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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: 3° neck angle

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

RioStat - Posted - 01/31/2011:  06:50:00

What's a good, quick way to check / measure the 3° angle when mounting a neck to a pot? I'm assembling a Mastertone-style pot with a Goldtone neck, one-piece flange. Any input is appreciated.

steve davis - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:27:18

A way to check the angle is to hold a 3rd string over a 5/8 bridge and
get the action right on the neck.

Excuse me if I misunderstood your question.

mike gregory - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:36:20

Might it be possible to purchase a carpenter's level, and epoxy a six-inch straightedge to it, at 3 degrees?
Then you'd have something you could use every time, without adjustment.

Alternatively, there is the sliding bevel.

Set it to any angle you like, tighten the wingnut, and there ya go!

banjo-joe - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:36:38

This works for me, if I plan to use a 5/8" bridge.
Scroll down, and look at the second picture.

wfawley - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:36:51

I made a neck angle gauge of sorts, gluing a 5/8" piece of wood (rounded on the bottom where it contacts the head) to a straight length of maple 26 1/2" long. It's easier to hold the neck and the gauge than it is to try and use a yard stick and a bridge, which is what I'd done for years.


beegee - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:41:59

You can buy one of these cheap. Set it for 87 degrees, check the heel

RBuddy - Posted - 01/31/2011:  07:44:03

3 degrees isn't much to measure but you can get an adjustable protractor, just about every hardware store has them in the "precision" measuring tool section for about $12. They work OK but are hard to read and use accurately but they will give you an idea.

edit - That's the one BG, thanks.

Next way is to calculate it with an on line triangle calculator for those not wanting to learn the math.

While this one isn't absolutely "perfect" it is so close the error is negligible:

If you plug the desired angle (3) in the spot for "angle A or B" and plug in the length fingerboard (FB) for "side b" (call it 19, for 19 inches) in a Mastertone, and then hit the calculate button. It will spit out a value for side "a" of 1. Since "side b" was input in inches the result for "side a" is inches too. So if you lay a straightedge along the top of the head or tone ring and measure down to the top of the fretboard at the nut that should be about 1" for a 3 degree neck angle. That depends on the top of the fingerboard being dead even with the top of the head or tone ring at the heel end. If not you'll have to add or subtract from "a" whatever the fingerboard is above or below the head.

The calculator can take several sets of data to calculate the rest of the values. If you know the drop of the FB from the plane of the head or "side a" above and the FB length "side b" and plug them in it will give you the neck backset angle. If "side a" were 3/4" (0.75) and "side b" 19 inches, neck angle would be 2.26 degrees or about 2 1/4.

Hope no one is more confused than they were before.


Edited by - RBuddy on 01/31/2011 07:46:36

RioStat - Posted - 01/31/2011:  08:01:31

Thanks, gentleman. Plenty of ideas to work with now!! Needs a couple more cups of coffee to "digest" RBuddy's method.

RBuddy - Posted - 01/31/2011:  09:34:55

Maybe this illustration will help with use of the online calculator I linked earlier. It is really easy to use and helps understand neck angle geometry.

Neck Angle Calculations


RioStat - Posted - 01/31/2011:  11:36:12

Thanks, Brian. Your's and Banjo-Joe's seem to work off the same principle, measuring a point on the banjo relative to a level surface, Wyatt Fawleys idea of building something that can be used long-term seems like a good idea, as I hope this isn't the ONLY banjo I will ever assemble or build.


theonly1hardway - Posted - 01/31/2011:  14:22:21

I use the same tool beegee uses.....I've cut a block with a 3 degree angle that I keep handy to set the table saw blade to. With the block I guess it could be a little =/- so I cut all my angles on my necks with the same set....I have four, three degree cuts on the necks for my mountain banjos.

uncle.fogey - Posted - 01/31/2011:  14:41:49

Make a jig

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