Roasted Maple Neck Questions

StormlitAqua

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Hi all -

After about a year or so of contemplating, research, and lurking on this forum, I've decided I'm going to be building my first Warmoth guitar pretty soon (already have the body ordered!). However, before I order the neck, I have a few questions that I've been searching around for and can't really find a decent answer to. See below:

1 - Are white/pearl inlays on roasted flame maple necks not advised? The only reason I ask is that almost all of the showroom roasted flame maple necks come with black inlays, and that most of the builds I've seen both on this forum and on google images are with black inlays. In my humble opinion, the lighter inlays look way better on my PC screen, but I haven't seen any of them in person. I know the color of roasted flame maple can change on a neck basis, which only complicates it. If anyone has any pics or recommendations that would be appreciated!

2 - I've seen that its recommended to avoid drilling into roasted maple as much as possible to avoid cracking. Is it recommended that I order a neck with a tiltback headstock design (so I don't need the floyd string bar) and get tuners that don't require any additional "position screws" (on the back) to avoid this? Personally, I want a strat headstock, but if its too much or a risk to drill in the string bar for the floyd or screws to hold straight the tuners, I'd prefer to get a tiltback.

3 - I know that ordering an unfinished neck is A-OK with roasted maple, however, something doesn't sit right with me about this, and unfortunately, I've never played an unfinished neck before. How different is a satin finish from unfinished? Does it require any special care?

Sorry if this is in the wrong section (or if these are stupid questions) and thanks in advance for any help. Super excited to build this guitar. I'll probably start a build thread when the parts arrive!  :headbanging:
 
1) No.
2) As long as your careful, no problem.  If you're worried about drilling then get hipshot tuners with the ump plate.
3) No.  As you play satin, it will shine  up. No special care.
 
Hi Welcome to the forum...

1. No. Black is more common and is what you would tend to find in the showcase. Personally I think pearl inlay blocks might look quite good on roasted maple.

Try this page to help visualise how it might look https://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/Inlays.aspx

2. It is okay to drill it. It is not drilling pilot holes that is an issue what is not okay is making pilot holes that are too small prior to screwing something into it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2r1NFvS8Io
[/youtube]

3.  If you want a finish on roasted maple I would recommend using Tru-oil it will help pop the grain and is easy to maintain and redo if needed at some point in the future. 
 
Hi there,

Other folks have covered most of this, so I will only add:

Regarding roasted maple cracking, the only real issue is driving in a screw that is too small LARGE for the pilot hole.  You need to size the pilot hole properly for the shank of the screw, or maybe a little larger.  I personally have put threaded inserts (and tuners requiring screws) into three roasted maple necks with no issues.  Don't forget to wax your screws.

Regarding raw vs satin finish, as Rick pointed out satin finish will shine up over time as you play it.  I personally don't like this effect and I prefer the raw feel.  The shined up satin can be sticky in a live situation.
 
Mayfly said:
Regarding roasted maple cracking, the only real issue is driving in a screw that is too small for the pilot hole.  You need to size the pilot hole properly for the shank of the screw, or maybe a little larger.  I personally have put threaded inserts (and tuners requiring screws) into three roasted maple necks with no issues.  Don't forget to wax your screws.

I think maybe you mispoke there... A screw that's too small for the pilot hole won't crack it, one that's too large will. Hence hhe need to size properly. Roasted Maple (actually, all Maple but especially roasted) is not very compressible, so a screw too large exerts too much pressure and splits the wood.
 
So, I’m getting a roasted flame maple neck, and my build will have a Floyd, and I was asking the exact same questions and had the same concerns that you have.

I know there’s a lot out there about using caution with roasted maple, and it’s not unwarranted, but just be more careful than you may have been with past projects that didn’t use roasted maple, that’s all.

I talked to a few top tier luthier buddies of mine that I know personally, and they assured me that you don’t need as small a hole as you think you do for the screws to bite and hold properly.

I was specifically concerned with the exact same thing you are - the Floyd string retainer bar screws. Yup…lots of tension right there, with long, very small diameter screws. In fact, I posted here about it (look under “neck woods”, you’ll see that post).

What really helped me was that a buddy was (is) doing a build, and he gave me a small chunk of scrap roasted maple, which was big enough to do some test holes on. ***For the screws that were packaged with MY Floyd Rose R3 nut, I was amazed what just 1/64 difference in drill bits made. I measured the screw with the caliper, but it’s hard to get a good measurement on those particular screws because the screw threads are so fine and so close together, so I started with a 1/16” drill bit. I was able to screw them in (WAXED), but it just didn’t feel right, it was too difficult. So I drilled another hole with a 5/64 drill bit…and that was the one. Point being, just a mere 1/64 made all the difference, believe it or not.

*** Again, these were with MY screws that were packaged with MY R3 nut. Chances are, 5/64” will be the one for you too on those, but of course measure.

That scrap piece of roasted maple helped set my mind at ease. I also tested for the machine head anchor screws, and strap button screws, and it really helped my confidence level, knowing what size drill bits I’ll need to use ahead of time. Scrap roasted maple is not easily found, but I’d suggest getting your hands on a scrap of hardwood…maple, ash, even oak, etc, because it will probably help you so that you don’t use the wrong size drill bits on your actual neck (and too big is not good either, especially on those retainer bar screws; those definitely need to hold).
 
Cagey said:
Mayfly said:
Regarding roasted maple cracking, the only real issue is driving in a screw that is too small for the pilot hole.  You need to size the pilot hole properly for the shank of the screw, or maybe a little larger.  I personally have put threaded inserts (and tuners requiring screws) into three roasted maple necks with no issues.  Don't forget to wax your screws.

I think maybe you mispoke there... A screw that's too small for the pilot hole won't crack it, one that's too large will. Hence hhe need to size properly. Roasted Maple (actually, all Maple but especially roasted) is not very compressible, so a screw too large exerts too much pressure and splits the wood.

You are indeed correct: I mis-spoke.  Corrected above.
 
1) I way prefer cream inlays on roasted maple, it’s a pity everything in the showcase comes with black ones.

2) never had problem drilling in roasted necks to mount tuner screws or similar. That being said, the wood it’s waaaay harder than most other ones and you’ll discover it as soon as you try to screw in neck screws in a new neck. Oil or wax them properly.

3) why in earth do you want a finish on it? Roasted maple is smooth as silk, at most put a light oil finish on it.
 
ValeBliz said:
1) I way prefer cream inlays on roasted maple, it’s a pity everything in the showcase comes with black ones.

making me feel a lot better about...

Style: P Bass®
Construction: Super Bass Construction
Orientation: Right Handed
Neck Wood: Roasted Flame Maple
Fingerboard Wood: Roasted Flame Maple
Nut Width: 1-11/16"
Back Shape: Standard
Fret Size: 6100
Tuner Ream: GB7 (14mm)
Radius: Straight 10"
Scale: 34"
Fret #: 24
Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech Black TUSQ XL - Standard Nut
Inlays: Cream Face Dots
Side Dots: White Side Dots
Stiffening Rods:Graphite Rods
Finish: No Finish

Pics by Wednesday per UPS schedule.
 
Here's a pic of roasted maple with pearloid inlays.
 

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Inlay vs. Fretboard Colors

Get what you think looks good in your head and on screen, not what everyone else is doing.  I got black pearloid on ebony.  You can't see the supernova stars from a distance except maybe a few light colored flecks, but you see them up close.

It's what I wanted, so that's what I got. :)
 
I can only speak to #3. An unfinished roasted neck is very slick. It gets even more so if you choose to burnish it yourself as well. I agree with the comments about using Tru Oil if you want to put something on it. Like anything DIY do your homework first and if you can get a scrap piece or two from somewhere and maybe test out your effort first. You can certainly ask and pay for a satin finish (and I really like Warmoth's satin finish) but both my roasted maple necks are raw and feel super smooth. I understand a little Tru Oil would make the figure pop some more though.

My all Bubinga neck (which I love!) shows a bit of finger oils after five years (in my opinion) but my unfinished roasted maples have not.

And you are in store for something amazing when you open that box and smell that new roasted maple smell.
 
Thought I'd roll through and show you my freshly received cream dots on Roasted Maple. Really I can't say that black would be bad... I think the roasted maple I got is right perfeclty in the middle of the caramel colors.
 

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Roasted Maple with Pearloid inlays is great stuff. I would highly recommend going all the way and getting white side dots as well. I got black on the neck for the 8-Ball and they're hard to pick out on a darkened stage.
 

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