#1
Im working on a guitar right now and I have a question about the neck.
My background experience is fairly limited but I have completed a string guitar with a bolt on neck from scratch and after that I stepped it up and built a 12 string touch style neck through.

For this build I was originally planning on making it a set neck because I didnt really want bolts showing. I think of this guitar as a sculpture and I spent a good amount of time working the form so I didnt want the bolts interrupting anything. However, because of the curve of the body Im not happy with the fit that Im getting from the heel. So now Im considering removing the heel and making the neck a bolt on. However I have a sculptural line (on the back) that I do not want to interrupt with a bolt so that means that my bolts need to be pushed back which in turn means fitting 4 bolts would be difficult. My question is, would 3 bolts provide sufficient stability for my neck? Before you answer, there is a qualifier, there would be a bolt in the two corners (right and left) of the neck as is traditional but the third would likely be spaced only about an inch further up (on one side, not in the middle). I have done a fair amount of research prior to asking so I know that there have been plenty of 3 bolt version bolt ons and people seem to advocate for their stability and sustain, however their layout is different than mine. From what I can tell, as long as I have a nice tight fit for the neck, than 3 bolts would provide sufficient stability. My neck pocket fits very well and will actually get a little tighter when I actually apply a finish to it.

So lets hear it, Does anyone think that it would be ok to make 3 bolt bolt-on with the layout I described?

Any help would be much appreciated
#2
Just trying to visualize this...
so you have two bolts on the heel end, and one a bit closer toward the head? It is certainly possible to make a 3-bolt neck that is strong enough.
Quote by I_am_Blashyrkh
My neck pocket fits very well and will actually get a little tighter when I actually apply a finish to it.

You do not want finish inside the neck pocket. Wood/wood contact is preferable because finish will dampen sustain.
#3
I think you have it. If you look at a standard bolt on neck, the configuration of the bolts would be roughly the same if you removed one of the bolts that is closest to the headstock.
This is a very quickly modified version of the configuration of the bolts. Ignore the shape of the guitar I just googled one for a reference. Its basically the same as a standard bolt on configuration but with the bottom rear pushed back and the bottom forward removed because on my guitar it would interrupt a sculptural line that I have. The top forward bolt (closest to the headstock) is also closer to the top rear bolt than on a normal guitar. I know its probably still a little hard to visualize but does this seem like it would be stable?


I dont have images of the actual body yet but Ill try to get some taken soon. Preliminary thoughts?
#4
Quote by cedricsmods
You do not want finish inside the neck pocket. Wood/wood contact is preferable because finish will dampen sustain.


Thanks, thats good to know. Ive read plenty of conflicting things and it seems some luthiers ignore this and account for finish in all of their fittings. I was reading that the glue in a set neck can have the same effect which was another reason (in combination with fitting issues) for me to consider abandoning the set neck idea and just go with a bolt-on
#5
My preliminary thought is that it would work. Of course the more distance you can put between the bolts, the more stable it will be. 3 bolts would be the minimum with which you could have good stability.
#6
That actually doesn't look very stable to me, I wouldn't be to thrilled about seeing that joint.
You have no room to do something else?
Is the neck already made? Can you extend it further into the body?

I'm not saying it definitely wouldn't work....
I'd probably try using threaded inserts in the neck and some larger machine screws rather than wood screws if nothing else.
#7
Quote by cedricsmods
My preliminary thought is that it would work. Of course the more distance you can put between the bolts, the more stable it will be. 3 bolts would be the minimum with which you could have good stability.

Yeah I plan on putting as much distance as I can get without ruining the form. I really think that with the nice fit that I have, that it should be relatively stable.
Thanks a lot for the input man!
#8
Quote by Metalhead_28
That actually doesn't look very stable to me, I wouldn't be to thrilled about seeing that joint.
You have no room to do something else?
Is the neck already made? Can you extend it further into the body?

I'm not saying it definitely wouldn't work....
I'd probably try using threaded inserts in the neck and some larger machine screws rather than wood screws if nothing else.


The threaded inserts is a good idea.
Im still playing around with ideas. My neck is built and fitted to a pocket. There is more actual meat there but to move the bolts further up would mean interrupting the form. I come from a sculpting background so I cant make myself destroy a line.
#9
Fender use to use 3 bolts, the moved to 4, I can only assume 4 is the least for good stability.




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#10
I was reading my GP mag one time, and there was an ad, for a traveller guitar, with only one bolt in the neck, but it was a big one. And, It could easily be removed for flight, or anything.
..I was watching my death.
#11
G&L also formerly used 3 bolts, now they use 4.

Of course 4 would be more stable than 3. Theoretically though, 3 is the minimum because 2 bolts would always form a straight line axis and thus be prone to tilt perpendicular to the axis. A third bolt provides some stability in the direction perpendicular to the axis of the first two.

Metalhead is right that threaded inserts would be a good idea. You could use something like a T-nut , inserted from the fingerboard side. That would allow you to use machine bolts and the T-nuts would be hidden beneath the fingerboard.
#12
you'll just have to ask yourself is it worth it to inturpt the sculpture for stability's sake.. cause after all if it does shift and gets all screwed up then you might not care so much about an interupted line.. also its the back of the neck heel, no ones even going to see it much, only you..

if i were you, i would probably try to get 4 bolts on there. but it comes down to what YOU think.