw it out for everyone, since we get that question in the forum at least once a week. I tend to just tell people see page 26 of Melvyn Hiscock's book if you have it and read, read, and re-read until it sinks in. Your diagram uses slightly different method than his book to find the correct neck angle, but as long as you come to the same result it doesn't matter how you get there... It is very important for the neck angle to be correct for your bridge and neck joint. Great work Perry.

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I'll echo that - a great, straightforward method, and an idiot-proof diagram. Barring any serious advancements in idiocy technology that is... then all bets are off.

Thanks Perry!

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You know, i find it funny that people never ask how to determine the fretboard width at the last fret.... which is just as important.

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You know, i find it funny that people never ask how to determine the fretboard width at the last fret.... which is just as important.

Yes, that's exactly true. A friend of mine found out about this the hard way, he never measured anything out, and found out that the end of the neck was too short for the bridge he had picked out.. lol {hint: for those who don't know you should have at least 1/8" wood left from each outside string all the way up the neck.} So now, he's either gonna have to find another bridge that matches up yet has a smaller 2" string spread or he's going to have a hard time playing in the upper region especially on the little E string. lol.. Thank goodness I actually read alot before I started... :D

If there is someone who doesn't quite understand what we are talking about, maybe someone will have the time to draw that out for you, like Rhoads did. And I agree this stuff is simple, but simply overlooked until it's too late.

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Ive got a board that is covered with "scale length vs nut width vs bridge type vs number of frets" layouts. All i have to do now is take a quick glance and its all there. Im gradually doing the same thing for the neck angles, so i only have to measure it once. I'll get a photo.

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Ive got a board that is covered with "scale length vs nut width vs bridge type vs number of frets" layouts. All i have to do now is take a quick glance and its all there. Im gradually doing the same thing for the neck angles, so i only have to measure it once. I'll get a photo.

That would be sweet!

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You know, i find it funny that people never ask how to determine the fretboard width at the last fret.... which is just as important.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just take the measurements off of a board that I like that has the same kind of bridge.

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Since we got off talking about the neck angle, another important step was brought up, finding the neck taper. So, I decided this might be of some help in explaining how I do it.

drawing03.jpg

This is a recent full scale drawing I did for my newest guitar, so I took a picture to see if it would help explain how to build a neck template from these drawings. First I started off by drawing a perfect centerline that will be a center guide for everything else I draw. Basically you find the string spread for your bridge your using, and the width of the nut you want to use. Measure out the scale length your going to use.. in my case it is 25". Draw out the bridge and nut perfectly centered and distance wise. Now at the nut draw two lines from the outside edges 1/8" in. This is the optimal place for the strings, any closer and you'll have problem with the string falling over the fretboard. Next I drew two lines on the bridge that is the string spread. In my case (2" string spread), I just measured 1" from the centerline and made two marks from each side where the bridge is. Now all you have to do is draw lines to connect the bridge to the nut on each side of the neck, using the two marks you made at the nut and two that you made at the bridge string spread. Now starting from the nut at each end draw a 1/8" line away from the lines you just drew and that is your neck taper. I hope this illustration will help.

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thats exactly what i do, except now i have them pre-drawn for all combinations of scale lengths, nut widths, bridge types, etc etc etc.

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Yeah, that's a great idea Perry, when I get all these templates built for the new guitar I'll just use the same ones, so like you I won't have to draw out everything at full scale again... You know what blows my mind is that most people don't really plan enough when building a guitar though. They just start cutting and hope for the best.. lol

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Ok, now this may seem like a really stupid question, but what do you draw it out in?

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I use photshop for the body and headstock outline, print, and draw it all on paper. CAD would probably better if that's your thing, I've just never taken the time to learn it. I don't actually calculate the neck angle, I just set it for each individual guitar with straightedges on the fretboard. There's less room for error for me that way.

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thanks for the help "Perry", Im building my first guitar, so I need lots of it.

ps. the ormsby vine is one of the coolest looking guitars ever.

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Nice explanation. I've got a 'mathy' version kicking around somewhere that needs re-writing, but I'll get around to it eventually. I still double-check for each guitar I build, since I have yet to build two that are identical.

Re: fretboard width, something that applies to most acoustic guitars should work quite well for all instruments: width at 12th fret is the same as the string spacing. You've got the nut spacing, connect the dots, follow the line through, and voila, done.

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Re: fretboard width, something that applies to most acoustic guitars should work quite well for all instruments: width at 12th fret is the same as the string spacing. You've got the nut spacing, connect the dots, follow the line through, and voila, done.

that could be good to know, but you dont really need it. :D

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Hey, great info. I have a question, or, just wanting a clarification to see if I understand.

If you are useing a Fender style neck and low profile Fender style bridge.... you don't angle your neck? But if you use a Gibson style neck build & tune-o-matic bridge you must angle your neck because the tune-o-matic bridge is higher than the Fender Tele/Strat bridges. Am I right?

Question/Clarification #2: If I'm building a guitar with a flat sawn Fender style bolt on neck, BUT I am wanting to use a tune-o-matic bridge (or in my case a LP Junior bridge) I will STILL have to angle my neck because of the bridge?

Of course I would like to all together aviod angleing my neck (seems like a narrow marigin of error). But I guess it's a trade off; either do the Fender thing with a more complex bridge or do the simple Gibson bridge with a more complex neck?

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Hey, great info. I have a question, or, just wanting a clarification to see if I understand.

If you are useing a Fender style neck and low profile Fender style bridge.... you don't angle your neck? But if you use a Gibson style neck build & tune-o-matic bridge you must angle your neck because the tune-o-matic bridge is higher than the Fender Tele/Strat bridges. Am I right?

Question/Clarification #2: If I'm building a guitar with a flat sawn Fender style bolt on neck, BUT I am wanting to use a tune-o-matic bridge (or in my case a LP Junior bridge) I will STILL have to angle my neck because of the bridge?

Of course I would like to all together aviod angleing my neck (seems like a narrow marigin of error). But I guess it's a trade off; either do the Fender thing with a more complex bridge or do the simple Gibson bridge with a more complex neck?

Ok, i am going to ask that no one directly answers your questions, simply because you will learn a lot more by spending a few minutes with a pencil, ruler, and some measurements on paper. The process is real simple, and thats why i started this tutorial. Everything you need is right here.

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Do spend a few more minutes modeling(sketching) as Perry has shown. You will be able to handle ANY combination of parts if you do, and your understanding will serve you very well even when you are doing final set-up. Perry is doing you a service by not just giving you an answer to the question/s.

Peace,Rich

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I am officially done with this forum. You guys are the biggest bunch of condesending a-holes I've ever met. I've tried to be nice. Just wanting to understand a couple of things BEFORE I actually build a guitar. You know, before I buy parts. I can't draw anything out to scale without having the parts in front of me. But no, I'm just another idiot right?

I wonder... Is it just a certain type of personality that gravitates towards building guitars? Maybe it's the same disease that you find in guitar shops.

Anyway... I don't need the negativity. So, congradualations... I'm gone. No need to reply, I won't be reading it. You folks can go back to building yer 9 string cocobolo basses and I'll leave you alone.

By the way...

toscale49.jpg

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