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Thread: Neck woods

  1. #1
    Good Enough
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    05.09.18 @ 03:31 PM
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    Default Neck woods

    Ok, I have a question:

    Just how important is the neck and fretboard wood when it comes to the tone of the guitar? The reason I'm asking is that just today I finally finished refurbishing my crappy aging Kramer Striker (yes the new crappy $150 ones). It badly needed a refret, so I decided to do it myself. So when I had the frets pulled, I started to wonder about all that gunk that they lacquered the neck with. Before you know, I bought some furniture stripper, pored it all over the neck, and spent literally a week scraping and sanding all of that crap off the maple neck. At one point I thought I had destroyed the fretboard because there was so much stuff coming off of it when I was scraping, that I thought I gouged the wood. Turned out it was just more lacquer. So I got it all off down to the bare maple, used some tung oil on it, and did the refret (which actually turned out not half bad, a bit rough around the edges but pretty good for my first refret). I put everything back together and plugged in. I was pretty shocked. It sounds like a completely different guitar now. It sounds very open and a little meaner and brighter. My guitar used to sound compressed and very gainy, tonight it sounded much more natural and warmer.

    So what do you guys say about neck woods? Can it make that much of a difference or am I simply imagining this...I had the guitar in pieces for about 3 weeks, so I didn't play at all during that time. Maybe my ears were fresh tonight, but it sounded like a very different axe.

  2. #2
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    11.06.14 @ 03:06 AM
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    I am not a luthier, but i will say that getting rid of that tone-robbing poly on your fretboard pulled a fat blanket from the tone of your axe.

    This is my observation and some may disagree: maple fretboards have a brighter, snappier tone than a rosewood or even an ebony. My buddy hates ebony boards because he sweats like Ted nugent. I would love a maple board les Paul. The only thing i have close is a maple neck Studio from the late '80s. I would love for a luthier to put on a new maple board. I love maple boards now, despite the fact that they can look like a** after a few years...

  3. #3
    On Fire m4rk0's Avatar
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    02.05.15 @ 09:40 PM
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    Neck and fretboard woods have a lot of effect on tone... way more than the body wood type.

    Finish may have some effect too..but in your case it will definately improve the feel and playability!

  4. #4
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    07.04.16 @ 07:03 PM
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    The first stop tail Wolfgang I bought was a production model sunburst Special with a maple fingerboard (solid basswood body). I played it a lot because I loved the sustain and harmonics that just bounced off the thing (compared to the Floyd models). Several months later I bought another stop tail Wolfgang Special--a Custom Shop model in gloss black that was also solid basswood but had a rosewood fingerboard. They were virtually the same guitar but with different fingerboard woods. For the first few days I played the rosewood fingerboard Wolfie I kept noting that it was "darker" or "softer" in tone than the sunburst one. Only then did I realize it must be the fingerboard wood making the most significant difference in tone. That was the first time I ever really noticed it and have since been able to dissect how fingerboard wood affects tone much better.

    As far as finish goes, I can only guess but would think a poly finish on a fingerboard would seriously dull out tone.



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