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Unread 01-19-2009, 01:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

I am just curious if guitars are built with a straight neck, with which the truss rod is adjusted to allow curvature, or if the guitar neck is built with inherent curvature and the truss rod allows you to straighten it?


Me thinks that the neck comes curved and the truss rod allows it to be straightened, which is why tightening the truss rod (to make it straighter) seems to take more effort (because its working against the natural tendency of the guitar neck).
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Unread 01-19-2009, 02:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDuncan View Post
I am just curious if guitars are built with a straight neck, with which the truss rod is adjusted to allow curvature, or if the guitar neck is built with inherent curvature and the truss rod allows you to straighten it?


Me thinks that the neck comes curved and the truss rod allows it to be straightened, which is why tightening the truss rod (to make it straighter) seems to take more effort (because its working against the natural tendency of the guitar neck).
My take on it is this:

The strings are what makes a neck curved. The neck and fret board are straight/flat when the guitar is made. Tightening the truss rod puts pressure against neck and helps to fight the natural tendency for the neck to bow due to the string tension.
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Unread 01-19-2009, 02:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

tightening is harder because you are working against string tension. Think about it. The strings naturually want to make the neck snap up, soif you are loosening it, the strings will helpp you loosen, and vice versa for the other way. Necks should be build straight, because fretboards are as well. It would be a lot more complex to make a curved neck IMO.
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Unread 01-19-2009, 07:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

its about..strings + tension...
hmmm...
set it as u desire...
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Unread 01-19-2009, 11:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

So, when a luthier does a fret-dressing, do they take off the strings and loosen the truss rod so that the neck is totally flat?
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Unread 01-20-2009, 01:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

yeah...there is actually a thread about that exact thing, it's a sticky in this forum

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post #6 specifically...pretty cool stuff.
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Unread 01-20-2009, 09:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

Actually, for a perfect fret job the luthier needs to dress and level the frets with the neck bowed into whatever position it's going to be in when the guitar is strung up and setup the way the player likes it. Think about it - Levelling frets on a perfectly straight neck won't address any problems that creep up when the neck relief (truss rod) is set correctly. Almost all guitar necks will have some relief in them to varying degrees, and "level" will change as the neck bows.

Stewart Macdonald even sells a jig for assisting with this:

Erlewine Neck Jig at Stewart-MacDonald
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Unread 01-20-2009, 02:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

But, if you level the frets when the neck is bowed, then your frets will be straight while the neck is bowed- so, the relief in the neck (that is supposed to help make way for the elliptical pattern of the strings) wouldn't do you any good.

My point is- wouldnt a bowed neck with frets leveled while it was bowed = the same thing as a straight neck with the frets levels while it was straight?

Heres an image of what i'm talking about:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg neck.JPG (7.7 KB, 149 views)
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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Are Guitar Necks Built Straight, or Curved?

Maybe we could get Roman or other luthiers in here to answer this one!
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