View Full Version : Is my neck fat?

Bruce H
Mar-09-2004, 11:31pm
Hi All,
I'm working on my first mandolin and using Siminoff's original book for plans. #I'm ready to give it the final sanding, but it feels like the neck is a bit thick. #What are the standard dimensions for neck thickness? #I've got 1" at the nut, and 1 & 3/16" at the ninth fret. #These measurements are from the front surface of fretboard to the back of the neck. #Any info would be appreciated.

Mar-10-2004, 1:38am
Hi Bruce, welcome to the cafe. I've been building my first from the same book. Just out of curiosity I took the same measurements on mine and they are just about exactly the same. I started out being very concerned with nailing the measurement precisely. I personally feel that I need to be in the ballpark but ultimately stop at what feels right to me. So I would ask you, how does it feel? Do you like it? If so then go with it.

Is your goal to precisely replicate a Loar? Someone around here may be able to give you the proper measurments but I'd bet that no two Loar necks are exactly the same either. It probably varies slightly.

There are lots of new builders here and many others who are producing the finest instruments in the world. Stick around and show us some pics of your first.

Bruce H
Mar-10-2004, 9:20am
Thanks for the response. #Iím building this mandolin for my teenage daughter, so ultimately it has to suit her, but I donít want to build something so out of spec that it causes her problems. #Living out in the sticks, I donít have any other mandolins to compare it to; and I donít play, so I donít have a basis for comparison. #I guess Iím just looking for a range from other builders.

It definitely wonít be a Loar replica, unless he butchered his first :-)
Iím also using redwood #for the top and eastern walnut for the neck/back/sides. #Iíll send in a pic when Iím finished.

Mar-10-2004, 12:42pm
That's a little narrow, and a little deep. It's not out of the normal range, some Loars, I'm told, were as narrow as 1 in. at the nut, but those that I've measured are 1 1/16". The current "standard" seems to be 1 1/8", and this is the measurement that I use. I make my necks about .8" thick at the nut, tho the Loars were thicker.

Mar-10-2004, 2:00pm
I read the question as being from the fingerboard to the back of the radius not as being the width side to side. Since I have nothing to measure, I didn't reply but it would seem that there is some confusion on what dimension is actually in question.

Bruce H
Mar-10-2004, 5:21pm
Just to clarify - I don't need the fingerboard width dimensions (side to side). #I'm looking for measurements from the fingerboard surface to the radius of the back of the neck. #In other words, a side view of the neck.

Mar-10-2004, 9:20pm
Hi Bruce,

OK, here are three data points from my three mandos:

Collings MF F

Nut = 0.6875"
7th fret = 0.8125"
FretBoard adds = 0.1563"

Washburn M-3SW

Nut = 0.625"
7th fret = 0.6875"
FretBoard adds = 0.2188"

Vega Neopolitan Style 4

Nut = 0.625"
7th fret = 0.8125"
FretBoard adds = 0.1563"

I measured at the 7th fret because it seemed to be more in keeping with the general trend of the neck as opposed to getting down into the meat leading into the heal.

Mar-11-2004, 2:27am
I am thinking the same thoughts as Sunburst! When you said a inch at the nut, my thoughts were "that is a thin neck"
I put mine at 1 1/8 but I think 1 1/16 may be more preferable. I have fat fingers so i thought wider neck, however I did not widen the string spacing so the extra 1/16 I have is just there and not helping the fAT finger issue// JD

Mar-11-2004, 2:49am
LOL! Some things just don't translate well to text. There is still some confusion. He is talking about the depth the the neck, from the front to the back, not the width of the fingerboard.

Bruce H
Mar-11-2004, 3:35pm
Gary and Brookside have it right. I'm looking for the fretboard depth, not the width. #If I had a digital camera handy, I'd send a pic.
Thanks for the measurements, Gary. #It looks like I do have a fat neck. I think that I carved my neck to the cross section as shown on Siminoff's plans, but I carved without my fingerboard attached. #Looking now, it appears that the cross section includes a fingerboard, and that I need to do little more carving.

Mar-11-2004, 8:24pm
I think that its interesting just HOW DIFFERENT a neck can feel when looking at numbers would suggest that there is not THAT much difference.

Bruce, you certainly do want your mandolin to be in the "ball park" with established standards. I would double-check Siminoff's plans as it sounds like the measurement does include the board. You may want to purchase MacRostie's blueprint from Stew-Mac as a separate reference point.