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Les Paul Double Cut Project; Neck Joint


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Being a newbie, I recently posted my question on the “work in progress/finished” section, and then realized that I should have posted here to try and get more responses. I did get one helpful response though.

I am going to build my first guitar using a pre-made neck from Doug at Soulmate Guitars because building my own neck on my first project seems just a bit too challenging. Maybe I’ll build my own neck on the NEXT one.

This guitar will be a carved top, all Black Limba, Les Paul with symmetrical double cutaways. Unlike a LP Special, where the neck meets the body at a clean 90 degree angle on the sides, this design seems to be more challenging because of the curve at the neck joint. Just like a Les Paul Standard, the cutaway curves up to meet the neck; on both sides for my guitar. This means that I cannot simply cut out a neck pocket the size of the end of the neck, slide it in, and glue it. I will have to cut out a tenon about ¼” smaller than the neck end on two sides, and rout a correspondingly smaller mortise into the body. This appears to be the only way to achieve a smooth neck joint. I have been told this is how all regular Les Pauls, Flying V’s, and Explorers are done at the factory.

I will have to do this very carefully, so as not to damage the pre-installed fingerboard. It was suggested to me that I use a sharp wood chisel and be VERY, VERY, VERY careful.

If I do it with a wood chisel, I still have to come back and sand that cut uniformly straight and evenly smooth to get a tight neck joint. This seems like a pain in the ass!

What if I turn the neck upside down and ROUT out the area under the fingerboard edges to make this “inset” tenon? After that, I would sand down the back of the tenon at a 3-4 degree angle to get my neck pitch. This seems like it would be a lot easier to me. Am I missing something here? :D

Please help with some suggestions. :D

Edited by Stolysmaster
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I wouldn't do that. It might be possible to get a good joint that way but I think that it will be to hard for a newbie. I would rather rout a neck pocket much the same way as a bolt on, or the same way as many (if not all) PRS are done. Have a look at how myka does it:

http://www.mykaguitars.com/tools/neckpocketjig/

You dont have to make such an advanced jig, look at the bottom of the page.

Good luck

Peter

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Like I said elsewhere, I plan on doing something similar, but with several differences...

For one thing, I'm using an old neck --which I like a lot, but nonetheless, I won't cry about too much if the idea doesn't work.

For another, I've adapted the body design to accommodate the neck.

Also, the neck won't be at an angle--that simplifies things enormously. I'll be doing that for the next conversion --at which point I'll definitely use Myka's jig.

But there are a couple of things I plan on doing now that I can recommend:

1. Make a template and make sure it's perfect before you touch your neck or your body

2. Practice! I bought a whole boatload of scrap crap just for that purpose...when I'm sure of what I'm doing (and convinced that it'll work :D ) I'll move on to the body...

Once you've achieved success on scrap, there's no reason you can't duplicate it on the real thing.

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I wouldn't do that. It might be possible to get a good joint that way but I think that it will be to hard for a newbie. I would rather rout a neck pocket much the same way as a bolt on, or the same way as many (if not all) PRS are done. Have a look at how myka does it:

http://www.mykaguitars.com/tools/neckpocketjig/

You dont have to make such an advanced jig, look at the bottom of the page.

Good luck

Peter

Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I will go with a standard type neck pocket, Peter, because as you say, it is much more straightforward and simple. I will just have to be extremely careful not to chip off the outer edges of the ends of the pockets. They will come to thin points with a standard neck pocket design. Myka, Thorn, McNaught, and David at Soulmate, don't have to worry about that problem because their guitars all have squared off shoulders on either side of the neck. As I explained in my first post, mine WILL NOT! The cutaways curve up to meet the neck without any shoulder at that point. A standard neck pocket will leave the edges at the very end of the pocket delicately thin and easy to break off! I guess I could cut out the body with a 1/16th to 1/8th shoulder on either side of where I'm going to cut the neck pocket, and then after the neck is glued in, sand it down along the curve to meet the body.

And Idch, I think you are right on the money about building a perfect template first, and then practicing a lot. As far as not having a pitched neck is concerned though, you can have them! Yes, with a TOM and tailpiece design like I'm building you need to have an angled neck, but even if I did not have to have one, I would want one! I find that there is a noticable difference in sustain because of the increased string anlge on the front (neck) side of the bridge with a pitched neck.

Edited by Stolysmaster
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Yeah, I like the angle too...but there are ways around that --Fender added that belly carve to the Stratocaster, and I believe it's for the same reason ....I just carved the back of my tele , and it's much more comfortable for me to play.

Still, an LP without an angle is not really an LP, right?

As for the points at the neck pocket --on my first (subsequently aborted) build, I made a neck pocket pretty much as you describe. And those points aren't as fragile as you think --well, I wouldn't use them for batting practice, but they'r pretty solid nonetheless.

Just use common sense care--and a small diameter router bit helps too...

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