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slab vs veneer

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by neslofalo, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. neslofalo


    Mar 3, 2008
    any thoughts on the difference between slab and veneer?
  2. Jeronimofesto

    Jeronimofesto Luthier: JC Basses

    Oct 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    I am guessing you are talking about the body. With a veneer you don't get any of the tonal characteristics of that particular wood, only the looks. Also, if it is a thin veneer you can easily sand through it when you are doing your final sanding and totally ruin the bass top. Most luthiers will find a compromise between a veneer and a slab body. Usually something like 1/4" thick top glued to a slab body of a different, usually cheaper, wood.
  3. neslofalo


    Mar 3, 2008
    i´m actually referring to the fretboard and if it would affect the sound and in wich way?
  4. Jeronimofesto

    Jeronimofesto Luthier: JC Basses

    Oct 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    It wouldn't change the sound much at all if anything. The neck wood would be doing all the work there. Don't do this if you have a fretless, the strings will wear right through the veneer over time. You will still need a "fretboard" to get some height from the neck wood where the truss rod is. Otherwise the stings will be WAY above the frets. I guess you could use an existing fretboard and take the frets out and glue a thin veneer of a nice looking wood. Then simply re-fret it.
  5. Grantrudd


    Jun 26, 2007
    Boston MA
    i think that introducing that much moisture to a neck could make the board uneven. if you are talking about 2 mm veneers, you will probably be using a lot of glue, and it would come out pretty warped. tonally, not much of a difference between the 2.
  6. neslofalo


    Mar 3, 2008
    ok,but why do you think they changed it at fender in the early sixties?was it because of sound or material costs?you see i´m thinking of baybe getting one and wondering if i should choose one with slab or veneer.seems like there´s no difference then
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The impression I've gotten is that basically every change that's been done at Fender has been a matter of economics, not tone. If fretboard wood's more more expensive, you "veneer" thin slices; if the labor's more expensive, you do normal slab construction.

    Not sure if that's exactly true, but it does fit the pattern.
  8. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    I believe your asking about they way they used to install fretboards on the older instruments. They used to bend the rosewood over a radiused neck shaft. The fretboard is very thin and does not leave a lot of room for truing the neck. I believe they changed because leo said that the maple necks looked dirty on stage and the rosewood hides that. I've seen quite a few of these necks through my shop and I have always been amazed because they are almost always extremely straight.
  9. The neck wood will affect the tone of the instrument. The wood and/or the finish of the fingerboard will have the most influence on the attack (quick vs rounded).

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