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Can someone explain neck-thru angles?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tekhna, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    As I understand it you have to angle a neck 1 or 2 degrees above the body. Can someone explain to me why, and where the pivot point is, and how to determine how and where to angle a neckthrough of your own creation?

  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    You don't have to angle the neck. Actually, it's very difficult to angle the neck on a neck-through - I don't even know if it's possible. The headstock is a different story; you don't HAVE to angle it, but it's stronger if you do. There you use what's called a scarf joint, and use a 13 degree angle.
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    The only reason you would angle the neck is if you wanted to adjust the spacing between the strings and the body, and thus the bridge height. It's definetly possible to do this, but it's alot of work. The best way to figure it all out is to just lay it out on paper.
  4. The reason, at least with electric guitars that the neck is angled is that tune-o-matic bridges (those found on Gibsons) are quite tall so the neck is angled to keep the action across the fret board acceptable (see exagerated naff little drawing). This is also why guitar humbucker surrounds come in two heights, to take into account the angle. I know you'd probably prefer a bass reference but angled necks are most common on guitars not basses. It is not a requirement on a bass at all. If your bridge isn't that tall then don't worry about it.

    Attached Files:

  5. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Both of the basses I built have angled necks, and are neck through designs. The angle is usually between 1 and 2 degrees. The reason to do this is to keep the string and fretboard as close to parallel as possible. Both of these are fretless, so the height of the string over the board is less than on a fretted bass. Whether you need an angle or not depends mainly on the height of the bridge and the desired action. I've found that drawing the whole string/neck/bridge relationship in CAD is extremely helpful for figuring out this sort of detail.

    One minor advantage of an angled neck is that the neck is slightly closer to the player, which I find to be more comfortable -- particularly at the lower positions.

    As for the actual procedure, I marked out the lines on the side of the neck blank, starting the angle at the end of the fingerboard. Then I planed the blank down to my lines with a #4 smoothing plane, checking with a machinist's square as I went. After I planed the top of the neck blank, I glued on the wings flush with the top, then planed the back of the neck blank flush to the back of the wings. Pretty simple, but a well-tuned plane is neccesary!
  6. All my basses have an angled neck on them, all two of them :rolleyes: . It really depends on how you design your body/neck interface with respect to the bridge. As paintandsk8 said, the only way to really figure it out is to lay it down on paper. I imagine that it might have a bit of an affect on how the bass feels as well, its only about an inch difference for 2 degrees but that might be the difference between sitting just right and just not quite right.

    Basically you'd have to do is make the neck blank as normal, then from the section that'll join onto the body you shave off a very fine wedge from the front and back. That way you effectively tilt the neck back, sacrificing a smidge of body width though. The other option is to not tilt the neck and instead recess the bridge.

    Josh D
  7. Well Shuyler flogged me with that reply, not only faster but better to boot.
  8. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    but daveze... you had the clarity of mind to note that the planing is done to the body, not the neck. on looking back over, i see that my post isn't very specific about that important detail!