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Neck meets box - how do YOU do it? Please post photos of the insides...


One of the main things I'm trying to figure out is how to approach the layout of all that is inside the box... I've read a few conflicting arguments and seen photos of different approaches, but don't have a good idea how to choose:

Neck through, attached fully to top ?
Neck through, attached to top with cutout to allow top to vibrate?
Neck through, attached only to sides, or sides & back?
Neck, um, not through... w/ bracing?

Bracing the top... all sorts of possibilities, but I suspect anything more than the basics is overkill with such a small surface.

I suspect I could start a bit of a brush war asking what is the RIGHT way, so I'm just going to ask how you like to do it instead :)

Thanks!


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Theres all different kinda ways to do it but to me I prefer nothing to touch the top of the box due to it being so small and all of it needs to vibrate. Therefore i try to make the sides as strong and stiff as possible. I usually glue some quarter round in each corner making sure it doesn't touch the top. I also glue quarter inch stock on back so tailpiece can have more support. I use a two piece system with the neck. I run a piece through the box and leave about 3 inches out of front of box. Then glue neck on top of it and run 2 screws countersuck to strengthen it. I then glue fretboard on top. This allows my fretting surface to be above box top. That way my bridge will be higher and the string angle on bridge will have more angle giving more vibration to top of box. Also I like using the bottom of the boxes for the tops. They are usually thinner and it makes it easier to work inside box. This is probably clear as mud. Maybe someone else can explain it better. I have no pictures at this time but maybe can take some on next build.
I do mine like Wes Yates does his, with a cutaway so the lid is flush with the top of the neck stick, and then a second cutaway so the lid touches the stick only at either end - kind of like resting on two shoulders.

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/photo/plans2-1/next?context=user

But then I also put an additional heel piece along the bottom of the thru-neck (from the same neck stock) that butts against the tail end inside the box and protrudes out a bit at the heel end of the box. You can't cut away that much wood without losing your strength there. I use 1/2" stock, though, so if you're using thicker stuff to begin with you might be okay.

And I add a fingerboard for sure, for extra clearance, extra strength and appearance.

This is how I do it, seems to work for me. If you look closely you can see that I hold the material away from the top of the box just a 1/4in. so the top of the box can resonate, it is also held away considerably from the bottom of the box to allow for all those beautiful sounds to move about freely.
hey Fitz, hi there.. where u talk neck thru attached to this or that (and those are all viable ideas) consider another, neck thru glued to nothing at all, just locked in by virtue of the downward pressure of the strings on the bridge, and with the neck notched in just the right places so it cant shift about in the box..

eg Godzillas method there (which is really, really nice work) wont need any glue at all, and therefore real easy to get apart if something ever went wrong, eg if the box cracked one day maybe u could reuse the neck..

oh, also one more idea, on some boxes i like to use the back of the box for a gitt top.. on my last (and ive only done a few cbgs..) i did this. I used magnets designed for cupboard doors as a hidden catch to keep it closed..
I cut away my necks like Diane and Wes, a "double-cutaway" so the lid sits on about 1/4 inch of the neck at either end but so the lid can resonate freely. For some kid's guitars I just finished, I super-glued where the neck sits in the cut-outs of the box. I also added extra bracing inside the corners and where the neck and box meet. I know this seems like over-kill but these guitars are going to pretty young kids.
That looks almost exactly like I do it. But Ive never seen that photo.I bet there is alot of us that just figured that was the most simple design to let our tops float.

Naz Nomad said:
C'mon now, we know Ted can't look at CBN links that are posted here, however basic it is ...

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/9220/cbgplans1.png

You all have done a great job of answering the question, thanks! Please don't take my lags in replies to mean I don't really want to hear your answers - too busy finishing up the project that will pay for the instrument build (art, not music - On the one hand... someone actually wants to buy something I've made! On the other, it is a VERY good thing these can be built cheaply ;)

Some questions:

steve "roots" howard said:
I also glue quarter inch stock on back so tailpiece can have more support. I use a two piece system with the neck.

I'm not sure if I understand this part properly. Do you mean you line the joints between sides and back with 1/4 inch strips, as you do the side to side joints w/ 1/4 rounds?
The rest seems very clear, and very helpful. I like the idea of using a two piece/bolt on neck for the additional reason that it might make it easier to play around with neck angle (thinking shims if need be) - I have to do this all with very minimal tools, as I'm locked in a basement by evil, um, rodents, or something, and can only use what is here (sounds better than "because I'm broke and even though the local library has a GREAT tool-lending program including impressive array of power tools, my dog ate a tall stack of library books and I've yet to pay the couple hundred in replacement fines and won't be trusted with tools).

The stronger pressure on the bridge - to you find you need to brace the top, especially if using the thinner box bottom as top?

Dianne: thanks for the diagram - somehow never saw that when looking over cbn. That sure makes it clear. Re: your additional block/tail stock: you run in the whole internal length, and have it protrude out back instead/in addition to the main neck piece?

Godzilla - great photo - I think that is one I'd already stumbled on and saved :)

Once again, thank you!
I usually screw on a tailpiece to run strings thru on end of the box so i use the 1/4 inch inside to give the screws more of a bite. I do not put bracing on sides, just 1/4 round in the corners.

Fitzhugh said:
You all have done a great job of answering the question, thanks! Please don't take my lags in replies to mean I don't really want to hear your answers - too busy finishing up the project that will pay for the instrument build (art, not music - On the one hand... someone actually wants to buy something I've made! On the other, it is a VERY good thing these can be built cheaply ;)

Some questions:

steve "roots" howard said:
I also glue quarter inch stock on back so tailpiece can have more support. I use a two piece system with the neck.

I'm not sure if I understand this part properly. Do you mean you line the joints between sides and back with 1/4 inch strips, as you do the side to side joints w/ 1/4 rounds?
The rest seems very clear, and very helpful. I like the idea of using a two piece/bolt on neck for the additional reason that it might make it easier to play around with neck angle (thinking shims if need be) - I have to do this all with very minimal tools, as I'm locked in a basement by evil, um, rodents, or something, and can only use what is here (sounds better than "because I'm broke and even though the local library has a GREAT tool-lending program including impressive array of power tools, my dog ate a tall stack of library books and I've yet to pay the couple hundred in replacement fines and won't be trusted with tools).

The stronger pressure on the bridge - to you find you need to brace the top, especially if using the thinner box bottom as top?

Dianne: thanks for the diagram - somehow never saw that when looking over cbn. That sure makes it clear. Re: your additional block/tail stock: you run in the whole internal length, and have it protrude out back instead/in addition to the main neck piece?

Godzilla - great photo - I think that is one I'd already stumbled on and saved :)

Once again, thank you!
The heel block runs the whole internal length, plus it protrudes at the heel end of the box by about an inch, maybe less.

Dianne: thanks for the diagram - somehow never saw that when looking over cbn. That sure makes it clear. Re: your additional block/tail stock: you run in the whole internal length, and have it protrude out back instead/in addition to the main neck piece? Godzilla - great photo - I think that is one I'd already stumbled on and saved :) Once again, thank you!
My last several instruments have had bolt-on necks. I build up the neck with the "heel" cut to whatever angle I want.
I use either furniture inserts (threaded screw-in pieces that are internally threaded for a standard bolt) or "screw-bolts", the kind of thing you use to hang swag hooks.
The screw part goes into the neck, and the part that's threaded for a nut goes though a hole into the body.
I reinforce the neck end of the body with 1/4" oak.
So far, this has proved a sturdy method; my mandola (full 8 strings) has never budged.
Thanks Mark,
That covers a question I was holding off on: how to mount necks such that they can handle the pull of more or heavier strings... I made a deal with my girlfriend: I can make myself a guitar if I make her a mandolin w/ 4 courses. That way she won't find the mess so bothersome :)
I have a party and invite them. Put them next too each other at the table. Neck this is Box. LOL

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