Neck Joints in Guitar Making


Although its mechanics are invisible on most acoustic guitars, theA�neck joint in guitar making A�provides fodder for endless discussions amongA�musicians and luthiers.A�Three designs and their variations dominateA�acoustic guitar construction -A�dovetail, the mortise and tennonA�and theA�bolt-on.A�All threeA�approaches are found on guitars of all price and quality levels.

A dovetail neck joint is a traditional woodworkera��s joint. On a guitar, the usually the tapered dovetail is usedA�it takes the form of a V-shaped (the tapir) , flared tenon on the necka��s heel, which is fitted into a matching mortise in the bodya��s neck block. DSCF9907Properly fitted, a tapered dovetail joint is very strong and lightweight, as well as, the way the joint is constructed, the gluing area is increased somewhat and the way it fits. results in a very reliable, stableA�and strong joint. The fact thatA�it offers a larger area of direct wood-to-wood contact between the neck and the body, it positively affects a guitara��s tonal properties.

The bolt-on approach uses hardware to attach the neck to the body. In most cases, the bolts run parallel to the fingerboard and pass through the neckblock, meeting threaded inserts in the necka��s heel. Some designs also bolt the fingerboard extension to the top of the body. The biggest advantage to a bolt-on neck is that it makes repairs and adjustments very easy, because the neck can be removed without any complicated procedures.

The mortise and tennon joint that consists of a tennon that would be cut on the neck, that is straight, Guitar Makingwith no tapirs or angles that fits into a mortice that would be the ‘square hole’ that would be cut into the neck block. This, in the more traditional construction,A�would be locked in by putting a pin through the joint inside the guitar through the neck block. This too, could make repairing or adjusting easier asA�it could make the removal of the neck easier. This and the bolt on rely on good workmanship to ensure a good reliableA�joint


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