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How much of a difference does quartersawn really make?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassrique, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Specifically, I'm concerned with a neck's ability to handle going from a low humidity cool indoor environment to a muggy, 90+ degree gig and then back again.

    For those not familiar, here is an image to illustrate:


    Many higher end bass models have quartersawn necks.

    There are some good threads on this in the archives:






    Well, it looks like I have my answer, but I'm starting this thread anyway.
  2. lposavad

    lposavad Supporting Member

    Maybe there's a graphite neck in your future...
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    What was that song from Styx?

  4. Very funny :rolleyes:
  5. Fender32


    Jun 23, 2005
    Kent, England
    :confused: Am I the only one here who has no idea whatsoever of how to interpret that diagram?

    :meh: Guess I must be.

    Here's a pic of a quarter sawn neck (from my CS P Bass), for anyone else who's still not sure ;):


    I'm assuming that Fender do this now on their high end basses for a good reason (dangerous assumption, I know ;)), as the real vintage ones weren't generally quarter sawn :meh:.

    Is it to make them more stable? Anyone have any info on that?
  6. Dude, your neck looks riftsawn to me. :D
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    "Babe" but what does that have to do with anything?

    The flatsawn / quartersawn argument goes right along with the single piece vs. multi-lam controversy IMO. There are too many other variables which have profound influences on the quality and stability of a finished product.

  8. Fender32


    Jun 23, 2005
    Kent, England
    :( Really?

    Oh pants! I thought I was getting the hang of it there too, for a minute.

  9. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Quartersawn lumber is about 1/3 stronger.
  10. Sounds about right.

    Indeed. Subject to string tension, expansion/contraction of the fingerboard, type of climate, neck thickness, fingerboard thickness, neck reinforcement, type of finish, etc.
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Here's the end of my Tele's neck. I made it about 17 years ago. It's three pieces of quatersawn maple with a StewMac fretboard. I spent close to an hour going through boards at the lumber yard. Worth the trouble? I doubt it. Would I do it again? Hell no.
  12. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    Absolutely riftsawn! IMO. Especially the right side. More CS mojo ;)
  13. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    By what metric?
  14. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    I'd also add that quartersawn and flatsawn only apply to how the grain orients to the finished product and it's not a type of wood. For example if you take a flatsawn board and spit it and and glue the faces together you can make a quartersawn neck.
  15. Fender32


    Jun 23, 2005
    Kent, England
    Just goes to show that I really didn't understand that diagram at all :p.

    Whilst we're talking about grain; do the rings get closer together towards the outside (bark) of the tree, or towards the inside and what impact does the proximity of the rings have on overall strength and stability of the wood :meh:?
  16. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    In general, a Quartersawn board will expand and contract only half as much across its width as a plainsawn board of the same species and dimensions. As a consequence, grain orientation and the possibility of differential expansion and contraction must be taken into account whenever two pieces of wood are to be joined, e.g., when gluing a finger/fret board to a neck. When the characteristics of each species have been carefully considered, paying attention to grain orientation can make the difference between a long-lived joint, and a joint failure.

    Data specific to each species can be found in a variety of books and websites.
  17. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    The way I see it calling it rift or flat is a judgement call. I look at it like flat is with the rigs parallel to the surface, quartered would be perpendicular and rift would be 45 degrees. So each individual piece of wood will be somewhere inbetween and may blend from one type to the other. That CS neck heal is kinda quartered on the left to nearly perfectly rift sawn on the right side. I see so many rift sawn Fenders I've wondered if they buy discount lumber that's been picked through already.

    So now look at the chart and notice a piece gets classified by it's overall feel and it is a bit subjective.

    As for rings I bet it varies by species but generally in a single piece wider rings are years of faster growth.
  18. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    Just to clarify, this also means it will expand and contract more across it's depth. I just don't want people thinking it reacts differently than flatsawn wood. It's the same wood aligned to take advantage of it's tendencies.
  19. Here's another image:




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