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Steinberger Gl Replica (Alu & Wood)

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Hi to everybody,

I'm back again with other two Steinberger GL replica.

This time I want to experience the use of an aluminum chassis in combination with the timber. I have a small block of birdseye maple from which I'll obtain two 5mm thick top and back. Below the bridge I will try to screw a small block of solid wood in order to see whether it can positively affect the sustain of the guitar.

Here is the timber that I'm going to use. For the fingerboard I've three choice: birdseye maple, rosewood or ebony. I think I'll put an ebony fingerboard on the black one (it is still at anodization) and using maple on this blue one.

legni.th.jpg

I've decided to set aside the alu neck 'cause its building it's very expensive and, due to its greater weight, it can unbalance a guitar with small body like this.

With a piece of birdseye maple I've worked this headless neck. In the picture below you can see some details of the nut and a comparison with an alu neck.

aluvswood.th.jpg

neckback.th.jpg

neckdetail2.th.jpg

neckdetail1.th.jpg

I've first cut out an ebony fingerboard for trying it. Then I will have to cut fret slots and position markers.

fingerboard.th.jpg

Here is the alu chassis. I've some old masks which l'm using to cut the top and back of the body:

bodyfront.th.jpg

bodybackr.th.jpg

maskst.th.jpg

Finally this is the maple neck with the alu body:

bodyneck1.th.jpg

bodyneck2.th.jpg

bodyneck3.th.jpg

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I've had a Travis Bean guitar in for service and that was some heavy guitar. Koa body and Aluminium neck, head and body part. So I'm not surprices to see that the neck is so much heavier than a wooden one.

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Prostheta    1,210

Any material will to a certain degree. The only ones that wouldn't do it are materials that are so dense that their mass would attract loose items from around the room due to their gravitational field. That might kill tone a little plus it would be a back-breaker.

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turn    1

Impressive :)

Any need for a trussrod in the alu neck?

Mikael

The aluminum neck needs also the truss rod. Despite being made of metal the neck tends to bend under the action of the tension of the strings, like a wooden one.

travis beans and electrical guitar company (current aluminum neck guitar maker) don't have truss rods

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Walka    3

Impressive :)

Any need for a trussrod in the alu neck?

Mikael

The aluminum neck needs also the truss rod. Despite being made of metal the neck tends to bend under the action of the tension of the strings, like a wooden one.

travis beans and electrical guitar company (current aluminum neck guitar maker) don't have truss rods

Neither does old Kramer (alu)necks. :read

Mikael

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travis beans and electrical guitar company (current aluminum neck guitar maker) don't have truss rods

Neither does old Kramer (alu)necks. :read

Mikael

Yes, I know, but you have to distinguish hollow necks from solid ones. As you can see in the pictures below Kramer neck has a solid T structure with wood inserts.

I never had the opportunity to handle a Travis Bean but from the images collected on the net I suppose its neck has a solid construction.

alunecks.th.jpg

An aluminum neck can have many advantages but it has basically two limitations: weight and tuning stability.

The first factor is due to the density of the material. Aluminium has a density of about 2700 Kg/mc while seasoned maple, for example, is 650 Kg/mc and ebony 1100 Kg/mc.

My neck, before being machined internally, weighed little more than 1 Kg. Once I have worked it more or less half.

I don't know the weight of a Travis Bean or Kramer's neck , but I suppose it will not be very far from the kilogram. If we then add keyboard and tuning pegs it easily will reach 1.5 kg. I think it's difficult to balance a guitar with a neck so heavy.

The second factor (tuning stability) is due to coefficient of linear thermal expansion. Aluminium has a coefficient of 0.000024 l (°C -1), while wood has a coefficient of 0.000004 l (°C -1).

This is the reason why kramer necks had several problems of tuning stability, because they particularly suffer climatic changes.

To reduce weight I've decided to make hollow neck and to ensure tuning stability I've decided to put a single action truss rod in it.

Edited by Technology4Musicians

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turn    1

http://www.travisbeanguitars.com/files/documents/US3915049.pdf

^ travis bean patent description/drawings

as you can see beans have a few channels routed below the fretboard to help reduce neck weight. in general they are considered to be more stable than the kramer 'T' shaped neck.

i have to admit i mis-read your post above .. i thought you were saying all aluminum neck guitars needed or have truss rods. now i realize you were talking about the neck you're building (right?). looks like a cool project, can't wait to see how it turns out!

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http://www.travisbeanguitars.com/files/documents/US3915049.pdf

^ travis bean patent description/drawings

as you can see beans have a few channels routed below the fretboard to help reduce neck weight. in general they are considered to be more stable than the kramer 'T' shaped neck.

i have to admit i mis-read your post above .. i thought you were saying all aluminum neck guitars needed or have truss rods. now i realize you were talking about the neck you're building (right?). looks like a cool project, can't wait to see how it turns out!

Yes, I was speaking about those I've builded.

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Not to hijack the thread, but here are some more pics from the inside of a TB neck (actually a fretboard re-glue job with some rights and some wrongs):

http://www.travisbeanguitars.com/index.php/fuseaction/repair.main.htm?ID=c93a8f45e8d3212021163b2c197668a3

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[...] the Travis Bean neck is not a solid piece of aluminum. The design utilizes a set of channels machined down the center of the neck, end-to-end. These channels were added to cut down on weight and allowed the neck to flex (relieve) under string tension [...]

...then the weight seems to have been a problem also for Travis Bean... If a neck is hollowed out to lighten it, then it will be most affected by the tension of the strings. Different gauges will produce different tension and then different neck relief. So why don't put a truss rod in it?

@SwedishLuthier: you said you have handled a Travis Bean. How much it weighs compared to a Les Paul, for example?

Edited by Technology4Musicians

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Hmmm, I didn't take any measurements at the time, but I'd say that it was comparable with the heaviest LPs I have ever had in my shop. As a mather of facts I probably have another TB in for a fretboard reglue this week (probably had a majority of the Travis Beans in Sweden in my shop after that...) so I will try to remembrer to measure it.

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Prostheta    1,210

Fantastic thread. Despite the weight issue being a real one with aluminium, I would love to know what a brass neck in the same configuration as a Travis Bean guitar would sound like....I love brass bridges, so this is just extending the idea out I guess :-D

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