Stripped Screw Head at Neck Plate.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Deepwoods, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Deepwoods

    Deepwoods Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    St. Louis
    I was installing my P bass (SX) neck and did not pre-drill deep enough. The screw head on one of the neck plate screws stripped badly and will not turn with a screwdriver. The neck is not totally seated at that screw connection. What can I do to remove the stripped screw? Any help is appreciated.
  2. ByF


    May 19, 2009
    How far in is the screw? Is it a phillips-head screw? What kind of hand tools do you have?

    There is a tool called an Easy Out:

    That would be the right way. Lacking those tools and skills, you could try the following crude methods:

    Can you grab the screw head with a pair of pliers and back it out? If not, maybe you could use a dremel tool to cut a new slot for a flat blade screwdriver. If that doesn't work, use an electric drill with a bit that's just a little larger than the shank of the screw but smaller than the head of the screw, and drill down through the head of the screw until the head comes off. Then you should be able to remove the plate, and grab the screw with pliers. Throw that screw away and get a new one.

    When using any of the techniques, be very careful you don't run a sharp tool across the finish of your bass. Or through your hand.

    When you put the new screw in, make sure you use a NEW screwdriver, so the edges are not rounded (don't use the same one you used the first time;)).

  3. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    go to one of your car fixing buddies and have him weld a nut on the screw. mask of the rest of the bass, otherwise it will be reliced.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I second these suggestions (edited):

    Just to reinforce those points, be very, very careful if you have to drill. Mask and protect the finish of the instrument - it's very hard to drill in the center of a screw.

    Another option if you can't quite drill off the head would be to get close and use a file to remove the rest of the head - then back all the other screws out and remove the neck plate to get more clearance from the body, and use pliers (perhaps Vise Grips) to turn out the screw.

    Another vote here to use tools in GOOD CONDITION. Never use a screwdriver with a worn or rounded tip on instruments - the chances of rounding off or buggering a screw head are greatly increased by using worn tools.
  5. Steveaux

    Steveaux Safe-Guardian of the Stoopid Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    The Wilds of NW Pa.

    The only "TV" product I've ever seen that actually works as advertised.

    I do this kind of thing for a living (it says "Senior Engineering Technician" on my business cards).

    You can get Grabit's at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.

    This tool works better than any Easy-out I've used. There are sets in my house, my main tool box, and my travel kit.

    I'm not affiliated with these people, just really impressed with how well the tool works.
  6. PrivateHigh


    Jul 19, 2009
    Long Island
    Seems like an easy fix, if it's just a stripped screwhead. Dremel a slot on the head and unscrew it with a flathead driver.
  7. I've done all of these things to extract screws. If you decide to use an Easy out, be very careful, use a little lube and go in small increments. If you over-torque and break an Easy out in the screw, you will compound your problem. If the screw is just damaged and not seized into the thread an Easy out will work, well easy. I've also cut a flat slot in the top and used a flat head. If you are uncomfortable with or don't have a dremel, use a thin metal saw blade and cut one way instead of back and forth.
  8. Deepwoods

    Deepwoods Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    St. Louis
    I bought a double ended bit extractor. I will give it a try when I get back from my trip and post results. Thanks for all of the help!
  9. Here's something everyone has kinda missed: if you can remove the other three screws and can drill the head off the stripped one, you will be able to remove the neck with the headless screw still installed. Easy to then grip it with pliers to remove.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Excellent point! I thought of removing the neck plate to get more clearance - but IF the threads don't catch on the body (they often do) then you would be able to remove the entire neck and have the length of the screw to work with.