Glued maple fretboards

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
Post Reply
User avatar
leokula
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 744
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:36 pm
Location: Brazil
Contact:

Glued maple fretboards

Post by leokula » Sat May 19, 2018 8:50 am

I've always had guitars with RW fingerboards, but eventually I got a maple neck cheap strat. Somehow, without any factual backup I just assumed that a maple neck with glued maple fretboard meant cheap construction. I just thought decent maple necks would just be one piece.

Seems like I was wrong! I never did any more research on this until this week, and found out actually some (if not most) MIJ strats are made like that.

Can anybody please elaborate more on this subject?
Jaguar > Jazzmaster :)

User avatar
DesmondWafers
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1573
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:15 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by DesmondWafers » Sat May 19, 2018 9:03 am

Theoretically, a two piece neck should be stronger than a one piece. Does it really matter? Not really, but I definitely wouldn't perceive a two piece as "cheaper".

User avatar
bluenote23
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 261
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:26 am
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by bluenote23 » Sat May 19, 2018 11:59 am

Blond Fender necks in the 60s (earliest seems to be 62, latest 1970) were maple caps. I'm no guitar maker but it seems to me that there's no economic savings in making a maple cap neck. You don't really save much wood and there's labor costs involved in gluing the cap.

This is not the same as, say, scarf joint necks which are clearly a cost cutting feature.

User avatar
Stereordinary
Expat
Expat
Posts: 10581
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:55 am
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
Contact:

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by Stereordinary » Sun May 20, 2018 8:32 am

bluenote23 wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 11:59 am
This is not the same as, say, scarf joint necks which are clearly a cost cutting feature.
Not necessarily. There are a lot of guitar makers that use scarf jointed headstocks because it’s believed to be stronger than a one-piece because of the direction of the wood grain.
Save up for your dream guitar.

User avatar
mbene085
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2539
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 5:07 am

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by mbene085 » Sun May 20, 2018 7:14 pm

Stereordinary wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:32 am
bluenote23 wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 11:59 am
This is not the same as, say, scarf joint necks which are clearly a cost cutting feature.
Not necessarily. There are a lot of guitar makers that use scarf jointed headstocks because it’s believed to be stronger than a one-piece because of the direction of the wood grain.
Yes, not to mention environmental reasons. Taylor Guitars switched to a scarf joint because it significant reduced the size of the mahogany blank required to make a neck with an angled headstock, which really cut down on how much mahogany they were using. You could be pessimistic and say that's a cost-cutting feature, but with the essays Bob Taylor has written on environmental stewardship and his approach to Ebony trees and all that, I'm inclined to believe him when he says it was to curb the use of tropical mahogany (which is in short supply these days).

User avatar
oid
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by oid » Sun May 20, 2018 7:54 pm

bluenote23 wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 11:59 am
but it seems to me that there's no economic savings in making a maple cap neck. You don't really save much wood and there's labor costs involved in gluing the cap.
If you have a pile of maple off cuts from resawing that are only thick enough for fret boards there is a huge savings in cash, Fender probably accumulates such piles fairly often. Personally I would take a neck with separate fret board over a single piece every time, simplifies repairs greatly, especially truss rod replacement.
This is not the same as, say, scarf joint necks which are clearly a cost cutting feature.
Sort of. Historically heel and head were separate pieces, making necks that way takes skill and time since you are adding at least two joints to cut, fit, and glue. The one piece neck became the dominant neck style when machines and mass production came about, anyone who could count all their fingers and toes could be trained in short time to hack out necks. Now the expense of cutting those joints is making sense due to the the rising expense of those few woods which myopic guitarist will accept in a neck. Either neck can be plenty strong but the single piece neck with slanted head stock needs well chosen wood to be as strong as the scarfed head. The real advantage of the scarfed head stock is when it takes a decapitating blow it will often just separate at the glue line, easy fix.

Stacked heels and scarfed heads are still the norm in the classical world.
mbene085 wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 7:14 pm
Yes, not to mention environmental reasons. Taylor Guitars switched to a scarf joint because it significant reduced the size of the mahogany blank required to make a neck with an angled headstock, which really cut down on how much mahogany they were using. You could be pessimistic and say that's a cost-cutting feature, but with the essays Bob Taylor has written on environmental stewardship and his approach to Ebony trees and all that, I'm inclined to believe him when he says it was to curb the use of tropical mahogany (which is in short supply these days).
That is mostly marketing on Bobs part, while you can say the blank is smaller, it is still the same amount of wood and both need the same sized tree to provide. The nice thing about a single piece neck on an acoustic is that big hunk of waste has just enough wood to get you your head/tail blocks kerfing and back braces. Not to say he does not care about the environment, he may very well, just that that decision was made with concern about the bottom line and not the environment.

User avatar
mbene085
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2539
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 5:07 am

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by mbene085 » Mon May 21, 2018 5:37 am

oid wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 7:54 pm
That is mostly marketing on Bobs part, while you can say the blank is smaller, it is still the same amount of wood and both need the same sized tree to provide. The nice thing about a single piece neck on an acoustic is that big hunk of waste has just enough wood to get you your head/tail blocks kerfing and back braces. Not to say he does not care about the environment, he may very well, just that that decision was made with concern about the bottom line and not the environment.
Is it, though? I thought they didn't make the kerfing out of mahogany on their guitars. To make the scarf-joint neck, they use a slightly longer blank instead of one that is slightly shorter but much thicker. I do believe that results in a smaller blank being needed, volumetrically-speaking. Especially since Taylor's use a 3-piece where the neck heel has a third piece glued on. That really reduces the thickness of blank needed.

David Webber, a luthier with a couple thousand builds under his belt, told me that he carved his necks out of a single piece of mahogany but felt wasteful doing so.

User avatar
leokula
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 744
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:36 pm
Location: Brazil
Contact:

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by leokula » Mon May 21, 2018 6:22 am

Hey guys, thank you all who chimed in! This was very informative.

I got rid of that strat a year ago, not necessarily because of that, but it helped LOL I was about to pull a trigger on a cheap honest tele for a refin, but was hesitant because of this again. I just pulled the trigger and will go ahead :) Damn, you learn something different every day!
Jaguar > Jazzmaster :)

User avatar
oid
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: Glued maple fretboards

Post by oid » Tue May 22, 2018 12:55 am

mbene085 wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 5:37 am
Is it, though? I thought they didn't make the kerfing out of mahogany on their guitars. To make the scarf-joint neck, they use a slightly longer blank instead of one that is slightly shorter but much thicker. I do believe that results in a smaller blank being needed, volumetrically-speaking. Especially since Taylor's use a 3-piece where the neck heel has a third piece glued on. That really reduces the thickness of blank needed.

David Webber, a luthier with a couple thousand builds under his belt, told me that he carved his necks out of a single piece of mahogany but felt wasteful doing so.
Yes the blank is bigger in volume but any wasted wood is the fault of the luthier, that is a decent sized offcut and plenty of ways it can be utilized in the guitar or in other projects. Industry standard blank for the scarfed and stacked neck will be 1"x3"x36", the single piece will be 3"x4"x24"with an offcut of about 3"x3"x20," with funky ends. You got all the wood for in the box in that offcut, or the neck for a smaller instrument or two and some left over for in the box.

Post Reply