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Neck Woods For Tuning Stability?


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Here's something I'm wondering about : in your opinion, what's the best--i.e., most stable, temperature and humidity resistant, etc-- neck wood or wood combinations?

Especially when it comes to tuning stability

I've noticed that my two mahogany neck guitars are much more sensitive to weather/climate/temperature changes and will go out of tune quite quickly before the get acclimated.

On the other hand, my maple/rosewood strat is rock solid, even under heat wave conditions.

What other factors make for a strong, stable neck that won't go out of tune?

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To be honest, I think it is more complicated than that. Neck wood does make a difference to how well a guitar can hold tune, but so does the age of the strings, where and how they are stored (in their cases/on a stand/hanging etc). The body wood should make a difference as well. Also, the tuners themselves will affect how well a guitar holds tune.

To answer your question, I don't really know, but I think more than the neck wood will influence a guitars stability.

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The mahogany set neck I made for my lp type guitar(which is in the GOM compotition this month)is rock solid. I live near new orleans. The temperature variations are insane in the spring. One day you're wearing a coat, the next day you're fighting the urge to rip all of your clothes off because it's so damn hot. The weather has never had a noticable effect on this neck's tuning ability, even when it's been in the trunk all day.

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The mahogany set neck I made for my lp type guitar(which is in the GOM compotition this month)is rock solid. I live near new orleans. The temperature variations are insane in the spring. One day you're wearing a coat, the next day you're fighting the urge to rip all of your clothes off because it's so damn hot. The weather has never had a noticable effect on this neck's tuning ability, even when it's been in the trunk all day.

That's interesting...of course, one of the mahogany necks I have here is on my Melody Maker --it's very thin (only 38mm width at the nut, and less than 20mm depth). I imagine your LP has a thicker neck?

The other guitar is not true mahogany, it's an Samick Indonesian-built 'nato' neck...I don't tend to take that one out on gigs though, so I don't really know how sensitive it is....

Stickman (or gumby): Sure, I agree that the neck is part of a whole system --but it seems to me that it's the part that's the least easy to control.

You can replace all the hardware (I put locking tuners and graph tech stuff on my guitars). But the neck is the neck is the neck...

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Reinforced mahogany (CF rods, pair of them), medium-sized neck carve, and it's all good. My acoustic in particular is rock-solid when it comes to tuning, and it's got the heaviest strings on it.

Laminated necks, particularly with mahogany as a main component, are very, very stable.

Having said all this, I don't think you can really generalize vis a vis species. Some maple is stable, some maple will warp all over the place. Some mahogany is great, while some will flex and move (not stiff enough) annoyingly much. I had someone who plays a strat almost exclusively (relatively 'flexible', bendable flatsawn maple, which he used while playing) comment on how 'stiff' the neck on one of my set-neck guitars felt, and that on the guitar I've built that I feel has the MOST flexible neck. So go figure.

Honestly, locking tuners and solid hardware will help a great deal as well.

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Isnt this to do with the density of the fibres in the wood?  the less dense they are, the more susceptable to moisture, or summat?

I don't think you can generalize anything like that. Plenty of dense woods that are stable, plenty that, well, really aren't. Ebony's certainly less 'stable', at least initially, than rosewood, and it's certainly denser.

Each piece of wood is different, and how it reacts to humidity, etc. probably has most to do with how old/stabilized it is and the basic grain structure, which will vary from wood to wood (interlocking vs. straight vs. growing with pronounced twist), from tree to tree, and from piece to piece, also depending on how it was milled and dried.

It's a natural product, after all, with all the variability that induces. Any generalizations are just that; general. Each specific piece of wood will have to be evaluated individually. As a rule, if you find a nice, even-grained, stiff-feeling (flex everything you build with, you get a better idea of the variotion that exists, but don't worry about it too much) chunk of wood, no knots, no cracks, no shakes, no funny warp, and a good 'bonk tone' (if it ain't got any tone, chances are it won't make a great guitar, and/or that it's got some hidden flaws damping vibrations), you should be good to go.

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