Was just looking over 5 of my cbgs that I built for myself over the last couple of years and noticed the necks have all started to bow.  The necks are all thru the box oak with poplar fret boards and they are strung with light to medium gage strings. I use 1x3 oak and they are all 3 string.  Wondering if cutting a slot down the middle of the neck and inserting a piece of flat steel would stiffen the neck and prevent bowing. Anyone tried this?  Any thoughts?  

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Comment by Don Tucker on January 31, 2020 at 11:08pm

Years ago one of my personal guitars with an oak neck bow badly. My theory is oak is a poor choice for a neck because oak has inconsistent density. The dark streaks are much harder than the lighter coloured parts of oak. I believe that's why oak is not used for the necks of any factory made instrument that I'm aware of. I have used maple exclusively for many years now with no problems. I believe many factory made necks are maple for a reason. I also go one step further by sawing the neck blank down the middle, then turning the two pieces a quarter turn each before gluing them back together. The opposing grain makes the neck much stronger and also straighter. This may be overkill but I think it's worth the extra effort.

Comment by James Pobog on January 28, 2020 at 5:12pm

Why not just slack the strings a bit?

Comment by Derek Rose on January 25, 2020 at 9:46am

A little bow can be good, it provides relief, but if it is such it makes the action too high it can be a problem. Just the addition of a fingerboard adds significant strength and should be plenty strong enough for 3 and 4 strings.

Shorter scale length significantly reduces the string tension too. I have made 6 string necks out of 2 pieces of oak, glued side-to-side with a 23 1/2" scale and an oak fingerboard (and a 4th piece for the heal inside the box) and have held up for 2 years so far. Have also used the steel shelving hanger supports (the 3 sided kind from Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) which is very stiff resist twist and bow, like on this build: 

Comment by Taffy Evans on January 24, 2020 at 11:13pm

Hi mike, what a bummer, Yes a bar would do the trick, but you would have to remove the bow first. If you are talking about future necks, yep easier to do before fingerboard goes on. I would have thought that Poplar may bee too soft for a fingerboard, but I could be wrong.


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