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Patent Analysis of

Adjustable neck stiffener for stringed musical instruments

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002594

Application Number

US15/559595

Application Date

18 March 2016

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

ALLRED & ASSOCIATES, INC.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

ALLRED & ASSOCIATES, INC.

International Classification

G10D3/06,G10D1/00,G10D1/08

Cooperative Classification

G10D3/06,G10D1/005,G10D1/08

Inventor

ALLRED, III, JIMMIE B.,GRISWOLD, MICHAEL D.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 1 US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 2 US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 3
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Abstract

An adjustable instrument neck stiffener includes end plugs at each end of a hollow composite tube, which is preferably D-shaped, along with an adjusting bolt at one end. A first tension strip connects to one of the end plugs and a sliding element. A second strip, which is preferably made of carbon fiber, is located near the flat surface of the hollow composite tube, stiffening that side of the hollow composite tube. Tightening the adjusting bolt moves the sliding element towards the adjusting bolt end. The tension strip is also tightened, thus bowing the hollow composite tube and the instrument neck downward. This puts the hollow composite tube into compression and counteracts the tension created by the strings of the musical instrument.

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Claims

1. An adjustable instrument neck stiffener for a musical instrument comprising an instrument body, and an instrument neck extending from the instrument body, the adjustable instrument neck stiffener comprising: a) an adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam embedded within a channel in the instrument neck and having a first fixed end and a second adjustable end, wherein the second adjustable end is opposite the first fixed end, comprising a first hollow composite tube; b) a first end plug located at the first fixed end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam and a second end plug located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam; c) an adjusting bolt located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam; d) a sliding element located near the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam, wherein the second end plug is located between the adjusting bolt and the sliding element at the second adjustable end; and e) a first tension strip connected to the first end plug and the sliding element.

2. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first tension strip is wound around the first end plug and the sliding element.

3. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first tension strip is a unidirectional tension strip.

4. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first hollow composite tube is D-shaped, with a flat surface and a rounded surface forming the D-shape.

5. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 4, further comprising a second strip located between the flat surface of the D-shape neck stiffener beam and the first tension strip.

6. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 5, wherein the second strip is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

7. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 5, wherein the second strip is a unidirectional strip.

8. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first tension strip is made of carbon fiber.

9. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first hollow composite tube is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

10. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

11. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the second end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

12. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the sliding element is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

13. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein a wall of the first hollow composite tube comprises at least one layer of uni-directional composite material encapsulated by at least one outer layer of non uni-directional composite material.

14. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 13, further comprising at least one inner layer of non uni-directional composite material, such that the uni-directional composite material is sandwiched between the outer layer of non uni-directional composite material and the inner layer of non uni-directional composite material.

15. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 13, wherein the uni-directional composite material is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon fiber.

16. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 13, wherein the non uni-directional composite material is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon fiber.

17. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 13, wherein the uni-directional composite material forms a continuous layer within the first hollow composite tube.

18. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 13, wherein the uni-directional composite material is only placed along two parallel sides of the first hollow composite tube.

19. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein the first hollow composite tube is sized to run an entire length of the instrument neck.

20. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, further comprising an angle neck stiffener comprising: a second hollow tube; and a cradle; wherein one end of the second hollow tube is connected to one end of the cradle; wherein the second hollow tube and cradle are aligned such that they are not co-linear; wherein the cradle is attached to a bottom of the first hollow composite tube of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam; and wherein the second hollow tube extends downward into an angled neck extension of the instrument neck.

21. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 20, wherein a material used to make the second hollow tube and the cradle is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, titanium, plastic, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, titanium, and plastic.

22. A musical instrument comprising: a) an instrument body; b) an instrument neck extending from the instrument body; c) an adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam embedded within a channel in the instrument neck and having a first fixed end and a second adjustable end, wherein the second adjustable end is opposite the first fixed end, comprising a first hollow composite tube; d) a first end plug located at the first fixed end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam and a second end plug located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam; e) an adjusting bolt located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam; f) a sliding element located near the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam, wherein the second end plug is located between the adjusting bolt and the sliding element at the second adjustable end; and g) a first tension strip connected to the first end plug and the sliding element.

23. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first tension strip is wound around the first end plug and the sliding element.

24. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first tension strip is a unidirectional tension strip.

25. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first hollow composite tube is D-shaped, with a flat surface and a rounded surface forming the D-shape.

26. The musical instrument of claim 25, further comprising a second strip located between the flat surface of the D-shape neck stiffener beam and the first tension strip.

27. The musical instrument of claim 26, wherein the second strip is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

28. The musical instrument of claim 26, wherein the second strip is a unidirectional strip.

29. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first tension strip is made of carbon fiber.

30. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first hollow composite tube is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

31. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

32. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the second end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

33. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the sliding element is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

34. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein a wall of the first hollow composite tube comprises at least one layer of uni-directional composite material encapsulated by at least one outer layer of non uni-directional composite material.

35. The musical instrument of claim 34, further comprising at least one inner layer of non uni-directional composite material, such that the uni-directional composite material is sandwiched between the outer layer of non uni-directional composite material and the inner layer of non uni-directional composite material.

36. The musical instrument of claim 34, wherein the uni-directional composite material is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon fiber.

37. The musical instrument of claim 34, wherein the non uni-directional composite material is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon fiber.

38. The musical instrument of claim 34, wherein the uni-directional composite material forms a continuous layer within the first hollow composite tube.

39. The musical instrument of claim 34, wherein the uni-directional composite material is only placed along two parallel sides of the first hollow composite tube.

40. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein the first hollow composite tube is sized to run an entire length of the instrument neck.

41. The musical instrument of claim 22, further comprising an angle neck stiffener comprising: a second hollow tube; and a cradle; wherein one end of the second hollow tube is connected to one end of the cradle; wherein the second hollow tube and cradle are aligned such that they are not co-linear; wherein the cradle is attached to a bottom of the first hollow composite tube of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam; and wherein the second hollow tube extends downward into an angled neck extension of the instrument neck.

42. The musical instrument of claim 41, wherein a material used to make the second hollow tube and the cradle is selected from the group consisting of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, titanium, plastic, and any combination of fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, titanium, and plastic.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. An adjustable instrument neck stiffener for a musical instrument comprising an instrument body, and an instrument neck extending from the instrument body, the adjustable instrument neck stiffener comprising:
    • a) an adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam embedded within a channel in the instrument neck and having a first fixed end and a second adjustable end, wherein the second adjustable end is opposite the first fixed end, comprising a first hollow composite tube;
    • b) a first end plug located at the first fixed end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam and a second end plug located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam;
    • c) an adjusting bolt located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam;
    • d) a sliding element located near the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam, wherein the second end plug is located between the adjusting bolt and the sliding element at the second adjustable end; and
    • e) a first tension strip connected to the first end plug and the sliding element.
    • 2. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first tension strip is wound around the first end plug and the sliding element.
    • 3. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first tension strip is a unidirectional tension strip.
    • 4. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is D-shaped, with a flat surface and a rounded surface forming the D-shape.
    • 8. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first tension strip is made of carbon fiber.
    • 9. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 10. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 11. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the second end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 12. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the sliding element is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 13. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • a wall of the first hollow composite tube comprises
    • 19. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is sized to run an entire length of the instrument neck.
    • 20. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener of claim 1, further comprising
      • an angle neck stiffener comprising: a second hollow tube
      • and a cradle
      • wherein one end of the second hollow tube is connected to one end of the cradle
      • wherein the second hollow tube and cradle are aligned such that they are not co-linear
      • wherein the cradle is attached to a bottom of the first hollow composite tube of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam
      • and wherein the second hollow tube extends downward into an angled neck extension of the instrument neck.
  • 22
    22. A musical instrument comprising:
    • a) an instrument body;
    • b) an instrument neck extending from the instrument body;
    • c) an adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam embedded within a channel in the instrument neck and having a first fixed end and a second adjustable end, wherein the second adjustable end is opposite the first fixed end, comprising a first hollow composite tube;
    • d) a first end plug located at the first fixed end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam and a second end plug located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam;
    • e) an adjusting bolt located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam;
    • f) a sliding element located near the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam, wherein the second end plug is located between the adjusting bolt and the sliding element at the second adjustable end; and
    • g) a first tension strip connected to the first end plug and the sliding element.
    • 23. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first tension strip is wound around the first end plug and the sliding element.
    • 24. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first tension strip is a unidirectional tension strip.
    • 25. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is D-shaped, with a flat surface and a rounded surface forming the D-shape.
    • 29. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first tension strip is made of carbon fiber.
    • 30. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 31. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 32. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the second end plug is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 33. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the sliding element is made from a material selected from the group consisting of
    • 34. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • a wall of the first hollow composite tube comprises
    • 40. The musical instrument of claim 22, wherein
      • the first hollow composite tube is sized to run an entire length of the instrument neck.
    • 41. The musical instrument of claim 22, further comprising
      • an angle neck stiffener comprising: a second hollow tube
      • and a cradle
      • wherein one end of the second hollow tube is connected to one end of the cradle
      • wherein the second hollow tube and cradle are aligned such that they are not co-linear
      • wherein the cradle is attached to a bottom of the first hollow composite tube of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam
      • and wherein the second hollow tube extends downward into an angled neck extension of the instrument neck.
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Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

This invention relates to musical instrument neck stiffeners, and in particular to adjustable carbon fiber stiffeners embedded within the neck of a guitar or other stringed instrument.

Description of Related Art

Neck stiffening rods and beams have been used for many years in guitars, cellos, double basses, banjos, and other similar stringed instruments where the neck, being a relatively long structure, is often weak when compared with the large forces placed on it by the string tension.

Several patents have been issued for instrument neck reinforcing beams. U.S. Pat. No. 4,084,476 (Rickard) discloses a rectangular or I-beam neck stiffening member that includes wood, plastic, metal, or carbon fiber, and is embedded within the instrument neck adjacent to the forward surface of the neck body and concealed by a fingerboard.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,313,362 (Lieber) also discloses an aluminum hollow reinforcement embedded within the neck of a guitar.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,888,055 (Smith) discloses a solid instrument support rod constructed of a high stiffness material, such as carbon fiber, wrapped around a lower density core material.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,145,948 (Turner), U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,038 (Turner), U.S. Pat. No. 4,950,437 (Lieber), U.S. Pat. No. 5,895,872 (Chase), and U.S. Pat. No. 4,951,542 (Chen) also disclose carbon fiber or other fiber reinforced plastic composite instrument necks or neck reinforcements.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,172,405 (Kaman) discloses an adjustable instrument neck stiffener. This design utilizes a metallic stiffener embedded in a main neck part and a tension rod.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,557,174 (Gressett) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,259,008 (Eddinger) disclose methods for creating an adjustable instrument neck by utilizing a truss rod.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An adjustable instrument neck stiffener includes end plugs at each end of a hollow composite tube, which is preferably D-shaped, along with an adjusting bolt at one end. A first tension strip connects to one of the end plugs and a sliding element. A second strip, which is preferably made of carbon fiber, is located near the flat surface of the hollow composite tube, stiffening that side of the hollow composite tube. Tightening the adjusting bolt moves the sliding element towards the adjusting bolt end. The tension strip is also tightened, thus bowing the hollow composite tube and the instrument neck downward. This puts the hollow composite tube into compression and counteracts the tension created by the strings of the musical instrument.

An adjustable instrument neck stiffener for a musical instrument comprising an instrument body and an instrument neck extending from the instrument body includes an adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam comprising a first hollow composite tube embedded within a channel in the instrument neck and having a first fixed end and a second adjustable end, where the second adjustable end is opposite the first fixed end. A first end plug is located at the first fixed end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam and a second end plug is located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam. An adjusting bolt is located at the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam. A sliding element is located near the second adjustable end of the adjustable neck stiffener beam. The second end plug is located between the adjusting bolt and the sliding element at the second adjustable end. A first tension strip is connected to the first end plug and the sliding element. A musical instrument including the adjustable instrument neck stiffener is also disclosed.

In some embodiments, the first tension strip is wound around the first end plug and the sliding element. In some embodiments, the first hollow composite tube is D-shaped, with a flat surface and a rounded surface forming the D-shape. The adjustable instrument neck stiffener may include a second strip located between the flat surface of the D-shape neck stiffener beam and the first tension strip. In some embodiments, the first tension strip, the second strip, the first hollow composite tube, the first end plug, the second end plug, and/or the sliding element are made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers, plastic and aluminum.

In some embodiments, a wall of the first hollow composite tube includes at least one layer of uni-directional composite material encapsulated by at least one outer layer of non uni-directional composite material.

In some embodiments, the adjustable instrument neck stiffener also includes an angle neck stiffener comprising a second hollow tube; and a cradle, where one end of the second hollow tube is connected to one end of the cradle. The second hollow tube and cradle are aligned such that they are not co-linear. The cradle is attached to a bottom of the first hollow composite tube of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam and the second hollow tube extends downward into an angled neck extension of the instrument neck.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a neck stiffener beam embedded within the neck of a guitar with the fingerboard removed.

FIG. 2 shows an alternative view of the guitar shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a close-up view of the neck stiffener beam in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a carbon fiber layout for the neck stiffener beam shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows an alternative layout for the beam shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 shows another alternative layout for the beam shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 shows another alternative layout for the beam shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 shows another alternative beam layout with uni-directional material placed around the entire perimeter of the cross-section.

FIG. 9 shows a rectangular geometry of the beam in an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 shows a side view of a height tapered beam in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11a shows an alternative view of the carbon fiber beam shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 11b shows another alternative view of the beam shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 shows a top view of a height and width tapered beam in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a guitar neck and fingerboard with a guitar neck stiffener in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14a shows a guitar angle neck stiffener in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14b shows an alternative view of the guitar angle neck stiffener shown in FIG. 14a.

FIG. 15 shows an embodiment of a guitar angle neck stiffener embedded within a guitar neck.

FIG. 16 shows an embodiment of an angle neck stiffener and neck stiffener beam underneath a guitar fingerboard.

FIG. 17 shows an embodiment of an angle neck stiffener in a neck of a guitar.

FIG. 18a shows a D-tube guitar neck stiffener with unidirectional carbon fiber only on the flat surface of the tube.

FIG. 18b shows a close-up of one end of the D-tube guitar neck stiffener of FIG. 18a.

FIG. 19a shows end plugs adhesively bonded into the ends of the D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 18a.

FIG. 19b shows a close-up of one end of the D-tube guitar neck stiffener of FIG. 19a.

FIG. 20a shows a threaded rod and threaded sleeve included in the D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 19a.

FIG. 20b shows an alternate view of the D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 20a.

FIG. 21 shows an adjustable D-tube neck stiffener in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 22 shows a close-up of one end of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 shows a close-up of the opposite end of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 21.

FIG. 24a shows an adjustable D-tube neck stiffener bent upwards due to applied string tension.

FIG. 24b shows a close-up of the tightening end of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 24a.

FIG. 25a shows the D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 24a returned to a straight position.

FIG. 25b shows a close-up of the tightening end of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 25a.

FIG. 26 shows the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 21 with additional unidirectional carbon fiber included near the bottom curved surface.

FIG. 27 shows the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 26 bent upwards due to applied string tension.

FIG. 28 shows the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 21 with transverse cuts included.

FIG. 29 shows an adjustable D-tube neck stiffener in another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 30 shows the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 29 with the D-tube hidden.

FIG. 31 shows the internal components of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 29.

FIG. 32 shows a cross-section of the internal components of the adjustable D-tube neck stiffener of FIG. 29.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

There is an ongoing need to find improved ways to support the neck of stringed instruments. In particular, guitars, cellos, double basses, and banjos require additional stiffening embedded within the neck of the instrument to improve bending and torsional rigidity. Although carbon fiber rods have been used for this application, the methods and devices disclosed herein improve upon the known methods and allow easy fitting and placement of the reinforcement below the fingerboard.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,962,956, entitled “NECK STIFFENER FOR STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS”, issued Feb. 24, 2015, and US Patent Publication Number 2014/0298970, entitled “ADJUSTABLE NECK STIFFENER FOR STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS”, published Oct. 9, 2014, both incorporated herein by reference, disclose musical instrument neck stiffeners.

A “composite material”, as defined herein, is a material made from two or more different materials with different physical or chemical properties, which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or microscopic scale within the resulting material. One example of a composite material is a material with fibers embedded into a matrix (fibrous composites), which include uni-directional composite materials (i.e. all fibers oriented in a single direction), and non uni-directional composite materials (i.e. fibers oriented in multiple or off-axis directions). Other examples of composite materials are particulate composites, flake composites, and filler composites. Fibrous composite materials are preferably used in the embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows a guitar 100 with a main body 1 and a neck 2. A neck stiffener beam 3 is embedded within the neck 2 of the instrument. The neck stiffener beam 3 is designed to sit in a groove or channel formed in the instrument neck 2, for example cut in the instrument neck 2 by a router tool. Instrument builders and repair people may utilize the neck stiffener beam 3 as a stiffening member for the neck 2 (which is typically made of wood), both in bending and torsion.

In preferred embodiments, the neck stiffener beam 3 includes a hollow composite tube. The tube includes tube walls that are made of at least one layer of uni-directional composite material encapsulated by at least one outer layer of non uni-directional composite material. In some preferred embodiments, the neck stiffener beam 3 is made of fibrous composites. In some preferred embodiments, the fibrous composites include carbon fiber. In other preferred embodiments, the fibrous composites of the neck stiffener beam 3 are made of fiberglass or aramid fibers. In still other embodiments, the neck stiffener beam 3 is made of any combination of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and aramid fibers.

FIG. 2 shows an alternative view of the guitar 100 shown in FIG. 1. The neck stiffener beam 3 preferably runs the length of the guitar neck 2 and has a rectangular (see, for example, FIG. 9) or D-shaped (see, for example, FIGS. 3-8) cross-section. An angled neck extension 133 provides additional bending support to the neck 2. These embodiments differ from the prior art in that the beam is composed of multiple layers of carbon fiber or other composite material, with the fiber direction optimized for maximum stiffness and minimum weight.

The reduced weight of this beam 3 improves the balance of the guitar, making it easier to play. The increased stiffness to weight ratio of the neck 2 with this reinforcing beam 3 installed improves the acoustics of the instrument by raising the natural resonant frequency of the neck 2, reducing any interference of the neck 2 with resonance of the body 1, strings, and enclosed air mass.

The neck stiffener beams described herein provide the highest possible torsional stiffness to mass ratio by positioning the bias or braid plies around the outside of the beam as far as possible from the centerline. They also provide the greatest bending stiffness to mass ratio by utilizing uni-directional fibers placed as far as possible from the neutral axis. The resulting torsional and bending stiffness to weight ratios are significantly greater than can be achieved with a solid carbon fiber section, a section with a lightweight core material, or a hollow tube made solely of one material or fiber orientation.

A close-up of one embodiment of the neck stiffener beam 3 embedded within the guitar neck 2 is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this embodiment, the beam 3 is fabricated by embedding uni-directional carbon fiber 4 only at the upper and lower portions of the beam, and constrained by braid or bias weave material 5. FIG. 4 shows a neck stiffener beam 3 with two flat uni-directional layers 4. In embodiments where the beam 3 is made of carbon fiber, the uni-directional carbon fiber layers 4 are preferably made from carbon fiber tow, cloth, or pultruded carbon fiber and the braid or bias weave layers 5 are made of braid or bias weave carbon fiber. To reduce weight, the middle section 6 of the beam 3 is preferably hollow.

FIGS. 5-8 show embodiments with alternative geometries for the uni-directional layers and the braided layers 5 of the beam. FIG. 5 shows a neck stiffener beam 50 with one flat uni-directional layer 51 and one curved uni-directional layer 52. In embodiments using carbon fiber, the uni-directional carbon fiber layers 51 and 52 are preferably made from carbon fiber tow, cloth, or pultruded carbon fiber and the braid or bias weave layers 5 are made of braid or bias weave carbon fiber. The altered shape of the second uni-directional layer 52 changes the shape of the braid or bias weave layer 5 and the hollow space 6 compared to the embodiment shown in FIG. 4. Note, however, that the hollow space 6 may still have the same general shape as shown in FIG. 4, if the braided layers 5 are designed to not follow the curve of the uni-directional layer 52.

FIG. 6 shows a carbon fiber beam 60 with two small square uni-directional rods 61 and one curved uni-directional layer 62. In embodiments using carbon fiber, the uni-directional layers 61 and 62 are preferably made from carbon fiber tow, cloth, or pultruded carbon fiber and the braid or bias weave layers 5 are made of braid or bias weave carbon fiber. The altered shape of the second uni-directional layer 62 changes the shape of the braid or bias weave layers 5 and the hollow space 6 compared to the embodiment shown in FIG. 4. Note, however, that the hollow space 6 may still have the same general shape as shown in FIG. 4, if the braided layers 5 are designed to not follow the curve of the uni-directional layer 62.

FIG. 7 shows an alternative neck stiffener beam 70 with one flat uni-directional layer 71 and one curved uni-directional layer 72. In embodiments using carbon fiber, the uni-directional carbon fiber layers 71 and 72 are preferably made from carbon fiber tow, cloth, or pultruded carbon fiber and the braid or bias weave layers 5 are made of braid or bias weave carbon fiber. The altered shape of the second uni-directional layer 71 changes the shape of the braid or bias weave layers 5 and the hollow space 6 compared to the embodiments shown in the previous figures.

FIG. 8 shows a neck stiffener beam 80 with a continuous D-shaped uni-directional layer 81 sandwiched between two layers of D-shaped bias or braided material 5. Here, the cross-section can be of constant or non-constant wall thickness. In embodiments with carbon fiber, the uni-directional carbon fiber layer 81 is preferably made from carbon fiber tow, cloth, or pultruded carbon fiber and the bias or braided layers 5 are made of bias or braided carbon fiber.

FIGS. 3-8 are shown as examples of guitar neck stiffeners with a D-shaped cross-section including at least one uni-directional layer, at least one bias or braided layer, and a hollow portion. Other embodiments with other shapes for these layers are within the spirit of the present invention. In some embodiments, the carbon fiber could be replaced with fiberglass or aramid fibers in order to further tailor the stiffness and structural damping.

FIG. 9 shows a rectangular neck stiffener 90 in another embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 9, two flat uni-directional layers 91 are sandwiched between layers of bias or braided material 5. In a preferred embodiment, the flat uni-directional layers 91 are made of uni-directional carbon fiber and the bias or braided material 5 is carbon fiber. Alternatively, the carbon fiber could be replaced with fiberglass or aramid fibers in order to further tailor the stiffness and structural damping. The neck stiffener 90 also includes a hollow portion 6. Other rectangular neck stiffeners with other shapes for the uni-directional layers 91, the bias or braided material, and the hollow portion 6 are within the spirit of the present invention. For example, in one alternative embodiment, the top uni-directional layer 91 and/or the bottom uni-directional layer 91 could be replaced with two or more square uni-directional layers, similar to the uni-directional rods 61 shown in FIG. 6.

An alternative geometry for the neck stiffener 15 is shown in FIG. 10 where the height 16 is tapered along its length. This tapered geometry could be used for any of the guitar neck stiffeners 3, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 described herein. Spanwise reduction of the height 16 of the guitar neck stiffener provides an improved fit within certain thin instrument necks.

FIGS. 11a and 11b show alternative views of the tapered height beam 15. In FIGS. 10 and 11, the width 17 of the beam 15 remains constant. Alternatively, the width 17 of the beam 25 can be tapered instead of or in addition to the height 16 taper, as shown in FIG. 12.

The hollow construction of the neck stiffener combined with the placement of the uni-directional material as far as possible from the neutral axis 18 (see FIG. 4) results in a reinforcing beam that is extremely lightweight, yet rigid in all three critical modes: axial, bending, and torsion. While the neutral axis 18 is shown in a particular location with respect to the embodiment of FIG. 4, the location of the neutral axis 18 depends on the cross-sectional shape of the neck stiffener beam.

FIG. 13 shows a guitar neck assembly 130 including a fingerboard (or fretboard) 131, a neck 132, and a neck stiffener beam 50. The neck 132 includes an angled neck extension 133 that abuts the body 1 of the guitar 100 (see FIG. 2). In a preferred embodiment, the neck stiffener beam 50 is made of carbon fiber. In addition to the neck stiffener beam 50, an angle neck stiffener 140, as shown in FIGS. 14a and 14b, may also be included. The angle neck stiffener 140 includes a tubular end 141 and a cradle end 142, both preferably made from carbon fiber.

FIG. 15 shows the angle neck stiffener 140 embedded within an instrument neck 132. The tubular end 141 of the angle neck stiffener 140 extends into the angled neck extension 133 and is attached to the neck 132 with adhesive, preferably epoxy. The cradle end 142 of the angle neck stiffener is glued to the neck stiffener beam 50, as shown in FIG. 16. The fingerboard 131 is then glued to the neck stiffener beam 50 to complete the assembly. The angle neck stiffener bridges the connection between the instrument neck and the neck stiffener. In embodiments where the beam has a D-shaped cross-section, the cradle includes a channel shaped to fit the D-shape of the beam. While the neck stiffener beam 50 from FIG. 5 is shown in this embodiment, any of the neck stiffener beams discussed in FIGS. 3-12 could be used in combination with the angle neck stiffener 140. If the angle neck stiffener 140 is used in combination with a rectangular beam, for example like the beam 90 shown in FIG. 9, the cradle 142 would have a flat top instead of a channel to accommodate the rectangular shape. Alternatively, the cradle 142 could have a rectangular shaped channel that the beam shape would fit into. In preferred embodiments, the angle neck stiffener 140 is made of carbon fiber. In other embodiments, other materials, including, but not limited to, fiberglass, aramid, aluminum, steel, titanium, or plastic, could be used to make the angle neck stiffener 140.

The angle neck stiffener 140 may alternatively be used alone in the neck 132 of a musical instrument, as shown in FIG. 17. In this alternative embodiment, a channel to accommodate the cradle 142 of the angle neck stiffener 140 is made in the horizontal portion of the instrument neck 132. In one preferred embodiment, a channel is bored into the neck 132 with a router. A hole, into which the tubular end 141 of the angle neck stiffener 140 will fit, is bored from the channel down into the angled neck extension 133. The angle neck stiffener 140 in these embodiments is preferably made of carbon fiber. In other embodiments, other materials, including, but not limited to, fiberglass, aramid, aluminum, steel, titanium, or plastic, could be used to make the angle neck stiffener 140.

Another embodiment of a D-tube neck stiffener 180 is shown in FIGS. 18a and 18b with axially-oriented unidirectional carbon fiber 181 located only on the inside surface of the flat face 182 of the adjustable instrument neck stiffener beam 180. End plugs 191, preferably made from metal, fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastic, or any other similar material, are adhesively bonded into the ends of the D-tube 180, as shown in FIGS. 19a and 19b. At least one of the end plugs 191 is threaded to provide engagement with a threaded rod 201, as shown in FIGS. 20a and 20b. At one end, the threaded rod 201 is either captured in a threaded bore in the end plug 191, or else goes through a clearance hole in the end plug 191 and is captured by the threaded sleeve 202. At the opposite end of the D-tube 180, the threaded rod 201 terminates in a bolt head 203 that can accept a wrench to back out the threaded rod 201. End 203 may be male or female, hex or square, or any other similar configuration. FIG. 21 shows the entire adjustable D-tube assembly 210. FIGS. 22 and 23 show close-ups of ends 202 and 203, respectively.

When the instrument strings are tensioned, the instrument neck 2, along with the adjustable D-tube assembly 210, which is embedded within the neck 2, bends upward. FIGS. 24a and 24b show this configuration with tensioned strings. By turning the threaded rod 201 using end 203, it pulls end 203 out away from the end plug 191, thus bending the D-tube back into a straight position (FIGS. 25a and 25b).

FIG. 26 shows an alternate embodiment of a D-tube neck stiffener assembly 260. The D-tube assembly 260 contains additional unidirectional carbon fiber 212 included near the bottom curved surface in addition to the unidirectional carbon fiber 211 on the top (flat) surface of the tube. This material provides reinforcement over only a portion of the D-tube assembly 260, thus providing for customized stiffness in the axial direction. The benefit here is that end 202 of the D-tube assembly 260 is more flexible than the opposite (tightening) end 203. The result of this modification is shown in FIG. 27, where most of the bending occurs over only a portion of the D-tube assembly 260. To further increase local flexibility, transverse cuts 271 may be included in sections of a D-tube assembly 280, as shown in FIG. 28.

FIGS. 29-32 show an alternative embodiment of an adjustable instrument neck stiffener. The composite D-tube assembly 290 in FIG. 29 contains end plugs 291 and 292 at each end of the D-tube 294, along with an adjusting bolt 293 at one end. FIG. 30 shows the adjustable D-tube assembly 290 of FIG. 29 with the composite D-tube 294 hidden. A strip 301, which is preferably unidirectional in some embodiments, is located within the hollow composite D-tube 294 below the flat surface of the D-tube 294, stiffening this side of the D-tube 294. The strip 301 is preferably made of carbon fiber. The strip 301 is hidden in FIG. 31, revealing the internal components of the adjustment neck stiffener 290.

This embodiment of an adjustable instrument D-tube neck stiffener assembly 290 utilizes a tension strip 311, preferably made of carbon fiber, close to the rounded surface of the D-tube 294. The tension strip 311 is preferably unidirectional. The tension strip 311 is connected to the non-adjustable end plug 291 on one end and a sliding element 312 on the opposite (adjustable) end. The tension strip 311 is preferably wound around the end plug 291 and the sliding element 312 to improve both friction and bond surface area. The tension strip 311 is preferably made from carbon fiber tow, but could alternatively be made from other stiff fiber materials including, but not limited to, fiberglass or aramid fibers (e.g.—Kevlar® aramid fibers). Similarly, the D-tube 294, the strip 301, the sliding element 312, and/or the end plugs 291, 292 could be made from materials including, but not limited to, carbon fiber, fiberglass, aramid fibers (e.g.—Kevlar® aramid fibers), plastic, aluminum, or any other metal. In embodiments where the sliding element 312 is made of plastic, carbon fiber, or any other soft material, the sliding element may optionally have a metal (preferably steel) threaded insert within it to avoid stripping of threads in the sliding element 312. The metal threaded insert is preferably bonded within the sliding element 312. When the adjusting bolt 293 is tightened, the sliding element 312 moves towards the second end and the adjusting bolt 293. By tightening the adjusting bolt 293, the tension strip 311 is also tightened, thus bowing the composite D-tube 294, and hence the instrument neck, downward. This puts the D-tube 294 into compression and counteracts the tension created by the strings of the musical instrument.

In some embodiments, the adjustable instrument neck stiffeners 180, 210, 260, 280, 290 shown in FIGS. 18-32 are used in combination with the angle neck stiffeners 140 described in FIGS. 13-17. In other embodiments, the adjustable instrument neck stiffeners 180, 210, 260, 280, 290 shown in FIGS. 18-32 may have the geometries and/or use the materials shown in FIGS. 1-12. In still other embodiments, the adjustable instrument neck stiffeners 180, 210, 260, 280, 290 shown in FIGS. 18-32 are used in combination with the angle neck stiffeners 140 described in FIGS. 13-17 and may have the geometries and/or use the materials shown in FIGS. 1-12.

Although a guitar is shown in the figures, the instrument neck stiffeners (including the neck stiffener beams and the angle neck stiffener) described herein could alternatively be used for any stringed instrument, including, but not limited to, guitars, cellos, double basses, and banjos.

Accordingly, it is to be understood that the embodiments of the invention herein described are merely illustrative of the application of the principles of the invention. Reference herein to details of the illustrated embodiments is not intended to limit the scope of the claims, which themselves recite those features regarded as essential to the invention.

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9.0/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

It shows from an IP point of view how many competitors are active and innovations are made in the different technical fields of the company. On a company level, the market attractiveness is often also an indicator of how diversified a company is. Here we look into the commercial relevance of the market.

31.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

It shows the sizes of the market that is covered with the IP and in how many countries the IP guarantees protection. It reflects a market size that is potentially addressable with the invented technology/formulation with a legal protection which also includes a freedom to operate. Here we look into the size of the impacted market.

75.0/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

48.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

15.0/100 Score

Legal Score

It shows the legal strength of IP in terms of its degree of protecting effect. Here we look into claim scope, claim breadth, claim quality, stability and priority.

Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Neck for a stringed instrument WILFER HANS-PETER 01 December 2000 02 May 2002
Stringed musical instrument NICOLA TURTURRO 21 May 1932 30 May 1933
Stringed instrument construction KAMAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION 25 October 1977 30 October 1979
Guitar neck incorporating double-action truss rod apparatus FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION 06 May 1983 10 December 1985
Reinforced stringed musical instrument neck OVATION INSTRUMENTS, INC. 25 June 1976 18 April 1978
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US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 1 US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 2 US10002594 Adjustable neck stiffener stringed 3