Drilling the neck pocket holes larger than the screws?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by standard24, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. standard24

    standard24 Member

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    I have always heard that the neck pocket holes should be larger than the screws that pass through them. So that the only part of the guitar gripping the threads is the heel of the neck itself.

    I've worked on many Fender guitars, and the screws always "thread" through the neck pocket. Not drop through.

    I've never drilled them out for a loose fit. Should I do this, or leave them "as is"?
     
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Definitely do this! If the screw threads into the body it can't pull the neck into the body. In extreme cases it actually functions as a jack screw that prevents the neck from pulling flush to the body.
     
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  3. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    It is surprising how many factory guitars have at least some bind in the holes. Maybe for ease of assembly by people who dont understand the whole thing...? Anyway, any machinist knows you must have clearance in the "thru" hole for proper tightening.
     
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  4. tresspassor

    tresspassor Member

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    And the strange thing is that fender doesn't do this on some guitars equipped with a micro tilt bolt which totally negates that function.
     
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  5. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I agree that the neck screws should slide through the body holes as this prevents potential binding between the two pieces of wood.

    I even take it a step further and slightly countersink the screw holes in the neck. This prevents the little ridge from forming around the holes as the screw enters the wood, which makes for a better wood to wood face contact.
     
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  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    not always, unless you've had a run of bad luck and only encountered the cheap, crappy ones that weren't made right!

    now, they may not be "drop through" but as long as they're at least "push through" or even "tap through with small hammer" that's all that matters, because it means when you tighten them they will not bite into the neck pocket but only into the neck, so as to actually clamp the two pieces together.

    your test is to take the neck off and go ahead and tighten up the screws all the way (i use a power screwdriver because i don't have all day). even if the screws are kinda tight, if they go all the way up into the pocket but then keep turning with a little force, essentially "stripped" in the pocket holes, then you're good.

    if they stop hard in the pocket then those holes need to be opened up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  7. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Typically the only thing that might seem to bind the screws is a bit of finish or polish buildup in the holes on the back of the body. There's no way that material could hold the screw from turning into the neck though so the hole will clear easily during installation.
     
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  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    I imagine many guitars are assembled in a jig that lines up the neck and body then 4 holes are drilled right through the body and into the neck.
    The screws are sent into the holes and all is good, and quick, as it is touched only once and while under pressure. bam! out to the next station.
    Meets QC until someone messes it up.o_O
     
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  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    fixed.
     

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