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I watched a mandolin building video the other day and the builder says the binding protects the instrument from getting dinged on the edge, but also keeps moisture from escaping the end grain of the wood.  It makes sense to me now that I hear it though I never contemplated the real purpose of it.  

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For me it’s aesthetics only. I’ve had multiple bound necked guitars, only have one left. Still have one bound body guitar. 
 

my personal preference for feel is unbound neck. Body I’m good with either or. 

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The binding itself doesn't prevent the escape of moisture, but greatly reduces the odds that damage will be so severe it leads to issues.  Otherwise you'd see it in f-holes and sound holes.

5 minutes ago, Travis said:

For me it’s aesthetics only.

Think hollow-body.

 

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3 hours ago, cynic said:

The binding itself doesn't prevent the escape of moisture, but greatly reduces the odds that damage will be so severe it leads to issues.  Otherwise you'd see it in f-holes and sound holes.

I have seen binding on f-holes.  Here is an example of a Gretsch.

f-hole binding.jpg

Edited by HamerCustomEr
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1 hour ago, Steve Haynie said:

I have never seen a bound violin. 

pdhjokdem6cyodyvq6bc.jpg

3 minutes ago, HamerCustomEr said:

Here is some binding on an f-hole.

f-hole binding.jpg

Good job detective.  It happens, just like you can find a few acoustic guitars without binding, but it's the exception.

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I hate it on a neck. Im a thumb over grabber for 60% of my shit, it pings the high e all the time. 

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11 hours ago, cynic said:

The binding itself doesn't prevent the escape of moisture, but greatly reduces the odds that damage will be so severe it leads to issues.  Otherwise you'd see it in f-holes and sound holes.

Think hollow-body.

 

I suppose I’d expect that response from a cynic  

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I also don't like it much on a neck, neck binding seems to be prone to cracking at the side directly adjacent to the frets...at least it was, on the bound-neck Gibson LP Standard I bought new in the early '90's.

I do like body binding, though...IMO, dings aren't nearly as obvious in body binding as they are in the wood.

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THIS is how you do body binding:

78.jpg79.jpg71.jpg

Love the look, don't love the feel.  I reeeally hate it on necks.

 

Edited by hamerhead
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I guess laquer could have the same effect of sealing the end grain and slowing the moisture from leaving.   

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4 hours ago, hamerhead said:

THIS is how you do body binding:

78.jpg79.jpg71.jpg

Love the look, don't love the feel.  I reeeally hate it on necks.

 

I’m in this camp!! After many many guitars all Electrics I play now are not bound! Bound necks just don’t seem to be as smooth to me. My favorite acoustic is also not bound on the neck. 
So nice looking... yes!! Comfort(to me) .... No!!!

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5 hours ago, hamerhead said:

THIS is how you do body binding:

78.jpg79.jpg71.jpg

Love the look, don't love the feel.  I reeeally hate it on necks.

 

Great look, great guitar.  But, that's not really binding...  It is just scraped paint to simulate binding.  (And super-nicely done btw, since it is a Shishkov - go team Shishkov!)

I have built one acoustic, and the binding helped make some joints look like they weren't done by my 2-year-old self.  So, I'll go with the "clean up sloppy bits during construction" and "edge protection for the wood" reasons for it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ceeb said:

I guess laquer could have the same effect of sealing the end grain and slowing the moisture from leaving.   

Yes, as is most often the case with f-holes and sound holes where damage is far less likely, as was the intended implication in my initial response.

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2 hours ago, fractal said:

...But, that's not really binding...

Yeah, and that's how you do it. B)

I never knew why but covering joints, protection, and appearance all make sense. Seems like a real pain in the ass to do, though.

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I've had a few guitars with bound holes- a tort-bound Hopf archtop and a Fender Coronado with bound f-holes and my current Kay flat top with a bound soundhole ("O" hole?)

Guitars 5-20-2008 021.jpeg

5-22-09 001.jpeg

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I had originally been told that binding helps increase the surface area for the body joints on hollow body guitars. There is the kerfing inside, yes, but also by having that small bevel and having both sides glued to the binding, you get a stronger joint.

On solid bodies, necks, headstocks, etc, binding serves no purposes other than aesthetics.

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Binding is obviously for black guitars so the player can wear a black shirt and the audience can see the guitar’s profile. A must.

 

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21 hours ago, hamerhead said:

THIS is how you do body binding:

78.jpg79.jpg71.jpg

Love the look, don't love the feel.  I reeeally hate it on necks.

 

That‘s actually a fake (binding). B)
 

A functional aspect could be for soft wood, saving the edges getting dinged.

Edited by gorch
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                                                          I like either really and don't mind binding on the neck,I think it adds a bit of class to the guitar.And I do like it when it ages as it gives the guitar some patina.n4BUD9u.jpgBAlHME0.jpgD56Phfx.jpg

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Binding, summed up from my perspective (solid body axes) serve only one purpose- aesthetics- which is rather subjective in of itself. I've found it to be a bit annoying on 2 fronts: the sharper edge it creates is slightly less comfortable than a comparable rounded nekkid board. Additionally, if your fret ends have the caps like my C3, replacing frets is a significant PITA. So much so that they REALLY need to be in bad shape, or you need to REALLY want a fret size change to opt for irrevocably f*cking up those caps.

If I had the option to redo the C3 order, I'd have gone without the binding. No question.

 

V-calicustom.jpg

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33 minutes ago, Steve Haynie said:

The 1982 Dean ML that I once owned had binding on the neck that felt beveled or rounded to avoid a sharp edge.  It was nice. 

Shane at HEL put binding on this one with the assurance that he could round off the edge sufficiently.I also spec-ed it sans fret caps so if frets needed to be replaced, it would be much easier. It's a definite improvement over the C3 but still not as comfy as my unbound Cali's and the Spitfire.

 

Screen Shot 2020-08-16 at 10.05.32 AM.png

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