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How Can I Make A Thick Neck Thinner?


TomN
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I really like having 22 Fret Necks and I have been having a hard time finding one in the profile I like.

I found a great neck with an Ebony Fretboard and a compound radius fretboard that feels great on the fret board. Nice Frets, Nice everything except it's as thick as a Louisville Slugger. Ala an older Jeff Beck signature neck.

I would like to remove some wood off the back of the neck to thin it out. Nothing radical, not as far as an Ibanez or anything like that. But a nice

comfortable feel. A Small amount should make a pretty big difference. So I just need to know if this is commonly done or just not recommended.

Although I will probably try it anyway. I have a 62' reissue neck that I love. That's my target profile.

So what would be the best way to evenly remove the excess wood (being careful of the truss rod of course, I don't plan to go that far).

Should I sand it, or use some kind of wood plane?

I will also need help spraying it once it I get to that. But I will make that a seperate topic if I can't find any threads on it already.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Tom

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it is unwise to do that without knowing the size of that particular truss rod...BUT i would use a rasp and do it anyway...only because i cannot stand a thick neck.

i would not take it thinner than 7/8"(top of fret to back of neck) but i only say that because if i can't get a neck that thin,i do not care if i ruin it...if you care that you might ruin it,then don't do it...

other options to make a neck feel thinner more safely?

take the frets out,thin the fretboard down to 3/16" in the middle,and reslot the board and replace the frets with smaller frets...but you really need to be more familiar with the process before doing it...which i think you are not,or else tyou would not be asking...

best bet is probably to find a luthier of some sort.

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Sound advice there.

If it's a modern 2 way rod, you should have a lot of room.... Fender/gibson rods.... well, you just dunno.... Rasp or scraper followed by a lot of sandpaper will get you there. There are faster ways, but this is probably good enough as it doesnt *sound* like you have a great deal of woodworking skills. Not meaning to insult, it's just what I read between the lines- Of course I could be WAY off as well.

Finishing- the easiest is to do it yourself with "tru-oil" search and you should fine a lot of info on it. It works very well and is easy to use.

Be quite sure you want to take the risk before you start. You can trash the neck, or you could make it feel perfect. Realize that both outcomes are possible.

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I dunno about the rasp, scraper idea. My experience has been that taking just a little off will have a pretty significant impact on how the neck feels. So I wouldn't go at it with anything more than sandpaper --I really like the 150 grit 3M paper I got from StewMac, it takes off wood really fast, but not too fast. If you get even a small gouge with the rasp, you'll be obligated to sand that out, so you risk going too thin. Of course, my woodworking skills are pretty limited, so I prefer to go extra slowly for things like this.

It's possible that just taking off the existing finish, and maybe a millimeter more of wood, will be enough to make the neck comfortable.

Oh yeah, make sure you tape off the fretboard.

Otherwise, sell this neck and buy the neck you really want.

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I've just done this and used a combination of surform (for taking off the bulk), rasps (for shaping around the headstock and heel and sandpaper (for everything else). It wasn't until afterwards that I spotted my spokeshave, I thought it was still at my mates house :D

I decided to make the neck asymmetric and I took a little too much off behind the truss rod cavity. This is one of the reasons that I'm covering it with carbon fibre :D Luckily enough, I've had chance to do it on a really cheap neck so I didn't mind if I screwed it up.

Be really careful and go really slow, I found it very easy to get flat spots.

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I know that some people have done this successfully( Jimmy Page for one), but I dont think its a good idea unless you know exactly where the truss rod is in the neck (x-rays). I would have no qualms about doing it to a neck i built myself but on an expensive guitar built by someone else i would have my reservations.

When i have slimmed down necks in the past i find that taking wood from the cheeks can give the neck a slimmer feel without actually removing the crucial wood from behind the truss rod.

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When i have slimmed down necks in the past i find that taking wood from the cheeks can give the neck a slimmer feel without actually removing the crucial wood from behind the truss rod.

Yeah, I agree with that. When I was doing mine, it was amazing how much difference making it a slight V shape instead of the C that it was.

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The first acoustic I made had a really thick neck. After a couple of years I decided to make it thinner. I first drilled a tiny hole in the center of the back of the neck to find how deep the truss rod was.

I calculated how much I could remove which would leave 3-4mm covering the rod and clamped the guitar and neck so it sat flat on my bench. I found some pieces of MDF to make up rails either side of the neck and ran my router along as far as I could get before the headstock and neck heel were in the way.

I then reshaped the neck with my spokesave and sanded it with sandpaper.

I used a rasp on the very first neck I made,but the spoke shave is far better and requires less sanding to get a perfect finish.

It made the guitar feel so much better and nicer to play. At the same time I stripped the finish, sanded it and laquered it then sold it for a good price on Trademe which helped finance a new Vox AD50VT amp which rocks.

Edited by Acousticraft
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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I absolutely don't have a lot of woodworking experience. But doing things like this are how I plan to get it. You can't get experience without trying.

And this isn't a high priced neck or anything special. So if I screw anything up, it won't matter and I won't be out any money or out a neck that is hard to replace. that's why I plan to use this one.

I really like V profiles, which is actually what I am going for. Those are what are hard to find with 22 frets.

So I will probably stick with reshaping it from a Fat C to a V like I prefer.

Thanks for the advice.

Tom

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