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Do You Think You Could Use Quilted Bubinga For A Neck?


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I know that quilted maple for a neck is generally considered a no-no but I wonder how much of this is because it's a figure found in soft maple. I saw this piece of bubinga on ebay and I thought it'd make a killer neck, but I don't know if that's a good idea or not. With a wood as hard as bubinga, do you think you could get away with this as a neck? What about with carbon fiber rods in it? Here's the piece I was looking at....

bubf0709dje0.jpg

I'm probably not going to try it any time soon, but that piece was a perfect size for a Fender style neck and it'd look sweet on the right guitar.

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Man, that is a sweet piece of Bubinga.

Bubinga is around 40% harder (in general) than maple, I believe. I couldn't really predict what would happen, I'll leave that to the more experienced, but it seems like a possibility to me especially if you use carbon fiber rods.

Great looking piece of wood though, I hope you use it in something.

CMA

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possible...yes. Anything's possible. Certainly if you reinforce it with CF rods. Thing is, you can't count on stability or stiffness, particularly where figured wood is involved. Get the chunk, leave it lying around, see if/how much it moves around with humidity, flex it, see how stiff it feels, go from there.

Is it an ideal chunk? No.

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You might get away with it - but i wouldnt bother. If it doesnt work its a waste of a nice peice of wood.

I worry about this stuff since i made a flamed maple neck last year - it was laminated from 3 pieces and reinforced with CF but was still a little more flexible than i would have liked. The maple wasnt even that strongly flamed

Personally if i was using it i would want an inch of good strong stright grained wood in the centre of the neck - then maybe strips of the bubinga either side, and make sure to include the cf bars

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Use sapele for the neck and that bubinga for the fretboard, with a thin lam of ebony between the two. Quartered sapele is great neck material, the color match is not too off from bubinga, and this way you (and others) will see that nice bubinga much more than if you'd used it for the neck stock.

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I have never tried to use quilted bubinga for a neck. I laminate most of my necks from figured maple and unfigured bubinga and from that I know that bubinga is a DAMN hard and rigid wood.

So I could imagine it is stable enough even with the quilt figure. I myself would take the risk and try it, but I would use CF rods. Another problem might be the weight though.

I would definately keep Mattia's advice in mind: Look closely how it behaves. I would plane it to proper dimensions and then let it sit for about a week and check if it has any tenedies to move/warp.

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When choosing neck wood try and forget about hardness and focus on stiffness/strength, and yes - they are different, but connected things.

On the hardness Vs stiffness/strength limba is a good example that shows they are not always the same thing. I have used good straight grained black limba for necks and whilst its a comparably soft wood the necks were always very stiff

The bubinga will be very hard, no doubt about that. . . but its stiffness/strength will be compromised by the grain undulations and the sheer amount of runout in quilted woods. so to see if its suitable for a neck look at the grain and see how much run out you have from the quilting. If the grain is constantly entering and leaving the plank with none of it running down the elngth of the neck then it is unsuitable for this purpose.

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I have bubinga exactly like that....yes it is perfectly suited for a neck.The thing that most of these guys don't know is that Bubinge,unlike maple,has the exact same figer all the way around the board...My piece was quiltedlike that(that is actually a flame...Bubinga has super wide flames that look like quilting)AND mine was also quartersawn....So if you get that piece in hand,look at it,it may very well be quartersawn,and probably is.

Anyway,that is what I gathered from my bubinga exploder

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It would certainly not be perfectly suited for a neck. Perfectly suited neck wood would be straight grain as possible, well quartersawn(I say that only because it has a lower shrinkage in relation to the fret plane, well flatsawn would be very stable also), and would have little face runnout(runnout on the face most definately reduces the strength of wood). So ideal no.

Will it be good enough is the question(and Mattia, WezV,GuitarMaestro all make good points)? Bubinga is certainly MORE than strong enough for a neck, and even with reduced strength cause by excessive runnout it may very well be strong enough. Many exotics also have interlocked grain that seems to average its strength from differnt directions a bit more than woods like Maple. In terms of stability, first rule of thumb is start with a very well dried and stable piece of wood. The question would then be how much will it move when it reacts to seasonal moisture changes, and what direction will it move. That is hard to predict because the grain is wild. Adding Carbon fiber seems like a sensable approch to adding an element of no memory stability. Other suggestions such as laminates seem like they could be good ideas. How will the grain effect the overall sound of the guitar do to the wild grain(hard to predict)? Ideally you would want predicable wood, but the use of figured woods is nothing new. You just need to pay closer attension to how the wood reacts, and do the best you can to stabalize the wood. It would make a nice looking neck :D .

Peace,Rich

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Thats kind of what i was trying to say a few posts back but i will state it clearer here:

If you are going to use figured woods in a neck you need to be able to read the grain of a piece of wood to see if its suitable and make the decision for yourself

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The actual grain may not be as wild as you think it is,fry...on Bubinga,it very often is not.you need to look at the piece in person and make the decision

I understand what you are saying Wes, but I do not need to look at that in person to see the runnout(the picture is quite clear). Even if the long grain is generally running with the length of the neck, and the growth rings are generally at 90 degrees to a face(which may be the case, I would have to look closer at the actual piece to see that). The face grain is most definately running in and out(the light refraction that makes the figure look that way is a clear indicator of this). If you split that wood you would see that the grain rolls. This does weaken the wood. Absolute runnout would be a slice of end grain which has very little strength. Mild runnout has a weakening effect, but it is slight(a rule of thumb is less than 2 degrees of face runnout is not really notable), . Extream runnout as we see in curly, or wood cut in such a way that severe runnout is present will effect strength enough to be notable. All that said, Bubinga has more than enough strength(straight grain) to work adequitly as a neck wood. Even if that strength is diminished by severe runnout I can still see it being strong enough for the job(you would just need to evaluate the piece). I am putting emphasis here because I agree with you that it may very well have enough strength.

I have a pretty solid understanding of visable grain and face grain. I have to pay extreamly close attension to this when I am cutting soundboards and bracing from split woods, and anything over a very slight degree of runnout is not acceptable because it weakens the structure. A neck has no where near those requirements, but same rules apply to the wood.

Peace,Rich

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