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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:11 am 
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Walnut
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First name: Shawn
Last Name: Smith
City: Indianapolis
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has anyone ever substituted the 000 style slotted headstock style neck from stew mac for the standard neck on the Stew Mac Dread kit? Or has anyone attempted to slot the headstock on the standard neck?

I'm wondering if there would be any problems doing this. would the increased angle of the strings coming off the nut increase the tension enough that the standard bracing might not be adequate? Is the headstock on the standard neck thick enough to be slotted? what if a veneer were added? Any other potential issues?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Well, no experts have chimed in yet, so I'll give you my non-expert thoughts. I have not attempted the changes you are considering, but I can think of a couple of "other potential issues."

Scale length determines where your bridge is positioned, obviously, and the placement of your bridge plate is determined by the location of the bridge. If you switch from a 14-fret neck to a 12-fret neck you will have to adjust your bridge/bridge plate position. Typically you would adjust the positioning of the x-braces and soundhole as well. These are slight tweaks and not all that difficult, but necessary if you want to make a musical instrument and not just a handsome wooden box with a long handle.

So, if you want your dread to have a slothead and aren't comfortable adjusting the bracing layout, it would seem that adapting the 14-fret neck would be a simpler way to go. However, I'm not sure the headstock angle on Stew-Mac's 14-fret necks would accommodate the greater break angle of a slotted headstock. That could be a problem. If you determine it isn't a problem, I do not believe the greater break angle would increase the string tension enough to compromise the standard bracing. (I could be wrong.)

Personally, I don't like the look of 14-fret slotheads, so if I wanted to customize a Stew-Mac dread and make it a 12-fretter, I would call Stew-Mac and ask if they would swap me a 12-fret neck for the 14-fret neck and then I would figure out how to adjust the bridge, bracing, bridge plate and soundhole accordingly. That's just me.

Here's one more thing to consider: If you decide to use a neck other than the one they normally ship in the kit, make sure the neck block you have will work with the different neck!

Hope that helps. And remember, I am not an expert, so double-check (at least) everything I write.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:33 pm 
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Walnut
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thanks for the response. I wasn't even thinking 12 fret vs 14 fret. It was honestly a random thought I had this morning, and the more I've thought about it the worse it's become :)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:41 pm 
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I am no expert by far, but the bracing makes no difference if you are slotting the head or not. The string tension is determined by the gauge of string you use, not the angle of the headstock. I think the angle of the headstock wont matter either. The added angle comes from the strings passing into the plane of the headstock rather than over the plane of the headstock. Do you see what I am saying? So, do not switch from 12 to 14 fret neck or vice versa. You can slot your headstock with no major problems. Keep the headstock thicker than you would for an unslotted head though. You may want to look up what the thickness of a slot head is. I dont know it off hand but I believe its thicker than an unslotted head.
Good luck!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Typically an unslotted (paddlehead) headstock has a 15 degree angle and slotted headstock has about a 10 degree angle. The reason is that the strings brake over the nut to attach to the string posts. On an unslotted headstock that connection point is on top of the headstock and on a slotted headstock that connection point is in the middle of the headstock. By changing the neck angle to compensate for where the strings attach to the tuner posts you are maintaining a similiar break angle over the nut. So, although you could slot a 15 degree headstock you will be having to work and possibly troubleshoot issues at the nut. If this is your first guitar you are probably better off "sticking to the plan" and consider variations in future builds when you have a better handle on how each change will effect the instrument in terms of structure, playability and tone.

Good luck

Shane

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:48 pm 
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The headstock might be too thin for slot head tuners. Most require about 0.7" thick headstocks....or the tuners will over hang. Check the specs on the tuners you want to use to see how wide the base plate is.
You could add the extra thickness with some overlay veneers. It can be a nice design feature if you use a couple contrasting woods or match your binding scheme.
Also...The extra angle might cause problems with the strings chaffing on the inside edge of the slots.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:59 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Shawn:

About half of my builds are slotheads. Doing what you are attempting is a bit unconventional...not that there's anything wrong with that. Some Dreds have slotheads but they are called Slope-shouldered and are 12 fretters as well. The sloper also has an elongated body to compensate for the 1/2" movement of the bridge south.

So that's the convention but you wish to do something different. Here's my recommendation...get the standard 14 fret-style dred neck. Glue veneers and a headplate to the top plus veneers and another plate to the back of the headstock to build the thickness to about .700 to .750" (I use .750") and you'll have sufficient thickness for the slothead tuners. No worry about the 15* headstock angle...Shaun is right that 10* is common for slotheads but 15* also works...I use that angle all the time.

Good luck...How are you planning to cut the slots?

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