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Does the neck effect the tone?

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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Indeed, a good set-up, correctly adjusted truss rod, are critical for the guitar and the tone.

The size of the neck has nothing to do with the guitar's tone.
If the size of the neck did have some bearing on the tone then there would be threads about adding/removing wood to/from the neck to enhance the tone of the guitar. We'd be swapping out necks on our Les Pauls (and other Gibsons) to improve the sound of the guitar. Maybe someone has sent an R9 to Historic makeovers to swap-out necks or re-shape the neck with the single goal of improving the tone of the guitar...maybe? It would be pretty extreme...

We swap pickups, caps, tuners, nuts, bridges, tailpieces and more - and we sometimes re-fret our Gibsons to improve the tone.

I wonder what Paul Reed Smith would say about the size of the neck and its influence on the sound of a guitar...
 

NYCBURST

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207
Indeed, a good set-up, correctly adjusted truss rod, are critical for the guitar and the tone.

The size of the neck has nothing to do with the guitar's tone.
If the size of the neck did have some bearing on the tone then there would be threads about adding/removing wood to/from the neck to enhance the tone of the guitar. We'd be swapping out necks on our Les Pauls (and other Gibsons) to improve the sound of the guitar. Maybe someone has sent an R9 to Historic makeovers to swap-out necks or re-shape the neck with the single goal of improving the tone of the guitar...maybe? It would be pretty extreme...

We swap pickups, caps, tuners, nuts, bridges, tailpieces and more - and we sometimes re-fret our Gibsons to improve the tone.

I wonder what Paul Reed Smith would say about the size of the neck and its influence on the sound of a guitar...
I can't believe you would really say that the neck has nothing to do with the guitar's tone.. Boy, Gibson should just make the neck out of plastic if that is the case... maybe just a metal pole would do?
 

Sol

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Paul Reed Smith might just hand you a guitar with a heavy solid rosewood neck set in a light weight body and ask you for your opinion?
 

brandtkronholm

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I can't believe you would really say that the neck has nothing to do with the guitar's tone.. Boy, Gibson should just make the neck out of plastic if that is the case... maybe just a metal pole would do?

The *size/thickness* of the neck doesn't affect the sound of the guitar. Wood species, scale length, truss-rod adjustment, frets, - yessir - but size? No.
*size* (Re-read my post.)
 

Sol

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If the size, depth, and weight of the neck have no baring on tone, then by the same measure the size depth and weight of the body should likewise have no baring on tone..

When the body and neck are joined they can no longer be considered in isolation, the two become a single resonating culmination of both. They essentially become one, and its this combination that make each Les Paul unique in tone and character.
 
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brandtkronholm

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of course the size affects the tone. everything affects the tone.
+1 on 'everything'

Everything affect the tone - but can we point to several recordings of Gibson electric guitar tone and say "it must be the skinny/geek // fat/baseball bat size of the neck" as THE critical component of the tone? Is it even a minor component of the tone? I've never ever heard any evidence to support the size of the neck as the prominent (or tertiary) component of the sound. I've never heard anyone say "that guitar would sound better if it had a skinny neck, 'cause that's where the tone is." I've never heard anyone say "I swapped the thin neck for a baseball bat because I didn't like the sound of the thin neck."

The only way I know if Duane Allman is playing his 'Burst (big neck?) or his SG (skinny neck?) is if someone tells me. - Also true for Dickey.
I can't tell the sonic difference between a full-necked 1964 ES335 when compared to a wafer-thin-necked 1961 ES335. For sure, they'll sound subtly different, but is it the neck? Maybe it's the Grovers, or the pickups, or the nylon saddles...

The size/thickness of the neck does not affect the tone of the guitar.

DutchRay described his experience with 1960 vs 1959 'Bursts in an earlier post which is very interesting, but my experience is the opposite. Others might use different words to describe any perceived difference.
 
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Sol

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Duane Allman's 57 gold top has an unusually slim neck for that period, according to the testimony of some that have played it in person.

No one is saying 'big neck good, small neck bad', that's ridiculous and not what anyone is saying.
 
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Sol

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brandtkronholm,
It's hard maintaining a view and defending that conviction when the majority disagree with your position. Respect..

So., reading through your posts, I'm trying to encapsulate your primary point. This appears to be that with two necks, one slim, one fat,( IF) both share equal properties of weight, mass and density, et al.. Thay will sound the same despite the difference between them mentioned above.

Have I got where your coming from, or have I missed it completely?
 

NYCBURST

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+1 on 'everything'

Everything affect the tone - but can we point to several recordings of Gibson electric guitar tone and say "it must be the skinny/geek // fat/baseball bat size of the neck" as THE critical component of the tone? Is it even a minor component of the tone? I've never ever heard any evidence to support the size of the neck as the prominent (or tertiary) component of the sound. I've never heard anyone say "that guitar would sound better if it had a skinny neck, 'cause that's where the tone is." I've never heard anyone say "I swapped the thin neck for a baseball bat because I didn't like the sound of the thin neck."

The only way I know if Duane Allman is playing his 'Burst (big neck?) or his SG (skinny neck?) is if someone tells me. - Also true for Dickey.
I can't tell the sonic difference between a full-necked 1964 ES335 when compared to a wafer-thin-necked 1961 ES335. For sure, they'll sound subtly different, but is it the neck? Maybe it's the Grovers, or the pickups, or the nylon saddles...

The size/thickness of the neck does not affect the tone of the guitar.

DutchRay described his experience with 1960 vs 1959 'Bursts in an earlier post which is very interesting, but my experience is the opposite. Others might use different words to describe any perceived difference.
I'm not saying in what way it affects the tone, that's hit and miss, who knows how it's going to affect the tone, but it is indeed a component in the tone... I've played many bursts and they are all different... I wouldn't say "a big neck sounds this way and a thin neck sounds this way", but it does affect the tone.
 

NYCBURST

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Duane Allman's 57 gold top has an unusually slim neck for that period, according to the testimony of some that have played it in person.

No one is saying 'big neck good, small neck bad', that's ridiculous and not what anyone is saying.
exactly
 

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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brandtkronholm,
It's hard maintaining a view and defending that conviction when the majority disagree with your position. Respect..

So., reading through your posts, I'm trying to encapsulate your primary point. This appears to be that with two necks, one slim, one fat,( IF) both share equal properties of weight, mass and density, et al.. Thay will sound the same despite the difference between them mentioned above.

Have I got where your coming from, or have I missed it completely?
I think you’ve got it.
Suppose we had two brand-new re-issue style Les Pauls made from the same trees and s appointments with the exception of neck size; one is a baseball bat and one is a super thin geek neck. They are played through one amp, by one person behind a screen.
* In a blind listening test, I think the guitars would sound the same.
* If we supposed the contrary, that they sounded different, I think no one could determine which had the fat neck and which had the thin. The blind results would be 50/50; no better than flipping a coin.
* With these two hypothetical Les Pauls, if we were to predict a difference in tone based on the thickness of the neck, we would all use different words to describe our expectations, many of which would be contradictory or antipodal.

How much mass separates the fattest neck from the thinnest? Is the weight measured in grams? I would be shocked if it were measured in ounces. I’m not convinced that grams of mahogany from a solid-body Gibson would make any audible difference in tone.

We have such passion and love for these instruments that the mythology surrounding them often overrides our ability to put aside our (ultra high) expectations. That said, I’m delighted to be guilty of succumbing to the mythology! For me it’s PAFs. No modern boutique pickup can be as awesome as a genuine PAF - and I’ve never even tried a Gibson with boutique aftermarket PAF clones! ...threads like this are always great fun!
 

Big Al

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Except I have actually played guitars with necks made from the same board and the big necks sound different from the thin ones. No hypotheticals. In the late 70's I was involved with several batches of custom guitars built by Phil Kubiki for Manny's. All the necks were from same board stock and then shaped vintage 57 soft v with little taper, almost a full inch thick, or vintage 62 thin c, with taper getting much fuller past 10th fret but not as deep as the 57 profile.

Solid rosewood, birdseye maple and solid pauduk all with slab rosewood boards.
 

AA00475Bassman

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Some claim a repaired head head stock really enhances tone , I will claim hog wash all day long .

Common sense would tell one a neck is in the tone chain .
 

brandtkronholm

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Except I have actually played guitars with necks made from the same board and the big necks sound different from the thin ones. No hypotheticals. In the late 70's I was involved with several batches of custom guitars built by Phil Kubiki for Manny's. All the necks were from same board stock and then shaped vintage 57 soft v with little taper, almost a full inch thick, or vintage 62 thin c, with taper getting much fuller past 10th fret but not as deep as the 57 profile.

Solid rosewood, birdseye maple and solid pauduk all with slab rosewood boards.
I had a Kubiki Express (mini?) LP style for a brief period...it was the business! It is long gone now...alas. It was signed too... I actually gigged it for one song once - it didn't really work.

This is an interesting recollection Al! I assume that these necks were put into identical (or nearly identical) bodies. (Bolt-on or set?) Big questions: Do you remember how the guitars sounded? What sonic characteristics did the big neck have over the skinny neck - and vice versa? Fascinating stuff.
 
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