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Purchased body online, but one nagging issue....

theecaptain

Member
Messages
10
It's a tele-style bolt-on body, but when I assembled all of the pieces and set it up, the bridge saddles have to be almost all the way up for average string height (Mastery M4, FYI).

My theory: when the body was carved/milled, the neck pocket was routed too shallow.

Anyone else run into this? What's the easiest solution?

Thanks!
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,834
It's a tele-style bolt-on body, but when I assembled all of the pieces and set it up, the bridge saddles have to be almost all the way up for average string height (Mastery M4, FYI).

My theory: when the body was carved/milled, the neck pocket was routed too shallow.

Anyone else run into this? What's the easiest solution?

Thanks!

The proper solution is to re-rout the neck pocket.

Short of that, the only other thing you can do is add a shim at the front edge of the neck pocket, but that's not a very elegant solution, IMO.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
Just shim the headstock end of the neck pocket. It's very common. My USA and MIM Fender strats are both shimmed and the bridge saddles are still adjusted way up. A little goes a long way. Try maybe a playing card thickness to start. Put 2 holes in it for the two screws and make it no longer than 1/3-1/2 the pocket length.
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
Standard Fender dimensions would put the floor of the neck pocket 5/8" below the top. If it's less than that, you'd have a problem, but I can't remember ever seeing a pocket too shallow before. If anything, sometimes they're cut deeper to allow an overhung fretboard to sit flush to the top.

You don't say who made the body, but I know some manufacturers like Warmoth will have the option to route an angled pocket (I think about 5 degrees) to accomodate taller bridges. It tilts the neck back a bit, so if you tried to use a shorter bridge you'd end up having to crank the saddles or bridge chassis way up to compensate.

In any event, the best solution is to re-route the pocket floor so it's parallel to the body, but that could create new problems depending how deep the pocket is already. It's also a bit risky, depending how comfortable you are with a router and whether you wanna make a template. A less ideal but still fairly clean way to get rid of the angle is to use some of these new shims StewMac is selling. They cover the entire pocket floor and are cut at a very precise angle so as to not compromise the neck joint any more than necessary. It also has the virtue of being very easy to do, as it's a bolt-on fix.
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,949
Personally, I had a luthier do some work on the neck pocket when I had the same problem, but a lot of the vintage Strats and Teles we lust after have had card stock shims since the day they were built. Somewhere on the web is the story of someone removing the neck from a 1960 Strat and finding a period-correct business card from a vendor to Fender.
 

Rhomco

Making UPS, FEDEX and USPS richer every day!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,983
You do not mention the neck you are using. Import necks are often much taller at the heel than original spec necks. If your neck is not a match for the neck pocket it can cause your problem. Good luck on your project,
Rob
 

whoismarykelly

Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
Messages
8,087
Yeah neck specs are important here. Lots of guys play unrealistically thick necks (1.1" and stuff like that) that never would have existed and those dimensions require a deeper neck pocket to compensate.
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,170
In the past, I have shimmed neck pockets to get the neck/body geometry right. I have done a lot of things in my life of which I am not proud.

Recently, I started using a stopwatch to time different processes, to fine tune my shop practices and repair prices. I had previously guesstimated how long different jobs took, and to some degree planned jobs using the resulting flawed perceptions.

I found that properly adjusting a neck pocket for a greater angle took less than an hour.

Adjusting a neck pocket for a lesser angle took from about an hour to an hour and a half, from start to finish.

Nice, clean, wood to wood joints. Perfect geometry. And no relying on the acoustic properties of cardboard to get the job done right.

I'll never shim a neck pocket again. It is a crude, lazy solution to a problem with what I consider to be the most important joint in an electric guitar.

Business cards, window screens, adhesive tape, etc. are fine for amateurs or for guys who don't have the tools or the expertise to do the job right, but I feel a lot better giving my customers a professional product for their hard-earned money!
 

poolshark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,231
In the past, I have shimmed neck pockets to get the neck/body geometry right. I have done a lot of things in my life of which I am not proud.

Recently, I started using a stopwatch to time different processes, to fine tune my shop practices and repair prices. I had previously guesstimated how long different jobs took, and to some degree planned jobs using the resulting flawed perceptions.

I found that properly adjusting a neck pocket for a greater angle took less than an hour.

Adjusting a neck pocket for a lesser angle took from about an hour to an hour and a half, from start to finish.

Nice, clean, wood to wood joints. Perfect geometry. And no relying on the acoustic properties of cardboard to get the job done right.

I'll never shim a neck pocket again. It is a crude, lazy solution to a problem with what I consider to be the most important joint in an electric guitar.

Business cards, window screens, adhesive tape, etc. are fine for amateurs or for guys who don't have the tools or the expertise to do the job right, but I feel a lot better giving my customers a professional product for their hard-earned money!
Do you use a template to re-route the neck pocket? Probably shimmed to create the desired angle? I've been considering something similar for an esquire I'm working on, but I've yet to take the plunge.

(Plunge as in router? Get it?)
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,170
Do you use a template to re-route the neck pocket? Probably shimmed to create the desired angle? I've been considering something similar for an esquire I'm working on, but I've yet to take the plunge.

(Plunge as in router? Get it?)
Yes and yes! I use a template, and I shim it, but only when I am decreasing the angle of the neck pocket. I shim the front edge of the template just a hair, maybe 1/32" to 3/64", right where the pocket begins, and use my fretting jig to support the other end of the template, although this is probably not really necessary, as I usually use a lightweight "pony" router to do a small job like this.

I set the depth so it is one millionth of an inch from the top (neck side) of the pocket, and just shaving the bottom (body side) of the neck pocket. As is usually the case, the set-up takes a while, the cut only takes a few seconds. Be conservative here until you get a feel for how much material you need to remove. I often need more than one pass to get it right!

I made some hard sanding blocks (one for a bass neck pocket and one for a guitar neck pocket) and use them to increase the neck angle by hand. I use self adhesive sandpaper, applied about 1/8" short of the "body end" of the block so that end of the pocket is not disturbed. It is a pretty quick job, as I usually only need to take about 0.015-0.020" or so off the top end of the pocket to get to the sweet spot. Since I'm not using the router and template, I don't have to strip the body of the pickups, etc., and it saves a lot of time.

I seal the raw wood with shellac, and reassemble the instrument the next day.

I've had guys go nuts and call me bad names and question my patriotism behind this practice, screaming about how shims don't detract from the tone of a guitar, and Fender did it regularly during the '50's and '60's, and those were the greatest guitars ever made.

That is fine. I can't help thinking that if those guitars had been built by marginally competent woodworkers rather than housewives the shims would not have been necessary.

I think the key to cobbling together a sweet sounding guitar is sweating every single detail. So no wire coat hangers, and no cardboard for me.
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,563
Just picked up a Tele body my repair friend ightly rkuted dn the pocket:

I like a lower break angle
 

ahhlou

Member
Messages
777
I would think the best way to solve the issue would be as described by Khromo. The only downside would be if the angle needs to change in the future as you can't put wood back... easily. If it is a parts guitar or a low value guitar, not problem, route the proper angle as anyone setting up a set neck would do.
The issue is with valuable or vintage instruments. There are makings in the pocket and neck many times which should not be disturbed. In that case, I use custom made tapered shims of the same body wood or, on occasion, the cedar found in cigar boxes.
 






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