Put a 4 hole neck on a 3 hole 70's Strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sudsysul, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. Sudsysul

    Sudsysul Member

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    I'm sure somebody's done this. I actually like the modern C neck. My 70's Strat has a big old U shaped neck with the 7.25 radius that I can't get adjusted back to since I bought a new Telecaster a few years ago, so I've been toying with putting a new neck vs. buying a different Strat. The other suppliers such as Warmoth and US Custom don't have a modern C neck, and Ebay's full of fairly new Strat necks that are take-offs.
     
  2. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    As long as the scale lengths are the same, you can do it with no problem. You just have to drill a new hole in the neck.

    --chiba
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    A week ago I would've said go for it. But after seeing that white 72 strat sell for almost $11K on eBay, I'd say hang on to it stock.
     
  4. Sudsysul

    Sudsysul Member

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    I won't be getting any big bucks for this one. Back in the 70's I put a Kahler trem and changed the nut, so it's not an $11,000 Ebay virgin.
     
  5. Sudsysul

    Sudsysul Member

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    Chiba, are you saying that the top two holes match up with a 4 hole pattern? That was one of my questions.. do you drill a 3rd (actually a 5th) hole in the 4 hole modern neck, or do you fill the body and drill for 4 holes on it?
     
  6. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    The problem is that the third screw is actually a true bolt - it won't thread into wood. On the 3-bolt neck, it goes into a recessed steel plate in the neck end which is itself screwed to the neck with two screws.

    There are three ways of doing this:

    #1 - modify the body. Drill the two extra screw holes and replace the neck plate. Advantage - gives a true '4-bolt' neck join. Disadvantage - the new plate won't quite cover the hole from the original fitting, and you can never go back since the 3-bolt plate won't cover the two new holes either.

    #2 - drill a new hole in the neck and use a third normal neck screw (you may need one with a slightly larger head). Advantage - simplest. Disadvantage - probably the least stable, and really a bit of a cop-out. The neck-tilt won't work properly either, since the screw will press into the wood instead of against the metal plate.

    #3 - fully fit the new neck with the recessed plate. Advantage - IMO this is probably the best solution... it will be more stable than #2, since the proper bolt is bigger and can be locked down by tightening the neck-tilt against it. Disadvantage - it's quite a lot of work and needs accuracy for routing the recess in the neck, which is also a large alteration (much worse than just drilling an extra screw hole).


    I'd still be very tempted to do #2 though :). The neck stability is usually more dependent on the fit of the neck and pocket, not the number of screws, anyway.


    Nearly forgot - you can't use either of the three-bolt methods on a neck with a body-end truss-rod adjuster - the screw or bolt will hit the truss-rod.
     
  7. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    I remember doing this to a 3-bolt body about 15 years ago and the top 2 holes were close to aligning with a 4-bolt plate, but not close enough. I had to dowel them and redrill for the 4 bolt otherwise the holes would have been "8" shaped.


    Ron
     
  8. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Between John & Ron, I kind of wish I'd have kept my mouth shut :)

    --chiba
     
  9. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Why don't you order a new neck with the radius you want but in the three bolt. Try B Hefner. You can get necks that have the CBS style headstock and the
    "Bullet" for an extra 50 bucks. There 25% off right now.
    http://www.edenhaus.com
    Check it out.
     

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