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Neck heel doesn't butt up to back of pocket...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jbird, May 4, 2010.

  1. jbird

    jbird Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Southern California
    I'm putting a Fender P neck (late 70s?) on an early 80's Fender P-body.
    The holes matched up, the sides of the pocket is snug but the heel of the neck is an eighth of an inch short of the back of the pocket.
    Should I be concerned with this? Will the neck have adequit support, and do I loose any resonance with this setup?
  2. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    I have this on my bass, and if the gap is small enough like that its not an issue unless it bothers you because it is a lot of work to fix. You'll have to do a full set up and fix the saddle distance and stuff but i wouldn't worry. As long as the neck bolts on tightly it will be playable and sound normal!
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I'd like to hear a second opinion on this. I've always been of the impression the butt-end of the neck should fit snugly against the "dead end" of the neck pocket. If not, the total string tension is borne by the 4 mounting screws. If the screw holes align and the scale is right, there's no reason you can't fabricate a shim and place it in the gap.

    Sidenote: saw a photo somewhere where the 4 mounting screws were removed with the bass tuned to pitch. Neck stayed in place, strings stayed in tune. Now that's craftsmanship!

  4. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV

    I dig your sig:

    "20% of the money will buy you 90% of the sound...another 30% of the money will buy you another 5% of the sound...you can't buy the remaining 5% of the sound because nobody can agree about what it is."

    That's the musical equivalent of Zeno's paradox, eh?
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Zapped it from my brother's website: www.unterzuber.com. He can't sue me for using it, either. If he tries, I'll tell Mom.

  6. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    I dig what you're saying about the physics of the situation. But the screws are designed to withstand that force, thats why they are there. If you want to shim the gap its still cool, if you leave it it wont affect the playability of the bass.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, I'm fairly sure that 4 screws can withstand ~200 lbs although this was not the intention of the original design. Again, I'm curious to know if there are addt'l structural shortcomings which are being overlooked. Also, given the ongoing "neckthru vs. bolt-on vs. set-neck" debate, are there compromises in transmission of vibration in witness to the decreased surface contact area? Lastly, how would our more experienced techs handle this?

  8. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I built a test instrument that doesn't even have a neck pocket, just a neck screwed on a board and it works fine. So, for purely aesthetic reasons, I'd fill and redrill the neck screw holes so the neck fits better.
  9. jbird

    jbird Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Southern California
    Thanks for the insights guys
  10. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    It would have greater braceing if it fit snug against the back of the pocket like its supposed to. If your gonna go ahead and use it, I would fill the gap with something that will have same support as solid wood and fit suggly to both back of neck pocket and end of guitar neck.
  11. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Filling the gap is absolutely unnecessary. I would re-drill the holes, just because I'm slightly OCD.
  12. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    Chris could be right Chunger fills the holes with dowels and redrills and put screw inserts in look at his SX builds on this page.
  13. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    If you're going to go to the trouble of refitting/redrilling, etc., going to threaded inserts & machine screws would be a good option. On every bass I've done this to, tone & sustain have been substantially enhanced, more like a neck-through.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    make sure your intonation is right. that '80s body could have been one of their weird variations, designed for a different kind of neck, one with a different number of frets.

    i'd avoid altering the neck, as it's more likely to be "right" than the body is (and likely worth more, too).
  15. jbird

    jbird Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Southern California
    I was able to dial in the intonation ok.

    There's no date on the end of the neck butt.
    Does this sound right for a Fender neck?
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    does it have a serial number on the headstock? by the late '70s, that's where you'd get the date from. "Sxxx...", where "S" means "seventy-" and the first number is the year.

    you could just shove a wood shim in there that's the exact right thickness, so it could take the string pressure directly instead of the screws. done right, you might get a little more sustain.
  17. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    If you ignore the screws, does the neck line up nicely?

    I'm thinking that you can fill the holes and then drill new ones for the neck to line up with the bass.
  18. jbird

    jbird Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Southern California
    I'm relieved to hear that the missing date on the neck butt doesn't mean it's a fake--there is a serial # on the headstock decal.
    So far the neck seems very solid on this bass & after playing it for a while, the tone seems to be fine too. I may give a few of these great suggestions a try just to be sure.
    Thanks again for the help guys
  19. Were you able to decode the serial number to try and figure out what year it is? Probably want to make sure you're not gonna modify something worth vintage $$$.

    I'd go with those who say just to snug it up tight and redrill, but make sure your bridge saddles aren't bottomed out to the rear or else you'll be kind of screwed; you'd have to move the bridge back an equal amount.
  20. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I did a temporary install: '72 Tele neck on a MIJ '51 Reissue. It looked like this:


    Pretty goofy. Not so much from a few feet away, though. And I really loved the way the neck played and sounded. (Especially after I adjusted the intonation. :D)


    So IME anyway an axe will work just fine with a gap like that.

    But if it's going to be a long-term pairing, I'd probably do the extra work & make it fit properly.

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