I was walking down the beach the other day and thinking about neck joints. Dovetail seems preferred because transfer energy better, as I seem to recall. But I go to thinking about it: just how much energy gets transferred? Seems unless you just strum an A11th (or whatever the chord is when there is no fingering), whatever energy that maybe available is going to get damped down to near nothing because you are grabbing and holding the neck. Slide in your lap is all I can think of now that would not stifle any transfer.
Would love to see some data done with sensors of just how much, if any, energy actually gets down to the soundboard from the neck. My guess would be a very very low percentage.
I don't own a Taylor (yet) but like the idea of a bolt on neck that you can adjust rather than the hassle and expense of a reset. I'd like to see something about bridge pins, but that could be another post....
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Hope someone chimes in and tells me why I am off base about energy and neck joining.
It isn't so much energy transfer as wood vibration itself if that makes sense, at least thats how I understand it,
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Hope someone chimes in and tells me why I am off base about energy and neck joining.
The dovetail method of joinery doesn't really address itself to sound. A set neck will most likely have as much sustain as a dovetailed version.

The point of the dovetail joint is its strength, and the fact that the shape of the joint holds the wood together not just the adhesive. So, it can't separate. (Obviously nothing's impossible, just a whole lot less likely).

My guess is that a set neck design transfers more energy than a bolt on. (Or perhaps, "absorbs less").

So, in the years before infinitely sustaining distortion pedals and compressors, a Les Paul guitar would hold a note a lot longer that a Strat or Tele. A portion of that sustain is also attributed to the sheer mass of the Les Paul's mahogany body, which doesn't absorb string energy as quickly.

An acoustic almost works in the reverse of this as the body must absorb energy from the strings to activate the sound board. So, no matter how you attach the neck to an acoustic, it will never sustain like a Les Paul.

As to the Taylor's bolt on neck, people like the sound of their guitars. Planing or shimming a neck angle is indeed a lot easier and damaging than resetting a neck.

Some things that mitigate the need for a neck reset are the accuracy of the joint in the first place, the proper aging of the wood, and the care you take of the guitar in general.

Personally, I would buy a Taylor if it sounded better to me than the other guitars I was considering, not specifically because because it was, or wasn't, a bolt on neck.

Reasonably speaking, if a $300.0 guitar needs a neck reset, you throw it away. A $3000.00 Martin, is a far different story.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 17, 2013,
absolutely unrelated-ish but when i walk along the beach by where i live, i'm far too focused on girls in bikini's than dovetail joints...
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Perfectly functional guitars have been made using all the different systems. Even Martin and Taylor are using bolt-on joints now on some models...
There's no problem with strength or energy loss, but they are easier to re-set as the instrument ages.
I would think that the neck joint would almost have to be sloppy-loose before you'd get any serious degradation of sound transfer to the top of the guitar.
Remember, Even if the joint should be a little loose, bringing the strings up to tension should result in good, solid contact.
taylor uses bolt-on jocks on all their guitars, as far as i know. bob taylor has a patent on their NT joint - an adjustable mortise and tenon join that uses shims to set the neck angle.

martin's iconic guitars use dovetail joints, but their cheaper, solid top x series and their performing artist series (which i used to call the martin taylors) use mortise and tenon. maybe some of their other series, too.
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Last edited by patticake at Mar 17, 2013,
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absolutely unrelated-ish but when i walk along the beach by where i live, i'm far too focused on girls in bikini's than dovetail joints...
What do women, men, guitar bodies neck joints have in common? They're both things you can slip together.

Do I have to think of everything?

EDIT: Through the ages artists have associated the shape of a woman's hips, (from the rear, perhaps more so when seated), with the shape of a guitar body. So, thinking in parallel lines about bikini clad women, ang guitar bodies, is a more mutually inclusive train of thought, than a mutually exclusive one. Aren't ships, cars, and guitars thought of a feminine? In fact, the Spanish word for guitar is "Guitarra", and it is a feminine noun,.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 17, 2013,
"absolutely unrelated-ish but when i walk along the beach by where i live, i'm far too focused on girls in bikini's than dovetail joints..." I guess I have been living here in Thailand too long. Very very few Thai women will wear a bikini. There are some Russian whales that plop on the beach, and even Jabba the hut looks anorexic by comparison. Don't know how they can go from hot in 20's to Moby Dick size in so few years.... side note: lots of ladyboys here, saw some topless while back (good boob jobs). Wondered if could arrested as it is legal for men to go topless, last time I looked..... Thanks for the comments on the necks, btw. My lovely Tacoma jumbo needs a neck reset. Finish has come off the sides too. Not uncommon, saw a lovely Koa jumbo for $382 on ebay. I'd get it if still in USA. Mine now is trully a beach guitar. Put nylon strings on to lessen the tension....