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THE NECK INFLUENCE IN GUITAR TONE

Most of the string's vibration on an electric guitar or bass is supported by the neck therefore the neck plays the main role in electric guitar tone.


Proportion between the neck and the body (section view).


Neck's mass is 10/12 times smaller than body's one but 70% of the strings energy runs over it. The remaining 30% is dissipated into a 12/15 times bigger piece of wood, the body.




This simple fact explains why the wood neck is made of, it's resonance features, density, thickness, shape and construction, headstock deepely infuence the guitar tone and are much more important than body in determine the sound properties of a stringed instrument.

Among the most important physical properties that rule neck influence in the guitar tone are:

  • stiffness (elasticity coefficient along the grain). This is more important for acoustic guitars and violins tops construction,
  • wood density (i.e. coefficient of propagation of sound inside wood),
  • internal friction (attitude of a material to dampen the energy which applied to wood),
  • truss rod installation method,
  • Type of truss rod installed, seasoning of neck wood.

Maple is by far the best wood for what concerns stiffness, density and sound propagation. It's performance is only over passed by spruce which actually is not as stiff and therefore can't be used in neck's construction.






 
Galeazzo Frudua

Galeazzo Frudua

As a luthier and lutherie teacher, since 1988 he has been making about 350 boutique guitars and basses priced from 2,900 to 5,600 Euros and repaired and customized thousands of string instruments. His instruments and amplifiers are used by flagship artists, such as Chick Corea, Peter Gabriel, Ennio Morricone, Vasco Rossi. He owns two YouTube channels—where he teaches music—that count up to 25+ million views and almost 140.000 subscribers.

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