Nato for guitar necks?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by BlueNoise, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. BlueNoise

    BlueNoise Gretschie

    364
    Oct 30, 2009
    USA
    I'm interested in the new Streamliner models. I've been reading up on Nato wood, which Gretsch uses for the necks. Guitar manufacturers use it as an inexpensive substitute for mahogany. I'd guess the Streamliner necks are laminated, but haven't confirmed that. As you might expect, there are mixed opinions online about Nato. Curious about how it affects tone & how it holds up. Regarding the Streamliners, does it cause deck dive? If you have experience with this new Gretsch line, or Nato, please weigh in. Thanks!
     
  2. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Nato's okay by me. There is a reason the guitars are cheaper, they cut corners where they can. People bag on Basswood too, i own Basswood guitars i love. Agathis is another one, my cort matt murphy was excellent. Let your ears guide you, there is some truth in what people say sometimes but most of what you'll read is recycled hype.
     
    OldCowHand and Sid Nitzerglobin like this.
  3. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Most of the naysayers are like this," i tried an Epiphone L.P. once, it totally sucked! My L.P. custom totally kicked its ass." well duh, 300 to 3000.
     
    nadles likes this.
  4. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    I'm w/ you on the basswood, it's got its own place as tonewood IMO and I really like the grain on some of it for some reason.

    I'm only aware of ever trying a nato neck on acoustics prior to these Streamliners. The necks on the 3 that I've played were all pretty uniform and were set up w/ what looked like an appropriate amount of relief by my eyes.

    I maybe have some questions about how long they would withstand constant heavy use, but that's more around the body and neck joint than the neck for me. On the ones I've played I think the neck dive is more about the body being really light than the neck being heavy.
     
  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    and Rosewood is just a cheap substitute for Ebony.

    I'm a big believer in "tonewood", however I think most of what I see online is cork sniffing.
    To some it's only mahogany when it's from Honduras and only from the Macrophylla species.
    Funnily enough and this will be a consolation to some, most (like 90%) of tree species on the planet are hybrids. Yes, the filthy buggers interbreed, cause nature knows what is needs to do to survive, particularly after all the deforestation of "old growth" going on.

    I'm pretty sure I have some Nato necks on my guitars. If you won't tell I won't loose any sleep over it.
     
  6. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Age:
    51
    Jun 2, 2008
    La Quinta, CA
    I've had an acoustic with a Nato neck for over 30 years now. I think it is a distant relative of Mahogany It looks like mahogany. But, it's obviously a cheaper wood. My guitar's been very stable for 30 years with no special treatment. I rarely need to tweak the truss rod (maybe twice in 30 years). It's held up well, I have zero complaints.

    I say Kudos to Gretsch and Fender for putting out a more affordable line of Gretsch guitars. I'd love to see them int he hands of younger and newer players! I'm interested in one or two... and at these prices I can probably afford one or two. That's really nice!
     
    Armygirl likes this.
  7. OldCowHand

    OldCowHand Country Gent

    Sep 24, 2015
    Kent, England.
    I assume nato is just one of many mahoganyalikes. I recently ripped the neck off a horrible old Les Paul copy to put away for future use, and isolated from the body and stripped of its black treacle coating it's not at all bad. Straight as an arrow, and with some darkish stain and lacquer will look passable.

    lpt_003.jpg

    lpt_004.jpg
     
  8. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Were there any Warsaw Pact necks? o_O
     
    Lindo and Armygirl like this.
  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Not related to, but similar looking, with roughly the same colour, structure and properties of mahogany.

    So I'd say that neck is looking a bit too light in colour to be Nato, unless they used sapwood. :)
     
    OldCowHand likes this.
  10. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Wikipedia:
    Nato wood is a collective name for wood from Mora trees (the best-known species are Mora excelsa (Mora) and Mora gonggrijpii (Morabukea). This not to be confused with Nyatoh (an Asian hardwood with a very similar look and characteristic to Honduras Mahogany, though totally unrelated).

    Mora may vary in appearance, with reddish brown being the dominant color, but with varying shades and often with darker or lighter streaks. It has a similar appearance to mahogany, and as such it is often referred to as "eastern mahogany". Despite this, the two are unrelated. The heartwood is light to medium reddish brown. Wide pale yellow-brown sapwood is clearly demarcated from heartwood. It has a straight to interlocked grain, with a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.[1] The wood is dense and is it is not particularly easy to dry or to work, although it finishes well. Mora wood species are not listed in the CITES Appendices[2] or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[3]

    Because of its similar properties to more traditional tone woods like mahogany,[4] many guitar manufacturers use nato in their construction. Epiphone,[5] BC Rich, [6]Eastwood,[7] and Japan-based manufacturers Yamaha[8] and Takamine[9] are amongst them.

    The wood is available in large solid cuts and is well above average in properties such as resistance to wear, strength and durability, making it an excellent candidate for heavy construction, industrial flooring, railroad ties and boatbuilding.
     
  11. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Is NATO even known in the US? :)
     
  12. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Ironically, Americans often asks the same of European leaders when they set military budgets.
     
    Armygirl, Ricochet and MTurner like this.
  13. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Pretty sure my 78 Yamaha fg 135 has a nato neck. Still good and almost 40 yrs old.
     
    Ricochet likes this.
  14. BlueNoise

    BlueNoise Gretschie

    364
    Oct 30, 2009
    USA
    Thanks for all the comments. Good to know folks here have Nato necks that have held up well for 30-40 years. (Regarding the Wikipedia entry, some Nato from the Philippines is close to being declared endangered. They don't call it Mora, but here's the IUCN link for Red Nato.)
     
    Henry and Ricochet like this.
  15. Armygirl

    Armygirl Country Gent

    Mar 14, 2014
    Edinburgh
    I have loads of NATO necked guitars. Not probs for me. I think the Streamliners are solid necks. NATO has a lot of the same attributes as Mahogany and is sometimes listed on specs as Eastern Mahogany. All good to me!
     
    Jena and Henry like this.
  16. Armygirl

    Armygirl Country Gent

    Mar 14, 2014
    Edinburgh
    But you just read that about four posts back!! Oops!
     
    Henry likes this.
  17. I am gonna guess her . . . This is the reason the streamliner price point is lower . . .
    The neck ?
     
  18. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    176
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    One of the reasons for sure.
     
  19. However, it is LEGAL wood . . .

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I always thought rosewood fretboards are the less expensive option yo ebony, and certainly guitar makers tend to use the material that way (I don't think I've ever seen ebony on a budget guitar, almost all rosewood), but even rosewood is now getting more expensive and harder to source.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice