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Thread: Neck Pocket with PBG-N4RB

  1. #1
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    Question Neck Pocket with PBG-N4RB

    Hey everyone,

    I am very much an amateur builder, and this is my first time attempting to do some of the build from scratch. I'm building the body myself, and using the PBG-N4RB as my neck. Its a Les Paul shape, but I'm just going with a flat top.

    I've run into a snag, and need some advice from those smarter than me, as I can't seem to find a clear answer.

    When routing my neck pocket, A) how deep should it be, and B) do I need to worry about the pocket angle or is it already present on the heel of the neck?

    Sorry if these are dumb questions. Like I said, I'm new to this and kinda learning as I go.

    Appreciate the help and thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome.

    For others reading this, this is a LP-style 24-fret bolt on neck. N4RB neck page

    I can't say definitively, but almost all bolt-on necks have the bottom of the heel parallel to the fretboard. The LP1S was the LP-style kit that had a bolt-on neck and there are a couple shown in this gallery (though there are also some LP1-SS set neck kits in the wrong place there) https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ead.php?t=2234. From what I can see. it doesn't look like theres an angle. As a result, you'll see that the fretboard sits a few mm higher above the body ant the join than the set necks do. The set necks are angled, and the neck binding sits just clear of the pocket, whereas on the bolt-ons, there is a noticeable gap, as the neck sits higher to achieve the required string clearance for the bridge and the pickups that way.

    Pit Bull haven't sold that style of complete kit for a few years now, so there are very few people around who may have got one who are still active here and can say definitely, though if you email Pit Bull they should be able to check and respond quickly.

    As to the "how deep?" question, there is no definitive answer as it all depends on body thickness and the bridge you plan to use. I'd love to give you a simple answer like 22mm or 7/8", but I can't.

    The obvious choice is a TOM (Tune-O-Matic) style bridge, though wrap-overs or Bigsbys are options. A TOM at minimum height sits about 5mm higher from the body than a Fender style bridge, which is one reason for the neck being angled on a LP (as well as the slight archtop hump), in order to get the strings up enough to sit comfortably on the bridge with a low string action. So you really need to work back from the bridge height (include any raised lip on the post insert bushings) as to where the fretboard level needs to be. Probably easiest to draw it out on paper.

    A straight line from the top of the frets will need to hit the bridge (when at minimum height adjustment) at a maximum of 2mm below the top of the saddles, though just touching the tops of the saddles gives more room for errors and adjustment. Any more than 2mm above the tops of the saddles and the bridge will need to be raised a long way from the body to stop the strings sitting on the fretboard, and you never want your bridge too high as it makes everything rather wobbly.

    So after drawing it out, you may find that you do need to use an angled pocket, otherwise your neck will be sitting ridiculously high off the body. Which means either rigging up an angled routing template, or working out a way to hold the body at the appropriate angle to the template (or vice-versa) when routing. Note also that the sides of the neck flare out, so the pocket shape itself will need to be slightly trapezoid, which will be partially disguised by the treble side of the pocket being mainly open. It's easiest to rout the pocket before doing the body cutaway.

    However you could always go with a hardtail, more Fender-like bridge, which would sit lower on the body, like the flat-top Hamers used:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This would reduce the neck height needed for the strings to hit the bridge correctly and will probably reduce the likelihood of needing to rout a pocket with an angled base significantly. You can always use flat rings if using humbuckers for lower pickup height. Or even direct mount them to the body, or use soapbar P90s etc.

    So you'll either have to get the angled neck heel question answered by Pit Bull, or wait until it arrives. A proper LP's body is pretty much 2" deep at the edges (it's actually about 1mm thinner at the neck end than the rear), but obviously you can go thinner if you want to reduce weight. On a Fender Strat (just slightly body depth), the pocket depth is about half the body depth, which leaves a decent thickness of wood for the neck to bolt on to securely. You should end up with something similar, though the higher the neck needs to sit, the less deep the pocket is.

    Don't forget that as the neck's got 24 frets, the neck pickup will need to sit a bit further back than on a traditional 22-fret LP (which may also mean that you decide to enlarge the cutaway for better upper fret access, or move the neck (and bridge, stop bar and bridge pickup) forward in the body to achieve the same thing. Or a bit of both.

    You could round the neck heel off significantly for better access and use insert washers for the neck screws rather than a standard rectangular neck plate, as these allow for a significant level of heel rounding.

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for explaining all this. Really helps a lot. I ended up cutting the neck pocket a little deep anyways, so I'm going to have to put in a shim, so I'll be able to tweak the neck break angle. Assuming my measurements and everything are right (knocking on all the wood I can), I think I'm looking at about a 2-degree angle, which seems to be in the middle of the sweet spot, so hopefully it doesn't need too much fine tuning from there.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Sounds about right.

    Kudos for having a go at making your own guitar body. Be nice to see some pictures, so keep us posted on how it goes.

  5. #5
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    I'm starting my build diary right now!

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