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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Thinning a thick neck questions

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Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 15th, 2015 06:37 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Back story:
I have a WD maple/maple neck that I've had on a Warmoth body for quite a while.
this guitar has been mostly relegated to the cupboard for a year or two as I have acquired new instruments.

I pulled it out last night just for kicks and, holy crap! The neck is HUGE by comparison to others. Even chunkier than my CV 50's tele.
My hand cramped up within a few minutes of playing.

I've come to like the thinner modern C profile and now I'm afraid I just won't play the Warmoth if I don't do something to remedy the neck. This would be a shame because it's a great guitar.

I'm just not in a position to buy a new neck, and the frets on this one are in perfect condition after a level & dress 2 years ago.

Question(s):
What's the best way to take the neck down a couple of millimetres and maintain a nice C shape?

Does someone make a C-shaped sanding block similar to the fret ones?

Typically how much meat is there between the truss rod and the back side of the profile?
Surely a couple of mil wouldn't put me at risk of disaster, right?

Sorry for the long post but I felt a detailed explanation was needed.


Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Aug 15th, 2015 08:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Xray the neck, see the truss rod depth (immediately) next use an aggressive sanding material or a good wood rasp, sand and finish.
If you have a friend that works in ER maybe they can xray for you and be able to give you the truss rod depth.

Next explanation/experienced engineer coming soon..

I think Wrnch was the one that did the xray once but maybe Peegoo had also.

Best regards, Woody


Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 15th, 2015 10:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I should also mention it is all maple back. No skunk stripe.

"Xray the neck..."

Yeah, that ain't going to happen. I don't have the luxury of knowing a radiographer.
And it's hard enough getting an x-ray of me when I need one.


hotblooze

World Traveler

Wood, magnetic coil and strings.
Aug 16th, 2015 03:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Detective work rather than blind guess:

1. No skunk strip meaning truss rod is installed from the fretboard side. Lamination line should indicate thickness of fretboard.

2. Locate the truss rod adjustment opening. This will give a fair idea how deep the trussrod is mounted inside the wood. Work within the confines and chances are you'll not encroach into the truss rod mounting area.

I have thinned out a Warmoth boatneck using the limits I set by the above.



Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 16th, 2015 04:30 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks hotblooze.

"Locate the truss rod adjustment opening..."

This is a headstock adjust, so I presume the centre of the truss rod nut will tell me the centre of the truss rod.

What is the typical diameter of the rod?

I could then estimate the depth using your guidelines above.

What did you use for the removal of wood?
Sandpaper? Rasp?

My main concern is uniformity and keeping the C.

1600
Contributing Member
**********

USA

South of I10
Aug 16th, 2015 09:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

check on local social media if someone is wanting a fat neck and trade with them.

FunkyKikuchiyo

Limbo

Aug 16th, 2015 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A truss rod needs to be fairly close to the back of the neck or else it isn't functional... at least not a straight rod. A rod with a bar attached would work in the center, though those are usually installed in the same way.

One hint, though not terribly reliable, would be how well the truss rod works. If the rod doesn't seem to do much and you have to crank it a bit to get any movement, it might be closer to the center. This is common with fat back necks. If it moves the neck nicely, it is probably more appropriately installed closer to the back.

I'd spend some time and figure out what is causing the cramping, and what can be done to relieve that. If you're cramping, you're probably grabbing it in a different way than other necks because of its girth. What would remedy that? A bit flatter? A bit more rounded? More of a V? Less lumpy? Are you wrapping your thumb because there isn't a comfortable place on the back? Necks are funny because we tend to grab each one a bit differently even though we're the same guitarist and probably playing the same stuff. The radius plays into this in a great way as well. How much your fingers want to curl depends greatly on your wrist position.

You'll probably have enough material to attack it in this way than you will to actually thin it out. Whatever material is available to remove probably won't be enough to get it down to a cozy thin C. Then again, maybe it'll only take .040"-.060" to really work for you. Hard sayin' not knowin'.

For gentle shaping and finishing I like to use a medium backed sand paper. Something like a 6" sanding disc folded in half is great. It is flexible enough to work with contours, but stiff enough to even things out. End sanding is often done in factories with power tools and can leave neck backs with odd hard lines and lumps all over. Taking a little extra time to smooth those out can make the difference between a good neck and a great neck.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member
**********
****

Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Aug 16th, 2015 11:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey Mick... it sounds like your extremely enamored with the thick neck....

but wouldn't it be easier to find one that is more comfortable for you and just sell the other one instead of trying to make it more playable...

especailly since there is the possibility that you won't be happy with the results..
then you have a neck that may not be marketable to anyone..

just my .02

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Aug 16th, 2015 11:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I agree you're better off just getting a new neck. A lot of people like fat necks and are willing to pay for them. But if that's not desirable...

If you can't x-ray the neck, I would drill the tiniest possible hole in the back of the neck, on the centerline, about even with the seventh fret. An old-style eggbeater hand drill would be ideal. You should be able to feel when you hit metal. Then wrap a piece of tape around the bit flush with the wood, pull it out, and it will show how deep the truss rod is buried. If you decide not to go further, you can plug the hole with a furniture putty stick of matching color.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 16th, 2015 04:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks all the input guys.
Not as encouraging as I had hoped for a simple or quick fix.

As far as selling, it has a custom decal on the headstock which might limit the marketability of it.

I know it be can stripped and refinished, but I think a lot of buyers would be put off by the possibility of that extra work.
Don't know, maybe that's just me.

It seems lashing out for a new neck might be my only option. I'll have to keep an eye out and see if I can find a decent used one myself.

Funky does have a point in that I played it for a long time with no problems until I started playing thinner necks. Maybe I just need reconditioning in my left hand. (ie: playing it more often)


Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
****

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Aug 16th, 2015 04:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Take it to the airport at 11:30pm on a Wednesday night and ask the security folks to run it through the machine so you can look at it on the scope. They'll be bored, so they'll probably do it.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
****

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Aug 16th, 2015 04:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Or send an email to Warmoth customer service and describe the neck you have (type...warmoth vintage/modern/etc., neck carve, etc.). Ask 'em how much wood there is between the truss rod channel and the back of the neck. They'll know, because they know how their machines are set up to do the rout.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 16th, 2015 07:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Or send an email to Warmoth..."

Thanks P, but it's a WD neck.
I guess I could email WD, but I think the WD's are MIC and doubt the US folks would know that sort of spec.
It's worth a shot though.

I'm leaning towards Te 52's idea about a tiny drill hole if I can't get any other info.

However, after looking at the t-rod nut location in relation to the overall thickness, I can't image the little amount I want to sand off would be problematic.

I contact WD first and see where go from there.


Vic Vega
Contributing Member
**********

Massachusetts

Deflating Balls Since 1969
Aug 17th, 2015 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"It seems lashing out for a new neck might be my only option."

This seems like the best option to me.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Aug 17th, 2015 04:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...after looking at the t-rod nut location in relation to the overall thickness, I can't image the little amount I want to sand off would be problematic..."

Whoa, careful there. Truss rods are *curved* in the installed condition. They are much closer to the back of the neck in the middle than at the ends.

hotblooze

World Traveler

Wood, magnetic coil and strings.
Aug 17th, 2015 09:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Whoa, careful there. Truss rods are *curved* in the installed condition. They are much closer to the back of the neck in the middle than at the ends."

Unless one intends to take away a lot of "meat" from the back of the neck, we will keep in mind the trussroad sits inside a routed groove slightly bigger than the trussrod. The routed groove is uniform in dimension right along the neck and not dipped at the center. It is also noted the neck in question does not have a skunk stripe so the trussrod is top loaded from the fretboard side.

An indication. Move the mouse along the 3 pictures....

(This message was last edited by hotblooze at 11:37 PM, Aug 17th, 2015)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 18th, 2015 12:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Update:

First, I got an email back from WD and, whilst they did not have specific measurements for me, their guy said if I'm only taking off 1.5mm, I'd be fine but "go gradually".

Second, I took Te 52's advice and drilled a 1mm hole at the back of the 7th fret. The rod was 7.5mm deep.

I made a "C-shaped sanding block" out of a 75mm (3") piece of PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise and about 60mm long (2.5").
I used double sided tape to hold little squares of sandpaper inside the C.

It took a lot (I mean a lot) of elbow grease to sand of 1.5mm of Canadian Rock Maple (holy crap that stuffs hard!) but I got there eventually.

I checked my progress periodically with calipers and was able to finish up with quite a nice shape and smooth gradual taper. I think it will be a really comfortable player for me now.

Now I need to seal it and then find someone with a warm shed where I can spray it. (still too cold here atm)

Yes, I could have bought a new neck and tried to sell the old one etc, but I considered this a challenge and was up for gaining the experience as well as taking the risk.

Unless the bloody thing snaps in two one day when adjusting the truss rod, I'll call it a success for now.

Thanks for all your input (and concern).
I wouldn't have the b*lls to even attempt something like this without all the support and knowledge I've gained from fellow FDP'ers.

OK, enough bum-kissing...
I'll keep you posted after I get it sprayed and back together.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
****

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Aug 18th, 2015 06:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Outstanding!

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 20th, 2015 01:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Now I need to seal it and then find someone with a warm shed where I can spray it. (still too cold here atm)"

Well I lucked out!

One of my harmonica students is a builder, so I rang him up and asked if he had a heated workshop or shed I could use to spray my neck.
I was just going to spray-bomb it with polyurethane.

Turns out he was getting ready to spray some furniture he built the next day!
So I masked up the fretboard and took it to his place today.

So I got 3 coats of Mirotone lacquer with proper spray equipment in one afternoon for free!
He wouldn't accept any money or even free lesson time.
It would have taken me a week to get it done with the spray can poly.

Little does he know I won't be accepting *his* money next week either!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
****

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Aug 20th, 2015 11:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That is cool!

Resist the temptation to final wet-sand and polish that new lacquer right away. Give it a minimum of two weeks (three is better) to gas off and solidify.

If you wet-sand and polish now, the finish will continue to shrink and you'll end up with a surface that looks like you rushed the process.

MUST RESIST!

I know...it ain't easy.

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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Thinning a thick neck questions




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