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Adjustable neck to correct action

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Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Christ Kacoyannakis » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:58 pm

Hi, I am looking for ideas for how to make a Fender type bolt on neck with an adjustable action. I am building an electric solid body Greek bouzouki, and am trying to figure out how to make the bolt on neck with an adjustable action. Thinking of using the brass inserts with bolts like they do on a bolt on neck, but looking for some good ideas and instruction on how to make it easily adjustable. Some players like a higher action, and some a lower, and the necks are long and thin with 8 strings, so they also tend to move around. Thanks all!
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby David King » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:31 am

Make a series of wooden tapered wedges to go between the neck and the body.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:14 am

Or you can use a set screw adjustment system, look at Fender's "Micro tilt" system. But stick with the four bolts.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby David King » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:35 pm

I've never see a micro tilt system that actually held up over time to the neck screw pressure.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Christ Kacoyannakis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:23 pm

I am looking at the bolt on neck adjusting screws that LMI sells. It seems that a lot of acoustic builders build with a similar system (although the bolts are in the neck heal, instead of coming up through a solid body into the bottom of a straight neck blank). However, when I was at the 2017 ASIA Symposium, I saw a presentation where the maker put a fret on the neck that rested in a channel filed into a piece of aluminum. Then the two bolts were on either side, and this allowed him to rock the neck over the fret, which acted like a fulcrum. He was able to make the adjustment while the guitar was tuned to pitch, and I thought that was very cool. Would two bolt really be enough, or should I go with four?
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:31 pm

You cannot compare acoustic bolt on necks to electric fender style bolted neck. Totally different.

Four bolts/screws are necessary for an electric.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby JC Whitney » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:25 am

As I understand it, one of the aspects that made the Fender design a big step forward (at least from a mass production point of view) was that it greatly simplified the preocess of constructing and fitting a neck. This, coupled with an easily adjustable bridge and truss rod, aimed to make all of that pesky dovetail fitting/neck angle nastiness a thing of the past. Given that you're also having to deal with the added pull of a couple of extra strings, it might be easier to stick with a typical fixed joint, and instead reinforce the neck a bit more than Leo did (carbon alongside both sides of the truss rod?) and to insure that you have a wide range of adjustability in the bridge..? It seems like that, along with a few carefully crafted neck pocket shim options for "large" tweaks should provide the user with a pretty big range of adjustability.
Of course, easier isn't always better - or as much fun...
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Mark Wybierala » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:31 pm

I think I understand where your at with your thinking here but I'm guessing. I've made a number of solid body bouzoukis and they are really awesome instruments. Full size plans is the only way to go so you can visualize the neck angle. As far as adjusting the neck angle with a bolt-on neck, its always easy to increase the neck angle using a shim in the bottom or base of the neck pocket. Prior to the employment of the microtilt, Fender would often install a cardboard shim at the factory on guitars that needed one. I am not a fan of the microtilt, and even on modern Fenders, I'll still employ a shim rather than use the microtilt. I use guitar picks routinely as they will not compress like cardboard. I also may use veneer if I think the client would prefer it but I've never noticed a difference. Some techs like a full pocket shim but seldom do I see such a need.

Build the guitar right to begin with and you may find that you can get it right to begin with.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Christ Kacoyannakis » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:09 pm

I totally agree, that building it right in the first place is the way to go. However, what I think is right, is not what a lot of players want. I have built a solid body bouzouki with an archtop guitar-like adjustable bridge, but it is very difficult. The bouzouki does not have as much set back as an archtop, so the bridge is only 12 mm, ideally, not 25 mm. So, everything is much smaller, and more delicate. So, I thought it would be better to adjust the neck angle, rather than the bridge height. The bouzouki bridge is kind of narrow at 6mm or so, and usually the saddle is glued to the bridge. I do put a truss rod in the neck, but a lot of guys try to adjust the action with the truss rod, which as you know, is not the way to do it, and then they play around with it, and end up stripping the truss rod Allen key way, and it comes back for "repair." So, every time I make one of these, I try to imagine what the player will do to it to get it to play like they want, and design it so they will not break it.
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Re: Adjustable neck to correct action

Postby Mark Wybierala » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:01 am

Maybe rethink your style of adjustable bridge. I've moved over to building set necks and actually find it easier. My bouzoukis are actually octave mandolins, and mandolas depending on the scale length. I have a professional Greek client so on occassion one of them becomes a bouzouki :). I know that a traditional bouzouki doesn't have a great string distance from the body top but follow your creative intent. You can't be responsible for the mistakes of hacks. You can also employ a dual action trussrod that is replaceable and simply slides out of the 3/8 X 1/4 slot or use a conventional trussrod with a replaceable adjustment nut. I'm a big fan of Taylor guitars with their adjustable neck joints but they can do it because of their super accurate CNC manufacturing process and the fact that they provide the precision two-part shims. But this is on an acoustic guitar where they top may eventually distort. There is much less of a problem on solid body instruments. You may be overthinking the problems you've encountered.
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