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

Neck pocket gap(not on sides!)

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by theDST, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. theDST

    theDST TDPRI Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    Hi All,

    I just picked up a second hand CIJ 62 Tele custom. The seller had it set up with 9s and quite low action which is not how I usually play but it felt great and pulled the trigger.

    It's only when I got home and studies it more care I noticed there was a gap in the neck pocket. Not at the sides but as if the screws were not fully tight. The gap is even from the bass to treble side and gets slightly narrower towards the bridge. I took off the pickguard and the base of the neck is fairly snug to the body. I don't see a shim or anything and the neck feels completely stable.

    Just wondering how it could have got like this? I don't know the seller but from our conversation it seemed he was kinda particular about setup and was a very experienced player which made me think it was like this on purpose.

    I've never adjusted a neck before(except truss rod) and like a lot of players I've always been a little afraid to go messing with them!


    Attached Files:

  2. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    It looks like someone took the neck off, but the body holes are catching the screw threads and he didn’t have neck & body tightly clamped together when refitting the neck.
    I’d suggest taking the neck off, opening out the body holes slightly so the screws pass through without catching, and then when you refit the neck the screws will clamp it securely to the body.
  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I would echo what AAT65 just said. Someone may have replaced screws with some slightly larger than originals. Make sure screws will pass freely through body holes, but snugly in neck.
    Wally and MickM like this.
  4. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    How does that thing stay in tune like that?
  5. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    loosen the strings, tighten the neck screws. That should do it ...unless holes are stripped or maybe there's a shim in the pocket you cant see....
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    The screws are likely 'one revolution' off where they sit now, like gears being one tooth off, so you are trying to get them started where they need to engage. Detune the strings and try tightening the pair of screws at the end of the neck pocket and see if you can draw them up. Don't go into excessive force to tighten, if that seems necessary then unscrew (remember the string tension is off) that pair until the screws exit the neck but are still in the body, and try screwing back in while pressing down the neck as the screw tips engage.

    The heel gap can be closed by carefully unscrewing the bolts slightly and tapping the end of the headstock to drive it down in the pocket if there is slop in the screw holes.

    Recheck intonation and general setup.

    soulman969 and DuckDodgers like this.
  7. hamerfan

    hamerfan TDPRI Member

    Dec 8, 2018
    Germany, Bavaria
    First try something different: with strings in tune just loose all neck screws just a quarter turn. The string tension pulls the neck into the pocket. Then retighten the screws. This was shown in a official Fender setup vid.
  8. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    Jun 4, 2010
    First thing I'd want to know is whether the neck fits tight in the pocket without whatever help or hindrance the screws are offering. If the screws are really loose you could try tightening them first, but forced tightening of the screws before you know that the heel actually fits well is not a good idea.

    You could check that by loosening the strings way off and backing the screws all the way out of the neck (but not the body). But I would probably take the strings off and the screws all the way out. Either way, then push the neck into the pocket and hopefully it goes all the way. If not, you'll need to take the neck off to see why.

    If the neck does fit tight on its own, you can put the screws back in and see if when you tighten them all the way that the neck stays tight. If the misfit comes back when you tighten the screws, you know it's misfitting screws that are the problem.
    bender66 and trev333 like this.
  9. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    I'd also check that the holes in your neck are the proper depth. Trying to drive those in further & you might end up splitting the heel.
  10. mefgames

    mefgames Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Oct 31, 2010
    North Bay, Ca
    It looks to me as though the neck screws are not far enough in to seat the neck. I'd remove one of the neck screws to check it for depth. You may need to drill the neck itself a smidge deeper, but that neck should seated snugly to the bottom of the pocket. maybe just try to tighten those two front screws, very carefully.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  11. S00NERMAN

    S00NERMAN Tele-Meister

    Jan 7, 2016
    I would echo most of the advice already given - that neck is not in contact with the body! I would check the neck pocket to make sure the neck can seat all the way down snug in the pocket. If it can, hold it tightly as you drive in the neck screws. If it can't, there may be some obstruction either in the neck pocket (excess finish, glue, etc.) or maybe around the screw holes in the neck itself. Both should be flat and fit well together. If you restring and it pulls back up the screw holes aren't deep enough or the screws are too long.
  12. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    If you cannot tighten the screws any more, then AT65’s advice is spot on....the holes in body are too small and the neck screws are tight to the body before they can pull the neck into firm contact or possibly there is something holding the neck away from the pocket. Undersized holes in the body happens often with made in Asia guitars. In either situation, you need to pull the neck to find out. If the screws can tighten more, then they were left loose.
  13. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Meister

    May 23, 2018
    Lake View
    I would bet my dollars to your donuts that the screw's threads are getting caught on the holes drilled in the body.

    Remove the neck, make sure the screws can pass though the body, barely, but through nonetheless. Then also make sure the neck can sit tight flat in the neck pocket before inserting the screws.

    THEN insert and tighten the screws. Use a little soap to lubricate the screws.

    DO NOT tighten one all the way down before inserting the other three, but instead, slowly tighten all 4 a little bit at a time.
    schmee likes this.
  14. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    I would not tighten those screws, or attempt to, until I was sure that they're not cross threaded. if this happened because someone removed the neck without replacing it properly, then there's a risk that the threads weren't started properly in the neck. So that means removing the screws entirely, checking for clearance at the body (they should not bind at all in the body and the holes may need to be reamed or drilled out cleanly for clearance), replacing the screws carefully so that they're seated in the original threads in the maple neck (usually you can feel a clunk turning the screw backwards, like fitting a coarsely threaded mayonnaise or peanut butter jar lid), then checking the alignment of the strings as you tighten the neck screws, and then going through the setup of trussrod, nut slots, saddle height, and finally intonation (because seating that neck will change the geometry significantly). In other words unless you're comfortable with doing a setup you should probably have the guitar looked at by a trusted tech. Otherwise you won't be getting your money's worth from such a great instrument.
  15. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Sep 14, 2016
    not houston
    my first thought was also that the holes in the body arent big enough to let the screw pass through and the threads are engaging in the body.
    i would take the screws out, take the neck off, and see if the screws pass without much effort through the body. if not, you will need to drill them out to the thickness of the threads, but no more. you dont want too much play.
  16. theDST

    theDST TDPRI Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. The Xmas period was pretty hectic so I only got to try them today!
    First I tried to carefully tighten the screws a little with strings on and immediately got some resistance so stopped and took off the strings and neck.
    The screws seemed to be able to pass through the body fairly easily. I didn't have to turn them to get them out. In the pocket there was indeed a small shim. The pocket itself was clean with no obstructions and the neck sits in snug. The small gap to the end of the body has reduced compared to before.
    It's hard to take a pic of the neck but it looked quite straight when it was off the guitar. Maybe just slightly convex(hump). I checked the truss rod and it was pretty tight which im guessing it not ideal. The guitar had been strung with 9s.
    I'll try putting the neck back on now and see it's better than before. IMG_20190105_175714.jpg IMG_20190105_172014.jpg
  17. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    When you put it back together, was the setup changed drastically? If the neck heel now lays flat to the body, it seems the neck would now be leaning back a bit from where it was.
  18. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    Did you remove the shim, or leave it in place? I've often seen shims installed where they weren't truly needed, simply because the person who put it there didn't have a good understanding of proper setup adjustments. One reason some folks shim, is to make it so the bridge saddle screws don't have to stick up above the saddles. The "proper" cure for that is shorter screws. Many times and for many maladies, shimming is suggested as the quickest, easiest remedy, while it is my considered opinion that shims should "ONLY" be used when absolutely necessary and even then, the best practice is to use full contact shims like this:


    Just My $.02 & Likely Worth Even Less!
  19. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    A shim didn't create that gap.

    Your neck in the intial post is elevated across the entire heel.
  20. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Meister

    May 23, 2018
    Lake View
    Any math wizards or 16 year olds here can tell me what a .5° shim will raise the saddle height? Something to do with tangent?

    I think .5° raises the saddles about a .10"? Tangent of. 5° x distance (from the furthest edge of the shim to the saddles)?

    My neck is a little too thin and the neck pocket is a little too deep. My saddles are too low to provide the break angle I prefer. That's why I'm using a shim.

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