Sheered neck screws. :S

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by awilkie84, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. So, I have a bit of an issue.

    I was using my electric drill to put a Squier P-bass back together. I apparently pulled the wrong neck screws from my parts drawer. I was screwing them into the body & neck. I got them flush with the neck plate & then looked at the bass. It still had a gap between the neck & body. I screwed them down a little tighter & snapped all 4 bolts right above where the threads start.

    So, now the neck & body are stuck together & I have no idea how to separate them without destroying the body & neck. :(

    Any help?
  2. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    That totally sucks.

    Best way I know of is to use these:

    You can also make your own with a piece of copper tubing thick enough for the screws to fit inside. Just use a file, or dremel to create the serrations.

    You need to get go down far enough to get hold of the screw and use a plier/vice grip to unthread them.

    Afterward, use a piece of hardwood dowel to fill the hole.

    All the best,

  3. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    eureka, ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    After the first one broke, you kept doing what you were doing?

    Post photos, there may be a way out of this FUBAR.
  4. Honestly, I didn't notice they broke until after I had screwed them down. :(

    I'll take some pics, but it's quite difficult to see what's going in, as they're down deep inside the body holes. :S
  5. Umm,, (clears throat and looks at you sideways), yeah.

    To separate the neck from the body you'll need to 'rock' the neck back in the pocket a bit, to create a gap at the front of the pocket, into which you slip a credit card or similar. Then rock the neck the other way, which causes it to bear down on the card and thus begin the process of prying the neck up. Repeat as many times as necessary, with progressively thicker/more cards. Don't be tempted to jam a screwdriver in there and start prying because that'll make a mess of things.
    Once freed you'll probably be able to remove the screws with locking pliers.

    You made two mistakes: (1) The screws were too big-they should never interfere with the body clearance holes, at least not significantly and (2) You didn't stop after the first one broke.
  6. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Get a drift just a hair smaller than the screws and use it to knock the screws out of the body. Since they are also in the neck you will need to take them all out together. A couple taps on each in turn until you get them free of the body. Once you have them free of the body, get a big set of vise grips and back the screws out of the neck.

    If the screws you used were much larger than the screws you took out, you will now need to do some work to your neck to get the correct screws to grab and hold well enough to keep the neck in place under string tension, or get some threaded inserts and use machine screws. Y may also want to fill and drill the holes in your body if they are too wallowed out.

    Considering how far you went before you decided to seek help, it might be best to just take your bass to a competent tech and let them sort it out.

    For future reference, the neck screws should slip through the holes in the body. If you are having to drive the screws through the body, enlarge the holes just enough to allow the screws to slip through.
  7. Nah, I'll do it myself. It's a Squier Affinity FWIW. :p Learning experience. :D

    I had always thought that the screws should just slip through the body & bolt to the neck, but even the stock screws on this bass threaded into the body.

    I'll try what you said & knock them out. I should have a piece of metal around I can use as a drift. I'm already familiar with hole plugging, so I'll probably do that to the body & neck, too. Being that it's an inexpensive bass, I don't think adding machine screws & threaded inserts would make economic sense. :)
  8. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
  9. I looked at it, thanks. :)

    That tool looks like it would get the job done, but the reviews on it are terrible! A lot of people complaining about a broken bit within seconds of using the tool.

    Would something like this work?

    I really only have to get through the body, right? I can remove it using vice grips from the neck once I get it detached from the body.
  10. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    Maybe not the intended use but in theory it would be fine.

    And yes once they are separated it would be time for the vise grips.
  11. Cool. I only ask because those are available locally and seem to have better reviews than the other tool, which would have to be a special order & has been reviewed as prone to breaking easily.
  12. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I have personally used 1/4" copper tube and cut teeth in it with snips to take out broken headstock screws.

    You may not have to go all the way through the body, just deep enough to let you grab the screw end with pliers/vice grips.

    It works great.

  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    True dat, but to save time and expense it is common for factories to clamp the neck and body together and shoot the screws through both, cutting threads in both. Problem is, its hard to get them back together without ending up with the gap you experienced leading to this catastrophe.

    It will be a good thing to drill out the body so the screws pass through when you get it apart. I recommend getting the mentioned screw extractor
    and that will clear the body holes. Drill just through the body and pull it apart. remove the screws from the neck with vice grips and you're ready to put it back together if you have new screws of the same size.
  14. So a 1/4" works for the tuner screws. So, I should go with a 3/8" for the neck screws, or is that too big?
  15. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I would take longest broken screw head with me to the store and buy the smallest tube the screw will go inside. The smaller the hole you drill, the better the neck plate will hide it.

    Looking on the interwebs, Fender neck screws are listed as #8 x 1 3/4. #8 should fit in a 1/4" tube.

    Remember try to get the screw out without going all the way through the body. Go just deep enough to get a solid hold on the screw shank and try to twist it out w/vice grips/pliers.

    Then you will need to cut a piece of hardwood dowel to fill the hole you've cut out. Wood glue it in, let it dry and then use a drill to put a hole through that plug, starting from the other side.

  16. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    .. with the screw heads and the neck plate removed, how far down into the body are the (broken) screws? .. if they are well down into the body (meaning only a short distance to the other side) it may be easier (and cheaper) just to drill into the broken screws with a regular steel bit just slightly larger diameter than the screws, and lift the body off .. that will give you the correct size holes for clearance on the body next time you install, and then just back out of the neck with vice-grips (as mentioned), leaving you no plugging or extra steps afterwards ... make sure you masking tape over your pups with all this going on, so you dont attract little metal shavings into the magnets though ...
  17. Good call on taking the screw heads with me. I'll be sure to do that.

    That's an idea, too. I'll check the distance on them, I think they're about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the body.

    Luckily, no masking tape needed. The body's bare, save for the bridge.
  18. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    That's what I was getting at. You don't need to plug the body, the screws should pass through the body, only threading into the neck when you're done. As long as the replacement screws are a good match they'll thread into the neck nicely.

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