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Laminated neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by shai-ga, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Hi all,

    I have a perfect one piece neck blank, quarter sawn, ready to be cut to neck dimensions.

    This one is going to have 3 carbon rods, with no truss rod (32" headless).

    Would you cut this blank into 3 pieces, just to glue them back together for a stronger neck?

    gebass6 likes this.
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You can if you want to. You could also make it two piece, cut down the center and flipped so that the rings are symmetrical. Making it a two-piece or three-piece lamination will not make it stronger, but it will make it more stable. The weakness of quartersawn boards is that they tend to twist. Splitting and regluing the blank as a symmetrical laminate prevents that. Movement of the wood will be counteracted by the opposite movement of the other half.

    Think again about not using a truss rod. A truss rod isn't necessary for strength; its purpose is to allow fine adjustment of the relief curve of the neck. If you don't put one in, you are taking a big risk. You could get the neck all built, and find that it has too much or too little relief when it's strung up. Then you'd be stuck. You'd have to pull the frets, resurface the fingerboard by guesswork, and try again. It could take several attempts to get it right.
    Randyt and rwkeating like this.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    If the grain is truly perfectly perpendicular, then I might not, but overall, yes, I personally would. :) I have no actual real hard evidence as to why, but I've drunk the Kool-Aid and always make multi-lam necks with the grain laid out in opposition. It seems like that will help reduce any tendency for the wood to all move in a single direction.

    In yours above though, I'd flip the final stringer on the far right end for end so that the curve of the grain faces inward like the stringer on the left...
  4. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Thanks guys!

    I'm thinking about this only to create a stiffer neck in playing situation, not worried too much about twisting and wood movement.

    Considering the truss rod, I just want this neck to be free of the metal tunnel inside or "air-zones", making it as strong, solid and quick as possible, using 3 carbon fiber rods as I mentioned, with an ebony board on top.

    All the necks I've built so far were one-piece, with truss rods, and I just felt them vibrating in my hand, taking string energy out, leaving me with short sustain notes.

    I will probably make a fake relief, lightly sanding the board as a slide. good idea?
  5. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    I strongly suggest that you buy a truss rod from Bruce and mount it to the neck you’re planning. It’s the best truss rod I’ve used so far (single action compression rod, Martin style single action rod, dual action dual rod) No air zone or metal tunnels inside the neck. The neck had a solid feel and it had nice resonance when scraping and sanding it and mostly when played. I’m so glad I have Bruce’s rod parts for the next neck too.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  6. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    Here is another vote for using a truss rod.

    One of the key differences I've found between a bad instrument and a good one is setup and a truss rod is essential for maintaining a good setup throughout the life of the instrument.
  7. Bruce, please help me here:

    IIRC, older Martins have no truss rod, and the neck relief was set by 'compression fretting' (?), i.e., the frets used had varying tang depths/widths, and the wedge effect in separating the wood in each slot collectively added up to the neck relief. Re-doing or setting up one of these old birds in the modern day is a dying art, like wooden wheel-wrights. Sure you want to let yourself in for it? Remember, Dan Erlewine himself remarks that electric basses are the hardest instruments to set-up due to the scale length and the tension of the bass strings.

    With respect, I would suggest if you feel the void in the neck rout and some aberration induced by a truss rod's addition, I frankly don't know what to tell you; that's a new one on me.

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