Neck screws keep loosening...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Dr. Tinnitus, Apr 15, 2019 at 11:53 PM.

  1. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    Just swapped necks on a Strat and I've noticed the neck screws seem to keep loosening. Not super loose, but I wouldn't call them fully tight. I can turn them with a bit of pressure, and have done this like 3 times over 4 days.

    This neck had the old holes plugged and new holes drilled with the existing screws used for sizing.

    I'm concerned I might be twisting the screws and I'm about to break them.

    So, new screws? Anyone encounter this?
     
  2. bluesoul

    bluesoul Silver Supporting Member

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    First thing that comes to mind is: The holes were not plugged in a solid enough way for the screws to grip. Do, you know how the old holes were plugged? BTW...unlikely the screws will snap but instead the wood will strip. Either way, that would result in over tightening. Snug is good enough. What does sound a bit odd is, that the screws are not holding?
     
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  3. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    The holes were plugged with maple, completed like a week a go. While I am probably guilty of over-tightening, I'm surprised that when I check the screws on this guitar they are not as tight as they were before. None of my other bolt on necks have loosened after the fact.

    My guess is that if you were looking at it right now, you'd tell me to leave it alone, but I've never had this happen...
     
  4. bluesoul

    bluesoul Silver Supporting Member

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    Which might mean something is not working correctly! A couple other things worth mentioning...if the body holes are not drilled big enough for the screws to pass through without gripping, the neck sometimes does not seat well. Or...if the neck was not compressed into the cavity as the screws started, a gap could be present. It might be worth your time to start over! Remove the neck and go at it again! Ask me how I know thiso_O
     
  5. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Inspect the neck plate. See if it is deforming. Also, look for evidence of crushing of the body wood, or compression of whatever "stuff" is in that neck pocket.

    I don't know precisely how tight you've got that thing.

    I'm saying, wood screws normally don't back out incrementally. They hold on until pushed too far - then fail all at once.

    You should be able to find a huskier, hardened version of the screw you've been using. Something that'll bite and hold better, and be very very unlikely to shear off between the threads and the screw head.
     
  6. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    There was a thread on here a few weeks ago with a guy talking about how he used drywall screws because he believed they achieved better bite into the wood.

    Looking at the guitar now, the plate is very mildly bent on the front screws. Not severe in my opinion, as you'd have to know what you're looking for to notice it.
     
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  7. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    Seems like it's worth taking if off to see if there is something happening in the pocket. I'm taking this guitar to rehearsal tomorrow night just because I'm curious what will happen when it's played heavily for a few hours...
     
  8. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Member

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    Maybe put some masking tape on the plate so you can mark the position of the screw heads to see if they are backing out. Unlikely but at least you would know.
    A small bend in the plate is not unusual and shouldn’t be a problem. If the body is real soft like pine or basswood you need to be careful. It could continue to crush.
    If the holes were filled with dowels, then you are screwing into end grain which doesn’t hold a screw as well. If it continues to be a problem threaded inserts are a good solution.
    I would advise strongly against drywall screws.
     
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  9. bluesoul

    bluesoul Silver Supporting Member

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    It might settle. But if it continues and bugs you...yeah, redo! Funny thing is, I have been neck swapping and parting guitars long before I ever heard the words "parts caster"...like back in the early 80's!
    in all these years there is always something new that comes up. Never too old to learn, and old enough to know it's worth paying attention!
    About 5 years ago when I was building a bunch a partscasters I read on this site a tip that I always employ. You might know it, but if not it is a good one! Once you have your neck set....with tension on the strings, back each screw out a quarter turn or so....a lot of times you hear a creaking sound as the strings pull the neck in for a final set! Tighten the rear two and move the the other two...a little more or each of the 4 until it feels good and snug.
    My guess...with your guitar, if you reset the neck you might solve this issue.
     
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  10. zHollywood

    zHollywood Member

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    If it continues to be a problem, look into threaded neck inserts. This is a minor mod that allows for a much better bite
     
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  11. Captainruss

    Captainruss Member

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    Recently did the threaded inserts on my Tele neck. Very easy job and it socks right down and doesn’t loosen any more. I had filled the original holes to start and I got about a year and a half out of it, about 6 months longer than I expected it to. I’ve done the inserts on furniture I’ve built before so I got some appropriately sized ones and put them in. Wasn’t until afterwards that I heard of anyone doing it on guitar necks. Didn’t think I was being groundbreaking or innovative, just didn’t think about what I was doing beyond trying to solve a growing problem on a guitar I am never getting rid of. Then I saw the thread about drywall screws, (ugh), and I saw a reference to the inserts.

    Simply put, they work and they work well.
     
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  12. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    Well, I tightened it once more before my rehearsal last night, as they did loosen up again. Not as much as before though. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary while playing last night. Tonight I checked and all 4 screws were nice and tight. Maybe it settled a little better after a night of playing, as it only was played for short periods before.

    Looks like the solution is here too. If it continues to be a problem, I'll get threaded inserts as I'm curious about them anyway.

    Thanks guys.
     
  13. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    He can also buy a thick neck plate that won't bend at the corners and be able to tork those screws harder. (if they really are backing out)
    And plus one for threaded inserts. Use them with the thick plate and you can really get the bolts tight.

    https://www.guitarfetish.com/Ultra-...te-with-Screws-for-StratregTelereg_p_768.html

    thicker and much better
    https://www.byoguitar.com/Guitars/Wudtone-Neck-Plate-and-Screws__WUDTONE-NECK-PLATE.aspx

    another. My choice and a good price.
    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...guitar-neck-plate-104-thick-chrome-no-screws/

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019 at 3:22 AM
  14. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    Where are you located? My Luthier just installed something to fix this same problem/concern on my Strat neck that I never knew existed, and I'm pretty knowledgeable regarding available modifications.

    He installed threaded inserts in the neck and the neck screws are replaced with bolts. You do have to upgrade the plate however, it's gotta be thicker and stronger. But, my neck stays super tight night now, and you can literally take the neck off and on regularly without any concern for the issue you are describing (if you needed to, would work well for people who want to fly and bring their guitar as a carry-on in a smaller package).


     
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  15. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    I've never heard of this problem but there's an easy fix. Just remove one neck screw...you don't even have to loosen the strings... and put two or three strands from a broom, or a broken off toothpick, in the hole and then re-install the screw. It should tighten right up. Repeat for all four screws....
     
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  16. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Are the screws turning when they loosen or just getting pushed out?
     
  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    +1 that should be your fix.

    The root cause of the apparent loosening is likely different humidity levels and your guitar neck and body have 'shrunk' compared to being in the repair shop (which might be humidified) -- and there may be residual moisture from the glue still working it's way out of the neck changing it's effective internal humidity level.

    .
     
  18. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    You don't want the screw threading into the body which is what it will do if you put the toothpick or straw in that way. It needs to slide easily through the body and thread into the neck only.

    S Mac
     
  19. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Right...you just put short pieces, just into the holes in the neck, not the entire length...sorry I wasn't clear about that.
     
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  20. Dr. Tinnitus

    Dr. Tinnitus Member

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    I did that on another guitar, and now the hole in the body has threads too! :D
     

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