#1
The title says all. What's better? What are the pro and cons of multi laminate necks?

As far I know, multi laminate necks are more stable and bow/warp less than one piece necks, but they are more susceptible to temperature and humidity changes. Is it true?
#2
Well if they were more stable and bow/warp less, than they wouldn't be as susceptible to temperature or humidity changes.

That part is true for the most part as far as I know.
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#3
It is more down to how you can alter the orientation of the grain in the various pieces. Having a central lamination quartersawn and the two outer pieces flatsawn (or at least having the grain oriented as though they were) is my personal favourite method of construction in three-piece necks. Five piece necks? The same, however adding two thin quartersawn laminates of a contrasting wood both tonally and visually works great.

This is a 7-piece neck I built MANY years ago (11 if you count the veneer pinstripes) which has an Ebony central lamination, quartersawn Rock Maple either side of that and Bloodwood laminations surrounded by flatsawn Flame Maple. It actually ended up a little too stiff!
Last edited by Prostheta at Sep 17, 2011,
#4
Gimme a 5 piece, especially with a really thin neck. It also just looks better than a 3 piece, imo. Someone might claim that a multi laminate neck won't resonate as well as 1 solid piece, but I think that's bull.
#5
i have an 11 piece neck (Maple-Mahogany-Amazakoe-Wenge) on my mayones elements perfect. sounds great.
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#6
Prostheta, thanks for that post, brah. There's a lot of stuff you said that led to me researching and learning a bunch of other stuff.


Myself? One piece maple, please.
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#7
Is that a block letter 5150 I see on top of that Marshall cab?


Multi piece necks are more stable and don't warp as easy. In woodworking most of your wide pieces are glued together vs a single piece for that reason, unless it's like a 3" walnut slab or something. I can't really think of any cons through the eyes of a guitarist, but for the builder it's increased production time since you have to wait for the glue to set up.
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#8
Same as bodies. Harder to find a piece of wood good enough for a 1-piece neck but it'll carry vibrations better so you get better sustain, clarity and fuller tone. Multi-play is much stronger and cheaper/easier to make but dampens the sound.
#9
@JustRooster - It is indeed....modded for hotter bias and sounded better though a 1960A cab :-D

I disagree wholefartedly about the whole "laminations kill sound" for many reasons, however one simple reason springs to mind. Growth rings. They are very much natural laminations from tree growth bound together by the cellulose and lignin to produce wood on a larger scale. I call bullshit on your post grohl1987.

Plus it is not cheaper or easier. The time and investment spent on producing multilam blanks in a production setting outweighs using single piece necks. Look at the Ibanez GIO range, or for that matter near every Fender ever produced.
#10
A 3 or more piece neck has less chance of warping than a 1 piece neck. They are much more stable.
#11
Quote by Prostheta
@JustRooster - It is indeed....modded for hotter bias and sounded better though a 1960A cab :-D

I disagree wholefartedly about the whole "laminations kill sound" for many reasons, however one simple reason springs to mind. Growth rings. They are very much natural laminations from tree growth bound together by the cellulose and lignin to produce wood on a larger scale. I call bullshit on your post grohl1987.

Plus it is not cheaper or easier. The time and investment spent on producing multilam blanks in a production setting outweighs using single piece necks. Look at the Ibanez GIO range, or for that matter near every Fender ever produced.
Multiply necks sound dead, same way neck-through guitars do or badly made set necks. Glue kills sustain like nothing else. A 1-piece bolt-on neck with a really tight fit and a 1-piece body sustains better than anything even if you throw a Floyd into the mix or pickups with strong magnetic pull or anything.

The simpler you keep construction the purer the tone is, the better vibrations carry. That simple. That's why Les Paul Juniors have endured so long even though they're very limited electronically. That's why a proper dreadnaught acoustic sounds so much better than some half plastic bowl-back ovation shit. It's why the old Telecasters with inch-thick 1-piece maple necks may have had trouble with warping after a few years but while they're in good condition they sound a million times better than any modern version.

The more complex you make your guitar and the more intricate its construction the more stability and options you have. The simpler you keep it the better each part works. Pretty straight-forward.
#12
i agree with everything but ovation. my favorite acounstic guitars. i am a fan of great wood, but darnit, ovations are louder, more vibrant, and have a sprakle ulike ANY acoustic ive every played right up there with 2000 buck taylors an martins.

a my friends 2 g taylor is a solid competitor. but jesus a USA ovation is nice.
#13
Quote by ikey_
i agree with everything but ovation. my favorite acounstic guitars. i am a fan of great wood, but darnit, ovations are louder, more vibrant, and have a sprakle ulike ANY acoustic ive every played right up there with 2000 buck taylors an martins.

a my friends 2 g taylor is a solid competitor. but jesus a USA ovation is nice.



Bull-crap. Goto the acoustic forum and make that claim.
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#14
Quote by grohl1987
Multiply necks sound dead, same way neck-through guitars do or badly made set necks. Glue kills sustain like nothing else. A 1-piece bolt-on neck with a really tight fit and a 1-piece body sustains better than anything even if you throw a Floyd into the mix or pickups with strong magnetic pull or anything.

The simpler you keep construction the purer the tone is, the better vibrations carry. That simple. That's why Les Paul Juniors have endured so long even though they're very limited electronically. That's why a proper dreadnaught acoustic sounds so much better than some half plastic bowl-back ovation shit. It's why the old Telecasters with inch-thick 1-piece maple necks may have had trouble with warping after a few years but while they're in good condition they sound a million times better than any modern version.

The more complex you make your guitar and the more intricate its construction the more stability and options you have. The simpler you keep it the better each part works. Pretty straight-forward.


You clearly buy into all the voodoo. The back and sides of acoustic instruments have little to no bearing on the sound. Simple construction is a myth also. Look at a Wal bass for example. A badly made instrument will sound bad, however glue in a neck joint is again 99% myth. Old Teles sound better because of old growth wood more than anything.

I've made a lot of instruments and repaired/set up hundreds more. I've never heard an instrument sound bad because of laminate necks or any of these other "purist" things like hide glue instead of AR in a neck joint. Bad materials hurt an instrument's sound more.
"Voodoo", "Sustain" and "Tone" are meaningless.
"Tonewood" is a mass hallucination provoked by saturation marketing.
I will treat you as stupid until proven otherwise.
This is mere efficiency and not a personal attack. Unless it is of course.
#15
Quote by Prostheta
You clearly buy into all the voodoo. The back and sides of acoustic instruments have little to no bearing on the sound. Simple construction is a myth also. Look at a Wal bass for example. A badly made instrument will sound bad, however glue in a neck joint is again 99% myth. Old Teles sound better because of old growth wood more than anything.

I've made a lot of instruments and repaired/set up hundreds more. I've never heard an instrument sound bad because of laminate necks or any of these other "purist" things like hide glue instead of AR in a neck joint. Bad materials hurt an instrument's sound more.

This


And I will say that Ovation made those god-awful acoustics for the purposes or performing loudly to an audience. The resin bowl back is very good at projecting the sound outward. Some artists took advantage of that and helped make them popular. And it also helps that the unique sound hole design looks so damn nice.
#16
Quote by W4RP1G
This


And I will say that Ovation made those god-awful acoustics for the purposes or performing loudly to an audience. The resin bowl back is very good at projecting the sound outward. Some artists took advantage of that and helped make them popular. And it also helps that the unique sound hole design looks so damn nice.


True. They have their function I guess. Most things made popular end up gaining an unwarranted reputation as being "good", whereas one does not necessarily mean the other is true.
"Voodoo", "Sustain" and "Tone" are meaningless.
"Tonewood" is a mass hallucination provoked by saturation marketing.
I will treat you as stupid until proven otherwise.
This is mere efficiency and not a personal attack. Unless it is of course.
#17
well, i know that USA ovations have the best necks on an acoustic ive ever played. that goes for gibsons, breedloves, martins, taylors, guilds, anything. OF ANY PRICE. they are the loudest acoustic guitars and if you cant hear the music it doesnt really matter the does it?

and i know they got a really nice presense and a sparkle to their sound i think caused by teh plastic crap. oh yeah, and because 50% of then are plastic, they are almost NEVER going to break. easily one of the best acoustic instuments ive ever picked up in any price range.

back on topic...

i guess we are no scientists. the question here is are we looking for vibration or tone. the glue argument is saying it hurts tone because you need the most pure form of the instrument.

the laminate is saying that the ncks are more stable and doesnt not hurt or if anything helps them vibrate.

i dont know how i feel. stability is good. however i am purist. i like resonance, however i also like the right kind. i like knowing that if i build a guitar with a rosewood neck (like some PRS), the tone is coming from that rosewood neck. not rosewood>glue>bastard wood>glue>bastard wood>glue>and more rosewood.

i also have to note multi peice necks can be made MORE CHEAPLY because they can afford to use smaller peices of crappier wood. sure it takes time to put them together but compared to a really really nice neck like 100% quartersawn birdseye maple or 100% rosewood, those necks are super rare on guitars these days. nobody chops stuff like that up.

i dont see 3 peie necks on the cheapest guitars, but i see a lot of them on cheapER guitars liek low end ibanez.
Last edited by ikey_ at Sep 18, 2011,
#18
Quote by ikey_
well, i know that USA ovations have the best necks on an acoustic ive ever played. that goes for gibsons, breedloves, martins, taylors, guilds, anything. OF ANY PRICE. they are the loudest acoustic guitars and if you cant hear the music it doesnt really matter the does it?

and i know they got a really nice presense and a sparkle to their sound i think caused by teh plastic crap. oh yeah, and because 50% of then are plastic, they are almost NEVER going to break. easily one of the best acoustic instuments ive ever picked up in any price range.

back on topic...

i guess we are no scientists. the question here is are we looking for vibration or tone. the glue argument is saying it hurts tone because you need the most pure form of the instrument.

the laminate is saying that the ncks are more stable and doesnt not hurt or if anything helps them vibrate.

i dont know how i feel. stability is good. however i am purist. i like resonance, however i also like the right kind. i like knowing that if i build a guitar with a rosewood neck (like some PRS), the tone is coming from that rosewood neck. not rosewood>glue>bastard wood>glue>bastard wood>glue>and more rosewood.

i also have to note multi peice necks can be made MORE CHEAPLY because they can afford to use smaller peices of crappier wood. sure it takes time to put them together but compared to a really really nice neck like 100% quartersawn birdseye maple or 100% rosewood, those necks are super rare on guitars these days. nobody chops stuff like that up.

i dont see 3 peie necks on the cheapest guitars, but i see a lot of them on cheapER guitars liek low end ibanez.

It's all about preference. It's good to have variety on the maket for the people that want something different.


I think Ibanez kind of has to use multi laminate necks on their guitars, especially the higher-end models, because the necks are so thin, it's very likely they will warp after 20 years of regular use.

I don't buy into the "glue robs sustain" argument. It may rob a little, bits it's going to be a really small amount, too small to make it a bad guitar. Like Prostheta said, you won't find a guitar that's bad because of the glue, it'll be because of the wood used and the craftsmenship before the glue. And bolt-ons aren't going to be superior to set necks, and single piece necks aren't going to be superior to multi laminate. You will find all classes of guitar with different neck joints and neck types in the high-end range, all of them sounding great(or at least many of them) and making people happy.

I generally prefer stability, and the 5 piece neck offers that, as does the 3 piece. I have never personally noticed any kind of a difference in resonance from the different neck types. I know my Ibanez Prestige resonates more than my Mexican strat though.
#19
Please refer to my signature re: "tone". :-D
The use of language in guitar circles is butchered, mostly down to the commercial saturation tactics of using specific words to refer to things which either don't exist or those that are purely subjective and falsely giving them solidity. Resonance is one that bugs me very much as an object (such as a guitar) will possess many resonant frequencies which will be musically unrelated and are impossible to temper evenly over the entire range of that instrument's notes. This is why wolf notes and dead notes exist!

I was perhaps a little misleading in displaying a "show" neck earlier on, as laminated necks are not always made so for aesthetic purposes. To move back to the OP's questions, Tango616 was on the mark. To add direct answers:

- What's better?
Neither. A badly laminated neck (bad choice of woods, grain orientations, etc.) will be inferior to a single piece neck. The opposite is also true.

- What are the pro and cons of multi laminate necks?
Laminated necks can have the grain directions opposed to resist seasonal movement, and can be made to be a composite of woods with varying specific qualities. A personal favourite of mine is flame Maple and Bubinga. The downside is cost I guess; more work and time to achieve.

- As far I know, multi laminate necks are more stable and bow/warp less than one piece necks?
They *can* be more stable, however the choice of woods in both methods is crucial. The same applies to the tonal characteristics.

As for my part, I am happy using either method depending on circumstance and project aims. Thought put into application dispels excess voodoo and results in a quantifiably better instrument. Bluesky voodoo just serves to confuse the average musician who doesn't spend half their day [strike]talking[/strike] typing words about "tone" and "sustain" and that same voodoo creates a falsely elevated "elite" who think they know it all just because they "believe" it.

Bleh. This is getting way off track. Sometimes it is hard to know when to stop typing. I'm off to futz around with restoring a Japanese 1979 bass and solving real things.
"Voodoo", "Sustain" and "Tone" are meaningless.
"Tonewood" is a mass hallucination provoked by saturation marketing.
I will treat you as stupid until proven otherwise.
This is mere efficiency and not a personal attack. Unless it is of course.
#20
Quote by W4RP1G
It's all about preference. It's good to have variety on the maket for the people that want something different.


I think Ibanez kind of has to use multi laminate necks on their guitars, especially the higher-end models, because the necks are so thin, it's very likely they will warp after 20 years of regular use.

I don't buy into the "glue robs sustain" argument. It may rob a little, bits it's going to be a really small amount, too small to make it a bad guitar. Like Prostheta said, you won't find a guitar that's bad because of the glue, it'll be because of the wood used and the craftsmenship before the glue. And bolt-ons aren't going to be superior to set necks, and single piece necks aren't going to be superior to multi laminate. You will find all classes of guitar with different neck joints and neck types in the high-end range, all of them sounding great(or at least many of them) and making people happy.

I generally prefer stability, and the 5 piece neck offers that, as does the 3 piece. I have never personally noticed any kind of a difference in resonance from the different neck types. I know my Ibanez Prestige resonates more than my Mexican strat though.


You said it far better than I, since I tend to get easily angered at exclusivity and ignorance.

+1 on the Ibanez Prestige. Mine was the 584th in October 2000 from Fujigen. The FS Maple/QS Bubinga neck is sublime. It is an S1540-FM which has been the best guitar I've played since my old ESP Mirage (FS Maple FWIW) although they are very different beasts. I've played hundreds of guitars all across the range since my ESP and my Ibanez just kicks out at the top there, topped only by multi-thousand ESP, PRS, etc.

Quality in the work and careful choices wood count for far more than "glue kills tone", "all FS necks are better" or "all laminated necks sound dead".
"Voodoo", "Sustain" and "Tone" are meaningless.
"Tonewood" is a mass hallucination provoked by saturation marketing.
I will treat you as stupid until proven otherwise.
This is mere efficiency and not a personal attack. Unless it is of course.