First Build - SG neck Questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by scoop, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. scoop

    scoop New Member

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    I am inching forward on an a 'from scratch' SG design and build. Its really an exercise in learning.

    It is my first guitar build. The plan was to do some sort of Iommi replica, but I have moved
    on from that idea. It may end up being heavily 'influcenced by', but not having to replicate leaves me some freedom with mistakes :) (and I don't have to hand carve crosses)

    So far I have a body,
    • Body, Sapele, routed to shape, no cavities or carving.
    • A Fretboard, S American Rosewood, Fret slots cut, inlay dots set, 12" radius
    • A Neck, messed up!
    The plan is for a set neck,
    • entering body around 21st fret
    • Full width tenon, extending into neck PU, no taper in the width
    • 3deg (calculated from LibreCAD drawings)
    • 1 piece
    I am beginning to rethink some of the neck ideas, it is turning into an order of operations puzzle!

    I rough cut the neck to approx 60mm (Except the head stock), and lost some reference edges that I think would have been handy for cutting the tenon (with 3deg angle).

    I am getting the feeling that the one piece head stock (extra width) is going to make the whole thing more difficult.

    Iimpetus to seek help came when I got a bit heavy with the band saw while cutting the back of the headstock to rough shape.

    So, my question for the more experienced is regarding order of operations for a neck.

    I would like to stick with neck tenon, but am open to suggestions, on width or anything else
    I am happy to give up on 1 piece, and go to scarf/wings setup.

    Can some kind luthiers please lend me the benefit of your experience?

    Would you .....

    1) Comment on my tenon approach
    2) Suggest if Scarf/wings would simplify in your opinion
    3) Suggest an order of operations for your recommended neck recipe.

    I have 7bf of new lumber waiting, but am not in a rush.

    Thankyou
    Paul
     
  2. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I'm no Luthier but have built a few SGs. Generally the tenon follows the neck taper like a LP JR. Also generally the neck pocket is ramped and the neck tenon is not. I find it easier that way but there are no hard and fast rules. Also 3 degrees is a little steep for a normal SG. SGs have a very thin body so they do not sit as deep as a LP JR. They are also a flat top. You can make anything work but it's all about bridge height.
    63_Gibson-SG.JPG

    Most Gibson guitars with an angled head stock have wings. Basically the width of the neck wood is about the same size as the widest with of the neck tenon in the body. Then "ears" are added to the head stock. Neck width usually around 2.25" a little wider for an SG like this because the neck is longer than other designs. Scarf joints are fine but I have not used them. If my neck blank isn't deep enough for a one piece I will laminate some pieces together and flip 90 degrees.

    Order of operations for me is -

    1. rough cut neck one piece blank.
    2. cut angle head stock - 17 degrees is common for an SG
    3. route for truss rod and truss rod access
    4. taper neck
    5. thickness head stock
    6. glue on ears
    7. add truss rod and filler strip
    8. carve back of neck and head stock transition
    9. fit to body and adjust to suit
    10. glue fret board and press frets and add binding
    11. glue in neck

    There are lots of things you can re-arrange here. But keeping the neck blank rectangular until after routing for truss rod is important.

    Good luck

    Cheers Peter.
     
    SG John likes this.
  3. scoop

    scoop New Member

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    Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

    On checking my drawings again, my neck is looking like 2.5deg. Good catch.

    You have given me some good info (order of ops), and also some food for thought e.g. Routing neck angle into body.

    I am hoping to get some time this week to at least get the neck to rough dimensions. I will probably leave it for a week or 2 to acclimatize, so I think I will try your recipe on a piece of pine.

    Again, thankyou.

    Paul
     
  4. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I recently scanned a 62 SG and the neck angle came in at 1.6 degrees. I have built a 61 SG replica that had a neck angle of about 1.3 degrees. I'm not saying 2.5 - 3 degrees won't work but make sure you work out the math.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  5. scoop

    scoop New Member

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    My calculation of 2.5deg is right.....for the design I have drawn.

    I figured out my disconnect. My design has the bottom of the fret board at exactly the level of the top of the body at the 20th fret.

    I just looked at an epiphone, and the neck is higher than the top of the body by several mm where the neck enters the body.

    i have not recalculated yet, but this will make a significant reduction to the required neck angle.

    Thank you for your (patient) persistence. I got there in the end :)
     
  6. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    Perfect. That is exactly what I was talking about. It takes a while to fully comprehend and once you get it, it's great. It took me a long time but it seems easy now. The biggest thing is discarding all the things that do not matter and concentrate on the things that do. Once that is done, there isn't really that much to remember.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  7. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020

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