New neck for an SG

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New neck for an SG

Postby Matt Baker » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:38 am

I acquired an SG body from a friend. He had sanded half the finish off and given up on the project. I sanded the rest of it down and got some practice spraying with a can of Krylon paint ("Pistashio"). Now I'm interested in making a neck for it. I have built a couple little guitars (a cigar box type and an electric ukulele), so I'll be upgrading my skills with this one: I'll be doing a truss rod and separate fingerboard, both for the first time. Making a neck pocket fit a neck was relatively straightforward. Making a neck fit a preexisting pocket proves to be quite the challenge. I have a few specific questions as I get started (with more surely to follow):

1) It's and SG body, but has a bolt-on neck; does anyone know what the original model likely was?

2) I have a maple board that is 1" thick. With my template I've roughly measured the total desires thickness at 1" with the bridge in it's lowest position. I was planning on getting a 1/4" piece of something from my local hardwood supplier to use for the fingerboard. Should I plan on planning down the maple to 3/4" or so, or is there enough adjustment range in the TOM style bridge to make up the difference? (I've never used such a bridge before.)

3) Scale length. On my scratch builds I've always attached the neck and then fine tuned the bridge location to match. Is there a trick to getting the nut location at precisely the right spot? Thinking it through just now, I suppose I could do the maple part of the neck first and wait to see where the nut ends up and do my scale length from that distance. Hmm...

4) Speaking of scale length, I noticed on my last build that do (I presume) to the raised nature of the bridge, the actual horizontal length from nut to bridge was almost several mileters off of the intended value when properly intonated. (I do my scale lengths in mm for ease of subdividing on the ruler when marking them out.) Is there a common fudge factor used to compensate for this?

5) I usually post from my iPhone and I've noticed that pictures almost never orient themselves properly. Sometimes they're upside down--in this case, rotated 90 degrees. Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for your help!

Matt
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Matt Baker » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:42 am

5) After further review, apparently it's just the thumbnails that are weird, but clicking on them gives the correct, full-sizes image. Weird.
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Peter Wilcox » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm

Matt Baker wrote:2) I have a maple board that is 1" thick. With my template I've roughly measured the total desires thickness at 1" with the bridge in it's lowest position. I was planning on getting a 1/4" piece of something from my local hardwood supplier to use for the fingerboard. Should I plan on planning down the maple to 3/4" or so, or is there enough adjustment range in the TOM style bridge to make up the difference? (I've never used such a bridge before.)

Assuming you mean the thickness at the heel (neck pocket), I'd make the maple slightly more than 3/4" so the total with the FB would be slightly over 1". However, this assumes that the bottom of the neck pocket is parallel (has no angle when compared) to the top, as in Fender guitars. I have no knowledge of SG's, so don't know if this is the case - you'd better determine this before you start.
Also, I assume you're going to taper the neck toward the headstock to about a total thickness of 3/4" to 7/8" including the FB - a 1 1/4" thickness is way too fat to play.

Matt Baker wrote:3) Scale length. On my scratch builds I've always attached the neck and then fine tuned the bridge location to match. Is there a trick to getting the nut location at precisely the right spot? Thinking it through just now, I suppose I could do the maple part of the neck first and wait to see where the nut ends up and do my scale length from that distance. Hmm...

4) Speaking of scale length, I noticed on my last build that do (I presume) to the raised nature of the bridge, the actual horizontal length from nut to bridge was almost several mileters off of the intended value when properly intonated. (I do my scale lengths in mm for ease of subdividing on the ruler when marking them out.) Is there a common fudge factor used to compensate for this?


The actual intonated scale length will always be longer than the nominal one, so you will need to be able to adjust the saddles toward the tail - there is no reason to have to shorten the strings, so assuming the bridge position is predetermined by the body you have, you need to fit the neck so the nut is at, or slightly farther (maybe 1mm) from the saddles at their most forward position for your nominal scale length.

Then again, you could make the neck some close but random length and fit the nut, then measure the scale length to the most forward position of the saddles, and then calculate and cut the fret positions for that scale length.

Here's a link to help out: http://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/compensation.htm
Using the calculator, compensation values for a typical steel string electric with a 25.5" scale length go from about 0.08" first string to 0.37" 6th string.
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Matt Baker » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:45 pm

Peter Wilcox wrote:Assuming you mean the thickness at the heel (neck pocket), I'd make the maple slightly more than 3/4" so the total with the FB would be slightly over 1". However, this assumes that the bottom of the neck pocket is parallel (has no angle when compared) to the top, as in Fender guitars. I have no knowledge of SG's, so don't know if this is the case - you'd better determine this before you start.
Also, I assume you're going to taper the neck toward the headstock to about a total thickness of 3/4" to 7/8" including the FB - a 1 1/4" thickness is way too fat to play.


Yes, I meant at the heal. The bottom on the pocket is already properly angled to line up with the bridge, which is fortunate as now I can essentially treat it as though it were flat like a Fender. I didin't intentionally taper the neck thickness on the ukulele I made, but I will be conscious of it when I get to that point.


Peter Wilcox wrote: The actual intonated scale length will always be longer than the nominal one, so you will need to be able to adjust the saddles toward the tail - there is no reason to have to shorten the strings, so assuming the bridge position is predetermined by the body you have, you need to fit the neck so the nut is at, or slightly farther (maybe 1mm) from the saddles at their most forward position for your nominal scale length.

Then again, you could make the neck some close but random length and fit the nut, then measure the scale length to the most forward position of the saddles, and then calculate and cut the fret positions for that scale length.

Here's a link to help out: http://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/compensation.htm
Using the calculator, compensation values for a typical steel string electric with a 25.5" scale length go from about 0.08" first string to 0.37" 6th string.


That's good to know. The bridge posts are staggered, so I should aim for my scale length hitting the forward-most (i.e., the high e string) point? I like your idea of setting the scale to match the nut--less pressure to get it exactly right the first time.

No off to learn about installing truss rods...
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:10 pm

Guitar Fetish sells necks that might be pretty close to drop in for a body like this, and very cheap. (mahogany, maple, finished/unfinished).

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Unfinished- ... 19486.html
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Mike Conner » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:20 pm

How about making a dummy neck out of pine? You can mess around the fit, angles and other features before committing to your maple.
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Re: New neck for an SG

Postby Dan Smith » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:45 pm

A TOM bridge has very little saddle adjustment range.
I've had success adding 1/16" to the treble E saddle and 1/8" to the bass E saddle added to the scale length when using light gauge 9-42 strings on a couple of LP's.
If you do not have the bridge yet, I'd get a Nashville style. It has a tad more adjustment range.
I'm in the polishing stage of my first SG. The short neck tenon scared me a bit, so I extended the body to create the heel.
Dan
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