Neck binding too thick?

mness4

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I have that sinking feeling that I need to rework my SG and LP necks because of a binding channel error. I was following the Freddy Frets LP videos and routed the neck binding channels thinking it was the same bit setup (2mm depth) as for the body. I noticed the issue when checking the setback on either side of the nut prior to gluing the binding. I assume a 2mm-wide binding would look strange on a neck even if I made nuts to accommodate the narrower rosewood. Is this as bad as I suspect?

Thanks,
Mike
 

ARandall

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Well, its a little excessive. If you do frets over binding then you can compensate. Another idea to incorporate maybe is a multiply binding.....make the design more unique to your build.
Of course if you're doing a burst clone then you do need the right dimension. I know a couple of builds where a small thickness of rosewood has been added to both sides - but these were by an experienced builder - so they not only had other similar wood to match the colour, but could do it without obvious glue lines.
 

Brek

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Thanks for the heads up, sounds like something i would have done. My thought would be a strip of abalone, pimp that sucker, or to be understated a alternate white black white.
 

mness4

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Well, its a little excessive. If you do frets over binding then you can compensate. Another idea to incorporate maybe is a multiply binding.....make the design more unique to your build.
Of course if you're doing a burst clone then you do need the right dimension. I know a couple of builds where a small thickness of rosewood has been added to both sides - but these were by an experienced builder - so they not only had other similar wood to match the colour, but could do it without obvious glue lines.
Very interesting ideas. Sorry for the long post, but this really sparked some ideas that might actually be a big improvement. I would really appreciate any feedback.

For both LP and SG repairs, I have two goals…not to lose playability, and make it look intentional. As I mentioned in a different post, I’m not a guitar player and I’m early in my understanding of the history of these models. I would welcome any feedback on solutions that wouldn’t look “right.” Since LPs are generally more ornate than SGs, I think I need two different solutions.

One comment about my intent for these builds. I make custom furniture and I’m starting to move into guitars. Like my furniture, I’d like to let the wood be the aesthetic focus. I’m not planning bursts or dyes or anything like that. I think I’ll be finishing with oil followed by a hard topcoat. So the best solution for me would be something a bit understated. Given all of that, here’s what I’m thinking after reading the feedback from you and Brek:

LP: This build could certainly handle a multiple bindings solution. I would think whatever is done to the neck should be done to the body. I was not planning to bind the headstock though. I like the idea of nipping the fret tangs and letting them run over the binding to maximize the effective playing width of the neck. I had been planning to leave nibs. I suppose I still could leave a minimal nib. Important question: the string setback is measured with respect to the fret wire not the neck material, correct? If I were to do a white/black/white per Brek, what would be good target for thicknesses for each binding layer given my total target thickness of 2mm? To repeat this on the body, would the channel heights be stepped and each binding installed separately?

SG: Since some SGs have binding and some don’t, I think a multiple binding would look wrong. So this solution needs to be even more understated. I could glue on an ebony strip and complete the neck as if there were no binding. No body binding, so nothing to try to match there. I believe the headstock will get a coat of black paint, so that would roughly match. I could die the strips a darker black, but not sure how to do this without either bleeding into the rosewood (if dyeing after glueup/final sand) or sanding through the dye (if dyeing before glueup/final sand). I’m planning to use some all-black SD P-Rail pickups/TS rings. I think ebony strips would tie in well with this overall blacked-out design theme. But I’m definitely open to other suggestions.

Thanks again for your help,

Mike
 

Roxy13

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This is the binding on one of my Japanese guitars.

exrubatohsfront.jpg
 

Wood Butcher

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"Modern" Standards use 2mm thick binding on the fretboards anyways. It doesn't really look out of place unless you are comparing it to a Rx or vintage Lester.
 

mness4

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This is the binding on one of my Japanese guitars.

View attachment 568293
So it looks like it's ok to have the binding very close to the string (or maybe even directly under it) as long as the fret extends 2-3 mm. In that case I would probably have to put binding on the LP headstock or it would look out of balance. Your total binding looks significantly thicker than 2mm. That nut is probably 4.5mm and it looks comparable.
 

mness4

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"Modern" Standards use 2mm thick binding on the fretboards anyways. It doesn't really look out of place unless you are comparing it to a Rx or vintage Lester.
Really? I've hunted around and looked for images and/or discussions. The thickest I've heard mention is something around 1.5mm.
 

mness4

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So it looks like it's ok to have the binding very close to the string (or maybe even directly under it) as long as the fret extends 2-3 mm. In that case I would probably have to put binding on the LP headstock or it would look out of balance. Your total binding looks significantly thicker than 2mm. That nut is probably 4.5mm and it looks comparable.
...oh, and I should have mentioned that I've heard a lot of complaining that the thicker bindings with nibs tend to catch the strings between the nib and the fret. If I live with the thicker binding on the LP (or if I even go with a combo), I will probably ditch the nibs and snip the tangs to get as much fret as possible. In your image it looks like there are no nibs.
 

ARandall

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Another idea would maybe to have one of the guitars with thinner overall neck width......something Gibson has done in the past (late 60s with SGs) If you used say 1.5mm binding either side you're only 1mm narrower, which isn't that much.
Going multi ply on the fretboard, you'd probably want to match the pattern on the body, and maybe binding the back too. Aqnd as you say at least have the headstock bound with 1 ply for balance. Avoid multi ply headstock binding if you can. It's a right PIA to get right due to the mitred corners.
 

Wood Butcher

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Really? I've hunted around and looked for images and/or discussions. The thickest I've heard mention is something around 1.5mm.
This is a 04 Standard so not "new new" but you can see the thickness, if anything Id say it could even be a little thicker in places.....

les paul binding.jpg
 

pshupe

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Vintage Gibsons have very thin binding. Probably because they use nibs and it thins the neck width. Although the newer guitar above has thick binding and nibs. I bet that feels cramped. I like the look of a bit thicker binding and it holds up better as well. I'd run the frets over top.

Cheers Peter.
 

mness4

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Another idea would maybe to have one of the guitars with thinner overall neck width......something Gibson has done in the past (late 60s with SGs) If you used say 1.5mm binding either side you're only 1mm narrower, which isn't that much.
Going multi ply on the fretboard, you'd probably want to match the pattern on the body, and maybe binding the back too. Aqnd as you say at least have the headstock bound with 1 ply for balance. Avoid multi ply headstock binding if you can. It's a right PIA to get right due to the mitred corners.
Yeah, I already resolved an eariler issue with the SG neck by making it 1mm narrower at the nut. I misaligned the neck template and cut the profile 1mm out of symmetry with respect to the truss rod, so I compensated by making it narrower. The SG is now 41.8mm at the neck and the LP is 43.2mm. Others suggested that fix and I found discussions around having a slightly narrower neck. So I'll pretend it was intentional. I'm more concerned about the look of the SG rather than the LP for this reason. Maybe the difference is not all discernible to the eye and a single binding at ~2mm will still look good. But this is why I was thinking about maybe an ebony fretboard extension on either side. It would look like a binding but more understated. So the SG would wither be single white binding with snipped frets or ebony fret extensions. I'm leaning towards staying the course with the white binding as is.

If I go with a multi ply, it would only be on the LP. If I did that for the neck, I would do the same with the body. I was hedging though because I don't think I'm ready for multi ply on the headstock for the reason you mention. I would consider a single binding on the headstock if that would look good with multi everywhere else.
 

mness4

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Vintage Gibsons have very thin binding. Probably because they use nibs and it thins the neck width. Although the newer guitar above has thick binding and nibs. I bet that feels cramped. I like the look of a bit thicker binding and it holds up better as well. I'd run the frets over top.

Cheers Peter.
Wow, that makes me feel a lot better. Thanks for that picture. Without the binding in, it's hard to imagine how it will look and I become overly focused on that too-wide empty ledge. Even when it's done I'll probably still be seeing that, but maybe others will not notice.
 

the great waldo

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Having a bit wider binding gives you the possibility of rolling the edges a bit which can make the neck more comfortable.
Cheerrs
Andrew
 

pshupe

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Wow, that makes me feel a lot better. Thanks for that picture. Without the binding in, it's hard to imagine how it will look and I become overly focused on that too-wide empty ledge. Even when it's done I'll probably still be seeing that, but maybe others will not notice.

I just put 2mm wide binding on my last build and it looks great. As I said I cut the frets so they sit over top of the binding.

Cheers Peter.
 

LtDave32

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Wide bindings look very good on SGs, IMO.
 

1Mudman

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My Gretsch guitars all have thicker binding on the Fretboards same size as the body and I like it. I think if you just follow suit with the body binding you will be good!
 

Joe Desperado

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On my personal builds, I use the same width binding for everything including headstock. I think it looks uniform.
 

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