Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Can I drill mounting holes in the neck myself?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Easydog, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Easydog

    Easydog Tele-Meister

    Jul 17, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Got an allparts neck today and the holes arent drilled to mount it to the body. I guess I'll drill them myself. Have access to a drill press. Havent done this before. Wasnt planning on having to drill anything major.

    I guess I just line it up w/ the body, mark it w/ the holes already in the body, & drill the holes?? seems like alot could go wrong if its not PERFECT! Am I right?

    How do I ensure its all lined up. Am looking thru build threads (thanks Bucko!)- but still need some help.

  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    You could lay out the holes with the neck pocket dimensions.

    ...... NeckPocket.jpg

    The holes should be 1/8 in. dia.......0.875 deep.

    If you print the following picture 3 inches wide and maintain the aspect ratio, it will print actual size and could be used to mark the hole centers.

    ...... NeckPocket2.jpg

  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Please refer to John's post, #24. That's approximately what I have been doing lately.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008

  4. zaniac

    zaniac TDPRI Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Chugiak, Alaska
    You might want to peruse Fretech .com our own Rob DiStephano's web site.

  5. Easydog

    Easydog Tele-Meister

    Jul 17, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Any trick to this? or does the neck pocket take care of most of it? I dont wanna mount it crooked.

    You would do this with a HAND drill?!?!

    Thx for the help

  6. ramblinmike

    ramblinmike Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2003
    New York NY
    If you were buying a neck and body from USACG do you think they would drill the neck mounting holes for you? I'm not the best with a hand drill and lack access to a drill press. Granted I don't have any necks that need this at the moment, pure curiosity. Although I see a neck purchase in the near future.

  7. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    I do it with a hand-held drill all the time. Align the neck by using two pieces of thin wire , I always keep the thin e-strings when changing. Because of this , I always mount the bridge first on a new build , just before/same time as fitting the neck. I finish the neck with nut and tuners first because of this as well.
    No reason to be afraid of this , its not exactly rocket-science !! Just do it nice and slow , and dont discuss the budget , or holiday plans with your wife at the same time LOL !

  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    The bit size and depth I stated above are from a Fender neck drawing.

    Warmoth charges you extra to not drill the neck holes.

  9. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

    Nov 3, 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio
    If the bridge and tuners are installed you could clamp the neck in and put both E strings on (or just run a piece of regular string). Then just make sure the strings run straight down the neck and don't go off the edges. Mark the holes and drill.

  10. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Neck Hole Size In Body?

    If someone has a new body with virgin neck holes (never had a screw), could you measure those holes. You'd do this by inserting the proper sized drill bit .

    On the Telecaster body drawing in the Duchossoir book, the hole dimension is not readable. Therefore, when Terry Downs created the body drawing, this dimension was not included.

  11. mlp-mx6

    mlp-mx6 Tele-Holic

    Jan 20, 2008
    As stated, clamp the neck in place (use a padded clamp), string up the outside E strings with JUST ENOUGH tension to make them straight, and line up the neck so you like where those strings lie. Ensure your clamp is secure, then use the screw through the body hole to mark the neck. Remove the strings, remove the clamp, then screw PERPENDICULAR to the neck flat where the screw made its marks. Make sure you measure how far the screws protrude through the body (and neck plate), and only drill that deep, maybe just a LITTLE bit deeper. Wax up your screws and mount the neck.

  12. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

    Jack...nothing Virgin here....but measured 4 Genuine bodies I have...and would put the Body hole spec at 5/32".....thats a little snug for my tastes, as I like the neck screws to slip easily thru the body holes.

  13. tboy

    tboy Friend of Leo's

    Dec 13, 2007
    Chicago Area
    7 steps to neck install

    Here's how I've done it a thousand times (If I've told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!) OK, maybe 15-16 times. Just 7 steps.

    1. I put the neck and body together, making sure I have a tight pocket fit.

    2. Next, make certain of your alignment by pulling a new 008 (no kinks) from the nut slots of the e's to their respective bridge cross positions, checking for string to neck-edge distance low and high.

    3. Next I clamp one of those rubber padded squeeze clamps from the body back neckplate surface to the fingerboard, thus holding the neck tightly in place. Give it a good squeeze. You can position it so you have access to one or two of the body neck holes. Re-check your alignment to be sure.

    4. Regarding bit size, it takes 2 minutes to choose your bit and check it by drilling into a scrap piece. Test your chosen neck bolt in the scrap hole, making sure the hole size gives good grab without binding. I've seen too many slightly varying bolt/thread sizes to trust a template.

    5. Now you're aligned, you're tight, and you can access two of the body holes. You can use a good hand drill or a press (I've used both. A quality cordless hand drill is actually easier for me, but keep control so it doesn't grab grain and pull through the fingerboard. Bummer!). Mark the desired depth on the bit with tape. Now drill straight into the neck (make sure bit never touches the body hole side), through the body hole to prescribed depth and install a bolt. Repeat for the next hole. Now you can remove the clamp, as two bolts are holding the neck in perfect position. Check alignment again and adjust slightly if needed.

    6. Drill the remaining two holes, remove first two bolts, and take it all apart. Slightly countersink the 4 holes you just drilled with a countersink bit. Don't use a large drilling bit to countersink. It can grab the grain and tear, or pull itself in and hog out too much wood before you can stop it. Then you really have to cuss up a storm.

    7. Now install neck with the plate and all 4 bolts. It should be right on, because you did all the work with the neck actually installed in the correct alignment and held tight by either clamps or neck bolts.

    disclaimer: Of course, proceed at your own risk. And keep saying to yourself, "This ain't a 50's blackguard."

  14. enalnitram

    enalnitram Tele-Meister

    Oct 21, 2006
    +1. I'll use a drill press for other things but have never thought twice about doing these holes this way. I just tape the bit so it doesn't poke out the other side.

  15. Easydog

    Easydog Tele-Meister

    Jul 17, 2007
    Portland, OR
    sounds simple enough. Thanks tboy for the step by step.

  16. aunchaki

    aunchaki Friend of Leo's

    Mar 12, 2006
    Central New York
    These are fine words and true!!!!

  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    If you find the neck isn't quite aligned right when you're done, remember that the important thing is the neck plate, and in fact you can enlarge any or all of the holes in the body in order to get some play in the neck before you tighten it down. In fact, I'm going to have to do this with my '97 American Standard Strat since it bugs me that the strings are a little closer to the edge of the neck (on the bass side) at the 12th fret than they are at the nut.

  18. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I agree, visually, very unpleasant to look at even a small bit of misalignment. But, having a little extra room to work with on the high E side well up the fingerboard towards the bridge is a nice thing to have, too. And so I have left some with a slight bit of that problem alone, for now.

    I guess we could all play G + Ls and never have to worry about strings being so close to the edge on a vintage bridge array.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008

  19. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    I'll "Get er dun" on the next revision. Thanks Jack.

  20. Easydog

    Easydog Tele-Meister

    Jul 17, 2007
    Portland, OR
    OK, got the body yesterday (heavy). TIGHT neck pocket. Im gonna have to do just a little bit of sanding to the edges inside the neck pocket to get the neck to fit in there. Id rather have it too small than too big. Will be a perfect fit. Waiting for the other parts to arrive in the mail for final assembly and drilling. Yay!

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