bolted necks

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Location: halifax, nova scotia

bolted necks

Post by brooks » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:41 am

i'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on whether using a bolted on neck in cg construction influences tone quality.

Dan Kellaway

Post by Dan Kellaway » Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:16 am

I find if I have a nice tight dovetailed neck join that is then secured with a bolt, it is tonally very good.
I'm sure there is some aesthetic objection to bolts but functionally they are fine. After all most people these days have little or no objection to truss rods.
And if someone tells you that the introduction of metal will adversely affect the tone then you need to ask about all the musical instruments that use metal here and there.
In restoring a couple of old concert harps for instance I discovered that they have metal strips with multiple screws holding the soundboards on under the edges of the soundbox. They also have a metal coupling at the join between the base and the pillar. These were made in 1810 and 1825.
But there are so many examples if you think about it and in my opinion it all depends on how it's done.

Marcus Dominelli
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Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:52 pm
Location: Victoria, B.C. Canada

Post by Marcus Dominelli » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:22 pm

I don't think that the bolt on neck will change a guitar tonally. I think that the shape of the neck block (the portion on the inside of the guitar) is more important. I've done some bolt ons, but I retain the Spanish foot style of the neck block to ensure that this area has enough support.
But whether or not the neck and block are one-peice, bolted, or dovetailed, I doubt will affect tone in a significant way.
On the topic of repairability, each system has advantages and disadvantages, which I won't get into now.
Marcus Dominelli


Post by jfdana » Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:36 pm

I have some experience playing bolt-on necks on steel strings, and they are fine. Instead of chopping your guitar apart after several years for a neck set, 20 seconds to take off the neck, them shim and put back together. Some traditionalists argue that the dovetail sounds better, but to my knowledge no one has ever been able to detect a difference. In fact, a well made bolt-on tends to have more contact between heel and body than a dovetail.

With Classics, the need for neck sets becomes more attenuated, but I see no reason that, for those eschewing the "Spanish Slipper" construction, a bolt-on would allow fine tuning the geometry of the neck/guitar.

That being said, I don't expect to see bolt-on classical necks for a while.

AND, there's something to be said for traditional lutherie.



Post by mistermark » Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:57 am

From what I have read, it's easier to access higher register frets with the bolt on neck.


Post by jfdana » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:51 pm

Perhaps you are thinking of the elevated fingerboard (or sloping soundboard) which is a different construction detail.


Tim W
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:28 pm
Location: Galesville, MD

Post by Tim W » Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:08 am

My guitar has a bolted neck, and does not have a traditional heel. I find that this makes access near and above the 12th fret easier.


Ronald Coates

Post by Ronald Coates » Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:44 am

The first classical I ever built (fleta bracing) had a bolt on neck. I presented it at the local guitar society meeting and while it was met with some surprise all in attendance commented positively on the guitar's tone. FYI it has a trussrod as well.

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