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Thread: Neck angle doesn't look right

  1. #11
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    My two Fender Teles have the neck around 7-8mm proud of the body (with no scratchplate fitted).

  2. #12
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    You don't want the saddles sitting too low, otherwise you'll have the grub screws sitting very proud of the saddles and poking into your palm. Ideally you'd have them level with, or just below the level of the top of the saddles.

    A shim doesn't have to be very thick to have quite a large impact, as its height is scaled up by around a factor of 5 (length from bridge to far end of pocket pocket length), so you'd probably want a 1mm shim.

    I'm not a fan of having a shim at the headstock end of the pocket, but as has been described by others, it's easy to do and will give you an idea of how much wood needs to be removed if you then decide to adjust the heel or neck pocket. Personally I think it would be a lot easier to adjust the neck heel, rather then try and make the body end of the neck pocket 1mm or so deeper.

  3. #13
    Thanks Simon. The neck on my tele is sitting at 9-10mm, so it looks like I'm about 2mm too tall. I agree that shaving the heel is the way to go but I'll certainly do multiple measures, calculations and prototypes before removing any bit of wood from the neck.

    Question about the screws: if I do eventually change the neck angle, that will cause the screw to curve by the same amount when exiting the pocket holes and entering the neck's. Would that be a problem? Should the pocket holes be drilled larger than the screw so they drop through?

  4. #14
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    The pocket holes should be just big enough for the screws to fit in without catching the wood. Then when you screw the neck on, the screws are really pulling the neck down into the pocket. If the screw holes are the same size in the neck and body, then there is no guarantee that when the screws are tightened that they stop turning because they are as far into the body holes as they can go, but that there still isn't a very slight gap between the neck and the pocket. The screws will still hold the neck in place, but maybe not as firmly as they could do.

    Also, once the guitar is assembled and strung up to normal tension, then undo each neck screw slightly, probably only a quarter turn, until you hear a small 'crack' from each one (as the neck moves very slightly), then do the screws back up again. This lets the string's tension pull the neck as firmly against the rear of the pocket as they can, giving the best overall contact between the neck and the body as you are going to get. On some guitars, this may do nothing noticeable, but on others it can noticeably increase the sustain. As it take at most 30 seconds to do, costs nothing and won't have any negative effect on the guitar, it's always worth giving it a go.

  5. #15
    According to the internet, fixing the pocket is the right way to go so one can preserve one's neck's standard dimensions. A router would be the right tool for the job. Thing is, at 16mm, my pocket is at the standard depth, while the neck, at 26.5, is 1 mm too tall. So I took the neck to the grinder.

    I masked the heel to about 1 mill short of the bottom as markings and sanded it flat against a sheet of 80G taped to the bench top. It was a bit of a challenge to sand it flat but the end result was quite satisfactory.

    Here are a couple photo of what she is looking like now (with saddles lowered to very reasonable heights):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    PS: in the topic of the pocket holes, I've found this. I will be doing that tomorrow before I can declare this neck business mission accomplished.

    Thank you all for your input.

  6. #16
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'd try for fixing the pocket if the neck angle needed to be increased, as it's (relatively) easy to sand the headstock end of the pocket down a bit and keep the floor of the pocket level.

    But there's no particularly easy way (that I can think of) to sand the body end of the pocket down as evenly without almost certainly creating some unevenness. An experienced woodworker might be able to chisel the wood out, and those with good routing skills might be able to make up a suitable jig, but for the majority of kit builders, altering the neck heel is the easiest way to decrease the neck angle (apart from a shim at the headstock end of the neck heel).

    Good work on your neck heel. All looking great now.

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