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Thread: neck joint

  1. #1
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    neck joint

    I was surprised to see that PRS is using a tapered dove tail neck joint in their acoustic guitars. Any ideas on why, other than being traditional?

  2. #2
    I would guess that PRS prefers the tone of a glued-in dovetail joint.

    Most higher end builders use them.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  3. #3
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    Most if not all acoustic guitars will eventually need a neck reset. Steaming out a dove tail neck joint is always , to some extent , damaging to the guitar. The obligatory shims needed to take up the gap, after the heel has been machined, decrease the contact between neck and body , and add another glue line. High end builders use them because their customers think the traditional way is the best way.

  4. #4
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    actually there are a number of small higher end builders out there that use bolt on. Some are well know names.
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  5. #5
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    there is no proof that they sound different. there has been alot of talk on acoutic guitar forums about this and even builders building both and can`t tell the difference when everything else is the same. What you hear is NOT the neck difference but bracing shape material etc. I have played USA PRS acoustics. some are nice and some plain stink for tone. consistancy is not what I have found with these. At a guitar shop they have two NEW Angelus customs. same top and back and side woods. Could not find two more different sounding guitars. One was bright and had a nice chorus like sound to it. Almost 12 string like. the other was ok but very dry sounding. lacking much overtones. I have played another one about a year ago and was the most horrid dead sounding guitar I had heard. no bass at all and just lacked any decent overtones. Kind of like the rubber band stretched over card board type tone. Even the store sales person said he agreed it was not a great guitar by any means. That was one of the first ones I had played. So yes they can be execellent but I find are very inconsistant for tone quality. I have a 2010 Taylor 816CE that I would take anyday over most of them I have played. There was like I said one very sweet one but not sweet enough to justify cost over my 816ce.
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by garageguy55 View Post
    Most if not all acoustic guitars will eventually need a neck reset. Steaming out a dove tail neck joint is always , to some extent , damaging to the guitar. The obligatory shims needed to take up the gap, after the heel has been machined, decrease the contact between neck and body , and add another glue line. High end builders use them because their customers think the traditional way is the best way.
    We all have different tastes and needs.

    I have owned several bolt on acoustics by Taylor (810. 914, W-14c) and wasn't happy with them.

    My Martins and Collings guitars were far better sounding (to me), and I like the PRS USA models even better still. But we're all different.

    You have to like the sound of the guitar in the first place. After that, if a neck reset down the line is scary, then you should absolutely buy a bolt-on neck acoustic. It doesn't bother me. BTW, my Taylor W-14 needed a neck reset after only ONE year, and I sent it to Taylor for the reset. It came back with the finish screwed up around the neck joint area.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  7. #7
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    collins uses bolt on necks btw
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by leeasam View Post
    there is no proof that they sound different.
    Listening while I play and to my recorded stuff works better for me than reading talk on forums.

    I haven't found the PRS acoustics inconsistent.

    As I said, I've had Taylors and couldn't stick with them. I just don't care for the sound.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Actually, I don't know who Collins is. Collings uses glued in set necks.
    sorry I mispelled it and NO they don`t they use glued in set necks---- bolt on - well that is what they say on his website And I have seen pics of them dismantled
    Over the course of several years, string tension will inevitably pull the neck angle up towards the top of any acoustic guitar. When this happens it is necessary to adjust the neck pitch angle. In order to provide heirloom quality instruments that can be easily adjusted to play correctly over the course of decades, Collings employs a hybrid ” deep wood to wood mortise and tenon joint with two bolts attached through the neck block. This allows for easy adjustment of the neck through the years should the need for a neck re-set arise.
    2010 Taylor 816CE
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Listening while I play and to my recorded stuff works better for me than reading talk on forums.

    I haven't found the PRS acoustics inconsistent.

    As I said, I've had Taylors and couldn't stick with them. I just don't care for the sound.
    so you have two identicle guitars one with a bolt on and one with a glued in set neck> If not then your statement holds no water. I have personally played at least 5 different USA PRS acoustics and not all of them were great. Only one so far has me going WOW I would not mind that one.
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by leeasam View Post
    sorry I mispelled it and NO they don`t they use glued in set necks---- bolt on - well that is what they say on his website And I have seen pics of them dismantled
    Over the course of several years, string tension will inevitably pull the neck angle up towards the top of any acoustic guitar. When this happens it is necessary to adjust the neck pitch angle. In order to provide heirloom quality instruments that can be easily adjusted to play correctly over the course of decades, Collings employs a hybrid ” deep wood to wood mortise and tenon joint with two bolts attached through the neck block. This allows for easy adjustment of the neck through the years should the need for a neck re-set arise.
    You're right, he bolts them but attaches differently from Taylor. Ha. I had two and didn't realize that!

    They're a hybrid of some sort. Kind of between a traditional set neck and a bolt on. They do sound very nice.

    I don't see a reason to argue over this, though. I do prefer the PRS.

    I've read Wood & Steel for years and know the arguments for bolt-ons. In fact, I think Bob Taylor is a good guy.

    But I like what I like. You want a bolt on, buy one. I like the PRS sound and see no need to argue the point. I voted with my wallet.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 03-12-2013 at 08:46 PM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  12. #12
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    If I had the money there is a PRS Angelus I would not be ashamed one bit having in my collection! Sweet tone and plays like butter. neck joint is not an issue with me on that. I do like taylors but will admitt for some reason never played a 900 series that really floated my boat. I was not overly crazy about the rosewood GS models either until they shipped with the CV bracing. Now I own one. One of the things that is fun is there are many brands and models and something that will fit anyone really!
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by leeasam View Post
    If I had the money there is a PRS Angelus I would not be ashamed one bit having in my collection! Sweet tone and plays like butter. neck joint is not an issue with me on that. I do like taylors but will admitt for some reason never played a 900 series that really floated my boat. I was not overly crazy about the rosewood GS models either until they shipped with the CV bracing. Now I own one. One of the things that is fun is there are many brands and models and something that will fit anyone really!
    I had an 810 that was honestly better sounding than my 900 or W series, too. So I get what you're saying. This was around 1998 or so.

    What happened in my case was that a friend came over with a Collings to play, and I was stunned by how good it sounded. Though I won't say it was somehow "better," because that's completely subjective, I can honestly say I thought it was better for me.

    You probably know I'm in the ad music business; so I was able to directly compare the recordings I'd made with my Taylors to the ones with my Collings guitars, and what I liked about the Collings was their solidity in a track. There was just a palpable presence that stood out, and the guitars seemed to sit in a mix beautifully. I foolishly sold them to get some GAS related studio thing that I probably no longer have!

    I found the Tonare had that solidity on the fundamental notes and wonderful ability to sit in a mix, but on top of that, had an airy and open quality that I only got before with a sweet Martin M-38 many years ago. The Tonare has the ability to sound solid and breathy at the same time, with amazingly articulate detail. It also responded well to a relatively light picking hand, which suits me well.

    I can only go by my own experience, but I think it's the best acoustic guitar I've ever played; so much so that I've ordered a PS version in maple. And believe me, I don't throw money around lightly.

    Now, whether the neck joint has anything at all to do with the sound is anyone's guess, I learned something when you said that the Collings is a hybrid bolt deal. BUT -- if something really, really works beautifully, I would hate to change it!

    As to neck resets...as I mentioned earlier, my W-14c needed a neck reset after only one year. So I sent it to Taylor (it also had a finish problem, cracking around the perimeter of the top, that I figured I might as well have them fix at the same time). When they reset the neck, it was certainly not pristine around the edges of the joint, and they still had to shim it, so I really don't see much of an advantage there, except that it was easier for them to do it. The finish repair also failed, after only a few months the perimeter of the top started to peel. So...I dunno. Not a great experience all around. BTW, I am a fanatic about maintaining 45% relative humidity and keep my guitars cased when not in use. This didn't happen because of improper care.

    I had an old Martin that needed a reset, and they did a nice job with it; this was back in the 70s. So it's not something I'm afraid of. The guitar sounded the same.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 03-13-2013 at 10:17 AM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  14. #14
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    Every time I go into this shop and I play this I don`t want to put it down. just not in the market right now but this one sure sounds sweet.
    http://davesguitar.com/products/collings/cj-sb/
    2010 Taylor 816CE
    2014 S2 Singlecut Antique White with PRS \m/ pickups!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by leeasam View Post
    Every time I go into this shop and I play this I don`t want to put it down. just not in the market right now but this one sure sounds sweet.
    http://davesguitar.com/products/collings/cj-sb/
    Those are super-nice! I had an SJ that was also really good. Lots of great choices out there.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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    Leave it to me to come here and post yet another response that's not particularly germane to the OP's question Still I've been waiting for a long while to articulate some thoughts on the PRS acoustics and in light of the direction this thread has taken I believe I'll seize the opportunity.

    The guitars are unique, not only by way of design but also most notably by way of voicing. I'm gonna over-generalize for purposes of discussion but it certainly doesn't surprise that someone who digs the "in general" Taylor sound probably isn't gonna dig the PRS. Taylors are by and large (and I know I'm generalizing here) brighter, edgier. That brightness and edge is there almost universally across the dynamic range of the guitar. If you play a Taylor extremely light, it's bright. If you play it harder, it's still bright. That certainly can be a good thing and some would assign that a value somewhere along the lines of consistency...that is to say "a positive thing".

    Conversely however the PRS is big, round, sonorous and loud. The brightness is not available immediately. You have to go get it. In fact I'd argue that the PRS is one of those instruments that demands the player learn the guitar. Sorta ala cello and viola players. I think the tone palette is wider than any acoustic I've ever played but it'll never reveal itself in short visits at a guitar shop. It's also an instrument that requires fresh strings. There are "several" youtube videos where Paul Reed Smith has addressed that fact indicating that the way the guitar is voiced demands the freshest of strings. Anything shy of fresh and the instrument becomes a bit to round and sonorous....this I can personally attest to. Of course all of those unique features could easily be considered a blessing or a genuine curse depending on what one looks for in an guitar. Further the PRS guitars ships with regular old, non-coated D'Addario strings which of course go dead in a big hurry, in which and all things considered and (at least in my mind) explains why many quickly try one in a guitar shop and declare it a box of wet socks.

    The Taylors are "easier" and quicker to reward for sure and I can totally see why someone might not like the idea of "working" an instrument. Truth be told I suspect there are some that wouldn't even know what working an instrument entails. Still having played an Angelus for 14 or 15 months now I can tell you (whether you like the MO or not) it's truly a magical, uncannily musical instrument.
    Last edited by Joseph Hanna; 03-13-2013 at 08:38 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
    Leave it to me to come here and post yet another response that's not particularly germane to the OP's question Still I've been waiting for a long while to articulate some thoughts on the PRS acoustics and in light of the direction this thread has taken I believe I'll seize the opportunity.

    The guitars are unique, not only by way of design but also most notably by way of voicing. I'm gonna over-generalize for purposes of discussion but it certainly doesn't surprise that someone who digs the "in general" Taylor sound probably isn't gonna dig the PRS. Taylors are by and large (and I know I'm generalizing here) brighter, edgier. That brightness and edge is there almost universally across the dynamic range of the guitar. If you play a Taylor extremely light, it's bright. If you play it harder, it's still bright. That certainly can be a good thing and some would assign that a value somewhere along the lines of consistency...that is to say "a positive thing".

    Conversely however the PRS is big, round, sonorous and loud. The brightness is not available immediately. You have to go get it. In fact I'd argue that the PRS is one of those instruments that demands the player learn the guitar. Sorta ala cello and viola players. I think the tone palette is wider than any acoustic I've ever played but it'll never reveal itself in short visits at a guitar shop. It's also an instrument that requires fresh strings. There are "several" youtube videos where Paul Reed Smith has addressed that fact indicating that the way the guitar is voiced demands the freshest of strings. Anything shy of fresh and the instrument becomes a bit to round and sonorous....this I can personally attest to. Of course all of those unique features could easily be considered a blessing or a genuine curse depending on what one looks for in an guitar. Further the PRS guitars ships with regular old, non-coated D'Addario strings which of course go dead in a big hurry, in which and all things considered and (at least in my mind) explains why many quickly try one in a guitar shop and declare it a box of wet socks.

    The Taylors are "easier" and quicker to reward for sure and I can totally see why someone might not like the idea of "working" an instrument. Truth be told I suspect there are some that wouldn't even know what working an instrument entails. Still having played an Angelus for 14 or 15 months now I can tell you (whether you like the MO or not) it's truly a magical, uncannily musical instrument.
    Yes, I completely agree!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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    The point I was making is that it doesn't make sense to use a traditional dove tail joint when there is no evidence that it makes the guitar sound better ( even PRS can't make all of their guitars, made of the same woods, sound the same). As far as I am concerned PRS makes the best researched and made electric guitars available today. They are using non traditional design features ( hybrid x/fan bracing, graphite neck stiffener, rigid back/sides ) , but why an old fashioned neck joint , when they could have done better!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by garageguy55 View Post
    The point I was making is that it doesn't make sense to use a traditional dove tail joint when there is no evidence that it makes the guitar sound better ( even PRS can't make all of their guitars, made of the same woods, sound the same). As far as I am concerned PRS makes the best researched and made electric guitars available today. They are using non traditional design features ( hybrid x/fan bracing, graphite neck stiffener, rigid back/sides ) , but why an old fashioned neck joint , when they could have done better!
    I dunno?!??

    Someone, either Steve Fischer or Paul Reed Smith, (and knowing of both guys utter commitment to guitar building) had a reason. I'm fairly certain it wasn't a momentary lapse of judgement or an over-sight. In the end when I bought the PRS it was because of what the guitar gave me (sonically and palpably) as a player. I didn't care (at all) about the details. The wood used didn't matter (I didn't even ask), the tuning machines, the carbon fiber neck and certainly dove-tail or not were of no influence. The only thing that mattered was the guitar responded and sounded like nothing I have yet to encounter. In the end whatever design choices Fischer made (right, wrong or in between) worked in a dramatic fashion for me

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by garageguy55 View Post
    The point I was making is that it doesn't make sense to use a traditional dove tail joint when there is no evidence that it makes the guitar sound better ( even PRS can't make all of their guitars, made of the same woods, sound the same).
    It "doesn't make sense" for YOU. But it does make sense for THEM. That ok with you?

    No maker can make all their guitars, made of the same woods, sound the same. Because it's wood. Each piece sounds different. Each piece rings/taps out differently. I had two identical Collings SJs. They sounded different. I had two Taylor 810s. They were different, too.

    There is no such thing as "better." There is only "different." PRSes sound different from the Taylors, Breedloves and Collings of the world. Whether or not that is better for you and the concerns you have isn't necessarily important to other folks.

    Everything affects the sound of a guitar, and this is what they choose to do. It's not like they don't KNOW about bolt on necks. It's cheaper and faster to make a bolt on neck acoustic. It's more profitable. PRS is certainly aware of that, but they choose not to.

    There's a reason why. Perhaps it makes their particular construction technique better to do it the way they do it. Maybe they've tested both and they feel they do it the best way.

    Bob Taylor has written that he came up with the bolt on idea because he didn't know how to make a dovetail neck. It worked for him, and that's great. Others have come up with variations on that. It works for them and that's great, too.

    PRS uses the traditional joint. It works for them, and that's ALSO great. What's not to like? Different strokes. If you feel other makers do a better job, buy something from someone else, right? There's plenty of choice out there.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 03-17-2013 at 05:23 PM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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