guitar neck fretboard binding

Can You Add Binding To A Guitar Neck?

Do you like the look of a guitar neck with a binding on it?  Ever wondered if you can add a binding yourself or if it can be done at all?

Can you add binding to a guitar neck?

Yes, you can add binding to a guitar neck but it is something I would recommend giving to an experienced luthier to do for you.  The reason I say this is because guitars need to be so so precise within millimeters and with the binding you want to make sure you have the right fit or it can look as if it is not properly fitted.

When you see a professional guitar, like a Gibson, with a binding on it, they do not just pop it on and leave it, they will take their time fitting with precision and using tape to get the fit just right.

What Is A Binding?

A binding is an extra piece of wood that goes along the length of the neck on either side of the body, this leaves less room for error when stringing up.

Guitar Neck And Fretboard Binding Vs No Binding

There is a vast difference between a guitar neck with a binding and a guitar without a binding on it.  There is a look which you can achieve with that original look that is just so classic and it looks as if you have spent far more than what you actually have spent.

  • Bindings provide a smoother feel – if you have ever felt a bound neck and fret board you will know it feels smoother than a non-bound neck. If you have not felt it before just run your finger up and down the wood and then do the same with a bound neck, you can tell there is a difference.
  • Bindings look for “finished” – the binding on a guitar neck hides the fret ends and gives it more of a finished look.

One important disadvantage though can happen if you do not store the guitar properly.  If the neck shrinks and causes fret sprout, the neck binding can crack at the fretboard edges.  So it is more important to make sure that guitars with bound necks are well taken care of.

Does Binding Affect Tone?

No, binding doesn’t affect tone.  It’s an extra piece of wood and it is on the outside of the neck and it doesn’t affect anything on the inside.  So binding does not alter your tone.

Does Binding Affect Playability?

No, binding doesn’t affect playability. It will leave a mark on the neck if you leave it for too long though.

Can You Add Binding To A Guitar Neck Yourself?

As I mentioned previously, it is always better to have an experienced luthier do this for you.  But, if you are wondering how to add binding to a guitar neck yourself or if you want to add some on but don’t know where to begin, this video gives you an idea:

Guitar Neck Binding Material

When it comes to guitar neck binding, you have a few material options:

  • ABS – “Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene” is a plastic that comes in different colors. It is the simplest and cheapest option as you can get it at any hardware store. The downside to this is that plastic binding can warp and crack easier than other filling materials.
  • Wood – Wood is the most popular and traditional choice, you can use any type of wood for this and it will give a natural look to the guitar neck. The downside with wood bindings is that it is expensive so most people will go for the plastic option.
  • Veneer – Veneer is an alternative to wood which you can use to attach binding to a guitar neck. It is highly likable because it looks beautiful and natural. The downside is that it can be difficult to attach and you need to make sure that you pick the right wood.
  • Fiber – Fiberglass is another option which is rather popular nowadays. It provides a more durable option than plastic and can also be used on pretty much any guitar neck. The downside with this material is that it does not look as natural and can leave you with fibers sticking out on the edges.

How To Remove Guitar Neck Binding

If you decide that you no longer want binding on your guitar neck or if it has warped to the point where it is beyond repair, you can get someone to remove the binding for you.

If this is something that sounds like something you want to do, there are plenty of videos out there for this.  Like this one:

How To Replace Guitar Neck Binding

If you are considering replacing your guitar neck binding, the process is basically the same:

You can also take it into a guitar shop to be fitted if you want.  You can then ask them how much it would cost to replace the binding with the material that you choose.  Once you know what it will cost, you can go in and purchase the material and do it yourself at home.

Conclusion

Can you add binding to a guitar neck? Yes, you can.  But, it is better to leave this to an experienced luthier or one of the many online guitar shops that offer this service for you.

If the binding is too far gone or warped beyond repair though, removing the binding yourself is easy enough and if you decide that you want to remove it completely, replacing it is also quite simple.

So that’s all there is to know about how to add binding to a guitar neck or replace it.

 

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