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Poplar Neck?


Geo
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I pulled a lot of poplar out of a dorm that's being demolished. It's about 6 ft long, some pieces 2"x3/4" and some 3"x3/4" (though slab-sawn). I'm thinking of laminating it with maple (i.e. a simple poplar/maple/poplar laminate) for a neck.

Any opinions? The maple is quartersawn of course. I would flip the poplar "on edge" so it would be effectively quartersawn relative to the quartersawn maple in the middle.

Edited by Geo
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Why not? If there are any stiffness issues with poplar for a neck, the maple would surely work towards counteracting it. It'd look pretty bland, but that can easily be covered with stain or paint.

I think there's something in recent post maybe it's a few posts down with someone using poplar for a neck it was the first time I heard of it.

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I've made a neck from solid poplar and one 'hippie sandwich' with poplar and mahogany. The solid poplar neck is on a redwood/poplar solid body 'big apple strat', and the 'hippie sandwich' is a neckthrough Ebass. Both have CF reinforcing. The BAstrat has 3 1/8" CF rods like you get in the hobby shop placed as far to the three (cross section) corners of the neck as possible, and is stiffer than the neckthrough which has big CF 'beams' like the kind you get at stewmac, but placed more centrally to either side of the truss rod slot. I'm guessing that the solid poplar neck is stiffer because the rods, though smaller than the beams, are placed in a better way to increase stiffness. The BAstrat has incredible sustain and even response around the neck, which is counterintuitive since the whole axe weighs about 5 pounds. The poplar is great wood to work with and I'll be using it with every axe I make from now on. Poplar varies quite a bit in stiffness and weight, and of course it's important to align it 'quarter sawn', so it's nice to be able to pick through the stacks. I'm guessing it's a bit softer and lighter than mahogany, but many of the pieces I used for the 'hippie sandwich' bass were as stiff as the mahogany. It's just one of the many great woods out there that conservative luthiers are afraid to try.

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I have had several customers order poplar necks, and a couple of them over and over. There must be some reason for it I'd say. It''s not bad looking either if the right stock is chosen.

-Doug

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From an aesthetics point of view, I would laminate it with a contrasting colour, like poplar / wenge / poplar or something

Agreed... but from an economics point of view, I don't have anything else. :D

If I do this, I may stain the neck blue or black (not sure of the exact color scheme yet) so I think the light woods together will be all right. Of course, poplar can be greenish, so the maple and poplar might come out very different shades of blue... perhaps black stain is safest...

Anyway, I was mostly concerned about poplar's general qualification as a neck wood. It sounds like it makes a good neck. Thanks to those who answered. :D

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I was mostly concerned about poplar's general qualification as a neck wood.

50's -60's necks on Danelectros = Poplar (although they had Brazilion Rosewood fret-boards on top of the poplar. How crazy does that sound these days ? Yeah, all the dumb-asses thought there was no end to how much BRW you could get. They even made shipping pallets out of BRW in South America.)

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soapbarstrat, that's too weird. I used BRW (old stash I've had for 30 years) on the FB of the BAstrat I made for my friend. We had a laugh, because the rest of the axe is poplar and redwood, both from HOdepo. BRW in FB sized chunks is around $250 last I checked, but the rest of the wood cost less than fifteen bucks. Never the less, they made a beautiful marriage!

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