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View Full Version : Threaded Neck Inserts + Machine Screws


Ronsonic
05-11-2013, 09:40 AM
Is there a consensus here on the goodness of using neck inserts and machine screws to mount bolt-on necks?

Are there recommendations?

Has anyone tried these? Any good? Too Cheap?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-SETS-Threaded-Guitar-or-Bass-Neck-Insert-SS-SCREW-Tone-Sustain-DIY-Luthier-/261184313025

Thanks for any infos.

John Coloccia
05-11-2013, 09:46 AM
I don't think there's a general consensus. In my opinion, they're generally unnecessary so I generally don't use them.

claudel
05-11-2013, 12:36 PM
Here's a great little essay...

http://www.philtone.com/inserts.html

I like 'em. I install them on all my bolt-necks myself with hand tools.

Gotta cut that pilot hole straight and properly sized...

These inserts

http://www.reidsupply.com/Detail.aspx?itm=303-3

seem to work much better than the brass ones.

Some folks use the 8-32 internal ones and say they're large/strong enough...

Ron Thorn
05-11-2013, 08:11 PM
I STRONGLY recommend using Anti-seize on the screw threads of that ebay linked kit, this will prevent galling.

Lolaviola
05-11-2013, 09:53 PM
They would be handy if you had to field-strip your guitar and stow it in a knapsack after every gig.

1radicalron
05-12-2013, 02:47 AM
I have a decent collection of Boutique Tele style Guitars. One of my paersonal favorites is a Melancon Vintage T style Guitar that uses the Threaded Neck/ Machine Screws. The resonance and sustain on this particular Guitar is just awesome.

RCM78
05-12-2013, 10:55 PM
My co guitarist's main guitar is an early 80's Strat with a 3 screw neck. This guy is pretty rough on guitars and the abuse made the neck loose in the pocket. Phil Jacoby refretted the guitar and installed machine screw inserts to reset the neck. It's rock solid now...

None of my bolt ons have these and I don't feel they need them but if something were to loosen the neck it's nice to know these are available.

walterw
05-12-2013, 11:05 PM
since regular wood screws are already strong enough to bend the corners of a neck plate in and crush the wood underneath, i don't see the point.

(that is, unless you're bill kirchen and routinely take your tele apart to stow it for flights.)

Eagle1
05-13-2013, 09:43 AM
Only if the neck comes off all the time.

NoahL
05-13-2013, 10:17 AM
Okay, this thread brings up a buncha questions I have about bolt-on necks. I've been taking note of people's opinions for a long time, and they're all over the map. To whit:

Some people fret about the fit in the pocket while others say "a gap here or there is no problem." Well, if we're depending on the connection between two pieces of wood to transmit resonance, why is ANY void acceptable? In fact, why bother with time-consuming set necks on any guitar?

Ok, if voids on the sides or the butt are acceptable, that means that the important contact is where neck and body sandwich together. If so (or regardless), why do we routinely make shims out of soft or sub-optimal materials like guitar picks, business cards or a torn off section of a matchbook? Sounds like sonic insulation to me.

And by the same token, if a tightly sandwiched neck is a good thing, why not optimize it with hardened neck plates, hardened and tightly machined screws and inserts, and a ton of pressure (or at least as much as the surrounding wood can take)?

I'm ranting, but conventional wisdom about bolt-on necks seems to be less consistent and less scientific than for most other spots on the guitar.

Baxtercat
05-13-2013, 10:56 AM
...don't forget the school of thought saying loosen the bolts a bit, tune the strings, then retighten the bolts.

All I know is a securely attached two-piece guitar—along w/ a solid bridge—gives a great sound...and I have a closet full of 'em.
Props to Leo and the boys for bolting a maple neck to a slab of wood.

MojoMonster
05-13-2013, 10:58 AM
Ok, if voids on the sides or the butt are acceptable, that means that the important contact is where neck and body sandwich together. If so (or regardless), why do we routinely make shims out of soft or sub-optimal materials like guitar picks, business cards or a torn off section of a matchbook? Sounds like sonic insulation to me.
Rant on, bro. :)
IIRC, Dan Erlewine agrees with you and suggests making shims from hardwood.
I think "sub-optimal" materials are used because they are convenient and cheap, period.

I'm ranting, but conventional wisdom about bolt-on necks seems to be less consistent and less scientific than for most other spots on the guitar.
To me, this kind of thing... this "fine tuning" of conventional guitar-building methods is akin to the fine tuning a race car to a specific track.
For the daily commute driver a shim made from a pick and neck screws versus neck bolts or painted versus unpainted cavities or a plastic versus a bone nut are perfectly fine. It gets me to and from work without too much fuss.

If I'm Joe Professional Guitarist there's going to be a whole 'nuter level of acceptable because this isn't just the thing that gets me to and from work, this is the tool with which I do my work.

IMO, whether or not these mods are good or bad depends on the guy playing the guitar.

The fact of the matter is that from an economic standpoint, neck screws, plastic nuts and cheap shims are acceptable.

Personally, bolt or screw, I prefer grommets and a contoured heel to anything else.

John Coloccia
05-13-2013, 11:22 AM
re: gaps, resonance, theories and everything else

I recommend people listen with their ears and not worry about theoretical this or that. The most difficult time I have is educating customers to listen with their ears. They don't even trust their ears anymore because of what they read online. It's constant, "Yah, but.....yah, but".

me: "What do you think...do you like it?"
them: "It sounds great, but I read blah blah blah about it online"
me: "It sounds great though, right? Plays nicely? It's what you wanted?"
them: "Oh yeah, it's great but....."

Use your ears and trust them. No science necessary. It either sounds good or it doesn't. Hey, if it makes such a big difference, how come no one ever ADDS a shim to get exactly the tone they want? "Oh yah, there was way too much resonance...almost sounded like a hollow body. I added a neck shim to get it under control. Sounds nice and tight now." I think we know why.

BTW, as far as I know, Erlewine suggests a hardwood, full length, shim to keep the neck from developing a little hump over the years from the little gap. It also looks nicer if there's no gap. These are both good reasons to use a full length shim.

NoahL
05-13-2013, 11:32 AM
Interesting thoughts. I saw Willie's daughter, Paula Nelson, give a concert this Friday night. What a talent she is, and what a fine band. We talked to her guitarist, Landis Armstrong, afterwards, and he talked about the Strat that's been his only guitar for 15 years. He carries a spare, but only because if they're doing a short set as the opening act he doesn't have the luxury of changing a string on stage. But he said, "It's nothing like my main guitar, and in fact, I'm 100 percent sure that most Strats are pretty lousy guitars. You have to look and look and look until you find a really good one." This is MojoMonster's "Joe Professional Guitarist" speaking. And it jibes with what John C. says above, in a way.

John Coloccia
05-13-2013, 11:46 AM
"It's nothing like my main guitar, and in fact, I'm 100 percent sure that most Strats are pretty lousy guitars. You have to look and look and look until you find a really good one."

ROFL. :spit

I'm not sure I agree that they're mostly lousy, but I know exactly what he means. Alot of them really do have their own character. I think they've somewhat gotten a bit more generic....maybe consistent is a better word....in the last few years, but I remember a time where I'd play a dozen or more looking for that one that turned me on, and they really were all quite different.

Noone You KNow
05-13-2013, 04:33 PM
Alot of them really do have their own character.... but I remember a time where I'd play a dozen or more looking for that one that turned me on, and they really were all quite different.

Just like every other type of guitar on the planet. No exceptions.

John Coloccia
05-13-2013, 05:47 PM
I don't know. I think Gibsons and PRSs tend to sound more consistent. Ibanez too, for example. I think humbuckers tend to do that to any guitar.

walterw
05-13-2013, 09:15 PM
i'm kinda inclined the other way on this; i've probably played and set up thousands of american standard strats and teles (essentially unchanged since the late '80s) by now, and aside from the occasional defective neck or whatever, i can't say i've ever seen a "dog", one that was mechanically and structurally OK but just "bad" sounding; they all sound like they should as far as i can ever tell.

for that matter, i've never run into a les paul that couldn't be made to sing with the right pickups, wiring, and setup.

heck, if the design is sound, i'm not really sure what a "dog" is.

NoahL
05-15-2013, 02:59 PM
Interesting thread! I can understand where a pro player would attach himself to one guitar and all others would pale in comparison; he has to believe in the magic of that one guitar. And I can see where a pro luthier would feel that all guitars can sound good; he has to believe in his ability to make that happen. No one's wrong, although "lousy" might an overstatement on the player's part and the luthier does have the benefit of a larger data set to draw his conclusion from!

I make this point now and then in here: It surprises me that the bigger guitar stores don't do a better job of setting up their instruments and don't change the strings on them. I've seen expensive Teles at GC with rusty strings and pots that spin forever. Maybe most customers don't A/B axes or have sharp ears, but I wonder if the store hired a decent young luthier to do nothing but prowl the store all day and make the guitars sound better if they wouldn't make their money back 2x or 3x in stock that doesn't hang on the wall forever.

bluesjunior
05-15-2013, 03:21 PM
Props to Leo and the boys for bolting a maple neck to a slab of wood.
You've got it wrong there mate, Leo and the boys "screwed" a maple neck to a slab of wood, the inserts mentioned in this thread are the "bolts". http://img.thegearpage.net/board/images/icons/icon10.gif

Soapbarstrat
05-15-2013, 04:09 PM
It surprises me that the bigger guitar stores don't do a better job of setting up their instruments and don't change the strings on them.

They'd go insane keeping 100 guitars set-up to perfection. And why add $50.00 plus for that for a proper set-up on every guitar when the customer might end up putting different string gauges on there.
It would be good to have a couple guitars set-up perfectly to show what can be done to any of the other guitars after a thorough set-up.

Tone_Terrific
05-15-2013, 05:12 PM
I've not had the opportunity to try a PRS bolton vs the same model setneck. They do exist with the neck attachment being the only difference, I think.
Anybody done that?

levelfrets
05-15-2013, 05:18 PM
Is there a consensus here on the goodness of using neck inserts and machine screws to mount bolt-on necks?

Are there recommendations?

Has anyone tried these? Any good? Too Cheap?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-SETS-Threaded-Guitar-or-Bass-Neck-Insert-SS-SCREW-Tone-Sustain-DIY-Luthier-/261184313025

Thanks for any infos.

Un-nessessary for some cases but I do recommend them highly for necks that need to be removed for truss rod adjustments. Also adds a sense of quality to a build IMO.

MykeWright
05-16-2013, 07:43 AM
I've not had the opportunity to try a PRS bolton vs the same model setneck. They do exist with the neck attachment being the only difference, I think.
Anybody done that?With very few exceptions, most set neck PRS are mahogany or rosewood necks. Most, if not all bolt/screw-on PRS are maple necks. There's very few set maple neck PRS around (excluding Private Stock), although the latest Artist Package makes that far more likely.

Ronsonic
05-18-2013, 01:41 PM
i'm kinda inclined the other way on this; i've probably played and set up thousands of american standard strats and teles (essentially unchanged since the late '80s) by now, and aside from the occasional defective neck or whatever, i can't say i've ever seen a "dog", one that was mechanically and structurally OK but just "bad" sounding; they all sound like they should as far as i can ever tell.

for that matter, i've never run into a les paul that couldn't be made to sing with the right pickups, wiring, and setup.

heck, if the design is sound, i'm not really sure what a "dog" is.

That's because you can set these things up and blueprint them or adjust to compensate for whatever is out of spec.

Many musicians are a little funny about gear - it's either right the way it comes off the shelf or it's a dog. Not understanding why and how one guitar plays better than another he doesn't know that these things are malleable.

Ronsonic
05-18-2013, 01:43 PM
Un-nessessary for some cases but I do recommend them highly for necks that need to be removed for truss rod adjustments. Also adds a sense of quality to a build IMO.

Y'know, I think that sounds like sense.