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Custom Shop Home: On Neck Design

All our custom guitars use a neck through-body construction technique that ensures not only terrific stability, but also extraordinary energy transfer from the strings to the body to the pickups. We offer both single and laminated necks. In many of our guitars, the wood is quarter sawn - adding to the overall neck strength. We also use a two-way truss rod and offset graphite reinforcement rods in all our necks for outstanding dimensional stability and strength.  

Available Neck Designs 

(The following table shows the standard wood configurations. If you do not see a configuration in which you are interested, please contact us!)

Neck Type Laminates Ash Maple Mahogany Padauk Purple heart Walnut Other
N1-A 0 1            
N1-M 0   1          
N3-A 3 1+C+3            
N3-AW 3 1+3         C  
N3-M 3   1+C+3          
N3-MW  3   1 & 3       C  
N3-H 3     1+C+3        
N3-HW 3     1+3     C  
N5-W 5     2+4     1+C+5  
N5-AP 5   2v+4v   1+5   C  
N7-PH 7   3v+5v   C 1+7   2+6

Legend: 1-7 =  Laminate location right to left, C = Center Laminate, V=Veneer 

Headstock Designs (We offer Three headstock designs):

Non-laminated: Displays the neck join laminations in the headstock. This example of the Artist Headstock has a three-piece Maple and Walnut Neck. Laminated: Composed of two or three laminated veneer pieces. The under laminate is a contrasting wood to the upper laminate, which is usually the wood used on the body. This example has Walnut as the under laminate veneer and Zebrawood top veneer. Topped: Composed of a single 1/8 inch piece with our logo design cut for filling. These tops are currently available in Maple, Walnut, Padauk and Purpleheart.  Additionally, the design of the headstock can be in either the Stag style (as seen above) or the traditional wishbone style as seen in the non-laminated design.

Overview of Neck Woods

We use only quarter-sawn, uniform grain Ash, which makes a very strong and stable neck with superb tonal characteristics.  Ash is resonant throughout all frequency ranges, having clear highs, a pronounced mid-range, and a strong, ringing lower.  An  Ash neck is well-suited for all playing styles and makes and excellent neck wood.

Maple is one of our most common neck woods. Usually, we use quarter-sawn Maple, which has a uniform grain, and is very strong and stable. Among the hardwoods, it is one of the woods least affected by environmental changes. Maple’s tone is highly focused and transfers energy well throughout a guitar’s body wood, thus greatly enhancing the native characteristics of the body. Maple is a great choice for neck wood.

Because of its grain, Mahogany is a more sensitive wood than Maple. Its tonal response is more complex, providing an even tone specifically in the upper-mid and lower-upper ranges. Mahogany's density absorbs more energy than Maple, thus a compressed response results in the upper range. This density also makes Mahogany slightly more susceptible to environmental changes.

Walnut’s tone is between that of Mahogany and Maple with a greater bottom. Its top range is similar to Mahogany but not as organized. It is a strong hardwood similar to Maple, however the grain must be properly chosen as stability can be an issue. It makes an excellent supporting wood when combined with either Maple or Mahogany by increasing the bottom ranges of both these woods.

African Padauk & Purpleheart:
Both of these woods are strong and stable with tonal responses between that of Walnut and Maple. Both woods trim some of the upper range because of the oil they contain, however their mid ranges are much more dynamic. Both Padauk and Purpleheart make excellent supporting woods when used in combination with each other or Maple and Walnut. 

For additional information on currently available wood please see our Wood Bank section.