angled headstock strength question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Groove Theory, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Groove Theory

    Groove Theory Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.

    Oct 3, 2004
    The Psychiatric Ward
    Hey folks,

    I'm puting an 13 degree (or so) angled headstock on my current project, built the way warmoth does it (I believe it is called a scarf joint?)

    anyways, I was wondering if I put a thin accent wood between the headstock wood, and the neck wood, would it compromise the structual integrety of the neck joint at all?

    I hope what I'm trying to say makes sense, I've got a image I'll attach which may help clear things up, basically I am thinking of puting a 1/16th inch thick piece of maple where the arrow is pointing in the headstock joint. it would be between the neck which is a 9 piece lamanate wenge/bubinga/maple, and the headstock which is walnut.

    any help would be appreciated. Thanks! :D

    Attached Files:

  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I understand what you're talking about, and I have thought about doing the same thing.
    From the pictures I have seen, my interpretation is that some luthiers have totally different headstock wood than neck wood, like Carl Thompson....almost like they just taper the necks all the way down, cut their angle, and then use whatever wood they want for the headstock paddle part.
    So in that sense, I would say why not go for it!
    However, I know there's all sorts of theory on why a scarf joint is more 'stable' in the first place, in the sense of cutting the neck wood at the scarf joint, and flipping the headstock part around so that the wood grains are contrasting, thus creating a stronger glue joint and hold. OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT......
    anyways, I've thought about doing the same thing you mention, but haven't gotten around to it, so I say go for it and tell me (us) how it works out. If the joint is squared and glued and clamped well, then it should hold fine, eh?
    Now, if your building a 9-stringer, then maybe you should stick to the tried and true method, but if it's a 4 banger, then just do it!
  3. Groove Theory

    Groove Theory Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.

    Oct 3, 2004
    The Psychiatric Ward
    Thats exactally what I was thinking, and since my headstock is a different wood than the neck (It'll match the body wings) I figured it wouldn't adversely affect the strength of the joint any more than if I didnt do it (yeah its a 4 banger), since in theory a correctly glued joint should be stronger than the wood itself.

    I've just put too much time and money into this project, I didnt want to go and do something I havent seen before, and screw it all up...I'd have to go shoot myself if I did this and it ended up causing a bunch of structural problems :scowl: .

    Anybody else have any experience or ideas with something like this?
  4. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars

    The general reasoning on why a scarfed headstock is stronger has to do with grain direction - on a one-piece neck with an angled HP, the grain will be running at 10/13/14/whatever degrees to the face of the HP...which is less strong.

    Personally, I think the angled accent line at the side of the HP might look a little odd as a design element, since it doesn't really relate to anything.

    But if it floats yer boat, then dive in!