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Roasted Maple Neck

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Can someone explain this to me? I am not being contentious, it is just something which has passed me by. What is it for?

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Looks nice!  Also the moisture content is massively reduced, so makes it more stable.  I think.  For me though, it’s about the looks nice.  I am shallow.

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They do really look nice, I was outbid on a jazz a few days back with a roasted maple neck 

FEB9546A-FA0B-46C1-B4C9-15B92208B64B.png

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Have a look at this - thermally treated wood:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermally_modified_wood

Interestingly, roasting increases the hardness, stability and durability of both soft and hard woods,  but actually decreases its bending strength, which isn't necessarily a good thing in a guitar neck but this can be compensated for by the truss rod structurally and the improved stability means seasonal humidity changes don't have so much effect. 

Overall, i'd be willing to believe that the pros outweigh the cons. 

Edited by AlexMUK
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I may be way off here, but I think the benefit is also that by roasting the wood you can make use of timber that would have otherwise been unsuitable for guitar building. I think that’s why we are starting to see it on cheaper instruments now as the process becomes cheaper.
 

I think it was Roger Sadowsky that said he never used heavily flamed or Birdseye wood for necks (excluding finger boards) because it wasn’t strong/stable enough. Now he seems to be using roasted figured woods on NYC basses and the German stuff, so I’m guessing it makes a significant difference as well as being very nice to look at.

I’m looking forward to trying/buying a bass with a roasted neck, I think it looks great and if it means the industry can make use of more wood then great!

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3 minutes ago, NJE said:

we are starting to see it on cheaper instruments

I didn’t know that, do they use them on cheap instruments now, most of the ones I’ve seen have been on quite expensive basses 🙂

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5 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

I didn’t know that, do they use them on cheap instruments now, most of the ones I’ve seen have been on quite expensive basses 🙂

Sire do it. In the podcast kiwi shared they talked about how it makes the neck feel played in when new.

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It probably means that you don't have to have vast piles of wood lying around drying naturally for ages, which might actually save money. 

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1 hour ago, Reggaebass said:

I didn’t know that, do they use them on cheap instruments now, most of the ones I’ve seen have been on quite expensive basses 🙂

Well to be fair my cheap might not be someone else’s cheap. Originally I only seemed to see roasted maple on the likes of Suhr guitars and then there was MusicMan which are almost 2 grand. Now we have Sire, Cort and even Squier using it on £400 basses. That’s a big chunk for me these days, but cheap compared to the premium brands who originally started using it.

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2 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I didn’t know that, do they use them on cheap instruments now, most of the ones I’ve seen have been on quite expensive basses 🙂

My Redsub fanfret has a lovely roasted maple neck, its quite possibly the nicest neck I`ve played in a very long time and it was sub £300

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I've owned a guitar with a roasted neck & it was incredibly stiff for such a thin neck (Ibanez RG).

I could not FEEL a difference from a non-roasted one, & TBH the 'feel' parts makes zero sense to me, since it's finished with the same poly as a normal neck.

The local luthier told me that his largest volume of work on roasted things is putting them back together after people split them, for instance tightening the machine-head nuts too tightly.

I've seen two instances of the roasted necks on the new Ibanez EHB series cracking at the headstock for no good reason. It just happened w/o any provocation.

 

Edited by Killed_by_Death
spellnig

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On 05/02/2021 at 20:56, AlexMUK said:

Have a look at this - thermally treated wood:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermally_modified_wood

Interestingly, roasting increases the hardness, stability and durability of both soft and hard woods,  but actually decreases its bending strength, which isn't necessarily a good thing in a guitar neck but this can be compensated for by the truss rod structurally and the improved stability means seasonal humidity changes don't have so much effect. 

Overall, i'd be willing to believe that the pros outweigh the cons. 

I'm guessing that the process of roasting  mimics the process of sap crystallising in very old wood. This acts like resin bonding the wood fibres together making a harder, but more brittle wood. 

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I'm sure there are genuine benefits to roasted necks but it's also become a bit of a fad.

I'm looking for a new skinny stringer at the moment and about half of everything I've looked at has a roasted maple neck.

Someone somewhere is roasting an awful lot of maple for the guitar and bass market rignt now, which has to be why we've started to see it on lower budget instruments.

Much like the relicing craze a few a few years ago, I'm sure roasted necks are here to stay, but in a couple of years the balance will adjust itself and they won't be anywhere near as prolific as they are right now.

Edited by Cato
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On 06/02/2021 at 09:19, AlexMUK said:

It probably means that you don't have to have vast piles of wood lying around drying naturally for ages, which might actually save money. 

Same as using carbon rods,  a safeguard when using less seasoned timber. The blurb all stresses increased stability but they don't saw what it's measured against, fresh cut or kiln dried.

 

If anybody fancies trying one, Madinter sell roasted maple blanks for 56€ ex VAT.

 

https://www.madinter.com/es/maderas/mangos-y-zoques/mango-arce-duro-torrefactado-bajo.html

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20 hours ago, Cato said:

Much like the relicing craze a few a few years ago, I'm sure roasted necks are here to stay, but in a couple of years the balance will adjust itself and they won't be anywhere as prolific as they are right now.

I think in 20 years' time it will be one of those things... My kids will be looking through ebay asking me "Dad, this says it's a Covid era law-suit Amazon Essentials copy of a Sire P10 but it doesn't have a roasted neck, is it a fake?" 

I also think I heard Marcus Miller say that they sound more like a rosewood board, or someone else talking about Sire. Maybe it was a way to produce a dark and softer sounding neck when we all thought rosewood was being outlawed? 

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On 06/02/2021 at 23:32, Killed_by_Death said:

The local luthier told me that his largest volume of work on roasted things is putting them back together after people split them, for instance tightening the machine-head nuts too tightly.

I think this is a real problem - the wood is stiffer, and like anything rigid it is less tolerant to stress as it can't bend. I have a USACG roasted maple neck which cracked exactly that way when it was built up, and then repaired with bond-tite.  It does have a lot of positives - stiff, bright, stable - looks gorgeous!

I don't want to bring up the whole 'tone wood' thing, but if you're of the school of thought that says a big heavy neck is good for tone then obviously roasting the moisture out of it is going to reduce that effect.

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For me it's purely cosmetic, it looks very nice on my PDN Ray but I can't say it's any more or less stable than ordinary necked Rays I've had in the past - though I haven't had to touch the truss rod in over 2 years so the jury is still out.  I do like the way it smells of maple syrup though!

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Roasted Maple, um, sounds scrummy! Jury in my house is still sitting on a decision but I lean towards it looks good, possibly like very aged necks and sometimes that does help us feel good about playing it. I’ve had and made single maple piece necks that are still strong and true today and then one or two single piece ones that were not that good ..... so my theory is it’s in the wood for a start, not so much in the roasting, if it’s a decent piece, dried correctly and maybe even wants to be a neck, as I’m sure wood sometimes has its own mind!

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Do we yet know how roasted necks behave decades down the line? I've no idea how long they've been in use. Does skipping the youthful stage mean the decrepit old age is now closer? Is there even such a thing as decrepit old age for guitar necks? Please lecture me, fulsomely :D

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Roasted maple with a gun oil finish.  Yummy. Almost enough to make me buy a new stingray.

Oiled ovangkol quite nice too.

The unroasted maple neck on my double bass is 150 yrs old so even if aging is accelerated it will probably be OK.

Edited by NickA
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I have these on three Musicman basses the oldest of which is from 2014. None exhibit any problems. They all have stainless steel frets so in terms of sound, I can't really tell whether the one of these with a maple board has a different sound resulting from the neck or not - the other two have ebony. However they all sound great.

The difference between these and some of the necks mentioned earlier in the thread is they are not finished with poly - they are oil and wax. They all feel sublime to play and that is where the big difference is felt, even between standard maple with oil and wax finish. As mentioned earlier - if you get your nose close to the neck you can smell maple syrup!! 

Its very subjective but I think they look really good also!

image.thumb.jpeg.79f37aafc0bcfd3c055e723d4ea506ed.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.782778f5a766da41bed230870c5803a1.jpeg

Edited by drTStingray
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I recently had a Stingray special with roasted maple neck and board (I returned it as it wasn’t my cup of tea, but have a Sterling 5HH with the same neck incoming), and the impression I got was that the sound was quite different to a regular maple neck and board. Compared to other music man basses I’ve played and owned, it’s a bit darker and warmer than a maple board, but still with that slightly bright and open tone I always hear with maple boards. But then again maybe it’s all in the head and they all sound the same. I’ve not seen it other brands, but on a MM it looks just great with the stainless steel frets and chrome hardware.

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49 minutes ago, FDC484950 said:

I recently had a Stingray special with roasted maple neck and board (I returned it as it wasn’t my cup of tea, but have a Sterling 5HH with the same neck incoming), and the impression I got was that the sound was quite different to a regular maple neck and board. Compared to other music man basses I’ve played and owned, it’s a bit darker and warmer than a maple board, but still with that slightly bright and open tone I always hear with maple boards. But then again maybe it’s all in the head and they all sound the same. I’ve not seen it other brands, but on a MM it looks just great with the stainless steel frets and chrome hardware.

Your comments gel with my feelings regarding the sound.  I've had a number of standard neck Rays and my current one with the roasted neck is darker/smoother than any I've had in the past (Slinkies strung).  As DrTS says above though, mine has an ebony board and stainless frets so not sure if that also makes a difference also. 

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