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Angled Headstock

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by teej, Jan 28, 2005.


  1. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Anyone know of a website or other free resource (no books please) where I can get instructions and/or see how an angled headstock is made?
     
  2. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Be careful over there check the archives if you just ask that question you may get your head bit off :bag: If you find a good link please post it here. I have never tried one and need to give it a try............t
     
  4. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Well, there are a couple of ways an angled headstock is made. An ibanez guitar I have has an angle cut that starts about the second fret, and slopes toward the headstock. The headstock is a different piece of wood, cut to complement the neck, and runs on the angle that the headstock is in. This gives the advantage of strength of the grain an the weakest oart of the headstock, which is right at the nut.

    The other way to do it is to cut the neck out of a whole piece, and carve the neck angled like my Conklin bass is. This is a bit weaker depending on the design. This is why you will see a lot of old les paul guitars with the broken headstock repair, because they were manufactures in this manner. The way to get around this weakness in this design is to carve a hump on the back of the neck, almost directly under the nut. This thickens this crucial area without interfering with playability, but strengthening the neck considerably.

    Note: I am not an experienced luthier. I just pull from my extensive research on the subject.
     
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Way #1 is called a "scarf joint".

    A bigger problem for the Gibsons was that the angle was steep enough and the peghead was long enough that when laid flat on the ground, the guitar would rest on two points: the tip of the headstock and the butt of the ground. that means that if the guitar falls or any pressure is put on the instrument when it is laid down, it will tend to fail at the thinnest part of the neck. One piece angled pegheads can be plenty strong and a scarf joint can fail or delaminate, so it's really a push as to which you use in my opinion.

    Design your instrument well and either way its body will lay flat with the headstock elevated off the ground.

    And don't be afraid of books. The information in them is usually verifiably true which is not always the case for the internet.
     
  6. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    So, you're saying I do know what I'm talking about? Sweet. :p
     
    Darchyboy likes this.
  7. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    I prefer the scarf joint method to eliminate the issue mentioned about regarding the end grain running out of the headstock resulting in a very weak area on the guitar/bass.

    Here is a link to a nifty little scarf joint jig. I use a jig just like this one.

    http://pweb.jps.net/~kmatsu/htmlpages/scarfjig.html

    You then take the piece that is cut off, plane it down to the desired thickness for the headstock (average is around .625" or 5/8") flip it over and glue it back on.

    It also helps to put one or two staples in the neck piece and cutting them off just above the surface of the wood. This helps the joint from slipping while your glueing and clamping it up. Just make sure to put the staples in a place where when you cut the profile of the neck (from side to side) that part of the wood is cut off. I put my staples right on either side of where the nut will be, that way when I shape the neck taper, that area of the neck is removed.
     
  8. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    That is a nifty little jig......guess I need a table saw now! :p
    tools, tools, tools
     
  9. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Oh... FYI - It's for my 3-piece, possibly 5-piece lam. neck.
     
  10. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Well, generally, you put the laminates together befor the shaping. It makes that job a lot easier. Otherwise it's trying to make a puzzle by shaping the pieces completely independently.
     
  11. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I figured that much -- I just didn't know if the fact that it's a laminated neck would pose any problems.
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Sorry if it seemed like I was trying to call you a quack (I wasn't). Everything in your post was accurate. But, the Gibson "headstock-too-angled" problem is something people should think about, and a guy could do worse than to get information of this type from a book...

    Now, you (or someone else) could argue that scarf joints are stronger because you can eliminate runout in the peghead. Thus the peghead is less likely to split along the grain. If you do the scarf joint well, then you do get that benefit. On the other hand, getting a good joint and being able to put the joint in clamps can be an ordeal, especially if you are just getting started. If you get a weak joint, then you'd have been better off with the one-piecer. Just something to think about.

    A lot of people who do scarf joints do them to save on wood. I end up with lots of neck cutoffs for makeing one-piece necks. My guess is that Ibanez is doing scarf joints for this reason.
     
  13. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Didn't think that at all. I was just glad I knew what I was talking about. I have never really worked on building a neck for an insturment, I just know what to do. A lot of knowledge comes only from practice, and some from study, and my study has paid off.

    Anyways, I used to deal with some vintage instruments at my guitar store job, and I did a lot of repairs, as well. I have been thinking about doing some building myself, but I don't have much as far as facilities go.

    Let us know how it goes, teej.
     
  14. flameworker

    flameworker

    Jun 15, 2014
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania
    one day....
    Digging up this old post to get some answers. I had intended on building a thick laminate for a neck blank and then cutting a 9degree headstock. This method wastes a ton of wood.

    I was looking at my usa Alvarez acoustic and noticed they had cut the breadsticks at an angle and the flipped it and glued it.

    Many people here say a proper titebond glue joint is stronger than the wood itself. Is that really true? Because I have a maple board about 1.25 inches thick I've been practicing carving the neck back on with a draw knife (that's how Martin says they do it) and if cutting flipping and gluing is strong enough than I would much rather use that method.
     
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Yes, a good glue joint is stronger than the surrounding wood, and a scarf joint is much stronger than a neck carved from a single piece. If you try and break a proper glue joint, the wood around the joint will always break before the glue joint fails.
     
  16. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I don't think I would ever make a neck out of breadsticks.
     
    BioWeapon likes this.
  17. flameworker

    flameworker

    Jun 15, 2014
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania
    one day....
    Spell check interesting my changes Breadsticks to dreadlocks, and headstock to breadsticks! Also talkbass was being changed to Taliban, suddenly it's changing to Falklands? That's what I get for typing incomplete words with my thumbs on a kindle fire, but freaky that it "learns".

    Well that is good to know, I'm scrapping my original neck plan, it was way too much wood, and going with a scarf joint !!
     
  18. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    OK I think I may give the scarf joint thing a try. At what stage do you route for the truss rod? I normally have my neck blanks as 13/16" thick about 5" wide and 34" long then route the truss rod slot using a router table. How do those of you that do scarf joints plan it out? I guess to most of you this seems like a newbie question but I got to ask it. Thanks ..Tom
     
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I thought I had a photo somewhere, but....

    My approach:

    1. Cut and glue the scarf joint to the blank.
    2. Securely clamp the neck into the center section of my WorkMate, letting the headstock hang just off the end.
    3. Position my router guide rails on either side of the neck, taking measurements at each end to make sure the router will be centered.
    4. Securely clamp the guide rails, and double-double check the measurements.
    5. Clearly mark the end points of the truss rod channel - if truss rod adjustment is at the headstock end, you won't need a mark there obviously.
    6. Route in multiple shallow passes with the plunge base.

    I've done step 2 both before and after rough neck tapering; it works for me either way, as long as my guide rails are correctly positioned.
     
  20. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Thanks I am hoping to avoid making new jigs.