Fitting a neck on a bolt on solid body


Sorry if I'm intruding because I'm not a "Small Company Builder" but I figured it would be best to ask the people posting in this part of the forum.

What is the procedure for getting a neck to sit perfectly in the pocket of a body. I know it can be as simple as putting it in and screwing the pieces together but I want to know what a real builder would do to make sure the match is perfect. Like for instance if you were doing a high quality build for a customer, what would the procedure be.

I was recently watching a video of Fender Custom Shop builder Yuriy Shishkov and I was reminded that these guys don't just find bodies and neck and slap them together. They pay fine attention to all the detail. So what details are they looking at when fitting a neck with a body.

The reason I'm asking is because I'm thinking about getting a replacement neck for my strat and I want to know all the details that are involved in getting it to sit perfectly. Thanks to anyone who can help. PEACE.


When building a guitar, you can shape the neck pocket and the neck for optimum tightness/alignment/depth. When you buy a neck to bolt to a finished guitar, you hope for the best and then decide which part the "massage" to mate to the other.

Worry more about it being straight and the right depth than it having a tight pocket. Fender still doesn't worry too much about this part.


Silver Supporting Member
Depends on how you define "perfect fit". IMO, a tight neck pocket is NOT necessarily a good thing. First reason is that I've seen body finish and/or body wood cracks around the neck pocket caused by changes in humidity if the neck pocket is too tight. Secondly, a little extra room in the neck pocket allows you to center the strings on the fretboard...which is more important to me than the neck pocket being tight.

With my current parts-o-caster, my Fender neck was about 1/16" wider than my Warmoth body neck pocket. My solution was to carefully widen the body neck pocket with a rotary file bit in my drill press. However, if the width difference was less I may have opted to just sand down the neck finish. So, it just depends on the situation.

Also, in neck swapping experiments I've done with half a dozen similarly equipped Strats, to my ears, what I perceived as the best tone seemed to follow a particular neck. So, don't be surprised if the tone changes quite a bit if you replace your Strat's neck.
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Brett Faust

Three things to remember, Never ever pull the file, razor or sandpaper from inside the pocket to out of the pocket.

Go slowly, taking a small amount off each stroke until you get a good fit.

Never force the neck into the pocket,you may pull the finish off when you remove the neck.

Follow these rules and you stand a better chance of not chipping the finish around the pocket.

Good luck, have fun.

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