What is Neck-thru Construction (patented RS Neck system)?

In 2006 Mike Miltimore had a dream to build a braceless guitar.  The thought was “if we could separate the structure from the resonant parts of the guitar, would we build it the same”. After 6 years of development the answer is a resounding no!  The patented neck thru technology offers many benefits including strength, intonation, less bracing, easy playing due to the precise adjustments, variable top loading, even balanced sustain tone and volume up and down the neck (yes even on the body), eliminating the need of an expensive neck reset, slinky easy string tension, reduced heel, and the integrated strap pins are on the structure of the guitar.

What is the Active Body System?

Riversong’s innovation is the Active Body System. Here is how it works - by moving the neck all the way through the body two things happen

  1. structure shifts from neck joint to the end block
  2. the mass of the neck is now equal in and out of the guitar and it is free to vibrate like a tuning fork helping to ring up and down the neck and throughout the body. 

With the structure coming from the back of the guitar, the body and the neck has a little bit of flex (like a Strat vs a Les Paul) this flex gives the body the ability to freely vibrate and give the strings a really slinky feel (low tension).

Why Does the Riversong Feel so Slinky?

The patented neck system has a small amount of flex (like a Strat) and this allows regular gauge strings to feel a lot less stiff further enforcing our electric-like feel.

What is Neck-Thru Construction (patented RS Neck system)?

In 2006 Mike Miltimore had a dream to build a braceless guitar.  The question was “could the structure be separated from the resonant parts of the guitar?”. After 6 years of development the answer is a resounding yes!  The patented Neck-thru technology offers many benefits including strength, intonation, less bracing, easy playing due to the precise neck angle adjustments, variable top loading, balanced tone and sustain with good volume up and down the neck (yes even on the body), eliminating the need of an expensive neck reset, slinky easy string tension, reduced heel, and the integrated strap pins are attached to the structure of the guitar neck. 

What is the Neck Profile on a Riversong Guitar? 

Our guitar neck profiles are all very consistent.  42mm (1-5/8”) at the nut with 3mm off each side for string spacing and 53mm string spacing at bridge.  This is the same string spacing on many popular American made acoustic guitars.  The neck profile at the first fret is very much like an electric guitar.  The depth at the first fret is 19mm and a fast “C” shape where the neck is blended into the fretboard at 6.8mm.  The result is a comfortable fast playing asymmetrical neck with string spacing of other high-end guitars.  Riversong’s feel has been described as “The Adjustable Acoustic that plays like an Electric”.  We believe that our necks make a difference to our players and that we should have a consistency to our guitars.  We do offer different profiles are available in our custom shop.

How do I Adjust the Riversong Neck System?

The best part of a Riversong Guitar is the ease to create your own playing experience. 

Once the neck is adjusted for straightness using the truss rod located at the 24th fret, the neck angle adjustment (string height or action) can be found on the back of the guitar using a 5/32” Allen key, 1 clockwise turn will adjust the string height 0.4mm closer.  Slowly adjust until you are happy with the playability, then retune. For more detailed instruction go here.

What is a Neck Reset?

Neck resets happen when the torsional stress of the 180lbs of string tension twists the neck block and body so that the string height cannot be adjusted low enough by sanding the saddle which would require the neck to be removed, sanded and reset at a different angle. This is a time consuming and expensive procedure that is normally only done on high end guitars worthy of a $700-1200 investment.  With Riversong Guitars Neck-thru design, essentially every time you adjust the neck, a neck reset is being done - in seconds! 

How is the Truss Rod Different on a Riversong? 

Riversongs unique patented Neck-thru design also has a truss rod that runs the full length of the neck.  Most traditional guitars have a truss rod that ends at the 14th fret and continuing with an elongated screw head.  Riversong necks have a full-length truss rod that adjusts the entire length closer to how an electric guitar is constructed. 

How Do I Change My String Height?

Unlike traditional guitars, Riversong Guitars has a patented feature where you can non-destructively change string height with a simple adjustment of a screw located at the bottom back of the guitar.  1 rotation is a .4mm adjustment at the 12th fret. This gives the player unparalleled adjustment of the string height meaning precise non-destructive adjustment for your playing style.

Why Does My High E String Buzz First? 

The strings are raked with the bass being higher than the treble strings.  Thus, the first  point of contact to the fretboard will be the treble strings, so they will buzz first. The rake of the strings is about 1mm.

What is “Top Loading”? 

Top loading is the torsional tension on the top created by string tension and the height of the saddle and bridge assembly.  An easy way to think top loading is to imagine that a 6” high saddle will exert more twisting force from the string tension than a ¼” saddle height.  Top loading is counteracted by the top spring tension of the top and bracing system.

What is Top Spring Tension?

Related to both string tension and top Loading, top spring tension is essentially the flexibility of the soundboard with the guitar’s bracing structure.  Top spring tension can change due to humidity and heat.  This affects all brands of guitars but with Riversong Guitars’ adjustable system, top loading can be adjusted with the saddle height.  On traditional guitars, the saddle also affects the string height, whereas with Riversong guitars, the string height is controlled by neck angle.

Why is Straight String Pull Important? 

Traditional guitars have a wide headstock with the strings fanned out from the center to the machine heads. The fanned strings exert sideways tension on the nut and this sideways tension eventually wears the nut slots too wide or at worse break the nut altogether.  Some of the most popular electric guitars have straight string pull, which seats the strings in better and better as the strings wear into the nut.

What is String Rake? 

String rake is the difference in height from the treble strings and the bass strings.  There is more mass on bass strings thus they tend to vibrate more than treble strings and require further distance from the fretboard.  On a strumming profile the strings should be Bass: E12-3mm and Treble: E12-2mm.  The rake for strumming is generally 1mm.  On an electric guitar it is closer to parallel.  The two profiles we call Strummer and Noodler Profile.

What is Skeletized Bracing? (G2 Models, Custom Shop models only)

Mass is what great tone is all about.  We experiment with all sorts of construction techniques and the most popular always filter out of our custom and signature lines into our other lines.  One of these experiments was skeletized bracing, a technique where we take all the mass we can out of the ¼ sawn Canadian Sitka spruce bracing leaving only what is necessary for strength, similar to how an engineer makes a bridge out of lots of triangles.  We then hand sculpt the bracing for the proper spring tension and tap tones. Currently skeletized bracing is only available in our G2 series and Custom Build Shop.

What is a Double Top?

Balancing mass, strength, stiffness, and tone is what making a guitar is all about.  If the top is too thin, you lose sustain and strength, conversely if it is too thick, bass response is diminished and volume is impacted.  Our double tops are made out of 2 top layers with their grains oriented together to produce a thin and resonant structure that is humidity controlled and crack resistant.  Double tops can be found on our G2 Series 2P and 2PGA guitars.  A variant top (?) s found on our Pacific Series P2P GA. The double top was created from the need to have a stable guitar for touring but of course even housebound guitars deal with varying climates throughout the seasons.

Why Don’t All Acoustics Have 24 Fret or 2 Octave Fretboards? 

Most acoustic guitars can’t have a 24 fret fretboard due to limiting the ability to service the guitar.  With Riversong’s removable neck, the guitar body becomes the most accessible easy to service or repair guitar.

What is a Hybrid Top vs Plywood vs Solid Top? 

Riversong has developed a top that blends the ruggedness of a ply top with the sound of a solid top.  Similar to the process that Riversong uses on their double and triple tops, the hybrid top is essentially a solid top with paper thin laminates on either side.  The net result is very light weight with the sound of a good solid top but with the strength and humidity protection of a ply top… essentially best of both worlds! Ply tops are made from three equal layers and suffer from the cross grain being too stiff, a solid top, considered to be superior, suffers from fragility of cracking and strength.   

Hybrid tops…something that Riversong has been pioneering for a decade.

What Strings are Used on Riversong Guitars? 

Pacific Series guitars use D’Addario strings EXP 16 or EJ 16, G2 and Custom Build Shop guitars use Riversong EL 12/53 Extended Life coated strings.  

What is a Double Reaction Bridge?  

The double reaction bridge was developed originally by Phillip Shaheen for carbon fibre ouds in the Middle East and was co-developed for the guitar by Mike Miltimore.  Simultaneously providing direct contact to the top and bridge plate/bracing system, there is a net increase of 10% gain in volume.  The double reaction bridge sounds great and balances the torsional mass load of the bridge system thus increasing sustain and by loading the bass side with more mass, lateral motion of the bridge is encouraged. The double reaction bridge is on all Canadian made guitars including the Custom Build Shop guitars, the G2 Series, and Signature Series guitars.

How Do You Intonate a Riversong? 

Riversong Guitars are the only acoustic guitars that can be intonated.  The adjustments are done under string tension and use the innovative Neck-Thru construction.  This adjustment is a little more advanced than most of our easy adjustments and should be done by a Riversong Technician. They will simply move the neck system in and out of the pocket in the plane of the strings until the right intonation is achieved for your playing style. If your guitar goes sharp up the neck, simply move the neck out until the strings are in tune at the 12th fret. If you are unsure we are happy to help you with the adjustments.

Are Cases Included?

Pacific Series guitars come with a gig bag with exception of the P2P which comes with a rigid soft case G2 Series guitars come with a hardshell case.  There are hardshell case available for Pacific guitars in Accessories section.

What is Included With My Order?

Every guitar that leaves our shop goes through a multi-point inspection. We adjust all guitars for optimum playing setup and final assembly is done in our Canadian custom shop.  Every guitar comes with a neck angle and truss rod 5/32” wrench tool, a set of Riversong Wooden Guitar Picks, a “Welcome to the Riversong Family” package with warranty information, “Care and Feeding” instructions, “How to Adjust” sheet, Intro to guitar book, gig bag or case, and a lifetime supply of fun guitar playing!

Do You Build Custom Guitars? 

We have the finest craftsmen in our Custom Build Shop.  Challenge us to your idea, our goal is to build the worlds’ best guitars using the finest materials. We search high and low for amazing and unique tonewoods.  Our guitar builders love custom guitars, whether its substituting woods or creating complete one-off guitars we are always excited to talk about your idea for a cool build. We do have some custom pieces in stock but if you are looking for that special guitar just contact us orders@RiversongGuitars.com and we can help you find one.

How Long Does It Take For a Custom Build? 

Custom guitars are built in a queue system in parallel to our artist program.  Please allow 6-12 months for a custom build as we often have many orders already in the queue.  We love building and will make your guitar as fast as quality will allow us to.

Do You Build Left-handed Guitars?

Yes, we offer Left-handed guitars in our G2 Series and Custom Build Shop. 

How Long Will it Take to Receive My Order? 

In stock orders ship next business day. We supply tracking numbers.  As we are from a small town, sometimes there is a small delay in the guitar getting onto the truck, but rest assured we are getting your guitar out as quickly as possible after the multi point QC check is done.

How Long Will it Take to Receive My Wooden Pick Order?

Guitar picks are shipped by the postal system in a regular envelope.  Generally, how long it takes to receive a letter in the mail is the same timeline as our guitar picks.  There is no tracking number and depending on the country may take several weeks to arrive. If you would like to receive picks by courier in a guaranteed amount of time, we are happy to accommodate this at an extra charge.  Please contact us at orders@RiversongGuitars.com

Why Did Riversong Want to Develop a New Acoustic Guitar Design? 

Our goal is to progress the state of acoustic designs.  Growing up in his family's music store, Mike Miltimore and his dad saw their fair share of recurring problems with traditional guitar designs: neck resets, 14th fret humps, having to sand saddles, strength VS resonance, cracking tops, uneven resonances, dead notes, nut issues from string side pull, lifting bridges, imploding guitars… 

...the list goes on.  In the end, Mike just wants to build the best guitar he can and loves to think about innovative ways to make instruments that will be cherished instrument by beginners and pros alike! 

What is the Warranty?

Limited Lifetime Warranty check out the policy on our Warranty page.