Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:40 pm

I have made an observation, I thought it was very interesting. I know nothing about tapping on the soundboard to check tone .... at all. I am studying as I go here ... all very interesting info. I found myself rubbing fringes off the "teeth" I call them, the small trinagular wedges I glued inside. What I found interesting was the sound made by doing so ... just with my fingers. Some wedges were inactive ... others were amplified, and the tone had a static like, white tone to it. It reminded me of the sound of touching the needle on the hifi in the old days. I found myself touching them all round the guitar body and noticed some had brighter tone, or deeper and fuller. I marvelled at this, and wondered how this may be affected once I glue the sides on. By the way, I have also suspended the body and tapped over the soundboard as it is, at approximately 3/16" .... and there is a pleasant varied tone with bass in the bridge area.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:24 pm

Tapping is a good thing to do while building. I think it can't hurt to pay attention to the feedback that the wood/instrument gives to you.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:42 pm

Thanks Barry .... I really know nothing about it, but it is interesting to hear the differences.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:52 pm

I'm working on the fingerboard next. I need to make a wedge shaped fingerboard, or one that makes contact with the neck at the nut, but would be suspended a bit above the soundboard at the other end. I had an archtop guitar ( Epiphone Emperor? ) years ago that had a fingerboard floating over the body at the end. My question is .... does the fingerboard need to have solid material between it and the neck? Or, can it be contacted at the nut, but be floating on small hardwood posts or something at the other end? Hope I explained this ok ... I can make a drawing if required. Can someone shed some light on this for me?
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:43 am

I'm pulling for tied frets.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:38 am

Hahahah ....well, me too. I think I will use these frets on the next build. This is what I have in mind for my fingerboard ... bad idea?
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:05 am

You want a solid of a surface as possible for a fretboard. When fretted, the frets job is to tell the string how long it is. Think of a fret as needing the same support as a nut; when fretted, that fret is the nut. On my first the fretboard over the body floats and is only regular fretboard thickness. The notes all but disappear above the body joint fret.

Also think about how flexible a 1/4" tall price of wood spanning 12" or so would be. Now saw a bunch of kerfs in it (for frets). Now it is even more flimsy. Now think about driving fret tangs into those kerfs. That will want to bow the thin board and it won't be flat. If you don't have a flat fret plane you will have either need very high actio. Of the more distal frets will interfere with the strings. Now imagine putting it in a situation where it is allowed to flex on a regular basis. The fret barbs will eventually loosen.

Attach the fretboard firmly to the neck. Where it hangs over the soundboard, consider fitting a wedge under the fretboard that fits tightly to the shape of the soundboard.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:03 pm

Thanks so much Bryan ..... I really appreciate your help here! I have made a quick illustration of how I see it at this point. The fingerboard being glued to the neck. Under the fingerboard would be small notches cut out to enable the fret material to be threaded through for tying on frets. I don't want the fret to go all the way around the neck. You mentioned a wedge under the fingerboard where it meets the soundboard ... does the fingerboard need to make a solid connection to the soundboard? Remember, my neck is removable. I can make the fingerboard press into the soundboard ... it would just be a bit tricky.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:09 pm

I'm certainly no expert in the matter of fretboard extensions. I have only done flat tops where the FB mates to the top following the dome of the top. And that one instrument where the FB was out in space. You at least want some mass under there though. Hopefully some archtop folks will weigh in with more solid advice.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:27 pm

Thank you very much Bryan .... very much appreciated.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:00 pm

I have known for some time that I needed to address the neck top surface. I cut it from 3 pieces that were not true along the top edge, so I got it to the point it is with chisels and sandpaper. With the neck attached, I surmised that I need to remove the thickness of the poplar top from the nut end of the neck. I wasn't sure how to do this, but I came up with a method I thought could work. I used 2 metal rulers as rails on each side of the neck and, using books, brought the rulers to the desired angle. I will saw cut, and sand or file down to the top surface of the rulers. I believe that is the closest I can come to truing up the neck to receive the fingerboard. Also, some more pics of the sanding of the body.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:06 am

A design I have been considering for the soundhole.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:55 am

On Monday I went out to but more hardwood, and I came home with a piece of Balsamo, 4 pieces of oak, and a couple more Poplar planks. Total cost = $11.00. I have trimmed down a wedge shaped section off the top of my neck, to create neck relief. I am focusing now on the fingerboard. I have given much thought on how to treat the frets, and I have decided on this neck to have wood frets. If at a later time I decide this was a mistake, I can always create a new neck. If I did not need to glue on the fingerboard, I would create 3 or 4 fingerboards and try them all. The Balsamo, as I was told at the wood store, is a type of mahogany. I picked it up to feel the weight and it is very, very heavy. The piece I selected had the deepest tone of red, and beautiful grain. I set up a jig on my mitre saw and proceeded to slice what would ultimately become frets. The slices are about 3/32 thick. I assembled the cut frets into a frame for sanding. I cut some pieces of poplar, and added oak and walnut strips to the outside edges to create fillets to go between the frets. These pieces will be assembled and glued onto oak.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Mark Swanson » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:37 pm

Wooden frets won't even last long enough for one string change.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:15 pm

Can you show me an example of that happening? Time will tell.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:23 pm

No one uses wooden frets so asking for an example is irrelevant.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:38 pm

Hmmm....well, I did see an example of it in my search on Google .... suppose it may have been dropped off here by Martians. And many examples of wooden frets extended after the neck on the top of lutes. I thought it may be interesting and fun to try. I did choose "Experimental" category for this reason.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Mark Swanson » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:26 pm

Lutes use nylon strings, is that what you are going to use? And the frets on the top of a lute are mostly decorative.
It's fine to be experimental, but another to cast aside advice from those with a lot more experience and who are just trying to be helpful. Re-inventing the wheel is a rough way to go if you are not interested in the thoughts of those who have passed that way before. We are not trying to be jerks, or give you a hard time but most of the time people who post here are looking for a better way to do something and it's natural for us to pitch in.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby rob bowen » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:31 am

Nylon strings. I mention it early in the post as I did not make a truss rod either. "It's fine to be experimental, but another to cast aside advice from those with a lot more experience and who are just trying to be helpful." - Mark Swanson. I do not believe I have cast aside any advice from anyone. In fact, I have thanked anyone who has added to the build thread. If you are referring to your comment Mark, I will say that it did not sound like helpful advice to me. Nor did Barry Daniel's comment - "No one uses wooden frets so asking for an example is irrelevant."
I just came on here to post some pics and a bit of dialogue around a project that I have wanted to undertake for many years. I am not a luthier, or a cabinetmaker. I thought this would be an enjoyable diversion .... that's all.
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Re: Removable neck acoustic instrument ?

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:58 am

I understand. Nylon strings will not be as hard on the frets.
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