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Compound radius & deep set neck

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Hey everyone :D I'm a bit new to this but have been researching building my first guitar for a pretty long time now (a couple of years) and have pretty much decided on the spec and done a few sketches (might post later on). I won't bore u all with a detailed list of exactly what shape jack socket i plan to use etc B) but i do have a few questions i hope u can all help me out with :D

1. I want to make a 24 fret 7 ply neck (maple and bubinga) with an ebony fret board and ideally i would like to make it compound radius...I can see all the advantages for this design and have a read a few of the previous posts on it but practically am i gonna make it well enough to actually get the rewards of a superior design? Or would i be better to stick with a standard radius? I have basic woodworking skills and am a pretty practical person, probably more valuable than this i have access to my uni engineering workshop and the help of some very skilled ppl in there (not guitar builders or players). Is there any way to radius a TOM bridge to the 19" or so that is needed for a 25 1/2" scale 10" - 16" compound radius fretboard. Is the ebony gonna be so hard i'm gonna piss all the guys in engineering off by breaking all the tools?

2. I really like the idea of a deep set neck i couldn't see much about that on here, has anyone else made one? Or is it just a crap concept and i've been taken in too much by Ed Roman.....(please don't turn this into an Ed bashing!)

This is my first project and I know it sounds quite ambitious but i'm willing to spend a lot of time to get it right and experiment on cheap woods first.

Thanks everyone! Reading the threads here has been a real help!

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You can "re-radius" a T-O-M just by getting one that doesn't have string slots in it, and then varying the depth of the slots you cut. I have made set necks where I run the neck all the way to the bridge pickup cavity area, and under the neck pickup cavity too. I like that neck attatchment method because the bridge is still mounted in the body wood, and therefore vibrating the body. Whereas a neck through basically vibrates like a steinberger with the wings "complimenting" the tone, but not dictating it.

Ebony is just wood. It sands, files, and polishes just the same. Yes it's hard, but I'll usually put a compound radius into an Ebony board (or any other wood for that matter) with 80-120 grit paper in the radius blocks. Then I'll switch to higher grits to take out the scratches and polish it. I usually finish Ebony off with at least 600 grit because its so hard and smooth that it really benefits from it. Rosewood is so porous that you can't really tell whether you finished off with 600 or 220 grit. It looks pretty much the same once you play it in, or wipe it down with lemon oil.

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Hi Frank, thanks for the info, do u sand all of the freboard by hand then? Just changing blocks as you go up the neck? Do you find it hard to get the cone shape accurate? I can really imagine myself making a mess out of that, doesn't it need to be incredibly precise?

I think i'll definately stick with the ebony and the deep set neck then I'm glad someone other than Ed Roman uses the deep set neck, i never know whether to actually listen to a word he says. I see the logic in stopping it before the bridge tho, have you got any pictures of any guitars you have built like that?

Thats a good idea with the saddles but I'm planning to use a tone pros with piezos in there...do you recon i'll have enough depth to cut the slots before i start damaging the electronics? Have you ever tried this yourself?

Thanks again!

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I didn't know you'd be using piezos. Even if you don't come near the electronics, you could (but probably not) end up with the "deeper" string slots coming through louder than the others. So if you're flattening the radius, then your g and d could be louder than b and a, etc. I don't know for sure other than the old Mike Christian graphtech piezo saddles used to say in the instructions that you could get a little more output by filing the saddle slot down a little. I'd ask Tone pros about that one.

As for the compound radius, Stew Mac sells compound radius fretboards. I would start there. Then your radiusing is just some mild levelling after glueing the fretboard, and you already have a compound radius to guide you. But yes, if I'm doing a compound radius from scratch I usually start with the smallest radius (the "nut" radius) and then I flatten as I go up. If I know I've levelled it to 10" for example, then I'll go to a 16" block at the last few frets, and sand until the whole middle section is flattened to 16", and I'm just about to hit the edge. Then I basically connect the two gradually. So I know the outside edge is straight, and I'm "lowering" the middle. I think that's better than starting with 16" and then rounding the lower frets. You can't maintain a good level that way. I always cross check with flat blocks or flat files, too. If you're doing it right, you should be able to take a flat block or file from anywhere across the board and travel in the direction of the string and have a perfect level.

I also take a different approach to compound radiusing sometimes, and that is to maintain the same radius until about the 9th fret. Then I begin gradually flattening the radius from there. But I also do it starting roughly at the 10th fret but between the G and B strings, not dead center, and then fanning out from there. If you think about it, we only need the benefit of a compound radius in those "solo bending" regions. Then the rest of the neck has a more natural feel. It takes a lot more work, but if you can visualize the physics of it, its really the best of all worlds. Satriani's tech does something like that, where he keeps the 9" radius up until around the 12th fret and then tapers off to about 10.5 or so. Then he flattens the radius a little more in the tops of the frets.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey man cheers for all ure help! I'm sure it will really come in handy :D That makes a lot of sense about the different radii on different sections of the board, hey and it satch does it, it must be cool! B):D j/k

i spoke to tone pros and they recon its a no gower doing that to the saddles B) or doing anything else to the bridge to get that radius for that matter, so think i'll probably go for something a bit different......

I still really want the piezos....so i am thinking maybe a strat hardtail style bridge (saves recessing the TOM at least as i don't intend to have a neck angle) with a GHOST system. If not just a crazy thought.....but have any of u guys tried using piezos in the nut.... :D the wires could feed through the neck somehow? Thinking that would be as good a place sound wise as the bridge surely?

Has anyone got much experience with hardtail strat style bridges? I've only used floyds up til now (had a bit of a dodgy metal phase :D ) Whats the advantage of the string through ones?

Also which piezo system preamp?

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