the sound of​ f​lat vs quarter sawn neck blanks?

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by theMIDrange, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. theMIDrange

    theMIDrange Member

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    i've got some older mahog ready to be cut up. Got it squared. Laying it across the knees and tapping it at same points, the tap tone is quite dif​f​erent note. the quartered being lower in pitch. I wonder if​ I make sectioned these blanks, one quartered and the other in the f​lat sawn direction, would the resulting necks sound di
    f​f​erent...I suspect they will...

    .But i was surprised that the quartered was lower in note as I would have thought that direction would be higher due to a more stif​f​ lengthwise quality that quartered might impart. But then again I haven't cut out the black yet so once I do I will tap each again and see if​ the note qualities are in the same direction (quartered being lower pitch).

    And then there is always the possibilty once the entire neck is done with laminated
    f​retboard, that the stif​f​ness dif​f​erence due to the two cut types, will not yield any sound dif​f​erence...I will see but in the meantime, what do you'all think? should they sound the same in the end?

    ​What I know certainly is that the two saw types will be di​f​ erent sti
    f​f​ness along the length. I'd anticipate quartered to be stif​f​er and
    f​latsawn more yielding in the lengthwise direction theref​ore less stif​f​. whether this translates into tone dif​f​erence I don't know. but as of​ now I can say the tap tones are di
    f​f​erent.

    I have another square blank that is 45 degree grain and the two adjacent sides are pretty much the same tap note. which would make sense since each side is practially the same grain along the length due to being 45 degree cut.....
     

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  2. TheCaffeinatedOne

    TheCaffeinatedOne New Member

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    I see it as primarily a structural question.

    Given the success of slabsawn Tele necks, I'm not certain how much of a profound difference this would make. My thinking is simply that with neck material, the stiffer the better; I don't need to do much analysis to prefer quartered grain.
     
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  3. theMIDrange

    theMIDrange Member

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    structurally, yes, quartered is obviously better but as you say, many (almost all?) the great teles strats les pauls etc probably had slab sawn or close to that necks no?. This whole trend to use quartered necks is boutique builders. I still suspect this sti​f​fness also has an impact on tone. The transfer of vibration from the headstock on down will be different and this process is key to tone ime. This is also why the headstock and it's mass (from tuner weight primarily) has an easily hearable tone affect, so I assume the stiffness of the entire length neck also has affect....but who knows, I will make two identical necks, one quartered and one flat and do a first hand experiment..

    btw, my guess is flat sawn may actually be best for tone based on the above belief that the classic instruments had flat sawn....And if it's old or slow grown wood, properly dried, flat sawn is probably just as stable....so I am not a 'quartered guy'. Although 2o years of woodworking surely shows me that quartered is more stable if the tree is plantation grown or not properly dried
     
  4. dewittm

    dewittm New Member

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    I would simply suggest regardless of the quarter or flat sawing that you make the neck at least 3 pieces for stiffness and stability. That way, in my opinion, the issue goes away. It also provides a nice look if you go with 5 pieces (i.e. 2 thin figured light colored pieces between the mahogany strips, say tiger maple). Then I prefer an oil finish for the feel while playing. But all this is in the eye of the maker.
     
  5. donagin

    donagin New Member

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    From a structural standpoint - as long as grain runout isn't an issue - the difference in stiffness between quarter and slab sawn material is much less as the shape of the wood gets thicker. If the cross section become circular, there is no difference (you can't have a slab sawn circle!) Necks are half circles, and the difference between the stiffness in individual pieces is probably much greater than the difference in stiffness between quarter and slab sawn material. That would explain your surprising results.

    My two cents worth. Meant to generate thought, and not meant to generate controversy.

    -Don
     
  6. Tonedragon

    Tonedragon New Member

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    My teacher explained that awhile ago the whole 1/4 sawn debate was made up by fender. The only time quarter sawn counts is when doing an acoustic top. Fender borrowed CFMartins 1/4 sawn top idea and applied it to necks.
    I can't say if one sounds better, I can say ,I have yet to hear a Fender that sustained like a set neck. They break just as much too
     

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