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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:16 am 
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I was wondering what people perceive the pros and cons of of Fender's vs. Gibson's neck angles are. Aside from the fact that some people prefer playing one to the other, how does neck angle affect the sound of the instrument, does it at all? How about what your fretting hand feels, if scale length were equal would either construction method change how a guitar feels with your fretting hand?

Conor


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Conor_Searl wrote:
I was wondering what people perceive the pros and cons of of Fender's vs. Gibson's neck angles are. Aside from the fact that some people prefer playing one to the other, how does neck angle affect the sound of the instrument, does it at all? How about what your fretting hand feels, if scale length were equal would either construction method change how a guitar feels with your fretting hand?

Conor


There is no difference in "neck angles", proper ones for G*bsons and Fenders that's geometry. Do you mean scale length, fret board radius, neck attachment method because these things do vary between G*bsons and Fenders.

Neck angle refers to the relationship angle wise between the neck and the bridge/saddle/saddles and has nothing to do with what the nomenclature of the instrument may be. A properly set neck will have the same angle in relationship to the bridge/saddle/saddles on any brand of guitar with only minor variance be it intentional or not.

What does feel different to players is the fretboard radius differences between Fender and G*bson and the scale length. Neck profiles (shapes) are different too.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:17 pm 
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Hesh, I see what you're saying, in regards to how the string goes from bridge to nut and interacts with the fretboard. However I can lay a telecaster flat on my bench, while I can't a les paul, because of the angle the neck joins the body at. This then affects the height from string to body between pickups, on a telecaster this is much lower than it is on a les paul, it also changes the break angle where the strings go over the bridge. Is this not neck angle?

So I get that regardless of construction method, a playable guitar will have a similar angle that the strings run across the fretboard, and I get that the sound one hears through an amp could be the same because we can adjust how close the pickups are to the strings. But if scale length and pickup choice were equal, and if we even said in both cases we'd same construction method (bolt vs glue), would we notice a difference in overall playability or the overall physics between a guitar with the angle a fender neck joins a fender body at, and a gibson neck joins a gibson body?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:58 pm 
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No that's not the neck angle. The "neck angle" refers to the relationship of the neck set to the bridge and saddle/saddles, period. It matters not what else is under it.

When we speak of resetting a neck we are not speaking of if the thing can be laid flat on a bench. Instead we measure the neck's angle in respect to the bridge and saddle/saddles.

"Neck angle" is an important term in the business and what I am describing to you in terms of definition is how it's defined in the industry.

Regarding your hypothetical you have to remove the term "angle" because you are not asking about the neck angle. You are instead speaking of different styles of guitars (and other instruments) and in this case a Fender vs. a G*bson. And that Connor is a very subjective question that you likely will find fans of either, both or none.

Not trying to be difficult Connor but words and terms matter and we want to provide quality answers to people who ask questions here.

What I believe you are speaking of in your example taking into account pup distances is simply different styles of guitars and again not the neck angle. A well set-up strat with action of 4/5 (64th") at the 12th and a well set-up Les Paul with action of 4/5 have the same neck angle.

What's different is the design and engineering of the guitars, scale lengths, fret board radius, break angles, pups single coil vs. perhaps but not always hum bucking, bridge differences, saddle differences, weight....., colors, price, and who likes one and who likes the other or who likes both.

Again they both can have the same neck angle.

Your question about playability is entirely subjective as well, some may like the playability of one and some may like the playability of the other EVEN if as in your hypothetical there were no differences.... Or, in other words welcome to the world of subjectivity in Lutherie.

Every day millions are spent chasing something as subjective as tone (and usually failing in the pursuit) by folks.

Lastly you mentioned that changes in the angle where strings go over the bridge exist. Yep, sure do and we call this the "break angle."

Yesterday a guy came into our shop and wanted a "neck reset...." What he really wanted was a truss rod adjust but he didn't understand that action is not set with the truss rod. It's one of the things that contribute to action settings but only one of three major things. Had I quoted him for a "neck reset" at $600 and up I would not be in business very long now would I when all he wanted was a truss rod tweak. ;)

Now I could do and would want to do a better job of helping you with answers if you told me a bit about yourself please. For example hobbyist, working in the trade pro, experience level, what your lutherie focus is? I can get into some really long haired physics here but that serves no one if that's not what you want. I'm just trying to understand you better because I give a dang about providing quality answers even tailored to who's asking.

Thanks AND good on you for wanting to know!



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: dpetrzelka (Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:15 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Conor, you are assuming a difference in performance between building points.
There are too many variables to settle this question.
This thread happens on every guitar oriented forum once a year.
Don't let it happen here - it's a waste of time.

I could just as easily say "Different strokes for different folks", and be correct about this question.
Drop it.
Next thing you'll ask is "Which is the best wood for a guitar?", or "Who makes the best pickups?".
There is no answer other than "Which peanut butter is best?".
It's what YOU LIKE. Period. End of argument.

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: Hesh (Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:38 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:28 pm 
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Chris Pile wrote:
Conor, you are assuming a difference in performance between building points.
There are too many variables to settle this question.
This thread happens on every guitar oriented forum once a year.
Don't let it happen here - it's a waste of time.

I could just as easily say "Different strokes for different folks", and be correct about this question.
Drop it.
Next thing you'll ask is "Which is the best wood for a guitar?", or "Who makes the best pickups?".
There is no answer other than "Which peanut butter is best?".
It's what YOU LIKE. Period. End of argument.


Sometimes I feel like we may be long lost brothers Chris! ;)

Conner Chris has WAY more experience than I do making him entitled to be a bit grumpier.... ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:08 pm 
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Sure, I get that Chris. My intention was absolutely not to start a discussion about what personal preference is better. But i was hoping to find some informed opinions about what happens when you tweak one fundamental aspect of popular guitar designs. I love all guitars for what they are, and I am under no illusion that creating an ultimate all things to all people guitar is possible, nor would I be interested in it, I'm too fascinated by the limitations imposed on me as a player by each unique design. I suppose I could begin by just trying it out, and I may yet, but then I'd have to wait however long it takes me to complete the project to find the answer. I thought this may be faster. ;)

I realize asking people to chime in about the pros and cons of every aspect of the different popular designs, many of which are intangible things at best and myth at worst is not fair. So let me try to restate my question...

I've noticed that Gibson and Fender guitars attach the neck to the body of the guitar at different angles (which is not the "neck angle", thank you Hesh.) Recognizing that these construction methods are part of what make each model unique and interesting are there any quantifiable consequences to this facet of the design that one may take into consideration when designing their own guitars?

Hesh, I've tinkered with guitars for just over 20 years, I've done all kinds of basic set up stuff at the different music stores I've worked at. My main gig right now is teaching guitar, I do this full time seeing 55 students a week. Over the summer I've begun dipping my toes more officially into lutherie. I've begun offering basic repair services, but I find it most therapeutic to build electric guitars. Of which I've stuck with traditional designs, as that's what most interests me as a player, but the creative juices start flowing, and all kinds of weird questions start keeping me up at night.



These users thanked the author Conor_Searl for the post: Hesh (Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:06 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:15 pm 
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I'm with you on the weird questions, Conor...... I've had a few myself through the decades, and managed to come up with answers to those who asked them. It's all good.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:14 am 
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Connor thanks for that and that helps me a lot understand you better.

Consider considering PRS designs because they seem to do best offering instruments that can appeal to both Fender design and G*bson design fans. Paul's (PRS Paul) story of how he stalked Carlos to get him to try a PRS is pretty cool too and rather epic historically speaking.

A related discussion would be the flaws associated with the various, iconic designs. Leo Fender's lack of understanding of break angles and serviceability is one discussion. No break angle over the nut for the G string caused by wanting to use standard lumber and that God awful truss rod adjustment location of originals that you have to loosen the neck and bend the thing in half to adjust come to mind.

G*bson liked to drip snot (HHG) all over the inside of the box and use cut braces right off the unbalanced saw blade also come to mind. Painted over truss rod adjusters, lousy fret work (even these days with a PLEK) and very high prices for what is at best is C level quality control also comes to mind.

Anyway as you ponder inventing a better mousetrap asking questions about what's already here is a very good approach Connor, good going.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:13 pm 
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Conor_Searl wrote:
Sure, I get that Chris. My intention was absolutely not to start a discussion about what personal preference is better. But i was hoping to find some informed opinions about what happens when you tweak one fundamental aspect of popular guitar designs. I love all guitars for what they are, and I am under no illusion that creating an ultimate all things to all people guitar is possible, nor would I be interested in it, I'm too fascinated by the limitations imposed on me as a player by each unique design. I suppose I could begin by just trying it out, and I may yet, but then I'd have to wait however long it takes me to complete the project to find the answer. I thought this may be faster. ;)

I realize asking people to chime in about the pros and cons of every aspect of the different popular designs, many of which are intangible things at best and myth at worst is not fair. So let me try to restate my question...

I've noticed that Gibson and Fender guitars attach the neck to the body of the guitar at different angles (which is not the "neck angle", thank you Hesh.) Recognizing that these construction methods are part of what make each model unique and interesting are there any quantifiable consequences to this facet of the design that one may take into consideration when designing their own guitars?

Hesh, I've tinkered with guitars for just over 20 years, I've done all kinds of basic set up stuff at the different music stores I've worked at. My main gig right now is teaching guitar, I do this full time seeing 55 students a week. Over the summer I've begun dipping my toes more officially into lutherie. I've begun offering basic repair services, but I find it most therapeutic to build electric guitars. Of which I've stuck with traditional designs, as that's what most interests me as a player, but the creative juices start flowing, and all kinds of weird questions start keeping me up at night.


Conor, I know exactly what you are asking because I have wondered this as well.. I have read the book Electric Guitar and Bass design by Leo Lospennato and Make Your own Electric Guitar by Marvyn Hiscock and they both discuss this issue. But in summary, a Gibson Les Paul has neck angle of around 4.5 degrees to account for the arched top, Strats and teles are flat tops and don't require a neck angle. I have both and play both a Paul and a Strat. I find that I hold them slightly differently because of the neck angle difference. I do prefer the Strat Scale Length but I quite like both guitars. They are both Americans as well.

Once you review the information in these two books you will quickly come to the conclusion that it is preference based on design (arched top or not) and player preference. You will have a hard time, though, with an extreme neck angle on a flat top and with no neck angle on an arched top.

Hope that helps.

Shane

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These users thanked the author Shane Neifer for the post (total 2): Imbler (Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:07 am) • Conor_Searl (Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:09 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:12 pm 
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Thanks Shane, I'll take a look at those books.

Les Paul Juniors are flat like a tele, but incorporate a neck angle in their design as well...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:44 pm 
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Quote:
Les Paul Juniors are flat like a tele, but incorporate a neck angle in their design as well...


Indeed. Good example.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:54 pm 
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I got what you were talking about...

I don't think it's so much an issue of an arch top, rather the use of a TOM bridge...this requires the neck be at an angle as compared to the plane of the body...same thing is done if a person wants a floating Floyd Rose as compared to one recessed into the top.

I guess another solution would be to have the fretboard elevated a fair amount above the plane of the body which I would think would look terrible, it just looks so much sexier to have the binding right at the plane of the top of the body where they intersect.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:55 am 
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Conor, even tho you got several different answers to your question, they are all correct. What it comes down to very simply is that the neck geometry relative to the body needs to be such that the fretboard plane is correct for the bridge that you plan to use. In other words, if you look at a profile view (side) of the guitar the fret plane needs to be at the correct point to allow your saddles to be adjusted to give playable action. Hiscock does talk about that quite a bit in his book (recommended).

How you get there depends on a number of things - is the top flat or arched AND does the fretboard stand over the body AND what type of bridge do you use AND how much radius is there in the fretboard AND .....

In fact, that is one of the most fundimental aspects of designing any guitar. Select your scale length, draw a side view of the neck with the nut, 12th and scale length, pick a value for the string clearance at the nut (or first fret) and pick a range of acceptable actions at the 12th (lets say 0.050 to 0.100 - you might have different preferences). Extend those points to the scale length and you will have a range of values for the saddle heights. Now measure or use manufacturers specifications to make sure you can get that range of action and that determines where the base of the bridge needs to be. Draw the shape of your top, flat arched, it doesn't matter, but that will determine what happens at the neck to body joint - is it flat or angled, does the neck stand above the body or is it flat on top or is there a wedge of something between the body and top.

That is such an important consideration that no matter what kind of guitar I am building - acoustic, flat topped electric, carved top electric, archtop... that I am checking it constantly during the construction.

Here is a basic tele-clone

Image

Here is a tremolo bridge on a Jagstang critter

Image

An ES-335 style guitar - the ToM is sitting on little pieces of wood that simulate the adjusters

Image

Here I am checking it on an L-5 clone (the stack of business cards at both ends of the fretboard simulate frets, the bridge is a floating ToM

Image

Because of all of the wonky angles on the archtop there is a wonky shaped wedge between the neck and top

Image

If it were an acoustic the straightedge would be just sitting on top of the bridge when the angle was correct. Those guitars have radically different geometries and scales (the Jagstang is 24 inch), yet all of them are adjustable thru the range of playability that you would expect.


Last edited by Freeman on Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:15 pm 
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That L5 clone has my full attention...

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:27 pm 
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Chris Pile wrote:
That L5 clone has my full attention...


Thanks Chris.

viewtopic.php?f=10123&t=48705&hilit=freeman

Conor, sorry about the thread drift. To keep it sort of on topic - 3-1/2 degree neck angle, slight overstand with that wedge shaped block under the extension, dovetail - basic archtop geometry. One more picture of the frustration in 3 dimensional geometry

Image

That neck pickup ring was wonky too.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:23 pm 
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Conor_Searl wrote:
I was wondering what people perceive the pros and cons of of Fender's vs. Gibson's neck angles are. Aside from the fact that some people prefer playing one to the other, how does neck angle affect the sound of the instrument, does it at all? How about what your fretting hand feels, if scale length were equal would either construction method change how a guitar feels with your fretting hand?

Conor


I'm going to apologize to Conor - I gave a long replay why I think different neck angles and geometry is required on different guitar designs, but that isn't what he asked. If I can paraphrase the initial question, he asked if, all other things being equal which I take to be scale length, fretboard radius and width, neck profile, neck heel shape, body shape and even the method of attachment (both guitars having screw on or both having set necks) does the fact that then neck is angled with respect to the body affect the feel of the guitar?

OK, to answer the questions. Does the angle affect the sound? Not at all. Does it affect what your fretting hand feels? Only the fact that your hand might be a fraction of an inch farther back, otherwise not if the necks are made the same.


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