The NECORE NECK – the unique Claas Guitars neck joint
Besides the iconic body shape of our guitars, their most standout feature is surely our unique neck joint design, which we call the NECORE Neck. It is a combination of:
- an extended neck width beyond the fretboard
- a long contact surface between the body and the neck
- 10 M5 machinery screws connecting the neck to the body
This neck joint is the main reason for the exceptional sound and sustain of Claas guitars and basses. The story behind its creation is informed by my early experience as a builder, as well as some fundamental principles of guitar design.
When I started designing the Moby Dick guitar in 2008, the basic idea was to build a guitar with a long neck joint, meaning that the body and neck should be connected at the 12th fret at least. From my previous experience building guitars and through the various models I had owned and tested, I knew that a stable neck creates greater sustain. So, when formulating the idea of a longer joint, the question became how to stabilise the neck.
The very first Moby Dick guitars were set neck and neck-through constructions. Like many people, my belief back then was that neck-through guitars had more sustain than bolt on guitars. And the results were very good: those early guitars produced good sustain and a very warm tone.
But I also always liked the sound of bolt-on guitars, because those often have more attack. So my next approach was to try and combine these two concepts: a long neck joint with a bolt-on construction.
The problem was that with a classic bolt-on design the bolts are placed behind the fretboard, and so in the case of a long neck joint you simply wouldn’t be able to play above the 12th fret! The solution: extending the neck on the side of the fretboard and then placing the bolts around the fretboard. This created a highly stable neck joint up to the 12th fret while also opening up the entire length of the fretboard, allowing completely unhindered access to the highest frets.
The result was far better than I could have ever imagined. The sustain was phenomenal and the sound was great! I know, I know, you’ve read the following comments in every single review of every guitar, bass or amp, but trust me, I really mean them: full and fat bass response, on-the-dot mids and singing high frequencies were there! It sounds like an old cliché, one you’ve heard every guitar company claim, but it’s true – I urge you to take any chance you have to test out one of our guitars and hear for yourself.
But why does the NECORE neck joint make such a big difference? Here’s the technical explanation. On every instrument – guitar, bass, piano, or whatever – it’s not only the strings that are vibrating, but the whole instrument. In terms of a guitar, this means that the neck, the body and the hardware are all vibrating as well.
If you pluck a string, that string and the neck are vibrating in different frequencies. The result is that over time the different frequencies in which the strings and the neck are vibrating cancel each other out, which you notice as the length of the sustain. Then there’s the body, which is also vibrating differently and so adding more frequencies, and so on with every other part of the guitar.
If we take a look at most other guitars – for example, a Stratocaster – there is only a very small surface where the neck and the body are touching, and for normal bolt-on necks the neck also could move sideways. You can imagine that this small contact surface is not a very strong connection, meaning that in such traditional designs the neck and the body can’t vibrate so easily for themselves in independent frequencies.
On neck-through guitars and basses this is already improved a lot, because the surface where the neck and the body wings are connected is a lot bigger. On top of that, the bridge is mounted on the neck part, so both ends of the strings are in contact with the neck rather than only one end. But the negative aspect of standard neck-through guitars is that the connection between the neck and body is made with glue, meaning there is a very thin layer of glue between both wood parts. Glue is usually a soft material and naturally dampens the vibration; you can imagine that a block of rubber, for example, would not transfer any vibration at all.
This brings us back to our Claas Guitars 10-bolt design. There is not only a wide and large contact surface area, but the trick is that the bolts are pulling the neck to the body with an incredible amount of pressure. This forces the body and the neck to ring in unison! There is also no dampening layer of glue between the wood, which further enhances this sustain and resonance.
Here’s a very easy and interesting test that you can do at home to experience this yourself. Take your electric guitar or bass and play a chord unplugged. Now go to any wooden table and place the guitar on it so that it makes contact with some point of the table and play again. You will notice instantly that it is a lot louder. Now test out carefully pressing the guitar with some force to the table surface and play again – you’ll notice that it gets a little louder. Or put a table cloth (to resemble the glue) between the guitar and the table, and you’ll notice that it is a lot quieter than before.This very simple experiment shows the principle behind our NECORE neck joint. Thanks in large part to this unique design feature, Claas Guitars have long-lasting sustain and a very clear, loud and full sound, no matter if it is a guitar or a bass, or whether it’s used for jazz or for djent.
If you want to know more about the Claas Guitars design, please check out this video: