I'm considering building my first guitar and have looked into guitar kits from Stewart MacDonald. But being the kind of guy that prefers to do things the hard way, I want to build some of the parts myself - partly to save cost and partly to make it my own.

My question is; Why do guitar necks tend to be made from a single piece of mahogany?

It seems to me that it would be cheaper and less wasteful to glue pieces together. I think it would be just as strong. Am I wrong, or is the one piece method just old school with no other benefit than being traditional?


Doug Collins

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Neither illustration looks correct, see my attached correction (C).

The term laminated neck refers to sandwiching an alternate wood into the neck blank for structural or aesthetic reasons. Also called a stringer.

A stacked heel and scarf joint is what you have drawn here, though the scarf joint in not correctly placed (again see C).

I also removed the "wings" from the headstock since I wouldn't recommend it. Just make the overall blank 3" wide and you'll have plenty of stock to work with, won't have to assemble the headstock wings, and you'll have a better base to use to route the truss slot. Just my two cents.
Hi Griff,

Thanks for setting me straight again. However, except for the fact that I messed up on the scarf joint (which, for the record, I have corrected in this new drawing), your drawing looks essentially the same, in terms of grain. Although, I can't really tell from the end view which way the tree rings run. I assume, because it's quartersawn, that it goes vertically looking at the end view.

I kind of thought the wings (as demonstrated here: )
added a bit of strength and actually concealed the joint. On looking closer though, I wonder, because it looks like you'd have to drill the peg holes right on the seam.

I have also dispelled my concerns about the strength of gluing on the quartersawn grain. That thinking doesn't make any sense at all. Of course it will hold, it is the same as gluing two flat sawn pieces side by side as in making a table top.

I think I'd really like to try the sandwich method. I like the look, if nothing else. Is that just a matter of just splitting the top piece and gluing a piece between? Or should it go down the heel as well?

Sorry I have so many questions. If you have time to answer, thanks very much, but I am fine to go ahead and make my own mistakes by now.

Much appreciated,

Doug Collins
Hi Doug , Ya kno, had an instructor when I wore a younger mans clothes and he told me - "its one better to ask a question no matter how stupid it may seem, and get a stupid answer, than to make a stupid mistake"
SOOOO ___ with that said, ask all the questions that you have in mind and Im sure that you will get answers to them-----
one more thing Doug-- Keep this thing going and keep us all posted as to how you are doing -- pics too -- OK??
Be well,
Okay then, I have one more stupid question. (Two actually, only one more stupid than the other.)

I bought one of those two way "Hot Rod" truss rods from Stew Mac, but I'm not entirely sure on how I should install it. Now I understand that a truss can adjust from the headstock or it can be installed the reverse with access through the sound hole. Personally, I like the headstock access for convenience, but the building plans I have been using as a guide (as per Stew-Mac's Dreadnaught kit) uses a neck with the truss adjustment at the heel joint.

I have two questions. First, What is the benefit of installing it with the adjustment inside the guitar? I'm guessing it is a stronger point contact at the neck block.

Second, If I'm understand the action of this truss rod, it bends back, pulling the neck to counteract string tension. Does this mean the truss rod will be pushing against the fretboard? If that is so, I would think you would want to cover the truss rod with a thin piece of wood, but that seems to be an optional method and not called for in the instructions I have.

What are the preference here?


Doug Collins
Hi Doug the benifit of installing the truss rod so that it has to be adjusted from the sound hole I believe is more for astetics than anything else
(corrections accepted)
I just looked at the "stew.Mac" cat. and on page 69 there is a pic of the rod that yopu are talking about and it looks as though it is installed in a "gibson"
style neck and the adjustment is thru the head stock.
HOWEVER____ To be sure just give stew.Mac. A call and ask for the tec. adviser --OR---- do it on line and Im sure that you will get an answer that will service.
Be safe,


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