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switching Fender neckplates

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dougjwray, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Hello everyone,
    I read through the archives and got some help, but I'd like to restate the question if you'll bear with me.
    I'd like to replace the neckplate on my Fender Jazz with another Fender neckplate (long story, but basically I'm replacing a modern blank one with a "period correct" one to restore it to its original glory... they're both genuine Fender neckplates, standard size & shape, etc.).
    Am I wrong to assume that I simply:
    1) Loosen the strings
    2) Take off the first neckplate
    3) Immediately screw on the new neckplate, making sure the neck/pocket fit is tight and the neck is on straight
    4) Tune up
    Any cautionary tales? Any tips? Do I tighten the screws just until they're pretty tight, or until I feel that if I tighten them any more the shaft of the screwdriver might break off? :^)
    I've thought about removing all the screws but one, swinging the old plate out of the way, then screwing an opposite corner of the new plate on, removing the old plate, swinging the new one into place, and tightening the remaining three screws. Good idea? Am I getting ridiculously obsessive about this whole thing? ;^)
  2. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    I'll be interested to read the responses. I've had several people tell me they take apart every bass they buy as soon as they get them, even new ones. Obviously, that would include taking the neck off. I've done that to some I've bought that weren't in good shape, but not with nice ones. I've been afraid I wouldn't get something back just right.
  3. as long as you're careful, swapping neck plates is no biggy. just lay the bass down on a soft surface, facedown. i always lay mine on my bed. be sure to loosen the strings WAY down. just take the old screws out, and set the new neck plate in place. put the screws back in, let them drop until they wont drop anymore, and screw them in...i usually just use a medium grip on the screwdriver, and tighten until the screwdriver "slips" in my hand once. no need to overtighten.

    just outta curiosity, what design neck plate are you goin with? i'm lookin' a classic "F" design neck plate for my P bass.
  4. bass_fish


    Oct 26, 2006
    the Netherlands
    yup sounds just like what I did...
    make sure you check the alignment before you tighten it all completely down, sometimes the neck shifts a little bit, causing the strings to be closer to one side of the neck, just loosen the screws a little bit(after detuning the strings !) and pull the neck straight into the pocket... and retighten the screws again, and string the bass back up...
  5. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Fine Cut,
    The bass is a "Frankenbass" with a '72 body; after searching, I found a '72 neckplate, which is what I'm installing. (It's an "F" one, with the serial number in the 33xxxx range.)
    There are several websites giving info on Fender serial numbers and dates... just Google "Fender serial numbers."
  6. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Neckplate switches, are quite common, IMHO, both for better and for worse.

    Just be sure that IF you take the neck off, that you lift it STRAIGHT up out of the body and reinstall it the same way. Avoid trying to put the neck in by sliding it into the pocket toward the bridge or moving it from side to side in the pocket. You might crack the finish and perhaps the thin wood around the pocket.

    The thing many Fender owners don't know is that the top of the U of the pocket is narrower that the bottom, and the neck is shaped the same way. If you try to put the neck in from the top of the U, it won't quite fit, but will damage the finish and pocket edges.

    Even if you don't remove the neck, don't let if move around at all. Make sure it is lined up correctly with the strings once the screws are tightened. If the neck isn't straight, loosen the strings and screws and readjust the neck's position, and tighten.

    That is a whole 'nuther topic, but don't over or under tighten the screws.

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