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Lightest Feasible Neck Wood

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inspired somewhat by RestorationAD's 7-string, I'm contemplating a future build where the focus is very clearly on being as thin and light as possible.

I think that will probably mean a basswood body with maple cap, but I'm unsure about what wood to use for the neck.

What's the lightest wood (or combination of woods - i'd be interested in a multi-ply also) you think you can 'get away with' for a neck - so it's still strong enough (possibly with double truss rod or TR plus two CF rods). obviously the lighter the neck, the lighter/thinner the body can be without neck dive.

it will be 6 string, 25" scale, same basic shape (and same HS shape) as my first build (http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=42864&view=findpost&p=468147)

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This site has a wood library with a LOT of numerical information about nearly every commercially available species. I know there are a LOT of different factors involved is what is suitable for a neck, and I'm not the one to quote you which ones are most important. What I CAN say is that this site will allow you to compare bending strength, hardness, shearing strength, weight, and other measurables so you can make an informed decision.
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John's link is a good place for reference, and I'm not knocking that kind of comparison shopping, but what I have for a counterpoint is this:

Wood can be -vastly- different from one piece to the next.

I think you simply need to go to a wood store and pick up/handle enough wood to make your choices.

For example, I have a Warmoth neck that is a Mahogany w/ Ebony board, standard single-action trussrod.

If that neck were any lighter, I probably wouldn't use it, it's as light as a flippin' feather.

So there is an example of using perfectly standard woods and construction techniques that can yield a very light neck without overthinking it, just using common sense, common techniques, and standard woods.

I didn't even ask them for a light neck, it was just luck of the draw at the time.

Sometimes 'keep it simple' works really well. :D

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I agree with Drak. The numbers listed on that site will be what is typical for that species. What an individual piece will feel like can be completely different from the one next to it on the shelf.

By way of example, I've been working with a strain of mahogany that is pretty heavy. I also have some African mahogany that is really light. Most of the mahogany I've had is somewhere in the middle. With just that one example, you'll need to be careful about thinking that one type of wood will automatically be good based solely on it's name.

Most importantly, take EVERYTHING we'll say with a grain of salt. We all have our own loves and preferences, and our own way of thinking things through. Look at all of this, as well as everything else you'll ever read here, as a type of information buffet. Take what looks good, leave the rest. If it tastes good to you, great. If not, try something else. :D

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indeed... we can give you generalisations but you still need to find a light piece of what you are after

i may have suggested laminated limba with CF tubes.

but really i wouldnt overthink it. if you look at blackmachine guitars they do the super thin thing... and often do it with snakewood and other heavy exotic necks. the guitars are not neck heavy and still feel light overall. They hang fine on a strap with no neck dive because of the design with long horns, minimal headstock and lightweight tuners.

In other words, you will 'get away with' a lot more than you think as long as you design the guitar sensibly!

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+1 everything stated before. Zebrawood is a prime example of a wood that can be heavy in one piece and light in another.

Light necks are a combination of technique, experience, and choosing the right piece of wood... I am not a fan of CF so I use very rigid woods as stringers in place of CF. I try to use lightweight tuners. I use a light double action trussrod. If I wanted to be even lighter I would use a gibson style single rod but I am not a fan of compression rods.

The lightest neck I built out of western big leaf flamed maple and walnut. The big leaf maple is similar in weight to Mahogany.

There are several reasons to build thin guitars... ergonomics, weight, resonance.

You don't have to use Basswood for the body. If you make the body around 33mm you can use about anything. Since you are making such a thin guitar why use a tonally dead piece of wood like basswood?

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Think of the neck as a lever. It pivots from the guitar's center of gravity as it hangs on a strap on your shoulder. The LENGTH of the neck, the WEIGHT at the end of the neck, and the weight and length of the other end of the lever are the important aspects.

The weight of the actual neck wood may have less of an effect than neck length relative to center of gravity, headstock size, and tuner weight.

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