Truss rod channel with a router table.

Joe Desperado

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Maybe not the correct post to share/discuss this but: In guitar building, the single most important element of the build is the neck. Period. It is the very thing that must vibrate and move as freely as possible while still being able to transfer energy to the body. Bigger necks generally sound bigger than skinny necks. Wood selection seems to make a larger difference on the neck than the body. and on and on an on.

WIthin the context of this post, one of the most important elements of the neck is how the Truss Rod is implemented. Not just whether is a single or dual action, or whether its a single straight or curved rod, but the channel itself requires some thought on how to implement. It has been a historical practice to install a round rod in a square channel. But it also leaves air gaps around the corners that absorb vibrations instead of transferring them. A well constructed slot should be as tight as possible to the rod, but allow it to still move and have no gaps around it. Back about 12 years ago, I was ghost building bolt on necks. I made over 700 necks in those years. I started with a square route and a year latter ended up building with a round route which by all those experiencing them were far superior sounding necks. If your neck sounds good with a square route, it probably will sound better with a round one. There are 3/16" router bits with a rounded tip that will leave the bottom of the route curved in the same diameter as the rod. You can do similar to the fillet strip so the edge is also concave to match the rod. This captures the rod will almost no gaps and improves tone transfer.

As mentioned, incapsulating the rod as tight as possible is the goal. With that said, the router table requires several passes to route to depth. Each time you make a new pass, you are also removing more wood from the sides loosening up the slot. Its better to machine the slot in a single pass (or multiple passes with a narrow bit with a final pass with the final size bit). SG Lou created jig on his router for a curved slot with a mortise bit to cut all in a single pass. Today, I prefer to use a table saw when possible with a 3/16" blade, but when required to, will use a router with as few of passes as I can get away with (or thinner passes and final at size). I made a very simple tool out of an old truss rod (3/16") in a handle. It allows me to scrape a square bottom into a rounded bottom.

Secondly, the total build schedule of the neck is important. When and how you glue the Fingerboard on, when you carve the back side verse the fingerboard radius. When to fret etc.

Terry McInturf is probably the master of the neck build schedule. He takes a quite scientific approach to his builds and realizes every action has a reaction. This is particularly true in necks. As you remove wood from one side of a board, it effects the board on the opposite side.


Now…if you are building a replica or trying to be traditional and mimic those early build process, they are a bit more crude. Just imagine if the factories had time to really get this right!!
 

ScotttheScot

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Joe it’s likely my guitar may even be unplayable or will not stay in tune what ever happens I plan on mastering this craft.
I really appreciate your feedback and I agree the neck is pivotal to the guitars performance it may not be likely that I stumble into a perfect neck will see but I promised myself that I would not buy a pre made neck I need to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Your advice on the slot for the truss rod I have found out first hand a 3/16 router bit will cut a larger then 3/16 slot it must be done with precision.
Thanks for your input Scott
 

Joe Desperado

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Cool. Just look at ways to keep the wood to the fence and table top at the same time. Try using a feather board to push the wood against the fence on the router table to reduce the chatter and other issue caused by wood movement. Can do something similar with a feather board on top pushing downward.

I always built my own router tables for years. Most recently I fell into a good deal on a Bosch table with a killer fence set up with T slot rails. So I can add feather boards to the table, to the fence and really keep the wood in place to reduce the issues we discussed above.

Necks are really not that hard to make, but also require the most forethought to ensure you have a good plan of attack.
 

ScotttheScot

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My biggest mistake was jumping on a neck blank that wasn’t oversized enough I had move the template with in the body of the blank. I had to create a flat plane of my own instead of joining on side flat then cut the neck angle from there.
I ended up losing meat off the head stock so I made my own shape different from the “open book “ shape so well known on the Les Paul.
It’s still a blast even if I’m making mistakes that’s the sign to me to keep going !!! If it were easy I probably wouldn’t like it so much !!!
Thanks Joe
 

ScotttheScot

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I’m working on infrastructure also witch is distracting I built a pin router out of an old radial arm saw and a Habor freight fret press witch is not complete.
I plan building a dupli carver so my next guitar tar will have all those benefits and a binding gig !!!!
 

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Skyjerk

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I route the truss rod channel with a sausage, that way I can play more tasty licks
 

ScotttheScot

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They would kick me off this website if I answered this post the way I wanted to.
Sausage, slots, taste, it’s just too loaded hey Skyjerk you trying to get rid of me ????
 

Skyjerk

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They would kick me off this website if I answered this post the way I wanted to.
Sausage, slots, taste, it’s just too loaded hey Skyjerk you trying to get rid of me ????

nah, I just have a weird tendency to make jokes about sausages. The food kind. I even have a bumper sticker that says ”sausages” and nothing else

My wife thinks it’s stupid. She’s probably right, but that hasnt stopped me yet.
 

ScotttheScot

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I was just Joshing nothing wrong with a sense of humor!!!! My favorite bumper sticker says” Phoneiks _ _ _ _ed me up ! I’m a product of the experimental 60 just never got spelling I wouldn’t write if weren’t for spell check !!
 

Skyjerk

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I was just Joshing nothing wrong with a sense of humor!!!! My favorite bumper sticker says” Phoneiks _ _ _ _ed me up ! I’m a product of the experimental 60 just never got spelling I wouldn’t write if weren’t for spell check !!

in case you thought I was just kidding ;-)

3D3CAB7F-9146-4752-A6B9-FD5CD5FFD2E4.jpeg
 

ScotttheScot

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Skyjerk was your first Guitar playable ?? Or did you bolt it to the shop wall honest question ????
 

Skyjerk

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Skyjerk was your first Guitar playable ?? Or did you bolt it to the shop wall honest question ????
my first guitar was 8 or 9 years ago, and turned out quite nice. It’s living with a guy in New Jersey who occasionally sends me emails with various questions and always tells me how his friends try to buy it from him.

like my current “Bushido LP” it was a neck-through-body Les Paul style guitar. I already had some decent skills with wood and hand tools before I tried building one, and I also got a LOT of advice from people on this forum.

This is the one right here…

CFE7DF20-393C-40FC-8BB3-B1014F164E03.jpeg
 
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Skyjerk

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Up here in Buffalo at the turn of the century there were like 100 different butchers making 100 different kids of sausages now there’s only 3 maybe.
Love sausage …but I had a major heart attack so I eat sausage only on special occasions.

I’m sorry to hear about the decline in sausages in Buffalo. That’s a travesty. Glad you survived the heart attack. I’m closing in in 60 and I do eat sausages so I hope I can about that fate ;)

BTW, feel free to call me Chris :)
 

ScotttheScot

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Get your cholesterol checked and see a heart Doctor 1 a year . I just turned 60 and almost didn’t make it during mine.
But I’m loving life and healthy building an AXE or a wall ornament but it won’t be my last !!!!!!
 

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