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Do neck plates have a purpose?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kabal, May 15, 2011.

  1. The obvious purpose is to spread the load over a wider area and prevent the screws from sinking into the wood of the body. Mass produced bodies vary greatly in density.
  2. OnederTone

    OnederTone Aguilar Everywhere Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Thornton, CO
    I think I know where you're coming from on this probing noitseuq (that's question spelled backwards).

    Sir, I like the cut of your jib.
  3. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    I've yet to see a bass without a neck plate that didn't have washers under the screw heads anyway (usually nylon I'm guessing), so I can't image it's that big of a deal. Like so many design aspects of most instruments, probably more nostalgia/habit than anything else. Plenty of builders that no one could accuse of being cheap or inconsistent don't use neck plates.

    There's got to be someone out there right now selling a solid brass or stone neck plate for an outrageous sum, claiming it improves sustain and tone...right?
  4. What's the best neck plate for metal?
  5. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY

    Fender USA, CIJ, MIJ, MIM, Squier Japan, Squier USA, Squier Korea. There surely are others.

    So many basses (guitars too, even more for that matter) made in so many countries at so many factories with so many levels of quality. But they all need to be Fenders. Take the guess work out. Throw a stamped plate at it and call it a day.
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    "CIJ, MIJ, MIM, Squier Japan, Squier USA, Squier Korea" didn't exist when neck plates came about; either that Leo was truly one hell of a visionary or that's not the reason for neck plates.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    IMO, the neckplate may have been the least expensive/easiest to implement solution at the time.
  8. lhoward


    Apr 27, 2003
    Western NY State
    A less expensive method would be to visit a machine shop and buy some pieces of brass, bronze, stainless steel and whatever else they may have and make your own replacement neck plates and evaluate the difference in sound/tone.
  9. BLDavis

    BLDavis Old enough to know better.....too young to care! Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    D***, you beat me to it. :D
  10. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Haha! Looks like I put the cart before the horse!
  11. Kabal


    Nov 8, 2007
    Ok one last bump/question related to this...

    So the plates/washers don't necessarily have to be metal? It just needs to be some kind of hard material? Would something like ebony or even a very hard rubber work?

    I don't know if this makes a difference but the holes in my bass's body are counter sunk

    Since the "pull" of the screws is deeper in the body and since they sit flush with the surface of the finish instead of on top, would this still require some kind of buffer?
  12. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    Yes, you must use ferrules that serve that purpose.
    STEWMAC.COM : Neck Mounting Ferrules
  13. Dano and others used washers under the screws, so IMO some kind of means to spread the contact load was perceived as a need.

    It also occurs to me that using that neck plate would be a fast way to locate the screw hole positions. Leo was a production line manufacturer and back in the day, there was no automation to drill the holes. I wouldn't be surprised if the neck plate was also used as a guide to mark the holes for the neck screws...and once they were drilled and screws inserted, no need to remove screws and add washers. That's just a guess....I've been wrong once before. :p
  14. Sleeq


    Feb 13, 2008
    What's the best neck plate for metal?
  15. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Yeah, that's probably right, but my point is... it wasn't because Fenders were produced in other countries.
  16. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Dano also used more of a pan head screw rather than Fender's oval head screw.
  17. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    I'm certain you're right about load distribution but, Turnaround's post about plates made of "bell bronze" has a certain ring to it... LOL
  18. Big Brother

    Big Brother

    Feb 13, 2011
    San Diego
    Roving sub-demon
    It's not the metal that matters so much as its oxygen content. Bell-Bronze works because its oxygen coefficient is similar to colloidial silver, but nothing beats cadmium for pure tone and sustain.
  19. slaphappychappy


    May 25, 2011
    yeah.... all i know is that if you lose the neck plate, and put in washers instead there seems to be alot more movement at the neck joint. so you then hop on the internet and buy another one which solves this problem. speaking from personal experience.

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