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How tight should a bolt on neck be in the neck pocket?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kraig99, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. How tight should a bolt on neck be when put into the neck pocket on the body? Should it be able to slide in and out easily (if not bolted in) or should it be wedged in fairly solidly so that it would stay in even without the bolts. The reason I ask this is that I have purchased a body and neck that I am going to put together, but the neck is slightly wider then the pocket it has to fit into, meaning it will require some sanding, but I am not sure how much is necessary. Thanks in advance for any replies.
  2. I prefer a tighter fit, although I don't think it absolutely has to be. I've seen several basses of all price ranges that don't have the tighest neck poctet, and some cheap basses with very tight neck pockets.

    But if your neck doesn't fit in the pocket, I would sand (or very carefully route) the neck pocket, not the neck itself.

    Just my .02
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think it's probably easier to sand the neck uniformly than the neck pocket. I generally make my bolt-on necks plump and sand them down to fit.

    Wood can shrink and expand with humidity changes. If the neck pocket is terribly tight during the dry season, you might end up with cracks in the wet season. Try to get it so the neck slides comfortably in and out of the pocket.
  4. You're the pro! :D

    I thought it would be harder to sand the neck because it would cause the fretboard to overhang the bulk of the neck.

    I've assembled and disassembled all my basses, and a few franken basses over the years, and I've only had to adjust 1 bass, and even that was only by a fraction of an inch. But generally speaking, none of them had a really tight fit, snug, but not tight to the point where it was hard to get on and off.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I guess I should have said that when the bass is in progress, you can generally take a 64th or less off of each side and just incorporate the changes throughout the neck without any problems.

    If the neck is finished, or if the fit is extremely tight, then the way to go is to widen the pocket. It's pretty hard to sand the inside of a pocket evenly, though. I'd probably do it with a router and a template guide if it were more than a 64th. A router should keep the walls of the pocket straighter and cleaner than hand sanding.