SubD guitar neck

Hi all, We have quite a few customers using rhino for building custom guitars. From hobbyists, all the way to big name professionals who create guitars for the rock gods of the world…

I get calls from time to time about how to model the complicated transitions from the heel to the neck and from the neck to the head. In Nurbs this is hard… In subd is pretty straightforward.

To clarify, I’m not a guitar player, or for that matter, even someone with a passing hobby of appreciating guitars. I don’t know the intricacies of them and admittedly may have missed many important subtleties.

BUT… I believe this basic layout may prove useful for those of you out there who do know what you are doing when building a custom instrument.

I’d love some constructive criticism on missing details or subtleties, or even better encourage you to take this an improve it (ideally sharing your results)

model file attached below- enjoy!

can’t wait to see what you do with it!

neck.3dm (908.6 KB)


Hi Kyle. Thanks for your attempt.
I first tried making it in nurbs and found a way that works but it’s quite unpredictable and doesn’t allow changes once made. You need to restart from a certain point, make changes and hope for the best. It’s not hard to do one time, but having to do it 20 times to achieve something you like is annoying.
It worth it if you’re going to make hundreds of necks with the same design, but not for me.

So I’m testing out if I can achieve something controllable and accurate in SubD.

About your design, it’s not a matter of adding details. You can’t approach a neck this way. You need to have curves defyning the exact measures of the neck profile. The shape of the arc and the different measures across the neck are essencial. There are different possibilities depending on standards or tastes.
Then, I think it would be a good idea to make the fretboard in nurbs. It’s easy to make. There’s a tool to calculate everything for making your customized fretboard that gives you the curves for creating the neck from that. You need to maintain everything according to that design.

Appart from measuring the heel depending on your project and making a volute that is strong enough to prevent breakage.

I’m messing around with it and I think I can make it work, but I don’t have anything finished and properly made.
My first idea is create SubD friendly curves for the profile, create a Sweep two rails, and then create the headstock the way you made it in the tutorial, which I see as controlling two curves at a time, and then create a bridge between the two.
It’s a little tricky to match the number of faces for both, because the optimal for each one is different, but the results are not bad taking into account that I’m fairly new with 3D (Apart from making furniture stuff using mostly boxes). Definitely with SubD it’s more fun and you can make more changes in the process as an artist/designer, as you used to say.

While you’re making a neck with your hands you can do easily a lot of stuff, and it’s very limiting if you get stuck because of technical reasons. It’s like putting a muzzle to your creativity.
I hope this way I won’t feel like that. So I’ll keep working.

Rhino was the only option that feels like home for me, very intuitive. So SubD it’s a good addition for being able to have a different approach when needed in an application that is comfortable for me.

Thanks for your videos. Are very helpful.