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Rosewood For A Neck?


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Hi,

I've long been dreaming about building a steel string acoustic, and I'm still weighing my options, especially with tonewoods. One thing I'm wondering about, considering stability, tone (assuming all other variables are constant), and general good-idea-ness, is the possibility of using Indian Rosewood for the neck (like in Marcovis' guitar and other PRSish instruments). I've never seen an acoustic with any kind of rosewood neck, and I'm starting to wonder if there is a reason why people don't do this.

I know its a pain to work with, especially for a guitar neck virgin like me... but I'm not worried about that, I like a challenge.

Any thoughts or experience with this?

Thanks a lot,

Dylan

Edited by Dylan
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You could, however, offset this by doing the old folk guitarist thing of running the end of your strap up to the headstock.

:D I do that anyway. I could tie a cinder block to the endpin...

But seriously, from what I understand, Indian Rosewood is only a slight bit more dense than maple. I recently got a new jumbo-bodied Gibson acoustic that has a maple neck, and I haven't even thought of neck dive on that instrument until now. The neck dives a little bit while sitting if I let go of it completely (none at all while standing with the strap at the headstock), but I honestly haven't noticed it until I intentionally tried to balance the guitar on my thigh. Point is, I don't mind the weight.

Thanks for the comments.

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Jammy, it's interesting that you chose to finish your -beautiful- rosewood neck... One of the major selling points (for me) of that kind of wood for a neck is the fact that you can leave it unfinished. Any reason why you chose to finish the neck?

By the way, I listened to the soundclip of that guitar; it sounds really nice.

Thanks for the comments.

Dylan

Edited by Dylan
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Jammy, it's interesting that you chose to finish your -beautiful- rosewood neck... One of the major selling points (for me) of that kind of wood for a neck is the fact that you can leave it unfinished. Any reason why you chose to finish the neck?

By the way, I listened to the soundclip of that guitar; it sounds really nice.

Thanks for the comments.

Dylan

I finished it just because I was spraying the whole guitar, neck finish makes little difference to me it seems.

I can tell you that before finishing, even sanded up with just 240 paper the rosewood felt WONDERFUL and glassy smooth.

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Rosewood necks on acoustics do sound really nice. Steve Klein uses rosewood for a lot of his acoustics and I have not heard that they are neck heavy at all. He doesn't use a large heel like a traditional guitar. It is built like an electric neck and bolted from underneath inside the body. I agree that rosewood is not that much heavier than maple or even some heavier mahoganies I have used. Stay away from cocobolo unless you use a very heavy body wood, but most other rosewoods should be fine. A bigger factor would be the tuning keys due to the leverage they have at the end of the neck. Use the lightest possible like the open backed vintage style (Waverly's are very nice).

~David

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Thanks, David. Encouragement is just what I need in this sort of project.

On that asymmetric acoustic you made, is the neck joined similarly to how Steve Klein does it? The accessability of that appeals to me... especially since I'm planning to go without a cutaway.

Dylan

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Dylan,

No problem. I played one of Klein's L45s and it had a rosewood neck. The balance was really nice. You can see his neck joint on this page.

Yes, the neck joint on my asymmetric acoustic is similar to a Klein except that I glued mine in instead of using the 3 bolts that Klein uses (it was a client request). Basically all you need is a neck block thick enough to hold the neck heel (which does not need to be more than 3/4" if you want (mine was 7/8")). Then install some inserts into the neck and use some machine screws with washers to hold it down.

I agree that getting rid of the heel makes for some great accessiblity. It makes sense when using a dovetail but for a bolt on style there really is no need for a heel at all. Just enough to hold the inserts seems fine to me. I think my next acoustic will also have a rosewood neck. I have a piece of Boi d'Rose that is almost as light as black limba and it just rings like a bell. Very sweet!

~David

Edited by Myka Guitars
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David: I dunno, if you want to cut down on weight, an electric-style bolt or glued in heel-less neck seems like it would require a lot more neck block. Then again, I like carving heels, and I can't warp my head around the aesthetics of a heel-less acoustic guitar neck. But that's just my hang-up.

On my personal to-build list: Cocobolo necked electric, possibly a cocobolo necked OM.

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I understand that the neck block will be larger but it will not be rosewood like the heel would be and should be lighter. In my experience this area (neckblock/heel) is not really that important in terms of weight since it is so close to center of balance when sitting or playing with a strap. Using a lighter or heavier tail block would make more of a difference I would think. For me it is not as much cutting down on weight but achieving an overall balance. That is why I woudl not hesitate to use a rosewood neck heel or not.

An acoustic without a heel is pretty easy to get over once you play one. Without a structural purpose it just gets in the way of the player (just my opinion, of course).

You will like the cocobolo for an electric. It is my favorite rosewood to use and they feel awesome. Keep us posted if you do a cocobolo necked OM. I would like to see your approach to it.

~David

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I understand that the neck block will be larger but it will not be rosewood like the heel would be and should be lighter. In my experience this area (neckblock/heel) is not really that important in terms of weight since it is so close to center of balance when sitting or playing with a strap. Using a lighter or heavier tail block would make more of a difference I would think. For me it is not as much cutting down on weight but achieving an overall balance. That is why I woudl not hesitate to use a rosewood neck heel or not.

An acoustic without a heel is pretty easy to get over once you play one. Without a structural purpose it just gets in the way of the player (just my opinion, of course).

You will like the cocobolo for an electric. It is my favorite rosewood to use and they feel awesome. Keep us posted if you do a cocobolo necked OM. I would like to see your approach to it.

~David

Oh, I'm not worried about the playability, which I'm sure is great (although I rarely ever go above 12th fret on an acoustic..), I just can't wrap my head around making it look 'right' with any of my body designs; I'm a bit too traditional that way. I've got a couple of sets of Cocobolo that I'm thinking I'll thin out considerably (.080 back and sides), put a light Euro spruce top on the entire thing (maybe the gorgeous AAA+ bearclaw one I got at a meet last weekend...), and make a matching neck. But that's a few years down the line with my current build schedule. I keep trying to convince this friend of mine to let me make him a coco neck for his black limba guitar, but he's not biting (the fool!).

Mattia

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