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As Requested - Backstrapping Headstocks


Setch
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Thanks Setch! A very elegant way of doing a scarfed headstock.

I'd never really thought about it much, but now I realize that my biggest problem with scarf joints had to do with the method of 1-piece headstock and the glue joint on the neck. It never occured to me to move the glue joint into the headstock itself.

Well done.

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I will be doing my first scarf jointed neck on my current bass project, and I'd hoped to find a good way to do this. This is about as simple as it gets. Thanks tons.

Do you have some type of jig for holding the neck in place while routing the headstock shape. Obviously my neck/headstock combo template that I used for my straight headstock won't work, so I'll need to make a separate template for it. I'm just having troubles picturing how I'm going to rest the neck so that I'm given a level surface for routing the headstock shape.

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I route the headstock before I cut the neck taper, so I just clamp the neck in my vice, so the shaft is angled at 12 degress, and the head is level.

If I need to hold it for anything after I've tapered it, I have a 3"x2" x 12" block, with 80 grit paper stuck to it. I whack that in the vice, and clamp the neck to it.

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I also screw into the tuner holes - it's the best way of ensuring a template won't shift when you don't want it to!

I route the end of the head first, taking a small climb cut at the corner by the D string to avoid spliting out the end. Then I zip across with a regular cut, then do the sides. The curve which runs from the nut to the sides of the head is routed a hair oversize, then later touched up with a drum sander so it matches the fretboard width, and so the angle of cut is at 90 degrees to the fretboard, not the headstock.

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  • 1 year later...

Time to raise an old topic. I have built one neck and used a full sized piece to make the headstock so I did not have to glue any ears on. I am now working on my second neck and decided to save some wood and glued on ears. I am going to place a piece of veneer on the top to dress it up and hide ears. I want to use a back strap to hide the ears on the back side, but I am not going to use a volute. I read through Setch's blog and that sounds easy enough to do, but since I am not using a volute, I am going to have to do it slightly different. So here is kind of my take on what I need to do, please advise if this sounds correct or if I need to do something different.

1) Plane and sand the headstock to about 1/2" thick.

2) Bend a piece of venner to match the headstock angle with a little extra length into the neck

3) After a test fit, glue the veneer on

4) Once cured, cut neck to shape and proceed as normal

5) As I am cutting and carving to shape he back of the neck, the veneer should just blend right into the neck?

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As I am cutting and carving to shape he back of the neck, the veneer should just blend right into the neck?

Yep, pretty much, though it can be a bear to get the shape of the veneer symetrical where it transitions into the neack shaft. Look at David Myka's guitars for an example of how it looks when it's done right. You can also inlay the tip of the veneer piece into the neck, so it comes to a sharp point - this is used on some Gibson guitars, for example the Super 400.

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