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"glue Is The Tonekiller"

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So - as we all know - the debate about set-neck, through-neck and bolt-on is always a moot point amongst luthiers, tone nazis and flame trolls. Here's a concept I'd like discussed based on a project of mine.

The idea started when I decided to do more in the way of my "set-neck-through" idea of the back half of the neck going through the body, but the top going over full on hence the set idea, and the through idea.

Now, imagine that you are not gluing anything and you've put your neck in like so:

semi-neck-through.jpgThis is a view from the back of the proposed design showing the tenon half exposed and an arrow I which I can't remember why I drew. Anyhoo.

Also imagine you are using a string-through bridge (string tension pulls back of tenon to the body).

Points I'd like to raise in comparison to other build designs such as pure neck-throughs, etc:

- The tone looks like it would involve the "body wood" much more than the way a neck-through ignores it. Coupling tension from the strings would be added at the saddle point.

- By not glueing it, you have wood-to-wood contact at all points (theoretically neck bowing on tension and manufacture tolerance would detract I guess).

I hope this raises some intelligent thought and idea throwing.

Edited by Prostheta
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I highly doubt that string tension alone would provide enough stability for the neck. Just think about how easy it is to change the pitch of the string by pulling the neck back or pushing it forward, and thats just the neck wood itself bending! You would have FAR more flex than on a regular design.

You also have to think about the sheering force produced by string tension. If I understand you correctly, the ONLY thing holding the neck tenon in place is a string through bridge+ferrules. Those strings are gonna do their damnedest to push that neck out the end of the body.

Now, to address some of these issues, you could always implement some maple dowel rods (providing that the tenon is thick enough) along the point where the tenon meets the body woods. You could either leave these glued or unglued, as most of the surface area in contact with the tenon will still be bare wood. This, however, would require some very precise drilling for the dowel rods.

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I am building a flying V with exactly the same idea you just explained, with a tenon going the full length of the body and under the top wood, but Im using as much glue as I can, and possibly some dowels to hold everything in place.

I definately wouldnt attempt to hold it there with just string tension. If the tenon isnt secure, theres no way you can ensure neck stability. Im using glue on 5 surfaces, angled joints to absorb stress and ill proably have a largish retining screw out of sight to keep the neck and body together.

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I agree - I wouldn't attempt to build it the way I suggested either in reality although the concept holds. The first set neck joint I made was so tight that the guitar could be lifted easily by the tenon. That said, it wasn't tight to the point of compressing neighbouring wood though! What I was suggesting was a "tight-snug" join with the physical layout and build adding further stability. Admittedly in hindsight, I think the neck bowing in the middle from tension would decrease coupling. Very difficult to maintain a straight tenon and good setup.

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Thats exactly what I thought about decresed coupling, as the unsecured wood would naturally want to cup under tension. my neck tenon will be dowel jointed and glued to wood either side to prevent said cuping, plus glued to the top wood. I figure that way tension will be distributed across the whole plane of the wood and will increase tonality.

I think its a good idea for set neck technology and I would happily make all my guitars in that way.

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