Fender style slab sawn neck question - grain orientation

Is there a preferred direction for grain orientation on a slab sawn maple Fender style neck?

In other words, is it better to have the grain rings running concave towards the fingerboard, or the other way, away from the fingerboard? Or is it irrelevant in regards to the structural integrity of the neck?

I know normally slab sawn wood will curl in the opposite path of the direction of the grain, but if properly dried and selected, it normally isn't an issue. In all my years of reading up on this, I've never seen a discussion on it.....


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My thinking is as you look at the end grain the grain should run vertcically giving the wood a much better chance
at stability against the force applied along the length of the neck.Like this> llll not this > =
It makes more sense to have the grain so the growth rings are convex towards the fingerboard. The grain rings can be thought of as arches which in theory should be harder to compress than the opposite direction.
I am curious..Is that how Fender necks are oriented?
All I have is an old Mustang, the growth rings pretty much run at 45 deg relative to the plane of the fingerboard, pretty much the whole neck width. I'm thinking maple is strong enough that it doesn't matter. I was just curious what other peoples experiences were....
I don't think fender takes the time to orient the grain on most of their necks. I feel that maple is rigid enough especially with a laminated board that the orientation won't make or break a neck.
Correct, you will seldom ever /never see a quarterswan orientation Fender neck as they don't usually get their lumber that way - it's generally flatsawn - but this is not a rule. The other issue is that the maple is generally strong enough due to the dimension and construction of the Fender neck style as to be impervious to issues of grain orientation. Within normal specs the flatsawn vs quartersawn forum nazi's endless prattlings are null and void as the wood is not sufficiently stressed as to exhibit any significant difference in it's behaviour. Additionally, I have some old hard rock maple with 25 growth rings per inch in flatsawn orientation - a very cold climate tree which is as hard and stiff as iron - the orientation of this kind of stuff is inconsequential as it doesn't move in any direction.

The kiln drying and selection process for fender lumber in the USA appears consistently good and the ample supply of quality maple (a Canadian weed tree) means this will not be an issue. But, Chinese, Indonesian and lower Khasakstan production Fenders are a different kettle of fish altogether - I have come across a significant number of dodgy necks (particularly bass necks) as to be wary of these countries of origin.
The necks on Mexi Fenders can be squirrelly too. I've had many come through that have taken a bad upbow set, rendering the truss rod ineffective,
With this post in mind; I looked at about twenty USA Fenders from the sixties forward. I saw everything except cup face down. I agree with the off-shore fender/clone observation. Many are just bent/warped beyond reason. A shame since it is mostly young people buying these. The cheap Floyd Rose bridges are just as frustrating.
Tom, you've raised an issue that needs publication far and many budding luthiers have done their day and their profit margin trying to fix a 'toy' Floyd Rose that 'wont stay in tune'.......once these cheese metal units have burred or worn their pivoting edges they are finished , a throw away item - any attempts to dress the worn knife edge just exposes softer metal which will last for a heartbeat in playing conditions. The hardened original Floyds, and the Schaller and Ibanez units with replaceable hardened steel pivots are great but it seems the rest are useless. All the other cheap units are just stage props and fashion accessories.

Thanks for taking the time to check this. I guess it stands to reason that if Fender does it this way, it must be for a reason.....
Rusty - I preach this daily. I have been installing stop blocks under the springs to solve the issue.

edit: that should read 'to mitigate the issue'. It gives them the option of actually tuning the guitar. :)


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