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Fender 'A' neck-what's the skinny?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by emblymouse, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    Ha! Skinny! Get it!


    I need info from those who know about these 'A' necks.

    What era were these offered?
    Is there a difference between these and a regular Jazz neck of the same vintage?
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I thought A necks were jazz necks? Isn't the standard practice A = 1.5, B = 1.625, C = 1.75?
  3. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    I believe fender used to stamp their neck sizes on the neck in the '60s. An A neck was 1.5 inches at the nut. Standard in those days was a B neck at 1 5/8".
  4. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    My bad, I was referring to these when they show up on Precisions. Same difference?
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    They used "A", "B", and "C" to designate nut width for Precisions. The original was the C size (DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH THE "C SHAPE" NECK), a full 1.75" wide like the VS '62 and '57 Precision. At some point the standard width became 1.625" which is the "B" neck. But the dealer could order a Precision with the "C" neck or a more narrow 1.5" neck called the "A" neck. But a maple "A" neck Precison would still have dots and no binding so it wouldn't be just a Jazz Bass neck. I wouldn't even bet that it'd be the same contours around the back of the neck as a Jazz bass from the same era.

    This gets confused because there are some terms for neck contours that used to be informal which FMIC started using, which include the "C" shape. Get a copy of Dan Erlewine's "Complete Guitar Repair". It's got a dsicussion of the different neck destignations in it.

    At any rate, an A neck Precision was a special order. If the dealer just ordered a Precision it came with a 1.625" nut width.
  6. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Good call.
  7. Yep, it appears to have happened quite often in the '70s.
    I have a '75 A-necked P.
    Some fella ordered it and never picked it up ..... my gain, his loss!
    Course, for years, I thought ALL P-basses came with that neck!
  8. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Most of them seem to be concentrated between 1970 and '77 or '78.
    Maple A necks are much more common than RW on eBay.
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The original advertised neck width at the nut for an "A" neck was 1-7/16" and it remained so well into the '70s. It changed to 1-1/2" later. One of my pet peeves about the AVS '62 and '76 J basses is that they don't have the narrower nut width.
  10. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I think there may be someone here with some insight for me.

    I had always assumed my 1969 Jazz bass had a 1.5" nut. After playing it for 33 years I had occasion to measure the nut, and was somewhat surprised to find it has a 1 3/8" nut. I didn't think they made them that narrow. Anybody shed any light on this? Was this standard, or oddball?

    Thanks in advance, James
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    That's the first one I've ever heard of that is smaller than the original 1-7/16 "A" width. I carry a 2 inch piece of ruler in my wallet and I've measured each pre '80 J bass I've encountered and often wondered if there were any that are smaller than 1-7/16" out there. I've even asked on other boards but your's is the first mention I've seen...Thanks.

    Could you post a picture?
  12. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Sure. Unfortunately, to get the picture in focus, and up close, the lens adds some distortion, making it look like the nut is even smaller. You'll just have to trust me when I say, in real life, it's dead to nuts on, 1 3/8". I suppose I should take off the neck and see what markings it has. I'm somewhat fearful of messing with this bass like that.

    Now I finally understand why the custom neck I had made at USACG, supposedly copying my Jazz neck, always looked wider. I used to think it was an optical illusion. I'm a genius........
  13. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw

    Just to clarify, were you referring to the width of the nut itself being 1-3/8" or the width of the neck at the nut (including the binding)?

    I ask because in the top picture the width of the neck at the nut (including the binding) looks to be about 1-7/16". When Fender added binding to the neck they trimmed the nut so it fit inside the binding.
  14. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Yes, this measurement is just the nut, which also corresponds to the fingerboard, or the actual playable area. I assumed the binding isn't included because you can't play on the binding. When you measure from the outer edge of the bindings, it measures 1 1/2".

    This wouldn't be the first time I've been confused about something simple :)

  15. Btone


    May 5, 2001
    FWIW, my A necked precision measures 1.453 inches (?) or 36,91 mm by nut.

  16. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I think it makes sense that the measurement includes the binding. On an unbound neck, you don't use the very edges of the fretboard either.

    The important measurement is how wide the neck is, which determines the feel in the hand, not the nut width, which can obviously vary.
  17. Colonel_Claypoo

    Colonel_Claypoo Steve Harris nut

    Oct 24, 2007
    does anybody know which width was common on p-necks that were built in '67 or '69? were there 1.75" nuts at that time?
  18. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    a necks where on the old ones lol
  19. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    When you are talking about an A,B, C neck the measurement at the nut is only one part of the description, because the contour on the back can vary on all those nut widths. I owned a 74 jazz that had a "u" shape contour, while I had a 71 Precision that had a "c" shape contour(great neck) The width at the nut was 1 1/2" on both. Recently I owned one of the MIM 70's reissues jazz and the contour was not "c" shaped, again more chunkier like a "U". So width and contour both need to be known. Some of the early 50's P I've played had almost a "V" shape. I am not really sure what the standard is now?:meh:
  20. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw

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