Roasted Maple Necks

Be Careful When Adding Roasted Maple Guitar Necks. While there are advantages such as being less expensive when no finish is required and the fact that the roasting process brings out a beautiful caramel color in the wood. There are drawbacks when adding a roasted maple necks.

“Roasted Maple” Necks May Have Issues…..

Remember the nature of a roasted maple neck is to be very brittle. Therefore, look closer at the roasted maple guitar neck than you normally do other necks, specifically the screw holes. It’s very interesting but can be a difficult problem if you are not aware of  the characteristics of the roasted wood. Screw threads on the neck plate screws can strip out in the neck holes. It’s caused by the roasted wood being so brittle that the insides of the holes are much more prone to strip out versus an standard kiln dried Maple neck. If you have ever worked with 100 year old wood then you know what you’re dealing with. Roasting ages and weakens wood significantly.

Roasted Maple Necks are Drier

Roasted maple necks undergo a longer hotter drying process which involves heating the wood to over 300 degrees. This removes more moisture from the wood. The supposition, of course is that the wood becomes lighter and much less susceptible to moisture and climate changes. It is also boasted that the process stabilizes the maple. There is a marked color change to a darker shade. I am not convinced it has the much touted, improved tone and increased sustain. Show me the empirical evidence first.

The stripping of the brittle wood screw threads inside the holes of a roasted maple guitar neck cause the screws to loosen their grip. Strings will pull with lots of pressure when in tune and can cause the screws to slip and the neck to pull away from the body-thus lifting the strings off of the fret board.

This will  cause higher action and make it much more difficult to play. Soon you will be “Fighting with your guitar”,  Eventually, the action will to be way too high to play.

When I set it the action on this guitar the last time before shipping, it was very low however the vibration and bumping of travel plus the tension of string pulling can cause the very slow release of the screw threads, screw slippage and thus higher action.This is all very imperceptible at first but will accelerate over time and causes lots of playing problems. 

image finished roasted maple necks
Haywire Custom Guitars – Custom Builds and the use of roasted maple necks

About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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