#1
Gday,

Could someone please explain to me why a 3 or 5 peice neck is better than a single peice neck? My friend was arguing that 1 peice is the best, and my only argument was that all expensive guitars use multiple peice necks so they must be better. What is the reason for having multiple peices?

Also, when a guitar manafacturer states that a guitar has a 5 peice neck (Say an ibanez wizard), is the fretboard included?

Thanks
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#2
I don't know if it's better per definition, but it has it's qualities.

Wood 'works'. This means that after you've used it in whatever you want to use it, it has the tendency to warp slightly, because of moisture getting to it, leaving it, temperature changes, whatever basically. So, if you figure out what direction it warps in (this is really really generally speaking), you can bookmatch the same piece of wood, glue it onto eachother and then it will basically work against itself, so your neck keeps in shape.

There must be more reasons, but this was the only one I know of.

#3
more pieces=more resistant to warpage
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#4
Having grains that alternate in different directions increase the strength of the neck. Also with a neckthru guitar it adds more contrast between the body and the neck visually. Some people argue that this can kill tone somewhat since glue doesn't vibrate but I can't really tell a difference. Also making a neck from multiple pieces is less wasteful on wood; you can use less wood to make the neck. If a guitar's headstock is 4" at it's widest point, theres a lot of wood that has to be cut off in order to make the neck/fingerboard area. Hence multi piece necks.

The strength thing isn't really that important. Guitar manufacturers tell you a multipiece neck is stronger (Which is true) but a regular neck is strong enough. Think of the number of vintage guitars still around. It's kind of a sales gimmick to be honest.
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#5
It just warps less and is less prone to breakage, however I've never had problems with any of my 1 pieces. Also, 1 piece typically sounds better but it's a slight difference that you wouldn't notice in a band situation. Typically the board is not included, but some manufacturers include it so it just depends. I would just go for whatever you think looks better because the difference in tone is negligible.
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#6
Its a quirk of the physics of lamination. Its the same as why a katana is made with 1000+ folds of steel and carbon, often with a hard exterior and a "soft" interior, as opposed to a single, unfolded, unalloyed piece of cast metal.

Laminates give strength, durability, flexibility and resilience. And importantly in the case of a guitar neck, resonance.

FWIW, there is a film sequence of 2 katanas (one antique, one from a modern swordsmith) slicing .45 bullets in half, vibrating slightly from the contact. Were either a solid, undifferentiated piece of steel, the bullet would have shattered the blade.

In the guitar's neck, the mix of materials allows the neck to support different tensions across its width without warping, and actually helps the various notes sustain.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jan 17, 2009,
#7
I find your question misleading and whoever told you this is not entirely correct. The main reason for laminated necks is money! A laminated neck is cheaper to produce as smaller pieces of dried wood are required and it doesn't have to be as stable as the laminations alternate to prevent warping. Plenty of good guitars use quarter sawn one piece necks for better resonance and tone. The same is often said for bodies - mulitple pieces vs one or two peice book matched bodies which are considered better.
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Last edited by KenG at Jan 17, 2009,
#8
well i dunno if its better but laminated necks are stronger and not warp as much
and sometimes to get rid of the defects in wood likes nots
#9
As guitar builder myself, I do believe I have the answers.

All of the things these people have said are very correct.


Why are they laminated on:

Neckthroughs? Strength, because replacing a neck through is somewhat impossible, looks because of contrast to the body wings.

Ibanez? Because of how thin the neck (usually) is. In fact, the wizard neck is so thin that they use a special truss rod that is smaller depth wise than a standard one!

Expensive guitars, and not cheap ones? Expensive guitars seek to be the best, and use all the best contruction techniques. Cheao guitars or (most) factory made ones wan t inexpensive and fast production. Laminating necks is neither.

Laminating also interrups the flow of a figured wood neck if you use 3 pieces of the same wood with the middle flipped over for stability.

No, the fingerboard is not included in the number of laminates except for fender necks.

When a Fender neck is advertised as being a "1 piece maple neck" they mean to say that the fingerboard and neck are the same piec of wood, and the truss rod is inserted through a channel that has been routed in the back of the neck and filled with another piece of wood. That's where the skunk stripe comes from.

Any more questions?
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#10
As many have said, multiple piece necks tend to not warp as much.

One thing to bear in mind is that that only really applies with all-maple necks. If you have say, a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard on top, then just the fretboard alone is usually enough to stop any noticable warping for a couple of decades.

Similarly so long as your truss rod was installed correctly and you don't dick it up that should also be more than enough to keep the neck from developing any noticbale problems.


One thing to bear in mind too is a one-piece neck will react to playing dynamics better and will sound brighter, and often supply more sustain as well.
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#11
Quote by Øttər

Any more questions?


Very knowledgable answers my friend, but I don't believe you answered the TS original question.

Or did I miss it?
#12
Ok never mind, I think Mr Flibble got it covered.

So to sum up..... it makes very little difference but companies will be forced more and more to use multiple pieces in their necks due to cost and in order that their trusted customers don't lose faith with them they'll engineer some crap about that being the best way to do it. Despite not doing that way for centuries?

Yup, thanks we get it. More corporate advertising **** that takes us, the consumer, as being nothing more than stupid idiots.

Well lets hope we all take note.
#13
Quote by Free
Ok never mind, I think Mr Flibble got it covered.

So to sum up..... it makes very little difference but companies will be forced more and more to use multiple pieces in their necks due to cost and in order that their trusted customers don't lose faith with them they'll engineer some crap about that being the best way to do it. Despite not doing that way for centuries?

Yup, thanks we get it. More corporate advertising **** that takes us, the consumer, as being nothing more than stupid idiots.

Well lets hope we all take note.
You pretty much just described Gibson's entire PR department and marketing strategy.

I too am getting very sick of this "now using a revolutionary new technique!" crap when previous models have lasted for decades already and usually sound and feel much better. It's especially bad when most companies spend half their time talking about their new processes and inventive ways to make guitars better than ever before, but then also put out vintage reissue models that cost more than the supposedly better new ones.
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#14
Quote by Free

So to sum up..... it makes very little difference but companies will be forced more and more to use multiple pieces in their necks due to cost and in order that their trusted customers don't lose faith with them they'll engineer some crap about that being the best way to do it. Despite not doing that way for centuries?

Yup, thanks we get it. More corporate advertising **** that takes us, the consumer, as being nothing more than stupid idiots.


Uh..that's not what Øttər or I said- and he's a builder. We both pointed out several real benefits derived from neck lamination.

It's especially bad when most companies spend half their time talking about their new processes and inventive ways to make guitars better than ever before, but then also put out vintage reissue models that cost more than the supposedly better new ones.


Part of the reason those vintage reissue models cost what they do is that some of the older building techniques involve labor techniques or use of materials that may be more expensive than newer (usually computerized) techniques with "compromise" materials.

Just take tonewoods for example. The big slab of dense, highly quality mahogany that a guitar company used in 1956 was obtained when that kind of material was common. Modern mahogany sources come from younger and rarer trees, and some companies don't use it at all, favoring less expensive woods with "mahogany-like" qualities.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
Which is all fair enough but not quite what I was talking about.
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#16
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Uh..that's not what Øttər or I said- and he's a builder. We both pointed out several real benefits derived from neck lamination.

Yes you did, but then someone else stated that it made very little difference and without wishing to start a flame war I attempted to summarise.

Granted, it would appear as though I was more receptive to the latter opinion but I must confess that was purely becasue it fitted my argument better. If you can provide some evidence to support your theories then I'd be quite happy to retract my summary (although to be fair I think I left as more of a question than a statement).

That said, I'm still more likely to believe that these companies are in the game for pure profit and customer service or product quality is merely an end to those means. And for that reason I'm much more likely to believe what Mr Flibble has stated.
#17
I would at this point like to interject and say I wasn't particularly disagreeing with anything previously said. I was merely adding another angle. After all as we all know, it's not like every guitar and guitar brand is the same, there are so many variations that everything should be considered and I simply don't believe in ever saying "no ****ing way" to anything guitar-related. Never say never and all that.
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#18
It's prettier
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

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Stupid name.
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#19
If you can provide some evidence to support your theories then I'd be quite happy to retract my summary (although to be fair I think I left as more of a question than a statement).


Nothing I could link to, I'm afraid.

My knowledge of lamination is strictly from a reading of certain books about physics, especially those dealing with metals (I also design jewelry), but also some with woods. I also know several professional woodworkers (but only a few luthiers).

As for construction techniques, I studied THAT while gaining an MBA back in 2003-05. I had to do a comparative analysis of companies like Tacoma, PRS and other guitar makers (I had to choose a manufacturing industry to analyze, I chose guitars. However, all of my access to sources were through the University's contacts- I have none of them myself.

What it boiled down to, though, was that after an initial cash outlay for machinery, modern, computerized manufacturing techniques radically lower production costs...same as any modern business depending upon industrialized fabrication. Older techniques, while possibly having certain intrinsic advantages, become comparatively more expensive. In the guitar industry, that roughly translates into "C&C manufacturing satisfies the mass market demand, but the older techniques satisfy the artist's sensibilities."

And lets face it, the whole tonewood thing is no secret. There have been countless articles in the guitar press detailing the declining availability of traditional tonewoods and the movement to find suitable alternatives, including alternative tonewoods, laminates, aggregates, artificial materials, and "green" sources of traditional tonewoods, like Smartwood (http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry.cfm?id=smartwood_program) and some companies owning their own controlled-rate harvested forests (like Tacoma did).
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#20
Wow, thank you for your answers, i could just about write a book on neck construction based on the info provided! Lots of helpful insight
RG's & Mesa's
#21
Wow, Danny what can I say? I hereby retract my statement.

Peace man