Fender MIM mystery headstock hole

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mellowgerman, May 24, 2020.


  1. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I took in this Fender MIM Jazz bass some time ago. I'm not really a long-scale guy, but this one is a gem. It just plays so well compared to a lot of off-the-shelf MIMs and I love the nice woodgrain and super dark rosewood fretboard, combined with the black finish. It dates back to 2001, at which time I used to drool over these in musiciansfriend catalogs but my middle-school budget and newbie lack of skills made them out of reach then.

    Anyway, being that it was mostly an impulse nostalgia acquisition I've only picked it up to play now and then, but until yesterday I never noticed that there seemed to be some kind of hole peeking out from under the back of the E string tuner. Today I popped the tuner off to see and sure enough this looks like a factory-original routed hole of some sort. It's super clean and perfectly centered. The guy I got this bass from hardly ever used it and mostly just had it sitting in a gig bag for the last 18 years, so I know it wasn't some kind of DIY mod.

    Has anybody come across one of these before? Doesn't bother me at all, I'm just curious what the purpose of it may have been. Some kind of router guide?

    Using the TB search didn't turn anything up, besides some posts talking about drilling a hole underneath the tuner to try and move a dead-spot, but I'm pretty positive this is factory-original.

    hole1.jpg

    hole2.jpg
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  2. Bent77

    Bent77 Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    But doesn't pass through the front?

    I could speculate, but have no honest answer
     
    mellowgerman likes this.
  3. Hiya,

    I'm going to say it's an index hole for the CNC machining of the neck. When the neck is moved between stations of assembly, the hole mates to a pin on the jigs so that the neck is in the same position as to the tool head so measurements and thus tolerances don't vary between machines. G&L's have a small index hole on the back of the head stock that is plugged with a dowel, I call it "the freckle"
     
  4. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Bent, yup it's only about half the depth of the headstock.

    Tomd, I think that's about the same thing that I was thinking too, but I don't know enough about those machines to state it in proper terminology. That said, I've had quite a few MIM Fenders and I'm pretty nit-picky so I definitely would have noticed this before...

    Does anybody know if they did this for a certain number of years or batches? Again, it doesn't bother me per se, I'm just curious to understand my instruments as thoroughly as possible
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  5. underwhelmist

    underwhelmist

    Nov 16, 2018
    UK
    Next time I change strings I’m going to see if I have the same on my 97 MiM p. I believe there might also be one on the body under the pickguard, near the lower horn.
     
  6. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Indeed, the one under the pickguard has been on every MIM Fender that I've owned. I've just never had the headstock hole before.

    Thanks again for any and all responses to this thread
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  7. BassFishingInAmerica

    BassFishingInAmerica

    Jul 24, 2014
    9E10DE20-16AD-4852-A59C-9FC66DA8A2EB.jpeg I thought that Fender might make a bass tuner similar to this tuner, where a single pin fits the hole in the headstock.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  8. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I don't think I've seen pegged tuners like that on an MIM bass, plus this hole is only underneath the E string tuner
     
    Bent77 likes this.
  9. BassFishingInAmerica

    BassFishingInAmerica

    Jul 24, 2014
    Okay, I was assuming it was under every tuner.
     
    mellowgerman likes this.
  10. I had the same thing on a '98 MIM Precision I used to own. I thought it was odd at the time, but assumed it was left over from a mod or something (the bass was secondhand). A CNC guide makes more sense.
     
    mellowgerman and Thegrandwazoo like this.
  11. Thegrandwazoo

    Thegrandwazoo Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    West Virginia
    My guess is a CNC index hole as well, but I can't say for sure. Just under the one tuner?
     
    mellowgerman likes this.
  12. Thegrandwazoo

    Thegrandwazoo Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    West Virginia
    Oops. Shoulda read the whole thread, haha!
     
  13. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Cool! That right there is enough confirmation for me. Sounds like it was a CNC guide then, at least for a period of time. My first thought was some kind of mod, but it's so perfectly centered and clean. Under closer inspection, it does look like it was made before the finish was applied
     
  14. BassFishingInAmerica

    BassFishingInAmerica

    Jul 24, 2014
    image.jpeg These CNC holes popping up in hidden places is getting out of control.
    This just came up in the Fender Aerodyne thread. How would you like to pull the tuners off, in order to replace with something lighter, and see this.
     
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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