Trade secrets: An innovative method of neck setting

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Gluing the neck to the ribs before the top and back plates allows for a more accurate and hassle-free process. By Hayato Nagaishi, luthier based in Cremona, Italy, and Tokyo, Japan

After building stringed instruments for ten years, I began to ask myself why today’s luthiers always set the neck after closing the instrument body – even though we know that the method of the classical Cremonese makers was to set the neck beforehand? With this in mind, I developed a new system of setting the neck. The advantage of this process is that it allows for a high degree of precision when gluing the neck, as well as making it easier to work the wood.

The method most commonly used today, in which the neck setting is done after the instrument’s body has been finished, probably derives from a restoration technique developed in the 19th century, following the modernisation of the violin neck. The modern set-up requires the neck to be set into the top-block at an angle, in order to raise the projection. The neck is joined, little by little, to four surfaces (three sides of the top-block and one side of the back plate at the button). It takes the utmost attention and precision to complete.

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