Guitar Making Tip Number 649 is about the neck to body joint. This is one of the locations where you can lose the most vibration. The neck and the body do a lot to help the guitar make sound. Getting the joint correct makes a difference, and here is how you do it.
How the Neck and Body Work Together
On the guitar, the neck is also tied to the body in a mechanically disadvantaged location. It hangs out into space, and needs a lot of strength at the bottom to keep it from waggling around and losing energy.
The most effective thing that you can do to ensure a great sounding guitar is to make this joint a top priority.
While there are lots of thoughts out there on the type of joint, or the virtues of one method over another, the truth of the matter is that all of the joints are just fine. What you need to do is pick one that you can execute really well…
Pick a Joint You are Familiar With
A high end joint, poorly done, is far worse than a basic joint made to be rock solid. The most important joint that you can pick for your guitar neck is the one that you can make really well. After all, this is going to be the foundation of the neck, and will influence the sound.
If you are terrible at making a dovetail, then don’t even both with that kind of joint. It’s not worth ruining a guitar just to say you did a dovetail at the neck. Instead, pick out a joint that you are comfortable with.
This will more than likely come down to your comfort level, and your tools. If you have the tools to make a nice doweled joint, then do so. Do you have a set of inserts and bolts? Then a bolt on neck may be your answer. Either way, familiarity is more important than type.
Take Your Time and Make the Joint Rock Solid
You should be taking your time in general on a new guitar. However, on the neck to body joint you really need to take your time. Do several test fittings, and make sure that you are creating a rock solid joint that will help the guitar in the future.
Imagine the neck to body joint having a rubber gasket in between the pieces. The guitar would still look fine, but the sound would die off almost instantly. The rubber would be allowing the neck to move, reducing the energy and sound.
Remove that gasket, and now the wood does not move. The neck is sturdy, and the vibrations pass from piece to piece as one solid unit. When you create a poor joint, it’s like having a rubber gasket. When you create a good joint, it’s like a single solid piece.
Guitar Making Tip No. 649 Wrap-Up
One of the most important joints on the guitar is between the neck and the body. This joint will help control vibration loss, and make the neck stronger. It’s important to select a good joint that you can execute well for this part of the build.
If you are comfortable with a certain joint, and it’s strong, that’s the joint you need to use for the neck and the body. it’s more about getting the joint made well than executing a fancy joint poorly. Create the joint you are comfortable with, and let it do the job.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 649, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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Tip No. 649 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.