Move the bridge, or move the neck?

waygorked

Member
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614
I recently picked up a loaded Fender Starcaster Modern Player body, with the intention of mating it to a Warmoth strat neck. I love the Starcaster concept but can't stand the look of the original headstock. The original Fender neck has no overhang and has frets all the way to the end of the heel. When I mount the Warmoth neck, there's a gap of about 10mm, mostly covered by the 22 fret extension. It just barely intonates, in that if I push the saddles all the way forward and flip around the saddles for the lower 3 strings, it is perfect on the top 3 strings and a cent low on the bottom ones. Close, but maybe not quite close enough.

I'm thinking I may need to remount something. I could toss out the bridge, dowel the holes, then move it forward about 5mm, which would be perfect. That would have me drilling right on the edge of the previous hole, but at least I could put in some upgraded hardware like a Faber or TonePros ABR-1. The other option would be to drill new holes in the neck. Which option poses the least risk to the tone of the guitar?
 

waygorked

Member
Messages
614
Even if I do that, the heel won't contact the end of the pocket. I need to move the neck or bridge about 5mm, whereas the distance to the end of the pocket is about 15mm. If I butt it up against the end of the pocket I'd have the same problem in the opposite direction. I'm planning on ultimately filling in the end of the pocket and refinishing the guitar, like this:

OnBNBmJh.jpg


That still leaves me needing to move either the neck or the bridge. Is one a better idea to take on than the other?
 
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18,318
moving the neck with an overhang means the overhang will cover the change
moving the bridge will leave marks where it was previously mounted
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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40,253
I recently picked up a loaded Fender Starcaster Modern Player body, with the intention of mating it to a Warmoth strat neck.
they're incompatible as you've discovered.

i think that version of the starcaster was shorter scale like many fenders with the 22 fret no-overhang neck. not "jaguar" short but maybe like "gibson" short, somewhere around 24 3/4".

warmoth might make a neck to fit that scale length
 

Timtam

Member
Messages
2,832
Like some of the other Modern Players, it was 25.5 scale with 22 frets with no overhang.
https://web.archive.org/web/2017071...itars/other/starcaster-guitar/0243102531.html

It's more common for 22 fret Fenders to have an overhang, so that the neck / bridge are in the normal locations for a 21 fret neck. So the Modern Players are restricted in the neck changes that are compatible. So you probably don't want to hear this, but you really need a 22-fret no overhang neck with 25.5 scale. I wouldn't stake my life on it though (you can never assume Fender's thinking), so check carefully before you go down that route.

I love the big Starcaster headstock BTW. ;) If you actually had the real Starcaster neck, you could just get the headstock re-shaped. Stratosphere has had them recently.
 
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Timtam

Member
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2,832
What's to stop the reshape of what he has?:dunno

What he has though is a Warmoth strat 22-fret neck with overhang .. and so it doesn't fit/align with a Modern Player neck/body drilled for no overhang :( .. without more difficult woodwork than a purely aesthetic headstock re-shape on a Modern Player neck.
 
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waygorked

Member
Messages
614
Right now, with the Warmoth neck, I have the carve and radius I want. The MP neck has neither of those. Otherwise I would have probably gone that route already. Mated to the body, the Warmoth neck plays and sounds great, exactly as I'd hoped.

The saddles on the bridge have a vertical side and a sloped side. The upper 3 strings have the vertical side facing forward, which allows them to be pushed right up against the forward edge of the saddle pocket. Those three strings intonate perfectly. The lower 3 saddles are reversed, with the sloped side facing forward. That makes them intonate about 1-2 cents flat. I suspect that if I flip them around they would intonate perfectly as well.

The needed offset (assuming that the saddle flip doesn't solve the problem) is 5mm. The Warmoth neck heel sticks out from the body by about 5mm, so moving the neck forward would seem to make sense. The neck is Warmoth modern construction, with the side adjust truss rod. Right now that sits right at the edge of the binding, so if I move it forward it will be partially covered (not a big deal, but a deal nonetheless). I could also swap in another one of my necks with vintage modern construction with a headstock adjusting rod and drill that one instead.

I suppose the only remaining question is how easy is it to totally screw up doweling and drilling new neck holes?
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
36,529
without more difficult woodwork than a purely aesthetic headstock re-shape on a Modern Player neck.
That's what I meant- rework the existing headstock but I see he wants the new neck.
The bottom line is that the scale length has to be right.
Moving the bridge is rarely an option.
Plugging and redrilling is easy and common IF that fixes the scale problem.
The gap will remain to be fixed.
Maybe a G&L neck would work? A Charvel?
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,982
Gluing in that spacer is the correct approach. I did the same thing on a G&L asat body with a tele neck. The over hang covered the fix.
 
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waygorked

Member
Messages
614
The guitar seems to sustain just fine, without the heel butting up against the end of the neck pocket. Maybe it's a hollow body thing, but it rings just fine. It also seems very stable. Assuming I can get the intonation where it needs to be, will filling up the heel even be necessary, other than just for looks?
 

Dave Weir

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,460
I would plug and re-drill the neck before moving the bridge. I’d also consider layering veneers on the heel of the neck under the fret board to extend it out. It seems like it would be easier than modifying the pocket
 
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23,985
I love the big Starcaster headstock BTW. ;) If you actually had the real Starcaster neck, you could just get the headstock re-shaped. Stratosphere has had them recently.

I like this idea. It is what I'd have done UNLESS the neck was pitifully thin. And in that case I'd have something made to order.
 




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