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?The right tools to build a neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by sofnlo, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. sofnlo


    Dec 29, 2004
    My current neck is on hold until I learn the right way.

    1.If im using a blank thick enough to put a 13degree angle,whats the best tool to cut out my neck.I used a jig saw but it did not come out straight.

    2.What do I use to get a straight pocket for my truss rod?

    Anything will help right now.
  2. Alduroth


    Mar 3, 2009
  3. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    A bandsaw can cut the neck profile straight. A router or table saw can cut the truss rod slot.
  4. Tablesaw works best for me for cutting the 13degree headstock angle. I did that once with a handsaw and cleaned it up with a file. Three years later there's no sign of problem with the joint, but boy it took some time to do. I've only done truss rod channels with a router but I could see the tablesaw working well there too. The big thing is that there aren't many procedures in making a bass where there is only one right way. If you have more time and patience than tools and money you still can do about anything you need to. A lot of what you read here are "best practices" shared among builders who have to work very efficiently to make even a little profit on what they build. If you're building an instrument for personal abuse and don't have a drop dead date for completion you can usually use what you've got and make it work.
  5. I am a firm believer in arched truss rod channels to get the maximum upward force to correct a bow in the neck. To me, straight truss rod channels don't do much.
  6. if u would care to share how u do this i would appreciate this
  7. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Of course, there are a lot of "right" ways to do things...here is how I do them in most (but not all) cases. Again, there is always another way to do something well when building a bass...

    1) I generally cut the angle with a sharp backsaw and then smooth both sides with a block plane. If you have some experience with tuning and using planes you can make the joint really good this way. Otherwise, I've heard of guys using a router with a jig to smooth out the joint before gluing.

    If you go a route that uses a block plane (and you haven't made a scarfed headstock this way before) I would suggest reading through the section of Cumpiano's book (Guitarmaking Tradition and Technology) about making the scarf joint. They also go over a good way to glue the joint

    2) I use a router with an edge guide to keep the channel nice and straight. A tablesaw would work just fine as well, like others have suggested.

    You should post some progress pics of your build!
  8. Instruments that have the skunk stripe on the back of the neck, in most cases, have an arched truss rod. It requires a curved fixture that holds the neck in place while you route the channel from the back of the neck. The fixture has
    a mild upward arch in the center and raises the router along the route slightly. When the rod is installed, it has a slight downwared bow and is encased with a strip of wood also arched in the same manner. When the rod is tightened it exertes upward pressue on the center of the neck to compensate for the bow caused by string pressure. The straight channel puts pressure upward on the bottom of the fretboard but the bow must be present before it has any effect on the neck. It puts a lot of pressure on the fretboard and does little to correct the bow. Many builders use the straight channel because of the simplisity of installation. I can send you Fender's drawings of the exact diminsions of the curved channel and the angle of the rod and it's anchor and adjustment nut. If you like I can direct you to some details on the web.

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