Talking Guitar with The North American Guitar in London
July 15, 2015
Cantilevered Neck, What's the Big Deal?
Here's the problem:
In traditional guitar design the portion of the fingerboard that extends over the soundboard is glued to the top. If the neck shifts in alignment slightly due to string tension, the fingerboard becomes uneven and the dreaded 14th fret hump appears. Some modern guitar manufactures as well as individual luthiers have avoided this problem by various methods of neck construction. One method is the cantilevered neck design. As one can see in the photo below the fingerboard extension does not touch the guitar top. One obvious advantage is the ability to maintain a level fingerboard. But are there other benefits? Read on.
Look closely at the guitar's geometry. The strings are a bit higher over the top than a standard guitar. This is due to a reverse camber. Look again (along a horizontal line) and notice the top drops 1/2" from its highest point just below the bridge to the point where the neck joins the body. This increased angle imparts a more direct string pull on top which translates into more power. The result, even volume across the full range of the fingerboard with less effort.
Saddle height and string break angle are critical to optimum performance of the soundboard. In traditional guitars action adjustments are sometimes made by lowering the saddle height which compromises tone.
The bolt on cantilevered neck utilizes a mortis and tenon joint which may be easily moved for action adjustment thus allowing the saddle to remain unaltered.
Adjustment is easy: simply loosen the strings, then loosen the two attachment bolts and the neck may be raised or lowered for the desired action.
The extra string height above the soundboard allows for cleaner strumming and fingerpicking. You will notice fewer pick scratches and retain the beauty of your guitar.
You may also notice easier access to the upper frets in a non cutaway model.
All Bamburg Guitar models feature a Cantilevered Neck as a Standard Design Feature.
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