Fender Pre-CBS clay dots question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by DBBlues, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    I'm putting together a pre-CBS partscaster, although many of the parts actually came with the neck. The neck, unless it is a fake, is quite rare. In mid 1959, Fender switched from a one-piece maple neck to a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. In 1967, they put a "maple cap neck" in their catalog, meaning a two-piece neck, a maple fretboard on top of another piece of maple. For Stratocasters, that type of neck is most associated with the Hendrix era. Actually, they started making maple cap necks in 1960, and as far as I can tell, there are more Telecasters and basses with this type of neck before '67. Duchossoir, in his book "The Fender Stratocaster," says, (not an exact quote), "Pre-CBS maple cap necks are exceedingly rare [meaning for a Strat]"

    The neck reads 2 FEB 63B and the neck plate (which may have traveled along with the neck) is "L02743."

    This neck is a player. It is worn, it has been refretted with medium jumbos, the decal is a repro, it has double line Klusons instead of single lines, the nut is not original, and there are three cracks in the fretboard. What has me stumped is that the (possibly) clay dots are larger than usual, and there is one on the first fret. Below the rather terrible photo of the neck in question, I have a comparison shot of a 1962 Stratocaster neck, again a maple cap one. I apologize for not having a better shot and more pictures of my neck, I don't have access to my camera now.

    So, the possibly unanswerable question is whether there is any chance that Fender might have fitted larger dots, and put one on the first fret. Did Fender have larger dots for any other instrument (maybe acoustic) in this era? On the "yes" side is the fact that this neck was "special order" from the beginning. On the negative side, and I have no picture of it, the two side markers for the twelfth fret are noticeably uneven. I suppose that someone could have taken off the original maple fretboard and replaced it with one they put together. Maybe there was a truss rod problem (the neck looks straight now).

    I know, I know, it is a cool neck, a player's neck. Put it on the body ('64 refinished) and play it.

    http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn282/drewross/Neck.jpg
    For comparison (not my neck):
    http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn282/drewross/ComparisonNeck.jpg

    On a lighter note, the tech thinks that the refinish on the body doesn't look that great. I get to pick a color. What do you think goes with this timeframe and this neck? I'm leaning toward Foam Green, sometimes called Seafoam Green.

    Lastly, the tech was going to fill in the dents on the body. I'm planning to ask him to lightly sand at best. Do you agree?

    Thanks,
    Drew
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  2. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    I've been laughing at myself tonight, because I was so attached to the "ultra-rare" neck. I will await wiser responses, but it seems more likely to me now that, long ago, a refret went awry, the original fretboard cracked, or there was truss rod problem, and a tech took off the old fretboard and made a new one. That means it probably wasn't an original maple cap neck, and that it probably is what I originally had wanted -- a pre-CBS player's neck that doesn't need a lot of worry.
     
  3. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    Responding to my own thread, but the neck does not have a skunk stripe, nor does it have the walnut spot above the nut. Those characteristics would indicate that it was a maple cap neck, although it is still possible that the fretboard was replaced, or that the black dots (and I may have been mistaken in calling them "clay") were replaced and one was added at the first fret. Not sure if anyone else is intrigued by all this, but it is a bit of a mystery.
     
  4. hogy

    hogy Member

    Messages:
    11,459
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    FWIW, I think you did answer your own question. The dots indicate to me that the maple board is not original to the neck, but a later replacement. I have seen this done to a '63 Strat before.
     
  5. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    Hogy -- Thanks for your reply. I'm still wavering between believing that the board was replaced, or that a Fender employee in '63 didn't like making a special order neck. My tech is taking a closer look at the neck; we'll see what he says.
     
  6. treeofpain

    treeofpain Member

    Messages:
    6,409
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    It's most likely a replaced fretboard - non fender. There is really no reason for Fender to specially make larger dots for this fretboard, when it would have been easier to use the normal sized dots. It is much more likelyu that someone wanted a maple fretboard, so they or their favorite tech/luthier replaced the rw board with maple.
     
  7. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    treeofpain --

    The story is confusing, and the small dark picture doesn't help much ... but this neck has no walnut spot above the nut, nor a dark skunk stripe. Rosewood fretboard necks would have both. The absence of both supports that it was an original maple cap neck, but it is possible that the original maple board was replaced with the current one, or that it was modiifed, or that someone at Fender in '63 couldn't find the right dots and was pretty sloppy ...
     
  8. hogy

    hogy Member

    Messages:
    11,459
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Watchu talkin 'bout, fullertone?

    A regular '63 neck has neither a skunk stripe nor a plug at the head. It has a curved rosewood fretboard which is very easily replaced with maple.

    As for the dots, remember that these were mass produced instruments. They didn't carve dots one at a time as they needed them. They were stamped out with a die, thousands at a time. They're all the same 1/4" size, on any Fender ever made. The didn't use a different die one day because they "couldn't find" regular dots. That would have required changing the whole production, including the setup to drill the holes for the dots. Didn't happen.

    Add to that the facts that the dots are uneven at the 12th fret, the incorrect 1st fret dot, the cracks in the fingerboard that were obviously caused by bending the maple to conform to the curved face of the neck as used in '63, and you pretty much have your story right in front of you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  9. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    Over here
    Hogy --

    Thanks for setting me straight. I don't have a rosewood board Strat (to compare, or have in my obviously easily confused brain). I was incorrectly riffing off of something in Duchossoir's book on the Strat, but he was comparing the maple cap neck to the earlier 50's solid maple neck.

    So, treeofpain, sorry for incorrectly correcting you!
     

Share This Page