Where the fourteenth fret falls - a first timer asks the community for input...

I'm building my first steel string, a small body cutaway, and I've arrived at an unresolved issue: I've cut my fret slots for a short scale. The fourteenth fret is falling 1/4" shy of the guitar body. I'm attaching 2 pics to illustrate. Is this detail merely a convention or is there a compelling reason to insist the neck meet the body under the 14th fret? Is there any other unforeseen problem I'm missing if I proceed without shortening the neck at the heel 1/4". I've checked that the bridge will still sit fully over the bridge plate. I'm using the bolt on method, no tenon. The inserts are placed and the joint was difficult to get perfect because the body-side is not quite flat at the joint. I don't want to have to refit that, and it would reduce the heel to 11/16" at it's bottom, assuming I can set the inserts in another 1/4". I fear it would weaken the heel too much to drive the inserts in further and reduce the heel thickness.

Tags: Neck, fingerboard, scale

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Mark it looks good to me so far, I believe that tradition alone dictates where the neck meets the body. There are guitars with different scales , 12 fret necks, 13 fret necksand on and on It is your guitar, put it where you like it. after all youll probably mak another soons as your done with this one change things on the next of luck thats the best part of being a builder do it your way
Convention is just that, common practice. Nobody cut that rule in stone, so you're free to make a guitar with whatever configuration you want. To give some examples (if memory serves) from Gibson's catalog, the original L-4 joined at 11-1/2 fret, many of the Nick Lucas models at the 13th, and my own old Gibson archtop at the 15th.

The geometry you provide sound perfectly OK to me.
I have 2 1938 Dobros that are 12.5 or 13 fret so go for what you have.
One thing to remember that if you want to sell it it may stop some people as it is not standerd.
Violin players are a sticker if it is not standerd as they use the heal of the neck is the stopping place when playing in the upper regester.

The Dobros I build are not in the standerd Dobro shape and I get some flack for that but I do my thing any way.

Many thanks to you both for the informative & authoritative replies.
Since posting this query, I've begun blogging the project, with 2 posts up so far. Anyone is welcome to come by for a browse and leave a comment.
With only 2 posts up there's not much yet to see, but I've got the box made and the neck fitted, moving right along. Will be putting up several dozen more photos in the days ahead.
If the appearance and intended placement of the fretboard has been compromised why not remove and reglue to your desired specs?
It's not glued on yet. To rectify the situation, which, in light of the other comments rc'vd, seems unwarranted, I'd need to shorten the neck at the heel as described in the original post, which could cause irreparable damage thereto. The kicker is this: I thought I had a straight edge on the fboard blank when I laid out the fret slots. After cutting them and before tapering the blank, I checked and realized it was slightly curved, compromising the accuracy of each and every fret slot. I've already placed my order for a new ebony blank. Of course, I could also correct the condition described in the original post by cuttting a standard scale, but I'm unwilling to compromise my desire for a shortscale guitar with a cutaway...that's my whole rationale for choosing my design!
Sorry, this got stuck in the wrong place.

Tim, the neck is too long for the shorter scale fingerboard. If you move that fret to the body, there will be a huge gap at the other end into which you will place the nut.

Given that the guitar has a cutaway, his arrangement just gives a little more reach. :~)

I like that! What a clever luthier I'm turning out to be!
Bob,once again I missed the finer points of explanation.......and Mark w/a cutaway shouldn't it be "cleaver"luthier?
LOL! So true. A hack making an ax, instead of an ax making a hack.
If you're placing your nut on the angled part of the headstock, you could slide it up a 1/4" or so to put the nut on the flat fretboard surface. Or if your headstock is still thick enough and there's no veneer on yet, you could plane it down to push that break angle towards the body. Just a thought......
I appreciate the thought, Ry. That certainly seems like a viable solution, if I hadn't already veneered the headstock. I could use a 1/2" wide nut, but that seems really 'nuts'. After Frank's and several of the others' reply, though, I've redefined the whole issue as a non-issue, an innovation by a 'cleaver' luthier. Next guitar's neck dimensions will be determined by reference to the scale chosen at design stage.


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