Volute shape

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Volute shape

Postby Steve Sawyer » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:10 am

I just finished carving my first volute in this Lester I’m building. Seems to be in a good spot, but I’ve never played a guitar with one, and don’t have another to compare to. When fingering a 1st-fret barre (F or Bb), my thumb sits right at the transition from neck shaft to volute. It seems to feel ok - not “in the way” - but not being fretted or strung, I thought I’d ask if that sounds right.

Thanks.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:27 am

I usually put the peak of the volute right behind the nut.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby John Clifford » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:00 pm

Here's what my '70s Les Paul Deluxe looks like. I'm not sure I would copy this shape if I was making one, and I don't think it needs to be that far back. But I agree that the crest of the volute should be at or behind the nut line.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:00 pm

Gibson may not be the best example of how to design a neck. :lol:

I put the crest of the volute at the nut, figuring (possibly erroneously) that is the weakest point - the narrowest and with the maximum excavation for the truss rod access (at least the way I make it.) Also, most of my instruments have a zero fret, which in essence puts the volute a little farther back. I'm not much of a player, but when I barre an F or Bb my thumb is basically mid fret, where the forward part of the volute has ended.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:19 pm

Holy cow! I think we have stumbled upon a consensus. This may be the first occurrence on the internet.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Steve Sawyer » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:04 pm

Thank folks. I too put the crest right at the nut. Just trying to gauge whether the slope to the shaft is too long. From that side view above, it looks like I’m in good shape.

Glad I could ask a question leading to such an historic internet milestone!! :D
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:28 am

I'm more of a player than a builder, but when I play in open or first position my thumb gets directly under the nut quite a lot. Therefore my volute (the one I've done) is in the "Gibson" position. I would have a lot of issues if the peak was directly under the nut. I had to go remember which guitar had the volute, and try it, to make this determination.
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Re: Volute shape

Postby John Clifford » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:48 am

Hmm - maybe Gibson knew what they were doing?? I do a little mini-volute like this, more for aesthetic reasons than for strength. I sort of balk at the idea of designing a guitar to withstand being dropped on its head. But that's probably because I'm a hobbyist, not a factory with hundreds of thousands of warranties outstanding!
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:33 pm

I found this interesting enough that I found the three guitars that i have with volutes, looked at where they are, and played them. One previously mentioned has the peak of the volute around 3/8" above the face of the nut. Very comfortable, and my thumb just rests on it's slope when I play an open C chord (I have fat fingers and big hands, and I need to really lower my wrist and get down behind the neck so the G-C-E notes are not muffled). Obviously I carved it to suit my big clumsy hands, I guess! My Paul Beard Special Goldtone dobro has a volute as suggested here, peak directly behind the nut, and it definitely interferes with my thumb in that chord. Odd that I never noticed it before but I rarely play open "cowboy chords" for that very reason - my fingers don't fit. Finally a Fender style neck on a Telecaster style guitar (a Godin TC). The very design of the Fender neck, sawn out of a slab of maple, has the back of the headstock on the same place as the heel that bolts into the body pocket, and the neck carve puts a semi-volute around 1/4" past the face of the nut. So three more place-points for the study... :)
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Re: Volute shape

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:40 pm

Brian Evans wrote:So three more place-points for the study... :)

Interesting. Thanks, Brian. I have very small hands and short fingers (chording has always been my weakness), so your observations confirm that placement of the volute on this build is probably going to work for me.
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