Slab Board vs. Veneer (Curved) Rosewood

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by wht1, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. jtees4

    jtees4 Strat-O-Master

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    I never heard of this....interesting. I think probably irrelevant, but interesting. I just looked and my SG appears to have a slab neck....is this generally true of Gibsons and/or other makers?
     
  2. takis61

    takis61 Strat-Talker

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    Suggest you read Tony Bacon's recent new book on the Stratocaster, in the 1960 Strat section he states that the slab rosewood board changed to a rosewood cap in 1962, then later to a thinner veneer.
    The book is "The Stratocaster Guitar Book"
     
  3. takis61

    takis61 Strat-Talker

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    page 44 - just found the section.
    He also states that some players believe the thinner style helps get closer to the earlier maple neck tone as it allows the tang or base of the fret to contact the maple below the rosewood.
    Fender continued to offer all maple as an option.
     
  4. takis61

    takis61 Strat-Talker

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    Sorry, message posted before I finished - page 44 is the relevant section, he states that the slab board changed to a thinner board with a curved base in 1962, then the following year the board was made thinner still, known as a "laminate"
     
  5. Side Man

    Side Man Strat-Talker

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    I can't believe that this thread is still going.
     
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  6. ElectricRay

    ElectricRay Strat-Talker

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    Good grief, Charlie Brown.
     
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  7. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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  8. Rufuskyote

    Rufuskyote Strat-Talker

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    +10,000

    Its amusing how much of so many people's "hearing" is influenced by what they see.
    As if neither the pickups nor the amplifier had any influence on the "tone".
    (I hate that word, used in this context, btw.)

    Having said that , I personally prefer rosewood boards over maple, but for reasons other than "tone".

    Fender referred to their maple/maple necks of the 1960's as "maple cap(ped)", didn't they?

    Personally, I endorse the three distinct slab/cap/veneer differentiations as being the most accurate, but it ain't worth arguing about.

    Time to go practice.
     
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  9. Blueyepaul

    Blueyepaul Strat-Talk Member

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    Interesting subject, either way the choice is yours in the long run. I came across this feed from another blog - Cheers

    I've also heard - and this could be urban legend/"internet truth" - that Fender did have some issues with the early slab board necks cracking at the fingerboard join point (maybe due to expansion differences between maple and rosewood) and they thought that the round laminate/veneer fingerboards would solve that problem.

    Of course that is also a manufacturing reason for the change, not a tone reason. People sometimes forget that Leo Fender wasn't a musician; he was an inventor and manufacturer. While he employed musicians and listened to their input, the inventor/manufacturer side would always win out. I also find it interesting that his college degree was in accounting; before he decided he could make more money with his radio repair side business (that of course evolved into the instrument company) he was a cost accountant for some governmental agency there in California. That also explains some of the "penny pinching" methods that he used in running the company that became "happy accidents" impacting the sound and feel of his instruments.

    I believe, and it is just a belief, that while the slab boards were nice, you were able to get more rosewood fingerboards out of a log if they were a uniform .25" thick. With the slab they were 3/8 on the side and 5/8s in the middle and then plained to shape after joining. I am from a manufacturing background before any other schooling, and many of the manufacturing techniques Fender still uses are very familiar to me. Obliviously the finger boards for the slabs are thicker, and you cannot use the scraps to make more boards, but if you create a system that takes a 4 inch thick board and makes 15 curved overlays, rather than 10 slabs, you are getting 50% more. Multiply this by 1000s of guitars and you see why it makes financial and business cents (sense) to go thin rather than slab.

    We love to talk about our Maple and our stability, but Gibson uses only 1/4 sawn necks because it makes the neck more stable at the 17* joint. We have string trees, they have a fragile neck joint. We also realize that regardless of fingerboard, neck, pickup, strings, chord, pedals, or amp, if the player does not have tone in the finger, then you may as well have a silver tone, or a Kay, when you play.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  10. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    [​IMG]

    Is anyone still here from 2012???!!!! :confused:
     
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  11. DeanIversenGreen

    DeanIversenGreen Strat-Talk Member

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    OK well I just came across this searching for a veneer neck for a strat and read so much stupidity I don't know where to start'?

    first off finger boards were NOT steamed to achieve the "arc", lol, actually its not an arc its a radius..they weren't designed to make more money, or vice versa, the veneer has a very important STRUCTURAL element and that's RIGIDITY and STABILITY..

    and this i can prove rather easily, take a deck of cards, peel off 2 stacks of ten, pick up one of the flat stacks, leave it flat, bend it length wise, bends easily right?

    now pick up the other stack and pull the 2 edges towards each other like the top of a fret board's shape, so the cards are radiused like a strat neck, now try to bend the cards length wise.. see how much more they resist than the flat stack?

    if you think, "well of course the flat cads will bend more easily nothing is glued", if you have a stack of cards to sacrifice that's simple to elaborate on... glue 2 stacks of 20 cards together using an exact amount of glue between each card..

    I would use elmers and 2 drops per layer, smear with a finger wearing silicone glove, equal amounts on all cards, however right after gluing the second stack take a few rubber bands and wrap the cards lengthwise around the back of guitar neck, use rubber bands to hold them in place, let dry several days, perhaps stack some weight on the flat stack for integrity?

    once dry give them the bend test, you will reveal the flat deck is only slightly more resistant to bend while the curved deck is now very difficult to bend once glued up... imagine if this was wood? apposing grain and all.. that.. 1/4 sawn neck wood?

    that's the idea behind a veneer neck, STABILITY, also they around the same amount of material to make the slabs vs veneer, and YES slabs are MUCH easier to make than a veneer as there are several more shaping processes to the veneer neck..

    one must shape the radius on top of the fret board and the bottom, its not extremely time consuming or difficult for a fine wood shop to do this but it is more TIME and more STEPS to the process.. 50 necks a day, 2 more hours per neck, do the math, even tho it may have only equated to the retail cost of one strat Leo was running on a thin budget back then..

    obviously the veneer neck is far more stable than the slab, in a big way, it really doesn't take much material for that radiused material to gather an abundance of strength, its just the laws of the natural world..

    why Leo and or Fender gave up on this we'll never know? IMHO Leo knew he was onto something and it was CBS that canned the idea for the slab as its labor saving..

    IMO had Leo kept Fender we would see strats that don't have Veneer necks but boards that are just as thick as slabs, but with a radius on both sides, and the radius would be slightly steeper on the glue side than the top so if the top is a 9.5 the glue side would be a 7.5 ..

    many things would happen here, not only would we have the grail of non moving necks no matter the climate the tone would be dramatically changed, larger frets would be able to be installed as well

    consider this... Leo used a veneer radiused joint, once you cut your fret slots you have degraded most of that benefit the apposing radiused glued joint, double the thickness?

    BOOM!!!!

    now you've nailed it..

    and this very well may be why CBS discontinued the veneer or radius joint necks? because the bend test and or stability test didn't exactly pan out, cuz the fret slots took away a lot of the integrity, double the thickness and there it is..

    imagine what the strength of a thick 7.5 radius glue joined channel bound neck would be? 1/4 sawn.. might need vanadium steel truss rod and and impact driver to move the dang thing..??

    Leo was a smart guy he eventually would have seen the error in his way and realized the fret slots were destroying the integrity and doubled up on the thickness, then around 2000 he would have channel bound the radius joint and closed the book, rock solid never worry again..

    take your deck of cards and put a 1/4" 5 card thick rail along each end of the radius stack see how much more stable that makes that deck?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  12. DeanIversenGreen

    DeanIversenGreen Strat-Talk Member

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    look what Tokai did here, they doubled the thickness of the fender Veneer, these are the best strat neck ever made, stability wise, doesn't mean squat many people I get it, some people stay in their bedrooms and they don't care one way or another.. others don't have a climate issue for whatever reason, its the same everywhere they go so they don't care..

    but for the guitar tech who is in a different climate every other night and has to make sure that guitar is set up dead nut every night he cares, its less work for him if the neck doesn't move, means more time to get ready for the show and make sure everything is up to snuff..

    looks like Tokai NAILED IT?

    so tell us, which is more stable in your honest opinion, which neck is stiffer? can you do tremolo by pushing on the headstock of the Tokai or is it too stiff? either one quarter sawn?

    looks like a sweet neck indeed, great score...






     
  13. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    STEP AWAY FROM THE DEAD THREAD....PLEASE SIR, STEP AWAY.

    This thread was started in 2010 and FINISHED in 2012.

    We have all grown up and moved WAY ahead in our thinking since then...:eek:

    Sheesh @Blueyepaul !! See what you gone and done... :mad:
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  14. Mert Demir

    Mert Demir Strat-Talk Member

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    So, which one is better?