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Set neck?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by John_, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. John_

    John_ TDPRI Member

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    I've started work on a set neck tele. The body is poplar, and I've got a real pretty piece of curly maple for the neck. I've always enjoyed the build threads here. Some of you guys do beautiful work, and it's great to see how you go about it.

    It probably wont be the most detailed description you've ever seen, but I'll update with photos as I move along.

    My Question; Does anybody have pictures of neck joints on teles? I'm not sure how I'm going to treat it yet, and it would be cool to see some examples.
     

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  2. John_

    John_ TDPRI Member

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    Nobody? Wow I thought someone would have a picture.
     
  3. fletch

    fletch Tele-Meister

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    Here's a tele with a set neck -

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Jellecaster

    Jellecaster Friend of Leo's

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    It looks like a neck-thru as opposed to set neck.
     
  6. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    The reason you haven't seen many photos is that there are relatively few set-neck teles out there. Other than a handful of older CS models and the current Merle Haggard, the only ones I recollect at the moment are the early-to-mid- '90's Set Neck Telecaster, the later '90s Set Neck Tele Jr. There is also a fairly recent Squier HH set neck tele. There are probably a few others I can't recall or of which I am not aware.

    Here's a link to a page discussing the joint on the Merle Haggard. There's another link on that page to another set-neck tele.

    http://www.zen-pharaohs.com/guitars/Fender/Merle/mh_neck.htm

    I agree that's a neck-through above. It really does a nice job eliminating that awful Fender neck-body transition. I've been thinking about building a neck-through for exactly this reason. Most set-necks don't do much to eliminate the heel, but at least they eliminate those nasty squared-off corners. The neck-though shown above allows a much nicer transition. The problem with the set-neck is that you need enough meat to ensure a good, sturdy joint.

    Here's a link to a shot of another CS set-neck:

    http://www.northcoastguitars.com.au/91setneckteleempics.html

    It's really hard to see any joint, it really looks like neck-through construction, but I'm assuming i's a set-neck since they say it is.

    Anyway, if I were going to do a set-neck, I'd do it in such a way as to get as close to that neck-through transition as possible.
     
  7. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

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    pics of the back of a FMT HH set neck telecaster:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    i have one of these guitars myself, but it's the black cherry finish so it's hard to see the neck joint in photos. i found these shots of a transparent red model...hope they help. sorry they aren't bigger. you have to look real close to see the change in grain where the body and neck come together.

    good luck with the build, and keep us photo-informed of your progress.
     
  8. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    Conventional thinking dictates a need for a heel in set neck (glued in) construction, to afford more stability in the neck/body joint. A good example would be to look at early Gibson SG joints, which had a tendency to break loose- vs. later examples which were considerably beefed up. In my opinion, even the later models (although stronger) are not as stable as a bolt-on. I have owned several of the SG guitars, as well as an L6-S. All of them had stability problems to a degree. None of them was as stable as a well built tele with a bolt-on neck. My Les Pauls are better, one of which has a maple neck- which is the better of the two. The other sports a mahogany neck, Both have a bigger heel than the SGs or the L6-S. There is better tuning stability, less flex, and better sustain, which is most likely due to a combination of the thicker heel and the increased mass of the heavier bodies.

    If you are "set" on doing a glued-in neck, my suggestion would be to go with a long, deep tenon joint, as long as you can make it. It can go longer if you opt to use a pickguard, without diminishing the looks of the instrument. You can shape the heel down to a comfortable shape without sacrificing too much strength, but I strongly suggest that you keep some serious wood at the joint, and include a heel. This gives more surface area for glue in the joint, better transfer of vibration, more stability, and less chance of breakage. I would further suggest that you minimize the neck pickup routing, and be sure that your neck tenon is considerably deeper than the standard 5/8" pickup rout. In my youth, I hacked a P-90 hole into the neck position of my '63 SG junior, and enlarged the original P-90 (bridge) rout to accommodate a Super humbucker (circa 1972). The neck held, but I had removed some of the neck tongue in my ignorance. I never trusted that guitar 100% after the operation, but used it for years afterward without a problem. It sounded great, by the way).. Eventually, it met its demise when I tripped over a curly cord between the guitar and amp, which broke the face off the guitar at the output jack, which was top mounted. I didn't know how to fix that at the time, so I gave the guitar to a friend (sans electronics) whose older brother fixed it.. Live and learn.

    The point here is that despite having made an already weak joint weaker, it still held. When the guitar sailed off my bed, and hit the tile floor, the top gave way before the weak joint. Probably due to the angle where it hit. If you have access to hot hide glue and an oven, use that to glue in your neck. Heat the body and the neck to give yourself some working time with the hide glue, and you will have a strong joint. Once it is glued, it will be virtually one piece, and you can file/sand/shape your heel to taste.
     
  9. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    Looking at the Merle Haggard neck joint, it looks to me like they cut a nice tight neck pocket ...........glued in the neck .........then shaped the body and neck into a nice continuous form.

    ......[​IMG]

    It appears this is a 22 fret one piece neck with no overhang. Looks like they may have routed a longer neck pocket to accomodate the neck which would also allow a larger glueing area.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied

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    Thanks for that photo post, Jack.

    That is one fine lookin' join there on the Merle Haggard signature.

    As for the Korean Tele HHs, they have been known to fail. One of the Squier 51 guys posted new but sad image of one he'd bought a while back from Dave's, used. Ouch.


    Bubbanov
     
  11. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here's a picture of the neck pocket cavity. I see no indication of a tenon joint. The pickup is body mounted with rubber tubing. I'm guessing the large holes in the cavity bottom were for mounting some sort of fixture for holding it during the finishing process....... probably steel strap with a pipe welded to it. The large hole on the tenor side of the pocket may have been for the pickup wires. However they chose to run them through the bridge pickup cavity.

    ......[​IMG]

    While I'm at it, here's a picture of the control cavity showing that the body is chambered.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  12. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here I've applied a piece of tape to show the end of the neck pocket when veiwed from the back.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  13. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ok........... one last point. In the picture below I've overlaid a regular Tele outline on the Merle Haggard. It shows an interesting point. Before they glued on the neck and did the shaping, the neck pocket extended further out than on a regular Telecaster as shown by the green arrow.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  14. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the pics. I alway thought the MH was a neck-through. Does Fender not make it anymore?
     
  15. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's still made. It's a Custom Shop model.
     
  16. John_

    John_ TDPRI Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help! It's given me a pretty good idea for how to treat the neck transition.

    It seems common that the tenon is not very deep. I had ruled out the possibility of a one piece neck for just that reason. The blank I have is 1 3/4" thick, and plenty long to get well into the body. The tenon will be around 1 1/4 deep. I'm hoping to salvage enough material for a fretboard. It looks like it will work out fine. I'll use a gibson style trussrod on this one. There doesn't seem to be much of an alternative.

    I like the look of the MH. (great photos jwells) That should also work well for my material.
     
  17. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    An important consideration

    After doing a bit of digging, I found (I haven't seen the Haggard Tele in person) the construction is a maple center block with alder chambered wings. Just wanted to point out that the maple center block would be a definite advantage, due to the rigidity and hardness of the wood. If your body has this feature, you can reduce the heel size/thickness (to a point) as the stronger wood will add to the stability of the joint.. If you like to "flex" the neck (I do), I would suggest you leave a little more thickness at the heel for insurance. The longer/deeper tenon will help alot, too. Look for a snug fit, but not a forced fit. You will want to leave someplace for the glue. I would suggest running a rasp lightly along the edges of your neck heel (where it won't show) to make small grooves. This will increase the surface area of the glue joint, thus strengthening it. You'll want the neck to just slide into the pocket- not have to force it in. Take extra care at this point, and be sure your neck angle is good before gluing it up. I know it seems obvious, but it should be mentioned just the same.

    One more thing- if you make the recess in the body slightly longer than the tenon you can assure proper seating of the neck- 1/8" is plenty. The little void at the bottom of the neck will not affect anything, as the strength is most important where the neck exits the body, less so as the neck approaches the bridge. Leverage and glue will support the heel.
     
  18. John_

    John_ TDPRI Member

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    The neck tenon will extend well into the body The strength of it doesn't scare me. I'm going deep because I plan on a universal rout for the neck pickup. I'll build 2 or maybe 3 pickguards for it. With a connector at the front pup I could easily back off the strings and drop in a HB, P90, mini, or even a strat SC. Presto Chango..

    Thanks for the great advise Rich. It's not my first set neck build, so I know where you're coming from.
     
  19. atastymint

    atastymint TDPRI Member

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    Bumping an old thread instead of starting a new one. This is only one which came up in my search ...
    anyone else attempted to build a Merle Haggard style set neck tele?
    Anyone tried the musickraf set necks?

    I'm curious to its actual construction and stability. Interested in pics of the neck + body separate :)
     
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