#1
Is a swamp ash neck possible? I did some research on it and all I could find was that it wouldn't be very stable but a 4 piece neck would fix that right? and also read it could dent easily, do you think it will?
#2
It's soft and it has a lot of pores for water and humidity to get into. Not really an ideal wood in any respect.
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#3
Just because you could make a neck out of Ash doesn't mean you should.

There is a reason the likes of Fender use Maple, which is more expensive than Ash.

The trouble with laminating any neck is the potential for unusual harmonics within the neck. The guitar could just feel wrong to play for no apparent reason...or it could feel awesome.
#4
We use Ash for necks quite a bit, so do plenty of others and unlaminated necks are no problem. Remember the "Swamp" part of the name just means it's lightweight, this means it probably wouldn't make it as suitable as heavier stuff for use in necks. The heavier stuff would just be called Northern Ash (or in my case English which is a subspecies) though is still the same species as "Swamp Ash". Ash has similar properties to Maple on both the Janka and stiffness scale, it can also be very attractive making it a nice alternative.

The reason the likes of Fender don't use it is the same reason they switched to Alder for bodies....Ash is more labour intensive requiring the porous grain to be filled (a step which isn't necessary on Maple necks or Alder bodies)
#5
Quote by Manton Customs
We use Ash for necks quite a bit, so do plenty of others and unlaminated necks are no problem. Remember the "Swamp" part of the name just means it's lightweight, this means it probably wouldn't make it as suitable as heavier stuff for use in necks. The heavier stuff would just be called Northern Ash (or in my case English which is a subspecies) though is still the same species as "Swamp Ash". Ash has similar properties to Maple on both the Janka and stiffness scale, it can also be very attractive making it a nice alternative.

The reason the likes of Fender don't use it is the same reason they switched to Alder for bodies....Ash is more labour intensive requiring the porous grain to be filled (a step which isn't necessary on Maple necks or Alder bodies)


So if I had a normal ash neck would it be very stable to climate changes and stuff? Also if I wanted a natural non shiny finish would I have to fill the grain for the body and neck?

And the reason I don't want a maple neck is because I prefer the tone of ash and I'm having a set neck so according to crimson guitars with a set neck the guitar will sound like the neck, and the reason I'm having a set neck is because I need the neck joint smoothed out so I wont feel any body up to the 22nd fret. Just thought I'd clear that up so no one asks why I don't just have a maple neck.
Last edited by Intralimpidus at Feb 23, 2015,
#6
There are no problems with the stability of Ash, I have one here which I made around 5 years ago and it has required no more adjustments than a Maple neck (possibly less). No you don't have to fill the grain, but if you don't fill it you will have a textured finish where you can feel the grain. Some people like this effect and I have done bodies like it, though not a neck. I think you would probably want to fill the grain on the neck as it will have a nicer feel to it, though by all means experiment. Though you can fill the grain and still have a satin finish.
#7
Quote by Manton Customs
There are no problems with the stability of Ash, I have one here which I made around 5 years ago and it has required no more adjustments than a Maple neck (possibly less). No you don't have to fill the grain, but if you don't fill it you will have a textured finish where you can feel the grain. Some people like this effect and I have done bodies like it, though not a neck. I think you would probably want to fill the grain on the neck as it will have a nicer feel to it, though by all means experiment. Though you can fill the grain and still have a satin finish.


Ok thanks, if I fill the grain will it look the same?
#9
Quote by Manton Customs
Sorry, the same as what? Yes, it'll still be satin. No it won't look the same as if the grain wasn't filled...it'll be smoother


Do you think you could show a picture of swamp with the grain unfilled and then a picture of filled please? I can't find any online.
#10
This is not something I would probably ever order up on a custom guitar.

I'd suggest contacting Warmoth about that. Maybe Nik Huber. Maybe Alan at ACG guitars (guy works with more exotic woods than almost anyone else I know). Maybe a few other custom builders that may have had some long-term experience with it. I'm not sure that there are enough people who've worked with that wood in a neck to give you a good sample, however.

Note that the tone of a wood in the neck is not necessarily going to be anything like the tone of that wood in the body, and that what seems like a good idea at the time can be a complete disaster in execution.
#11
As I mentioned, plenty of people already do use it, Alan at ACG included, so do Fodera and so does MTD....so I'd say its pretty well tested! While I know 5 years isn't exactly long term, it's long enough and the Ash neck which I built 5 years ago has seen hundreds of gigs and required very few adjustments throughout it's life.

People like to play it safe and stick with the more commonly used options such as Maple, but the truth is there are a hundred different suitable neck woods out there. The reason they are not used is down to price, labour and tradition...which people have a habit of getting stuck in. Picking a good neck wood is not difficult and Maple is far from unique.

I'm not touching the tone thing with a 10' pole.

Pics incoming
Last edited by Manton Customs at Feb 25, 2015,
#13
Quote by Manton Customs
As I mentioned, plenty of people already do use it, Alan at ACG included, so do Fodera and so does MTD....so I'd say its pretty well tested! unique.

I'm not touching the tone thing with a 10' pole.



If Alan does it, I'm good.
I've got enough odd neck woods in my own firewood collection to have an open mind about it. I've also got enough experience with wide-grain woods popping a bit, over time, that I'd probably avoid them. Unless you like necks that feel like a shillelagh.

OTOH, when your thumb settles over that knot in the wood, you always know where you are on the neck, no matter what your breath analyzer indicates. I wonder if I should consider one in maple burl...
#15
Quote by Manton Customs
As I mentioned, plenty of people already do use it, Alan at ACG included, so do Fodera and so does MTD....so I'd say its pretty well tested! While I know 5 years isn't exactly long term, it's long enough and the Ash neck which I built 5 years ago has seen hundreds of gigs and required very few adjustments throughout it's life.

People like to play it safe and stick with the more commonly used options such as Maple, but the truth is there are a hundred different suitable neck woods out there. The reason they are not used is down to price, labour and tradition...which people have a habit of getting stuck in. Picking a good neck wood is not difficult and Maple is far from unique.

I'm not touching the tone thing with a 10' pole.

Pics incoming


Sorry for all the questions, but how do I get a grain fill like yours how the wood just looks smooth, because on other grain fills you can just see the filler in the grain and to me it doesn't really look that nice.

Btw I looked at your website, you make some sweet guitars
Last edited by Intralimpidus at Feb 25, 2015,
#16
No problem. I'm not sure why other guitars you have seen didn't look right. It could perhaps be that the colour didn't match correctly (or contrast in a nice way). Or it could be they weren't done correctly. It takes time to do it correctly but it's very simple. The one above was done with black grain filler to accentuate the grain and contrast the orange nicely. Then it had multiple coats of lacquer.

Thanks! Glad you like them .
#17
Quote by Manton Customs
No problem. I'm not sure why other guitars you have seen didn't look right. It could perhaps be that the colour didn't match correctly (or contrast in a nice way). Or it could be they weren't done correctly. It takes time to do it correctly but it's very simple. The one above was done with black grain filler to accentuate the grain and contrast the orange nicely. Then it had multiple coats of lacquer.

Thanks! Glad you like them .


Is there any grain filler that matches the colour of the original wood?
#18
Yes, that's one of the most common ways of doing it, another alternative is to fill it with clear epoxy, which is translucent. So you see the grain but don't feel it.

The most common Epoxy for grain filling is Z-Poxy Finishing Resin. Or you can use a paste product like this http://www.rothkoandfrost.com/r-f-thixotropic-grain-filler/, or the Rustins version....I prefer the thixotropic one to Rustins though.
#19
Quote by Manton Customs
Yes, that's one of the most common ways of doing it, another alternative is to fill it with clear epoxy, which is translucent. So you see the grain but don't feel it.

The most common Epoxy for grain filling is Z-Poxy Finishing Resin. Or you can use a paste product like this http://www.rothkoandfrost.com/r-f-thixotropic-grain-filler/, or the Rustins version....I prefer the thixotropic one to Rustins though.


Ok thanks, that's about everything I need to know. Thanks for answering my questions you've been really helpful!
#21
Quote by Manton Customs
No problem, glad to help


Oh wait, two more questions, what are the tonal differences between northern ash and maple? And where can I buy swamp ash and northern ash?
Last edited by Intralimpidus at Feb 28, 2015,