Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

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Kirk Dickinson
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:04 am

Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Kirk Dickinson »

I am not a luthier and have never done more than extensive setups and bolting parts together to build a "new for me" guitar. I am fascinated by it and watch a lot of videos on Youtube. The other day I came across this video of a guy building an acrylic bass with a fretless aluminum neck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MirwxiV ... e=youtu.be

He struggled greatly trying to get the aluminum to "stick" to the acrylic trying epoxy and eventually just screwed it down from the top which I wouldn't like at all. Don’t like the screws through the top of the fretboard. I think cutting on a CNC, it would be easy to cut a dovetail lengthwise and opposite on the neck. Slide on from the headstock side. One screw behind the nut keeps the neck in position.

Here is my idea drawn out rough in Corel Draw for the neck cross section at the 12th fret. These dimensions are for an Ibanez GWB-35 because I had them. Width, radius etc.. I don't know about the truss rod inside, I just guessed.

Image

I also got curious about the hardness of aluminum vs ebony or some other wood for a fretless fretboard. Looked up the "hardness" on Aluminum. Hard to compare to wood because there is no "Janka" scale on Aluminum, but someone has done the comparison on the Brinell Hardness chart. Australian Buloke is the one of the hardest woods around and has a Janka of score of 3,760 lb, its BHN score is 11.48. Pure aluminum is 15 BHN and hardened AW-6060 aluminum is 75 BHN, Even mild aluminum would make a harder fretless neck than most woods. I have a bass with a Panga Panga neck which is only 1,640 Janka. For reference, a favorite for fretless necks is Gaboon Ebony at 3,080.

I wonder if you had a AW-6060 Aluminum neck with round wounds could you get a good Mmmwah, or would it just sound like it was on frets?

Copper is 35 BHN and would make an awesome looking fretless neck and probably 4 times harder than Ebony.

Copper gets this green oxidation with age. I kinda like the green oxidation. With the string wear under the strings and the green oxidation between, it would look incredible on a relic-ed bass. Think P bass with a grey primer, black undercoat and a seafoam top coat then relic-ed so that you could see through in wear spots and the oxidated neck.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Barry Daniels »

Overly complicated, impossible to remove in the future, and sharp inside corners that create stress risers prone to cracking. Aluminum necks have been done but largely abandoned for various reasons. Nothing beats simple wood to wood glued joints.
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Kirk Dickinson
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Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Kirk Dickinson »

Barry Daniels wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:42 pm
Overly complicated, impossible to remove in the future, and sharp inside corners that create stress risers prone to cracking. Aluminum necks have been done but largely abandoned for various reasons. Nothing beats simple wood to wood glued joints.
Well, it is more complicated that is for sure. My idea was a wood neck and Aluminum fretboard. Could cut a more gentle dovetail to have less sharp points. Not sure why it would be impossible to remove, take out one screw and the tuning pegs and slide it off just like it went on. LIke I said, I have never built a guitar, just throwing this idea out there.

Carl Dickinson
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Location: Forest Ranch, California

Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Carl Dickinson »

Better to build one, then come up with ideas.

JC Whitney
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by JC Whitney »

Seems straightforward on paper, but it would assuredly not be in practice. The last thing you want in a neck is a rattle - so a dovetail approach such as you’ve drawn up would need to be good and tight. That much cross sectional area along a 24” length will yield a heck of a lot of friction... simply sliding on and off wouldn’t happen. Add in that the wood is going to tend to twist up a bit just by it’s very nature, and you’d likely need a hydraulic press to mate the two parts. With that said, it sure can be fun to experiment - why not give it a go, build one, and post the process/results here?

jorge rodriguez
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:38 pm

Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by jorge rodriguez »

I know someone who had a guitar made with interchangeable fretboards. Here he is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSV63t4eW5M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pryt0pEgulw

He is an incredible player, and he plays all kinds of different musics from the world, so this was his idea to avoid carrying several guitars.

I don't know how the attachment is really done, but it does sound good (at least in the videos), so it just shows that new ideas are good sometimes.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Alan Carruth »

Alembic made solid body guitars with aluminum necks; they were said to be really cold to play on. Ovation made aluminum necks and painted them, which helped.

It's not too hard to make a neck that plugs into the body, held in place by string tension with a bolt to keep it from folding up. Stauffer, who was Martin's teacher, made those, I believe.

Somebody had a line of necks with removable fingerboards decades ago, but the name escapes me.

If the fingerboard wrapped around the neck shaft, with the dovetails on the sides, it would be easy to keep it tight. The neck tapers, and all you'd need to do is match the taper and have some way to put a bit pf pressure on it to push it toward the body; a set screw inside or at the head end would suffice. The trick then is making sure it stops where it's supposed to,so the intonation would be right.

JC Whitney
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Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by JC Whitney »

A tip of the hat to your memory Alan...
Google youtube - Novatone Switchable Fretboard Review. The last board he installs sure looks a lot like aluminum, but given the magnets it’s probably steel.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Idea for different way to attach fretboard.

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

One problem you might run into is the way the materials react with the environment. Metals move with respect to temperature, and wood changes with humidity changes. With hot dry conditions the wood would shrink and the metal would expand. With cool moist conditions the metal would contract and the wood would expand. It's bad enough gluing two dissimilar woods together.

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