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Building my First Partcaster

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by decibel, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Hey all.
    I'm building my first partcaster (it's a Jazzmaster not a Tele), but I thought I'd ask anyway: I'm about to join the neck and body -- any tips or advice for this? I'm pretty nervous about this stage. I also have to drill the holes for the tuners. I've saved both of these steps for last because I'm most worried about them.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone Tele-Meister

    216
    Mar 15, 2010
    Arlington TX
    The only part I have strong opinions about on a Jazzmaster is that you put in all the classic, excessive switching. These new versions with just a 3-way toggle are an abomination against Leo!


    Other than that, it's your guitar. Do your thing, man.
     
  3. MarkJT

    MarkJT TDPRI Member

    Age:
    75
    9
    Nov 5, 2016
    Bandon, Oregon, USA
    If you can get or use a drillpress, you'll find it's a wondrous tool for anxiey reduction. As for fitting the neck/body joint, go slow and keep your wits about you: easier to remove more than put some back.
     
    decibel likes this.
  4. Sollipsist

    Sollipsist Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 25, 2016
    89108
    I can't help with the tuners; I've somehow messed up both of the tuner installs that I've done. My advice would be to avoid like the plague the kind of vintage tuners that supposedly fit snugly against each other :D

    My first neck went on flawlessly. Suspiciously easy. My second one is still being tweaked a year later. If it's any reassurance, there really is plenty of room for error... I was able to fix a serious alignment issue with some minor shimming (and the "loosen and jerk" technique).
     
    decibel likes this.
  5. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    I'm building two, and one has the classic/normal switching with noiseless P90s, and the other has split gold foil humbuckers. They're for stage performance so I need this setup for noise issues and versatility.

    Oh no! They're the vintage tuners. Anxiety just went up. I'll practice on a blank board a few times.

    Thanks for that tip. I don't have access to one since I live in a 1br apartment, but I think my city might have a group woodshop gathering once a week. I wonder if they'd be okay if I bring it in to drill. I kind of need a press to get the bridge thimbles in, too...
     
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I couldn’t disagree more.
    The simpler switching is much, uh, simpler, and thusly, much better.
    I do agree with the “do your own thing” part of your post.
    Partscasters rule!
     
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

    Age:
    73
    519
    Aug 22, 2018
    Washington
    For the neck to body screws - first carefully fit the neck and make sure the geometry is perfect. Lay a straight edge on each side of the neck and make sure it is centered at the bridge (or if you haven't drilled for the bridge yet you can fudge that later). Double check the scale length with your bridge. Drill the four holes in the body - my tele plans call for a #16 bit but I use 3/16 - I assume the same on the jazzmaster.

    Put the neck in the pocket, clamp it tightly and use a brad point drill bit that just fits the holes to transfer the hole location to the neck. Put the plate on the back of your neck and put a screw into it, measure how much it protrudes into the pocket. Make something that will cradle the neck (I'm using a radiused sanding block) and set a depth stop on a drill press so your holes will be maybe 1/4 less than the length of the screw. The holes are usually 1/8 diameter - make sure they are totally perpendicular to the back of the heel

    IMG_4689.jpg

    These are pretty important holes and should be done on a drill press. If you have to use a hand drill motor watch the little levels closely.

    The most common spacing for tuners on a tele neck is 4-11/16 between the high and low E strings. Lay that out and make sure your tuners will fit - often the dimensional specifications will be given on a manufactures or distributors web site (StewMac has specs for all of theirs). Most tuner holes are 10 mm, confirm that with yours. Lay out the hole centers and punch the centers. Clamp the face of your head to a block of scrap wood and drill from the back with a drill press. The tuners should not be too tight a fit in the holes - you can split the head. Put the tuners on and snug up the hex bolt. Choose a drill bit that is the diameter of the center of the little screws and put a piece of tape on to mark the depth.

    If your tuners happen to have press in bushings then the best way is to drill for the shaft (usually 1/4 inch) and then use a reamer for the bushing. Each manufacturer seems to use a different sized bushing and the reamers are expensive. This might be someplace to have a little assistance so you don't have to buy the reamer. Most tuners, however, have the screw in part that goes on the face of the head - these fit the 10 mm hole.
     
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  8. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Awesome stuff, Freeman. I looked into Brad Point bits -- would they be a significant help if I have to hand drill these holes? I'm going to try to go to my City's local woodshop gathering next Wednesday, but if they won't drill them for me, I might be on my own. In that case, I was looking into brad points.

    One of the necks fits perfectly in the pocket. The other is just slightly off where the curve of the neck (the end/butt) hits one side of the pocket every so slightly sooner. Would slowly sanding that to fit be the best option? I will take a photo of it and post it.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

    Age:
    73
    519
    Aug 22, 2018
    Washington
    Pictures would be very helpful. What I am suggesting it that before you drill any holes you double, even triple check all the neck alignment stuff. This is your chance to get it right. Here is a picture centering the neck, you can get by with one straight edge and careful measuring but this is the simple way. You want the center of your bridge on the center of the neck or strings will be too close/far from the edge. Don't have to be fancy rules - a couple of straight yard sticks will do

    [​IMG]

    Depending on the bridge you are going to use, you also want the angle of the neck and the amount that it stands proud of the body to be such that you have enough adjustment to get the action that you want. In this case I want the plane formed by the tops of the frets to just hit the top of the saddles at their lowest adjustment - that should give you enough adjustment to get reasonable action

    [​IMG]

    Last thing to check is the measurement from the nut to the most forward intonation adjustment of your high E string saddle. Basically you want that pretty close to your scale length - you will normally end up with about 1/16 of compensation on the high E and maybe 3/16 on the low. Again, what you are checking for here is that you have enough range of adjustment.

    Brad point bits are more accurate to start assuming you have center punched your hole location. They also have a tendency to not chip as badly. However you do want a piece of scrap firmly clamped to the other side of your head when drilling those holes. The big problem with hand drilling both sets of holes will be maintaining the drill perpendicular to the neck/head. If you are at an angle there is a good chance the screws will bind. Do you know anyone with a drill press - wood worker or machinist or shop class or such?
     
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  10. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Awesome, thank you, will check all those. The body and neck came from the same mill (a very reputable one) with bridge holes in already, so they should be okay. I have to do the neck holes, tuner peg holes, and pickguard holes only. I did reach out to my City, and they have a woodshop that the public can use, and they even said most days there is a volunteer there who will help, so I am going to go see if they will let me use and show me how to use their drill press!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

    Age:
    73
    519
    Aug 22, 2018
    Washington
    Score!! Have them help you lay out the holes and center punch them - they might even have a set of brad point bits. You can set the depth of the hole on the drill press so you won't make it too deep./

    Report back and tell us how it went.

    ps - if I am correct on the tuner hole spacing 4-11/16 between one and six, that would mean each one was at 15/16 centers (remember, five spaces, not six....) Double check that yours will work.
     
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  12. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Yeah, I think I am going to drill them into a test board before going to the City woodshop, just to see what issues arise! I doubt the shop guy is going to know about Fender tuning pegs so I'll have to figure this all out before going in.
     
  13. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Hey guys, took the plunge today and put the tuners in. The woodshop in town let me borrow their arbor press to put the bushings in, and today I drilled the holes. I'm not sure what size bit it was; there's no label on it. But I just tested several bits in boards until one fit right. I attached some photos of how they came out. From the front they look right on. But from the back the space between the wood and tuner looks to get larger as you go down. I'm not sure why that happened because I measured the slots dead on. Is this a big deal? Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  14. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    Well now you've done it! Nobody in the whole world would have ever noticed that if you hadn't pointed it out! ;)
    No, this is not a big deal.
     
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  15. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone Tele-Meister

    216
    Mar 15, 2010
    Arlington TX
    I see the benefit of simplicity. But the best thing about a Jazzmaster is the versatility that comes with the weirdo switching setup.
     
  16. SFPicker

    SFPicker NEW MEMBER!

    1
    Dec 28, 2017
    San Francisco
    Someone might have mentioned it, but I suggest testing the neck and bridge alignment with two strings before you drill the neck holes.

    Use a C clamp or similar to hold the neck in the pocket while you string up the high and low e strings. Or just use string to make sure they both run parallel to the neck, with an equal distance to the edge of the neck.

    If you are using a pre-cut body this is probably overkill but I built a few myself and learned the hard way.
     
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  17. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Yeah, both the body and neck are from the same builder in this case. But the neck itself doesn't have the holes drilled. The body does have four drilled. I'm sure it's easy, but having never done it, I'm nervous!
     
  18. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    21
    Oct 8, 2018
    colorado
    Hey guys, one more question: the neck pocket is not perfect, even though the body and neck were made by a very reputable shop (Guitar Mill). I'd say there's like 90% contact -- there's a very small space at the front of the pocket (like where the pickguard meets it). What is the best way to shape a piece of wood to fit in there? I have some scrap alder, but it's pretty thick. I'm in an apartment without a lot of power tools to thin it out. Thanks. I was thinking of using a pocket knife to shave off pieces/dust and glue them all in, then sand that down. I'm not sure, though.
     
  19. JimiRayKing

    JimiRayKing Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    325
    Jan 27, 2013
    Marietta, Georgia
    The space may not be a problem if the pick guard covers it. I’d be hesitant to try and fix the gap unless it’s hugely noticeable. Sometimes, striving for perfection creates bigger problems.

    I wouldn’t be worried about the neck holes. Use the holes in the body as a guide after doing some alignment work as others suggested. I always have more anxiety about drilling the holes for the thimbles. Once you have proper alignment with the neck you have to get the spacing right between the thimbles - not a lot of wiggle room on the bridges.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    decibel likes this.
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