Neck Dimensions..... HELP ME!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by iareplaythebass, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. I'm planning a neck through 5 string...
    What should the dimensions of the neck be before I shape it?
    Also, how does the taper in width work?
    PLEASE HELP ME! I'd like to buy my wood soon! Thanks everybody!
  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Well.......I'm sure more detailed answers will follow. I am no expert luthier, but here's what I have recently come to understand:

    First: get all your 'dimensions'......when building a neck you need to know:
    1) scale length (34, 35, 36")?
    2) how many strings?
    3) decide what bridge yur gonna use.

    how the neck will be constructed depends on these things.
    are you gonna use laminates?? diff. exotics perhaps??
    or just use one nice chunk of maple or mahogany?

    laminates will be cheaper, and dep. who you talk to, more stable.

    also, what kind of headstock joint are you planning to use?? If you want to do what is called a scarf joint, then the wood/laminates might not need to be as "wide".
    But, if you are planning to use no headstock joint, then the woods will need to be around 3" wide or so, or enough to get the correct headstock angle. There's many diff. ways to build the neck. Read up on them, and decide what is best for you.
    As an example, if you are planning a neck-thru, then you will need at least what your scale length is.
    if it's say, 34", then you will need a little to play with behind the bridge and enough after the nut for the headstock, so we're talkin 40+".
    buy a good building book too!
    That should be your first job. Get all the dimensions together on paper first.
    have fun and be patient.
  3. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    and for getting the taper, make sure to taper the fingerboard first, then glue it to the neck, and trim the neck to the fingerboard. Plan yur nut width and figure out the string spacing on the bridge yur planning to use, you'll figure it out from there.
  4. I'm planning on using a scarf joint, 34" scale, and I have an individual peice bridge from customshop down in florida. I'm also planning on having a 7 peice laminated neck, but i'm not sure which woods I'm going to use yet, I'm thinking either maple or wenge for the majority of it, and purpleheart laminates... 2 side laminates and a "stinger" strip down the middle.
  5. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    I haven't built one but getting the taper seems simple: just measure out your nut width, go to the bottom of neck then measure out at the end of the fretboard/neck for the width there, then get a long meter stick or straight edge and draw your tapers. What I wanna know is how to you luthiers radius a fingerboard without a pre-made radius sanding block. If you can make your own, please share..
  6. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    here's a PDF of a 4 string neck schematic that i use to start my 3D designs with.

    not a 5, but you get the idea.

    the angular dimension is not the driving feature.

    the spacing at the bridge and the nut width are the main dimensions.

    hope this helps a bit.

  7. You should have this stuff figured out well before you start shaping. Draw up at least an accurate to scale set of drawings, decide upon string spacings and stuff like that.

    When you've done that I think you'll find that the dimensions become pretty obvious. Unless you're talking about the thickness of the neck, in which case you just asked a question I need to know the answer to myself...

    Before you buy your wood purchase a few big pieces of paper for your drawings and I've heard many times to get your bridge before you finalise plans and stuff, so that you can end up with a decent action (string heights, neck angles and stuff).

    Josh D
  8. I"m reallly wondering about the thickness... the rest is determined by string spacing and such....
  9. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    Thickness depends a bit on the required channel depth for the style of truss rod you are using. You want to leave enough wood below the channel so that it is not weakened. There is an old thread about this, I think; try a search. I start with a neck blank thickness of 0.75", not including fingerboard.
  10. Isn't .75 a little thin for a neck though? I was thinking the blank would at least have to be 1.75 thick since that's my body thickness....
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Body thickness is not driving the neck thickness. Even with a neckthru, yoiu can have a thin neck, and add some thickness where the body attaches.

    Some high-end guys do tapers in the thickness as well, but I don't like that much.

    I start with 15mm=3x5mm planed and glued together. I use fairly low profile truss rod, slot depth is 10.25mm.
  12. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Almost everybody tapers the neck thickness but you and me :)

    Nice to see that once again we share similar views ;)

    would you care to share your workk with us posting some pics????

  13. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Yeah, we do, and what's more interesting: we did before we knew of eachother!
    I have an item I will show, when it's done. I lack a few knobs, and have trouble finding something to my liking (very special wishes for those knobs...).
  14. I guess my real question in creating this thread can be answered more easily now that I know what woods I plan to use. I want my neck to be Wenge and purpleheart, (wpwpw), and the purple heart strips will be 3/8" each. So, how should I order my wenge? Should i get one peice and cut it up somehow or should i order 3 seperate? and either way, what should the dimensions of those peices be for a 5 string neck through? (Maybe i'm a little slow, but i'd rather ask a million times and get it right than buy bunch of pricey wood that i can't use... :) ) Also, where's a good place to buy wenge of these sizes?