1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is still pending approval by Apple. If you haven't yet, try using your mobile browser - TalkBass is responsive to any screen size.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Neck Stability

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cv115505, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, I am new to all of this and I have a pretty fundamental (4 syllable word for stupid) question.

    What contributes more to neck stability... multi-laminate construction, or stiffening rods? Is there a real difference?
    I know companies that typically build Fender-esque designs typically employ either graphite or steel stiffening rods, while other companies use 5-piece multilaminate construction or just use quarter-sawn necks... So what really works, and what is just an advertising gimmick?
  2. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lamination works and stiffening rods work.

    Quartered wood is a bit...controversial. Some people say it's stronger, some people say it's weaker, and some people say it's about the same as flatsawn lumber. I don't know myself. I've never used quartersawn wood for a neck. I also haven't had any strength or stiffness problems.

    I prefer multi-laminate construction with stiffening rods, if the build budget supports the time and parts for it. If not, I'll go with one or the other, depending on...reasons.
  3. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's awesome that you're from Norman... I'm stationed at Tinker... I really can't decide what I want to do... I know more about doing multi-laminate than stiffening rods... if I did Multi-laminate with a dual-acting truss rod what would you think? I'm wanting this one to be a family heirloom (like my truck lol jk).
  4. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Likes Received:
    0
    Laminated necks, truss rods, and fiber rods all contribute to neck stiffness as well as the type of wood used. The fretboard also helps to give the neck stability especially ebony and rosewood.
  5. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Alright I think I am going to go with a multi-laminate neck with a brazilian cherry fingerboard (something a little different that I think will be cool) no stiffening rods... I'd love any opinions or advice on this, but that is where I'm at right now.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    10
    Truss rods are installed for adjustment purposes, not stability.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    10
    Of all the neck I have built, I have only had one that had problems, and it happened to built from quartersawn maple. I never had problems with flat sawn lumber. There is no advantage either way, either can be stable or either one can be unstable.

    Multi lam necks can be more consistant than one piece necks but are not automatically more stable. If a one piece neck is made from stable board the neck will be stable. The advantage of mulit lam necks is that, if built with the grain aligned properly the movement of one side will cancel out the movement of the other. Personally I prefer the look of a one piece neck. Stiffening rods are great but not reallg necessary on a 4 or 5 string.
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sweet, a local dude. I do a lot of work with people at Tinker.

    A dual-action truss rod is, to me, an absolute necessity. They don't offer strength, but adjustability. If you can route and install a truss rod, you can do stiffening rods as well. It's the same basic process.

    Jatoba sounds like a good wood for a fretboard. Quite uncommon for that purpose.
  9. Maxwell Badger

    Maxwell Badger

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't recommend jatoba. I've been told it moves alot. Its nice for floors. .... I'd recommend bubinga if your looking for a nice reddish fretboard.
  10. stevetx19

    stevetx19 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Likes Received:
    0
    or bloodwood

    you can buy flat sawn boards, rip them, and rotate to make the grain run length wise, similar to what you'd have buying quarter sawn. Do that, which will by definition have lams, plus some graphite bars, and any of a variety of commonly used fretboards and you've got a good situation started for a stable neck.

    a while back, I was designing a project where I wanted to have the most stable neck I could possibly get without doing full carbon(which I wouldn't attempt in my shop). I found a source for graphite "veneers' that were the same size as my neck lams, but would only be 1/16" thick. So, using those, I thought my neck would be Ash-graphite-wenge-graphite-Ash, with 2 standard graphite stiffening rods installed in the ash. I never made it - I didn't think my blades would give me a clean cut through the graphite for things like a scarf joint, and shaping would likely have been difficult too. Probably would not have been as strong as it sounds, either. When I make some shop upgrades over the next few years, I'll give it a try.
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a mostly jatoba neck...it's fine. And for the record, some people say the same thing about ebony.
  12. Maxwell Badger

    Maxwell Badger

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fair enough. Wood is wood. And Brazilian cherry has a very nice color.
  13. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    Disclosures:
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Stability and stiffness are two different things. One is how much the wood will move due to changes in ambient conditions and the other how much it will deflect under load. Jatoba has very high published stiffness numbers. I have used it a fair amount and would think it would make a fine fingerboard. Side hardness is also very high.
  14. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, you're saying that a neck without a TR is as stable as a neck with one? Are you joking?
  15. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Likes Received:
    21
    I read and heard from a few guitarists that it was Leo Fenders intention to market the earliest Telecasters with no truss rod at all, perhaps for the sake of cutting costs (they were already commonly in use elsewhere) When Tele's started coming back soon after with unplayable necks, they started adding truss rods.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    10
    Yes I am saying that, a truss rod does not keep a neck from moving, it allows you to adjust the neck after it moves. They are not installed to increase structural stability like steel or carbon fiber stiffening rods.
  17. thiessen3.14

    thiessen3.14 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't see how a truss rod wouldn't increase stiffness (i.e. Resistance to deflection). Imagine a 10' wood beam blocked off the ground at the ends. Jump on the middle it's going to deflect. Now, route a curved, concave up channel the length of the beam, put in a metal rod w threaded ends, and a filler strip to close everything up. Tighten the nuts on the ends of the rod effectively preloading the beam with tension. Now jump on the middle. The beam deflects much less as the tensioning of the steel adds structural integrity to the beam. This is how concrete bridge beams are made. Though they typically use cables, it's essentially a one way, vintage style truss rod.

    Now, there are also other truss rod designs, like the Martin style with a steel rod in an aluminum U channel. This design definitely adds stiffness as the cross section of the channel is quite stiff.

    Just my thoughts--take them for what they're worth.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    10
    What you are missing is that it is not stiffening the neck, it is acting upon the neck from the inside, just like string tension is acting upon the neck from the outside. Carbon fiber or steel stiffening rods are glued into the neck becoming a part of the necks structure. The truss rod moves inside of the neck forcing it into a back bow, or even a forward bow if you have a dual action rod. If the truss rod was stiffening the neck, it would be working against itself when you adjust it.

    Hopefully that made sense
  19. thiessen3.14

    thiessen3.14 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'm looking at the neck and truss rod as a system. One in which by tension of the steel and controlled, directed compression of the wood makes for a beam much less prone to deflection than wood alone. It's doing more than just an "equal but opposite force of the strings" backbow.

    Think of it like this--block up a neck at both ends and just snug the truss rod so it is not acting on the wood, but if a downward force is applied to the middle, it will become tense at once. Obviously this system will withstand deflection significantly more than a neck w/o a truss rod. I just don't see how this isn't stiffer (is that a word?).

    Thus the difference between a truss rod and stiffening rods is like active deflection resistance vs passive deflection resistance.
  20. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    10

    But unlike stiffening rods a truss rod is not designed to make the neck more resistant to forward bow from string tension. It is designed to pull back against the string tension. If the truss rod was mounted to the outside of the neck, would you still say it was installed to make the neck stiffer?

    Like I said earlier, the purpose of a truss rod is to make the neck adjustable not stiffer.

Share This Page