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Neither way is "better" really! My favourite guitar is a laminated neck with a piece of maple for the headstock scarf, and the only difference between that and my other guitars is cosmetic.

In my opinion, the only difference is the cosmetic one!

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I am not sure if you are asking about using a one piece neck blank and making a neck with no joint vs using a scarf. Or if you are asking about using different types of wood for the neck shaft and headstock. Or if you are really asking if it is better to cut your headstock shape, drill for tuners and what not, and then attach it to the neck shaft(assuming you use a jointed headstock-hopefully scarfed).

What was it you were looking to know?

Peace,Rich

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If you're making an angled neck from the same piece of wood as the neck without a scarf joint, then you run the risk of the headstock being weakened as the grain will run out at the same angle. Apologies for the crappy diagams, but these illustrate the stability issues:

neck_scarf.jpg

neck_nonscarf.jpg

As you can see, the one-piece neck will have issues with the headstock grain running front to back causing potential for weakness. In practicality, if you're using slight angles (not huge Gibson ones, like 17°!) then you won't have problems.

Edited by Prostheta
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Plan it out on paper. Bear in mind your tuner post sizes, nut height, headstock width etc. to determine your *minimum* width without using string trees a la Fender. Beyond that angle you can use what you want within the limits of join strength bearing in mind the larger the angle, the more pressure is applied to the string fulcrum points! As long as the angle is large enough so the strings sit happily over the nut and onto the tuners then cool. More pressure (greater angle) apparently adds to the coupling and tone.

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If you're making an angled neck from the same piece of wood as the neck without a scarf joint, then you run the risk of the headstock being weakened as the grain will run out at the same angle. Apologies for the crappy diagams, but these illustrate the stability issues:

neck_scarf.jpg

neck_nonscarf.jpg

As you can see, the one-piece neck will have issues with the headstock grain running front to back causing potential for weakness. In practicality, if you're using slight angles (not huge Gibson ones, like 17°!) then you won't have problems.

Are your sketches reflecting flat or quartersawn wood?

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Are your sketches reflecting flat or quartersawn wood?

Does it really matter?

regardless of the grain running perpendicular to the cut it will still run the length of the board.

I think the lines in the sketches are more for directional purposes then what the piece would actually look like.

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Are your sketches reflecting flat or quartersawn wood?

Does it really matter?

regardless of the grain running perpendicular to the cut it will still run the length of the board.

I think the lines in the sketches are more for directional purposes then what the piece would actually look like.

Well I am curious because the mode of failure(fracture) would be different. If you are looking at quartersawn wood you would have to think about the slope of the grain and how it will relate to runnout. Runnout in the flatsawn orientaion is much easier to obeserve(at least as it relates to the fracture plane) because slope of the grain would be side to side. To illustrate; think of a well quartersawn piece of flamed maple. The slope of the grain is rising and falling(at very steep angles) thus you get the look of the figure. If the slope of the grain is the source of runnout in quartersawn wood(and leads to failure when runnout is present). Then the use of this type of figured quartersawn wood would lead to neck failures regularly then it would seem we should see more failure when it is used(but I have never heard of it).

The fact is that necks with strong headstock angles show up in the repair shop. Thin neck shafts, strong neck angle, how much material has been removed for the truss rod nut(some neck have truss access at the heel, and some at the headstock), Size and weight of the headstock and hardware, volute or no volute, and of course how hard it hits the floor :D . All of these are going to come into play. No doubt grain orientation has an effect on strength, but I am not sure if we consider the bigger picture.

Just kinda my thoughts, and I am by no means sure of my thinking on this subject. I just have not bought off on the "runnout"(based on slope of the grain) in quartersawn wood is a reason for failure. I am open to listening to reasoning and having my thoughts changed, but I have yet to hear solid evidence.

Peace,Rich

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Now, another question: Scarf joint under fretboard around the 2nd/3rd fret OR scarf joint attatched at bottom side of neck then headstock covered with veneer?

Whatever you feel comfortable with. I'm partial to under the neck, but then pretty much all my guitars have headstock veneers anyway. Most of my future ones will likely have backstraps (veneer on the back of the headstock) as well.

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Are your sketches reflecting flat or quartersawn wood?

Does it really matter?

regardless of the grain running perpendicular to the cut it will still run the length of the board.

I think the lines in the sketches are more for directional purposes then what the piece would actually look like.

Well I am curious because the mode of failure(fracture) would be different. If you are looking at quartersawn wood you would have to think about the slope of the grain and how it will relate to runnout. Runnout in the flatsawn orientaion is much easier to obeserve(at least as it relates to the fracture plane) because slope of the grain would be side to side. To illustrate; think of a well quartersawn piece of flamed maple. The slope of the grain is rising and falling(at very steep angles) thus you get the look of the figure. If the slope of the grain is the source of runnout in quartersawn wood(and leads to failure when runnout is present). Then the use of this type of figured quartersawn wood would lead to neck failures regularly then it would seem we should see more failure when it is used(but I have never heard of it).

The fact is that necks with strong headstock angles show up in the repair shop. Thin neck shafts, strong neck angle, how much material has been removed for the truss rod nut(some neck have truss access at the heel, and some at the headstock), Size and weight of the headstock and hardware, volute or no volute, and of course how hard it hits the floor :D . All of these are going to come into play. No doubt grain orientation has an effect on strength, but I am not sure if we consider the bigger picture.

Just kinda my thoughts, and I am by no means sure of my thinking on this subject. I just have not bought off on the "runnout"(based on slope of the grain) in quartersawn wood is a reason for failure. I am open to listening to reasoning and having my thoughts changed, but I have yet to hear solid evidence.

Peace,Rich

not meant to seam like I was arguing, just a question for my own reference. My wood knowledge is minimal compared to most on this board..

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Hi Rich - as opposed to opening a can of wood selection worms, I was more illustrating the fundamental differences between having and not-having a scarf joint. The lines are not meant to illustrate grain, just the "direction" of the wood as Desopolis said. Simple choice of build decision, or at least how I would make one anyway. Straightish to no headstock angle a la Fender, no scarf. Any reasonable angle - scarf and volute.

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Hi Rich - as opposed to opening a can of wood selection worms, I was more illustrating the fundamental differences between having and not-having a scarf joint. The lines are not meant to illustrate grain, just the "direction" of the wood as Desopolis said. Simple choice of build decision, or at least how I would make one anyway. Straightish to no headstock angle a la Fender, no scarf. Any reasonable angle - scarf and volute.

Oh I didn't want to open one of them can of big fat juicy worms either, nor do I plan to. I know that a many acoustic builders opt. for one piece quartersawn necks and the headstock angle is usually 15deg+. A "typical" set of acoustic strings is larger gauge(12's are more the norm) and has more tension then the more common 10's on electrics. I have found acoustic guys are more nutty than me about these kinda grain/stability/strength issues than myself, yet the method of choice still seems to be the one piece(not to say that scarfs are not acceptable and used also). I would also note though that acoustics have truss access typically through the soundhole(granted there are some that access at the headstock so it is not a hard set in stone rule).

I use both methods personally, and I am a fan of the volute. Volutes make real good sense to me especially when you look at how much wood you are leaving at the nut area when you route for truss access(when access is at the headstock), and some of the really super slim profiles many of us like to use. I would suggest that anyone making a neck look close at just how much material their design leaves at the nut area, and consider all your options to reinforce as needed(carbon fiber rods, volutes, scarf is sensable, don't make truss access slots larger than needed(I like drilling back to the slot as it leaves a little more wood in tact), or possibly heel access, veneers, lighter hardware, etc...).

Peace,Rich

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well i wanted to know if I should use extra wood to make the neck wide enough to cut the head out or wait to see if I have enough leftover wood to make the head. And I wasn't sure if there was some kind of structural advantage between the two.

I overlooked your question, Sorry :D

Extra wood to make the head wide enough. If I understand your question correctly(by wide enough you would be talking about adding ears to the headstock area). You can add wood to the sides of the headstock by laminating wood if your neck blank is not wide enough without structural issue(just make good glue joints).

Peace,Rich

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If I understand your question correctly(by wide enough you would be talking about adding ears to the headstock area). You can add wood to the sides of the headstock by laminating wood if your neck blank is not wide enough without structural issue(just make good glue joints).

this is what i do

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