Neck Angle’s - School me

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by pancake81, Nov 21, 2021.

  1. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2009
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    British Columbia, Canada
    As mush as I love collecting and playing I am no where near a luthier. Sometimes I get reminded just how much I don’t know about construction.

    For example, I was going through the SG Wiki page that our very own PTL has created and looking up my guitars and diving into the specs. Then I realized, all of my SG’s have different neck angles… One has a 2.5, one has a 3 and one has a 5 degree neck angle. Why is this? I know all my SG’s have different heel designs, so does this play into neck angles?

    I can understand the changing over years and research and development offered better designs, and then sticking to historically correct build methods on re-issues etc. Does Gibson have a “standard” neck angle in current times, or does it still vary model to model?

    I have all sorts of questions like this. Like the glue varieties. I hear folks going on and in about tite bond vs Franklin a vs hide glue vs hide glue 2, etc. Can someone shed some light on that?

    Of all the research and questions I ask before I pull out my cheque book, I have never gone OCD on what glue my new instrument is constructed with. But it seems I am minority sometimes :)
  2. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2020
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    Neck angle is a function of the overall design of the instrument. There is no "better" or "best" neck angle per se, but there will typically be a narrow range of values that will make the most sense for a given design once a few body profile parameters are set. My '71 SG for example has a zero-degree neck angle (in other words parallel with the top). It works great, but that is because that is how it was designed, no other reason.

    The heel design will to some extent depend on the geometry of how the neck joins the body, but there again it is a total design consideration. Whether it is "good" or "bad" will depend on how well it works with the design to make a strong, durable, and stable connection.

    The neck angle is primarily determined by a straight line formed by the strings from the nut to the bridge. You want the finger board slightly below, and as close to parallel to the strings as possible. There is a small amount of divergence necessary as you go from the nut to the body to keep the strings from grounding against the higher frets, but you want it as close as possible typically.

    Glue type depends on adhesive strength and the surface area of the glue joint. Some glues (tite bond for example) are very strong over a small area, but if you ever have to take it apart you can forget it. Musical instruments historically have used weaker glues overall, but allow the skilled luthier to steam the joint apart for repair or service. Here again, design plays a large part in selecting the type of glue to be used and vice versa. If you think there is a possibility the joint will ever need to be taken apart, make a joint with enough surface area that a weaker glue can be used with provisions for dissolving the bond.

    In short there are a wide range of options that will work very well on a well-designed instrument.
  3. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
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    From my experience, I've noticed that the Custom Shop models have less neck angle and the USA models have more neck angle. Maybe with the higher cost of the Custom Shop models they set the necks to a tighter tolerance with less angle.

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