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Accoustic/ Classical Guitar Necks
Author
Post
blaine

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
I was interested in building a kit. I recently put together a cheap kit from Grizzly that had most of the hard part already done. I have been looking at kits on the internet and I wanted to make my own kit. The trouble Im having is finding guitar necks. I want to make the rest of the kit myself, but I do not want to tackle making the neck by hand at this time. Any suggestions? thanks

Feb 27, 10 | 12:29 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
As alot of people have suggested on here about starting your first kit, buying a complete kit is probably the way to go. At least then you know all the parts are compatible and you don't have to worry about things not working out in that sense. Plus a serviced kit kind of sets you in the right direction and general saves you quite a bit of time/money in specialty tools required for alot of the "scratch" steps.

If your on a budget you could always contact Shawn from Bardsong instruments and see if he's got a kit you'd be interested, he's been selling martin reject part kits. Otherwise both Blues Creek and KMG sell kits from this forum, or there's LMI and Stewmac.

After my first build I tried to basically scrap together my own kit and it's alot more trouble than it sounds like, when you have to worry about shipping for each specific part, and you general overlook something and your constantly waiting and paying shipping for each item. For the extra hassle your better off finding an affordable kit. My 2 cents

-Dan

Feb 27, 10 | 3:12 am
Woody O'Keefe

Total Topics: 31
Total Posts: 102
Hi Blaine,

You can get necks from Stewart-MacDonald, LMI and Hanelei Moon Guitars. But DanB is right you still need the fretboard and truss rod, so a complete kit is way easier the first time.

Woody

Feb 27, 10 | 7:19 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Blaine, I get my necks from Chris at Hana Lei Moon. He does a very fine job.

Ken

Feb 27, 10 | 3:09 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
All the vendors that Dan mentioned will have the neck included. I think most will have them pre-shaped if you ask. Mine from Stew-Mac was. I didn't have to do anything to it. Also, I believe the LMI kits have pre-shaped necks in the "serviced" kit.
I don't remember if KMG and Blues Creek Guitars do or not, but email them. They are both very helpful and respond to emails quickly. They are good to get kits from because of the helpfulness of the owners.
Welcome to the forum. There is a ton of advice here, a lot of help.
Bob

Feb 27, 10 | 4:17 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hey Blaine -- Welcome to the forum! --- I haven't seen/built a kit that didn't have a shaped neck included, except the unserviced kits from LMII. Kits built included Martin, SM, LMII, Grizzly, KMG and Blues Creek.

Bill
www.kitguitarforum.com
www.kitguitarbuilder.com
www.kitguitarmanuals.com

Feb 27, 10 | 5:13 pm
blaine

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
Thanks for all the suggestions. I had bought a kit from Grizzly in hopes to learn a little without spending alot of money the first time. The result is that learned almost nothing about guitar building and although the guitar looks nice, it sounds horrible. Basically it was a waste of time and money for me to do the Grizzly kit. It was about $100.00 including the shipping. Id be lucky to get $50.00 for it at a garage sale.

Feb 28, 10 | 5:16 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Blaine, sorry to hear about the bad experience with the Grizzly kit. It is possible to make a great sounding guitar from a kit, and this forum along with Bill's books can provide you the details on how to do it. Of course, execution will depend on you, but we can all help with the 'how to.'

Despite the Grizzly kit being cheap, I wouldn't think it would sound horrible. Might be worth investigating why it sounds so bad prior to jumping into another. I'd recommend you take a few measurements and post a few pictures, and maybe we can help diagnose what went wrong. Is the top too thick? Are the braces too heavy? How is the action? You might be able to get some pointers that can help make that guitar more enjoyable to play!

Ken

Feb 28, 10 | 5:35 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Ken, those grizzly kits are 100% laminate, not a whole lot you can do about thickness, although you can investigate bracing. If you try to play with top thickness, you could go through the first layer of the plywood.

I would have just taken those kits as bad sounding guitars in general. But Blaine, most definitely do not let that discourage you from a solid wood kit by any means. I have not heard a single story where someone was disapointed in the sound of their kit guitar...

My first kit, despite how upset I was with myself with some of the mistakes I made, that guitar sounded just as good if not better than the 2600 dollar martin it was suppose to be, did a side by side sound test with 3 witnesses in guitarcenter and it was 100% vote. As long as you take your time, understand all the steps and what not, you will no doubt have an awesome guitar for fractions of the cost of the guitar from guitar center.

Dan

Feb 28, 10 | 7:47 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have purchased a few necks from Hanalei Moon as well. Very good quality work, and the price will either be similar too or less than LMI/Stewmac. The difference is that Hanalei Moon necks usually come with hardware/trussrods already installed. These necks are truly ready for fingerboards and final fitting.

Mar 01, 10 | 8:57 am
blaine

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
Thanks DanB. Im not discouraged from putting together a kit guitar. I just wish I would have purchased a real kit the first time, lol.

I think the problem with the "kit" I put together is the nut position. I did the measurements and If I would have put it where it was supposed to go there would have been a large gap between the fret board and the nut. I put it flush with the fret board which shortened the distance by a centimeter or two and Im guessing that caused the intunation to be out of wack. Ive never seen a nut not flush with the 1st fret before. I guess I could move it but it looks silly that way. Still the quality of sound is poor. But hey, you get what you pay for right?

Mar 01, 10 | 9:42 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Blaine, what Grizzly sells as a "kit" is nothing like what LMI, StewMac, Blues Creek, KMG and many other sources provide. I had the "pleasure" of helping a co-worker try to make his Grizzly kit playable and it was one of the most frustrating thing I have done. Grizzly takes away the fun part of building the box and gives you the difficulties of setting the neck angle, locating the bridge, doing the setup, and trying to finish a pretty bad piece of wood - no wonder yours (and his) didn't play well.

Put that behind you and build a real kit - I can promise that you will enjoy the experiece and if you are careful, have a guitar that plays well and gives you great pleasure (my first kit is over four years old and is my daily player - my two Martins and my Taylor sit in the closet).

If you buy a kit from one of those sources you will get a preshaped necks and the correctly mitered fretboard for the scale length that you (or the kit provider) has selected. Some of them will have indexing pins that puts the nut in exactly the correct position - others will give you measurements that help you do that as you build. You can certainly buy a preshaped neck from any of those sources but make sure you know what scale length you plan to use when you order it.

I have shaped one neck myself and it is a real pain in the rear - for my current build I ordered a neck from Hanalei Moon and it is absolutely beautiful. However, if you do order one you will need to specify all the critical measurements, whick kind of takes that away from the "kit" concept. Along with scale length and number of clear frets, a decision you will need to make is the kind of neck to body joint - the dovetail is more difficult but is the way Martins have be build for years, a bolted M&T is much easier (and the way that Grizzly does it almost assures a bad neck angle)

Your thread title mentions "acoustic/classical" necks - the classical way to build a classical guitar (no pun intended) is with what is called a Spanish Heel - a completely different kind of neck joint than the usual bolt on or dovetail used with a steel string. I have built an LMI classical kit and once again, everything in the box was correct to make this work. It is possible to build a classical (nylon strung) guitar with other neck configurations, but be very careful when you are ordering parts to get the correct ones. A classical fretboard is different from a steel string, they usually do not have a truss rod - a good reference here is Cumpiano's book.

Summary, if you want to put together your own kit, use LMI's "kit wizzard". That gives you a basic starting point and lets you change things as your budge and needs dictate. You can have them do some of the work for you (bend sides or bindings for example). Some of the other suppliers - KMG, Blues Creek, Steve Kovacik - will do that too - each of my kits has been customized in some fashion. And bottom line, each one plays well.

Mar 03, 10 | 6:58 am
blaine

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
Thanks Freeman for the suggestions and all else who shared their input. Glad I found this site. Seems to have active members and good info.

Mar 03, 10 | 9:22 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Blaine, if you type "Freeman" into the search box on the first page you will see a few of the threads that I have posted on several of my builds. To summarize them

1 - Steve Kovacik 000 kit, beautiful bearclaw top, I wanted a long scale slot head 12 fret neck and 20 inch radius fretboard - Steve supplied exactly that. That neck was a dovetail - I struggled thru it but would not recommend for a first built.

2 - LMI classical with some modification (mainly the prebent binding). Spanish heel neck, traditional wide flat classical fretboard - I built it on a modified solera. Gift to my son.

3 - John Hall (Blues Creek) deep OM sized 12 string - Martin short scale dovetail neck (hadn't learned my lesson LOL) - I wanted to build a slot head but we couldn't come up with tuners. John worked with me on the style 42 pearl inlay - we had many e-mails and phone calls before the order was placed.

4 - Siminoff F5 mandolin. Still trying to learn to play it....

5 - LMI 0 sized parlor. Again, lots of customizing using the kit wizard. Short scale 12 fret neck, this time a bolt on (finally learning). Gift to my daughter

6 - Stella 12 string clone. Not really a kit, I built the neck from scratch but I had LMI make the fretboard (really long 26.2 inch scale) and they bent the sides and binding. If you look under "services" on their web site you can see all the shop operations that they can do for you - if you don't have a wood shop they can do almost anything you need.

7 - Current one is under construction and no pictures. Again I ordered the wood (koa in this case) from LMI and the neck from Hanalei Moon (it is truely beautiful and I thought very reasonably priced).

Yes, this is a good site. I recommend getting Bill Cory's book and doing all the other reading and research you can. Go thru the building archives on this site and maybe mimf.com. Ask questions and you'll get lots of good advice and encouragement. Enjoy the building process and playing music on something that you built with your own hands.

Mar 04, 10 | 5:49 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Blaine,
Dont listen to anyone on this forum. The worst thing you can do is to build a real kit, like one from KMG, John Hall, LMI etc. Let me tell you about my experience:
You will build your kit and you will enjoy every second of it. You will annoy everyone you know with stories about building your guitar. Co-workers, friends, not-so-close acquaintances, almost perfect strangers, even your dentist(which is not easy to do when he has several implements in your mouth, trust me).
Then as you are about half way through your first build, you are going to start thinking about the second one. And the third. The next thing you know, you are building a guitar with $200 worth or pearl on it, buying tools, drill bits, glues and then you are left wondering what happened to your bank account. Not to mention the wife/girlfriend asking you 100 times a day why you want to go to the garage so much, and how come you ignore her and the baby, and did I notice that the gutter was hanging off the house and the toilet downstairs wont flush and can I maybe fix the leaky faucet in the kitchen!!!
No sir. Run away. Do not build a kit. Buy a decent solid wood guitar and never look back.
LOL I am joking. Best thing I have done in a long time was finish my first kit. Very rewarding experience. I wouldnt trade a second, or one leaky faucet for it!!
Buy a kit from a reputable source and dont look back. Dont go nuts buying tools right away either. Get them as you need them.

Mar 04, 10 | 12:15 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
ROFLMAO

(btw, ask your dentist to save her old dental burrs for you, they are great for inlaying pearl.....)

Mar 05, 10 | 5:36 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Good idea Freeman!! Although I think I am banned from the office for talking about building so much. My dentist is a classically trained violinist so maybe if I build him a nice fiddle......That should be quick, right? They are pretty small and would require less wood, less glue drying time, no braces since its an arch top...I better check for a wood source...WAIT!! I have to finish this guitar first and lacquer two of them! See what happens Blaine? You are going to want to build lots of stuff now!

Mar 05, 10 | 6:33 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Kits/Fiddle_Kits/Fiddle_Kit.html

http://www.mimf.com/cgi-bin/WebX?50@132.nq4TaaqLFQ4.2@.2cb6c5df

http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-H3099-Deluxe-Violin-Kit/dp/B0000DD4L6

(that kind of brings the discussion full circle, eh)

I built an F5 mando and can promise you that it is one quarter the size of a guitar, but four times the work. And yes, I really do ask my dentist to save old burrs for me - they fit my Dremel perfectly and are really good for fine inlay.

Mar 05, 10 | 8:20 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Oh no...I couldnt built one of these kits. Too much work is already done!
Full circle indeed Freeman. Well played sir!

If I were skilled at all with inlay work, I would ask the dentist to save the burrs, but I am not, so I do not. I should probably put in some work to get better at it.

Mar 05, 10 | 8:26 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Tony: Think of it this way: Free tools to screw up while you learn how to do good inlay. It really is no harder than any other part of building. Prepare, prepare, prepare, practice practice practice, then patiently and carefully try it out on the real thing. No different than gettin the balls up to try cutting that first binding channel, right?

Try inlaying some hardwood into some other hardwood for starters....this will be an inexpensive way to gain a GREAT understanding of how the process works. Simple shapes, then shapes with more complex aspects, right? And inlaying into ebony is far more forgiving than anythig else....the gapfilling glue/dust dough NEVER shows up. Wenge, Mahagonay, maple, and others are a little harder to do, but they all work well.

Mar 06, 10 | 10:57 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
I hear ya Ken. I tried a bit once, but didnt really enjoy it like I do building. I sent my inlay work to Dave Nichols. Fantastic work, quick turnaround and you cant beat his prices!

Mar 06, 10 | 11:34 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Bling (the dragonfly is my daughter's personal talisman which she wears as a tat on her shoulder - it was fun to try to duplicate it)



and the head on the F5




Mar 08, 10 | 6:22 am



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