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First build...first problem: neck joint

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassguitarbubba, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. I'm starting my first guitar build. I'm assembling a P body with a P/J pickup configuration. I bought a finished replacement J neck from Eden Guitar Parts and after measuring it, it measures exactly to Fender's neck specs. So far so good.

    I bought a used unfinished (finish had been stripped) body. It looks like a Fender P body with the P/J pickup configuration. When I received it in the mail I measured the neck cavity. This is what I found compared to Fender specs:

    Spec Neck heel width= 2 1/2"
    Actual Pocket heel width= 2 7/16"

    Spec Pocket Depth= 5/8"
    Actual Pocket Depth= 3/4"

    Spec Pocket Length= 3 7/8"
    Actual Pocket length= 4 1/8"

    I tried to fit the neck into the cavity and, of course, it was about 1/16" too wide. Are the variances in dimensions going to be a problem that canot be overcome? Can I sand the neck pocket to accommodate the larger neck? If sanding will work it makes sense to sand the unfinished guitar v. the finished neck, but I'm asking cause I don't know. That's were you guys come in...:bassist:
  2. The only spec that is a potential problem is the pocket depth. You can make a "squeeze" routing pattern of the neck heel and re-rout the pocket to fit the neck well. I'm thinking you could make a shim to raise the floor of the pocket. I have no idea what the effect on the sound would be, though, given a glue joint twixt the back of the neck and the body, but maybe if you fit and glue it very tightly? Here's pics of a "squeeze" I made last season for a slightly tight(but too much to sand well for me) neck pocket. Its good plywood and bondo. Quick and VERY accurate.
    You might also(after measuring) have to move the bridge the 1/4" south if you can't get it to intone.

  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Is the body drilled for a standard Fender bridge? This could be a deciding factor, since, regardless of the number of frets on your neck and the number of frets of the neck the body was "made for,", the 12th fret must land 17" from the "bridge line," assuming it's a standard 34" scale neck.
  4. There are five holes drilled for the bridge mounting screws. There are also two filled holes where it was drilled for a bridge cover. There are also two holes drilled for a pick up cover and two holes for a thumbrest. It also came with an unmounted pick guard and it lines up perfectly with the holes in the body.

    Is the "bridge line" where the bridge mounting screws are or where the strings go across the saddles?

    I'll take pics and put them up so you guys can see it.
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The bridge line is the un-intonated "virtual" position of the bridge saddles, at or near their full-forward positions.
  6. O.K. thanks. That puts the 12th fret where it should be versus measuring from the bridge mounting holes.
  7. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    Keep the body, ditch the neck... or save it for another project down the line...

    I had a friend who bought one of the EDEN brand necks, it was a baseball bat! and it twisted! fretwork had sharp corners... I think he ended up giving it away...
  8. Really? The Eden neck I bought measures to Fender's specs, looks good, the frets are smooth in the corners and is straight. I'm quite happy with it. Besides, if I got another neck that measures to Fender's specs, I'd still have the same problem.
  9. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    I'm not suggesting you ditch it because its out of spec... the one he got was one of the "vintage" tinted one's. Maybe they've gotten better QC since '03...

    Route the pocket to match the neck, not the other way around.
    maybe if its really close, you could get there with a sanding block and some 80 grit...
  10. Haha...I also got one of the vintage tinted ones with block inlays. I guess I'll know more once it's on the guitar with strings on it.

    I'll try sanding. Based upon the measurements, I have to widen the neck pocket 1/16 inch. That works out to 1/32 on each side. I think that's doable without routing. Besides, I don't have a router.
  11. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    1/16th doesn't sound like much, but that is a bit to sand through...
    Just remember to take your time, and measure, measure, measure...

    I Hope it turns out good for you...
  12. Thanks, me too. I'll remember to take my time and measure. I'm in no rush. I'll put up photos of the project as it moves along.
  13. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    1/32" each side? Sounds like a job for a nice sharp chisel...or am I just old fashioned?
  14. Whatever will work the easiest. This is my first build and my wood working has been limited. Yes, 1/32 on each side. would an electric palm sander work?

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