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Neck Heel vs Body Pocket

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Louden Lowe, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. So I'm changing necks on my MIM PBass and it's obvious that I'm going to have to do some "work" to get the neck sitting right. I've already tried raising the bridge to as high as it can go and tried an extreme shim, but the strings are still too close to the fretboard. I'm guessing that the neck heel is too deep (thick), or the pocket is too shallow. I'm wondering which to sand down, the neck heel OR the bottom of the pocket? My gut tells me that since I'm dealing with a Jaguar neck on an MIM body, that it would be better to modify the pocket, since the MIM cost me less than the Jag, but I was hoping to get some opinions or suggestions. Thanks.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Just in case you don't get the answer here, try posting this in the Luthier's Corner subforum, as that's where to find the experts in this sort of thing. :)
  3. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I posted a similar query here
    and the general response seemed to be Modify The Neck...the reason being you're more likely to want to swap necks on a body you like, so you want to leave the body's neck pocket universal (compatible w/ a wide variety of aftermarket replacement necks).

    The funny thing is, I also posted my same query over on the Unofficial Warmoth forum http://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=7690.0
    and the general responses seemed split between Modify The Neck (as above) and Modify The Body...the reason being you're more likely to want to swap bodies on a neck you like, so you want to leave the neck heel universal (compatible w/ a wide variety of aftermarket replacement bodies).
  4. krzysztof


    Jan 12, 2008
    Before you start(if you havn't already) Have you tried modding the Bridge? By this I mean raising the whole unit. To do this all you really need is a bit of plastic about 1.5-2mm thick(depending how high you want the bridge) and simply just cut it to fit with the shape of your bridge (I used the bottom of an ice cream tub). Take off the bridge, slide the plate under, and just screw the bridge back on. you might want to pre-drill the bridge screw holes aswell. I think this method was also used with some early fenders too.
    Good luck solving your problem
  5. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Shimming the bridge, as already mentioned, is good option.

    You could also just shim the headstock end of the neck pocket (not the whole pocket) to give you a more workable neck angle, but it might look and/or feel funny playing it.

    I wouldn't sand or route the neck pocket or the neck heel; leaving all the wood on both pieces will allow you to reassemble it stock if you want to later while leaving the replacement neck unaltered.
  6. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    Shimming the bridge will affect the contact area of the bridge against the body, especially if you use plastic, which will absorb the strings' vibrations - not an awful lot but it may affect tone and sustain. It's a poor solution for ill-fitting parts and will be visible. Use metal if you really have your heart set on doing that, but I wouldn't do it to one of my guitars, not even my beater.

    Figure out whether the body or neck is more important to you, take an honest assessment of your tools and skills and choose which to modify. Personally I'd rout the neck pocket in the body.

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