The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 10-28-2009, 08:45 AM
blues2rock blues2rock is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
Posts: 818
Default To the Martin afficionados: Mortise tenon vs. Dovetail neck joint

With all else being equal, what's the difference in tonal qualities?

Is one joint stronger than the other? A few more years before a neck reset is required?

I assume mortise tenon is cheaper because it comes standard on all the "lower model" Martins.

Thanks,
Jason
__________________
---------------------------------
"If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me..."
-William Johnson

---------------------------------

'09 Martin D35
'08 Taylor 816ce
'73 Yamaha FG700
'09 Chuck Gilbert Dread C/M
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:02 AM
Placida Placida is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,196
Default

Ten page thread here.

I have both types of joints on my guitars. Tone-wise, I really haven't detected a difference. It's a vibe thing mostly, but others will chime in I'm sure.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:27 AM
Taylor Martin Taylor Martin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Western Texas
Posts: 415
Default

Here we go again.....
__________________
Life's too short to play bad guitars
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:36 AM
blues2rock blues2rock is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
Posts: 818
Default

I tried searching for a thread about this subject but couldn't find any. I certainly don't like contributing to any over-post here.
__________________
---------------------------------
"If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me..."
-William Johnson

---------------------------------

'09 Martin D35
'08 Taylor 816ce
'73 Yamaha FG700
'09 Chuck Gilbert Dread C/M
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:40 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Addison, TX
Posts: 18,601
Default

I have one M/T neck, on my OMC Aura which is my only acoustic/electric and stage guitar if I can't use microphones. It is also my least expensive Martin so comparisons aren't really apples to apples.

Can I tell it's an M/T neck, not really. Martin use M/T necks on their less expensive guitars, even though the Aura is nudging $4K it's far from high end in Martins lineup.

Apparently it matters to Martin, and since they are the experts and have 175 years behind them I cede to their decisions. Some folks swear the dovetail joints and wide nut Mod V neck contribute to the sound of many of their high enders, I don't know but they do seem to be the Martins I end up buying.

Would I not buy an M/T Martin, no, I already have. DO the more expensive Martins all have dovetails, yes, for what it's worth.
__________________
Rich - rmyAddison

Music is the best.....F. Zappa

Rich Macklin Soundclick Website
http://www.youtube.com/rmyaddison

Some Martins..........
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:41 AM
cpabolting cpabolting is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,983
Default

Mortise Tenon joints are lame.....

Kidding



Dovetail from what I understand is a more efficient and comprehensive way for the intonnation to pass from the neck to the body of the guitar. Has to do with resonance.
__________________
A brand new duet I wrote with my daughter:
https://youtu.be/u0hRB7fYaZU

Olson Brazilian Dread #1325
Olson Brazilian SJ #1350
Olson Tiger Myrtle Dread #1355
Olson Brazilian Jumbo #1351
Olson 12-string Jumbo (one of only a few)
And a few others

Quite a few limited edition and rare Martins
-----------------

http://youtu.be/iCIsVsZQonk
http://www.kekomusic.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-28-2009, 10:01 AM
Brackett Instruments's Avatar
Brackett Instruments Brackett Instruments is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Grover NC
Posts: 5,158
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpabolting View Post
Mortise Tenon joints are lame.....

Kidding



Dovetail from what I understand is a more efficient and comprehensive way for the intonnation to pass from the neck to the body of the guitar. Has to do with resonance.
IMHO that's kinda true, but it's not just a DT/ M&T thing. The way Martin does their M&T necks has a tight fitting neck joint, that's also glued. The makes the neck/body act like one piece, just like a dovetail. The bracing in Martins guitar with Dovetail necks is quite a bit different than their M&T guitars so a tonal comparison between them would not have much, or anything to do with the neck attachment. Neither would be more or less likely for a neck reset, that's got more to do with internal construction of the "box" than the actual neck joint itself.

My views on neck joints. A tight fitting neck joint, like a (properly fit) Dovetail, or a tight fitting M&T will be tonally similar. (IMHO a M&T doesn't have to be tight fitting, so I didn't use the term "properly fit") A neck joint that's looser fitting, meaning the tenon doesn't fit tight in the Mortise, or a butted bolt on, will be tonally different than a Dovetail, or other tight fitting joint. these differences are subtle, and neither is tonally superior, they're just different. With a tight fitting joint you can expect slightly more overtones, and slightly less sustain. This it due to the dampening cause by the neck and body acting as one big piece of wood. With a looser fitting joint, the neck doesn't absorb as much from the top so the top is left to resonate longer, but some overtones are lost. These differences are subtle. Looser fitting doesn't mean, "bad" or "sloppy" it's just different methods. By "looser fitting" I mean that the neck just isn't tied to the body in as many dimensions.
__________________
woody b politically incorrect since 1964
Brackett Instruments Handmade Acoustic Guitars.
Big companies build guitars for profit. We build them for musicians.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-28-2009, 10:55 AM
Howard Klepper's Avatar
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Earthly Paradise of Northern California
Posts: 6,299
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by blues2rock View Post
With all else being equal, what's the difference in tonal qualities?

Is one joint stronger than the other? A few more years before a neck reset is required?

I assume mortise tenon is cheaper because it comes standard on all the "lower model" Martins.

Thanks,
Jason
1) none
2) both are strong enough for any difference not to matter, unless you are thinking of using the guitar as a weapon.
3) no difference in time to a reset.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest."
--Paul Simon
www.klepperguitars.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-28-2009, 11:23 AM
blues2rock blues2rock is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
Posts: 818
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Klepper View Post
1) none
2) both are strong enough for any difference not to matter, unless you are thinking of using the guitar as a weapon.
3) no difference in time to a reset.
Simple and to the point...and from a luthier! Thanks to everybody that responded

Jason
__________________
---------------------------------
"If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me..."
-William Johnson

---------------------------------

'09 Martin D35
'08 Taylor 816ce
'73 Yamaha FG700
'09 Chuck Gilbert Dread C/M
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-28-2009, 01:41 PM
15 Man 15 Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 849
Default

I've been told I still have a pretty good ear for music and how an instrument sounds. I've played similar models of both Dove Tail and M&T jointed necks; and I can't really hear much of a difference. In each case, all the components are all wood. The "bolt" that holds the 2 pieces to an M&T together is a wooden dowel; and yes there is also an actual bolt that helps hold things together. But that's more of a precaution until the glue dries than anything else. And (like someone above said) the whole thing is also glued together. I agree with whoever above said as long as it's a good tight joint, it shouldn't make a lot of difference. A Dove Tail also takes a lot more time to install; where the M&T is more cost effective. Someone once said to me that one isn't really a lot better than the other. They're just different means to get to the same result. That's where I am on this.

Last edited by 15 Man; 10-28-2009 at 06:29 PM. Reason: Typo
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-28-2009, 01:51 PM
jackstrat jackstrat is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 838
Default

A ton of great guitars use the mortise and tenon bolt on neck including Huss and Dalton, Breedlove, Collings, Goodall, Bourgeois, etc.

Why?

Because it takes years of experience to develop the Martin skill of dovetailing a neck. Evidently, it is still very much a long hand process.

Think about neck angles and all the variables that have to be met to dovetail the neck/body joint.

That's why the newer builders use a bolt-on.

Does it make a hill of difference...Probably not. Frankly, the bolt on probably can be set to higher tolerances during assembly.

Taylor has it down with their combo of precision machining and shims.

JackL
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-28-2009, 02:11 PM
brianmay brianmay is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Doncaster, UK
Posts: 1,579
Send a message via Skype™ to brianmay
Default

If you're prepared to put your hand in your pocket, do your research, play a few guitars - there aren't too many bad ones out there if you're a little bit discerning.

I certainly wouldn't be put off a particular guitar because the neck is held on using one method rather than another.

Vive le difference!

For those who believe, no proof is necessary, to those who don't, no proof is enough - applies to guitars as well as life in general.

Best of luck to all you M&Ts and Dovetails, may you all make good music
__________________
NOT from Queen - he's much cleverer
I am English, so are all my spellings
Two guitars I'm happy with . . .
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-28-2009, 02:33 PM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,375
Default

If you look strictly at Martin, you might be inclined to think that rosewood is "better" than mahogany and dovetail is "better" than mortise and tenon. The guitar industry is going through a bit of nostalgia and the most desirable instruments are those that are based on yesterday's instruments.

Switch to Collings, and the parameters are completely different. Collings uses the mortise and tenon joint but people would be hard pressed to accuse them of trying to cut costs...

We live in a world where people are ready to pay more to have scratches on their Strats and Teles, so the answer isn't always logical.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-28-2009, 02:47 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 5,948
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by blues2rock View Post
With all else being equal, what's the difference in tonal qualities?

Is one joint stronger than the other? A few more years before a neck reset is required?

I assume mortise tenon is cheaper because it comes standard on all the "lower model" Martins.

Thanks,
Jason
Hi Jason,

I have a Martin DC-16RE AURA (mortise-and-tenon), a Martin D-15 Custom Spruce & Rosewood (mortise-and-tenon), a Martin DC-28E (dovetail) and a Martin D-18GE (dovetail). They all sound good and I'd attribute most tonal differences to the bracing patterns and woods used in these guitars. I think the mortise-and-tenon joint isn't inferior to the dovetail joint tone-wise or sustain-wise. Collings uses mortise-and-tenon joints on their guitars as does Huss & Dalton and other makers too.

I'd suspect the mortise-and-tenon joint would help facilitate any repairs and adjustments to a guitar when it's necessary to remove the neck.

Regards,

SpruceTop
__________________
2017 Huss & Dalton TD-R
2017 Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone 5-String Banjo
2016 Deering Sierra Maple Flathead 5-String Banjo
2016 Taylor 614ce ES2
2016 Taylor 322ce ES2
2016 Martin D-18
2016 Martin D Jr. B-Band A1.2N-1470
2016 Taylor GS Mini-e Koa ES2
2015 Taylor 618e ES2
2015 Taylor 356ce 12-String ES2
2014 Martin HD-28 Trance Amulet M-VT
2007 Ovation VXT Electric
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-28-2009, 03:43 PM
blues2rock blues2rock is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
Posts: 818
Default

Oh wow, I didn't know M&T uses actual bolts? So in essence, it's a bolt-on neck?
__________________
---------------------------------
"If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me..."
-William Johnson

---------------------------------

'09 Martin D35
'08 Taylor 816ce
'73 Yamaha FG700
'09 Chuck Gilbert Dread C/M
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=