Classical Neck/body joint

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Michael.N.
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Classical Neck/body joint

Postby Michael.N. » Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:34 pm

It's almost exclusively the Spanish slipper foot, a joint that goes back to at least the early 17th century. I'm not even sure it is Spanish because the Voboam French Baroque guitars employed this type of joint - complete with the two wedges.
Of course the Fleta's and many of the Romantic guitars employ the tapered dovetail. Then there exists the more so called modern approach of using some type of bolt/screw. So-called modern because it's not too dissimilar to methods that were employed in Violin and Lute construction, with nails being driven through the end block.
As a quick and brief survey, how many of the luthiers on this forum (pro. or not) are using an alternative joint to the Spanish slipper foot?
Last edited by Michael.N. on Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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El Topo

Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby El Topo » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:54 pm

I intend to use an adjustable action/removable neck joint ala David Schramm on my next two classical guitars after helping my mentor-teacher Brian Burns on an experimental one. It seems to me to be the way to go except for maybe customer resistance. :)

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Peter Oberg
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Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby Peter Oberg » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:32 pm

I am.

p

Dennis71

Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby Dennis71 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:15 pm

This is a very interesting question. I'd also like tohear some opinions from luthiers or generally people with experience how they think the type of neck joint construction affects the sound. A local luthier (from whom I considered buying an instrument) has three models, the most moderately priced of which has no spanish neck joint but what he calls a german neck joint. I understood as much that the neck is connected to the body more or less after each of them is finished. In the world of electric guitar the type of connection is directly associated with the sustain the guitar will have. Is that the same for concert guitars?

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Peter Oberg
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Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby Peter Oberg » Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:56 am

I'd also like tohear some opinions from luthiers or generally people with experience how they think the type of neck joint construction affects the sound.


I would guess that those who build Spanish heel say that this type of construction is better for the sound, and those that use an 'alternative' method of attaching the neck to the body say that it has no affect on the sound. Note the word 'guess'.

p

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Michael.N.
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Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby Michael.N. » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:43 am

The original thread wasn't really concerned with the sound question although I'm certainly glad to include it.
I have my doubts that the actual neck joint (provided it's well executed) will have any effect on the sound. I suspect that the vast majority of classical makers simply follow the tradition of the Spanish foot (me included) and have done very little in the way of A B comparisons of the effects on tone of the various neck joints. I also suspect that the idea that the Spanish foot is somehow superior tonally is one of those myths that has become difficult to refute simply because enough of the 'right people' have supported that view. Certainly you would have to explain why the Fleta's are so successful despite the idea that they are employing a so called inferior joint.
I believe the Spanish foot became the universally accepted joint simply because of practical reasons. It's a relatively easy joint to execute, it's relatively easy to build in the neck angle whilst ensuring correct alignment with the centre line and of course it's more than adequate in terms of its strength. The real disadvantage is realised when one has to remedy an incorrect neck angle.
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MikFik

Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby MikFik » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:41 am

Having built many instruments with Spanish heel technique and setting up many more instruments with various methods of neck attachments I must say that the distinguishing feature of the Spanish method is the ease of set-up and no hump where the neck joins the body. Neck angle comes out correctly as long as ones workboard is flat so set up is a breeze.
mik

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James Lister
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Re: Classical Neck/body joint

Postby James Lister » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:46 am

I've stuck with the Spanish method for all my guitars - it's how I was taught, and I haven't heard of any good arguments to change it. Like Michael, I think that as long as the joint is a good one, it will not affect the tone of the guitar. I know one maker who uses a plain butt joint - in fact I know a steel string maker who uses the same method. At first I thought this was a bit scary (especially for the higher tension of the steel strings) - but then realised that the forces are such that this type of joint is plenty strong enough (again, assuming it is a good joint).

If I ever thought it beneficial to use a joint that could be taken apart more easily, I would probably go for the Cumpiano method (not the original one in the book - the update on the website) where he uses a straight tenon joint, held together by two bolts. Actually a single bolt would be plenty if positioned correctly. Details are here if you're interested:

http://www.cumpiano.com/Home/Articles/S ... block.html

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK


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