Hand Tools

Subject:
the monster tele vs. the dull one

David Weaver
monster is khaya with rosewood that's only just a bit more dense than maple (literally 5% comparing two necks of same profile). It's dandy, but I haven't made more necks with the same source - they could differ.

I think the responsiveness has quite a bit to do with the rosewood, but the maple neck on the limba tele is surprisingly dead. I have this little gimmick - I like to put the neck joint of a guitar near my ear and the strum it. A guitar that's really lively with strong mids makes the hair in my ears itch. A too heavy sustainy guitar (like the 10 pounds ash/bubinga strat) - nothing. The limba tele - nothing. Just not very snappy. I also didn't make the neck on limba tele - it's WD products - the only purchased neck I've used. I don't think it's that good, but I think very few necks in the $100-$400 range have wood that was picked that well, and sometimes they aren't even what they say they are (pau ferro being called rosewood, etc).

As far as consistency goes - that's more collings things. I want the guitars to all be a little different, but I do like learning how they manipulate things. If I were buying a new collings for $6k, though, I would expect it to sound like the ones I've heard before (vs. some of the offerings that I've gotten from gibson within 15 seconds leave me cold.).

When I decided to build things, it was in the era of reverb being low fees and no taxes. I bought and sold about 100 guitars over a period of several years (low effort - staples is across the street and it took about 15 minutes to turn one over). I learned a few things, but commercial guitars generally won't teach you that much about wood if they're encased in thick finish or the electronics are all over the place. Rosewood necks, I guess, are expensive. But quartersawn rosewood better than what's in $500 necks isn't that expensive, so I'm inclined to build more necks in rosewood than I'd have guessed early on.

The two things that I like in guitars - I like to get the strings on a bridge that's attached solidly and doesn't have much weight, and get them through the guitar if possible, and then I'll choose scale length first and everything else is distant behind that.

(I only kept one collings guitar - but am loaded to experiment with their method of thin slots to open up bodies that don't do much)

To go along with your suggestion of necks, in the A/B comparisons, I've never really heard much difference in tele/strats with different bodies, but I can hear the difference in neck woods. I don't know if I'd care that much if the guitars weren't played one after another, but mahogany is definitely less punchy than maple.

I find the discussion about how "warm" rosewood is kind of interesting given that somehow it's "warm" if it's in the fingerboard, but the necks are described as being too punchy/bright (when a maple neck may not be).

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