Determining neck pocket depth (top-loader)

will033023

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I recently decided to do my first build. I bought up some dirt-cheap DIY kit and figured I could afford to risk screwing up!

Now, right off the bat, when assembled, the action was way high, which I believe has something to do with how high the neck was sitting in the pocket:

IMG_20220507_151304__01.jpg

Now, I know the frets are awful; that's another can of worms. But going by this photo, even with the pickuard on, it's pretty high in the pocket and protrudes beyond the fretboard (compared to my other Tele which is a Fender; only the fretboard protrudes on that; the action is better and overall more aesthetically pleasing).

My question is:
Are there any rules I need abide given the circumstances–alderwood body, top-loader bridge–that I may not be aware of; or can I indeed lower the pocket a good 5-6mm 'till satisfied with the feel/look?
The body is about 8mm flatter in depth than my Fender, but I can't tell whether those 5-6mm give or take will matter to the integrity of the build?

I apologize for any vaguely phrased questions or potential ignorance. This is my first project, and I've tried to gather all answers I could online, but several luthiers say that your method of neck pocket depth determination depends on the bridge and other things, and mine is a bit out of the ordinary being a top-loader. There you go. What are your thoughts?

Thanks!
 

unixfish

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Interesting question - to which I don't have an answer.

That does look like the pocket is too shallow. There are specs somewhere that will show those measurements.
 

eallen

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A pic from the entire pocket to the bridge would be helpful.

Fender standard pocket depth is 5/8" all the way, no angle. The standard neck dimension from the bottom of the neck to the middle of the fretboard is 1" & should be the same over the entire mounting surface area. Since a fretboard is .25" thick that leaves an .125" gap under the fretboard for the pickguard.

Nail the the 5/8 & 1" and that is all you need.

Make sure there isn't any finish build up in the pocket or any splinter or puckers around the holes on body or neck as they will keep you neck from fully seating. If the holes on the body & neck came predrilled the likelihood of them being accurate is minimal which can result on binding that stops the neck from seating as well.

Eric
 

will033023

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Screenshot_20220510-062936__01.jpg

This just got more interesting. Above is a photo previous to full dissembly, and below is what happened when I took the neck off. Besides the bolts, there was some sort of super glue (unnecessarily powerful stuff) clamping the thing together, unbeknownst to me.
The impact looks repairable as all nuggets and pieces are intact and fit together, but I will have to make a fine cut to get the missing chunk off the butt of the neck...
Anyway, on the far right corner of the pocket, you can see what had been the depth (or lack thereof) of the neck pocket.

So my quick course of action is to get the pieces back together, assess/adjust the depth of the pocket, fill and redo the abysmal drill-job (I got way worse pictures of that), and hopefully have nothing else pivotal in the way for me to do the finish, wiring and all that other good stuff, in it's respective order.

Hope those pictures suffice, VERY grateful for the replies.
If any other pictures can help, let me know.
Thanks again

Screenshot_20220510-062959__01.jpg
 

guitarbuilder

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Fender necks typically are 1" thick at the bottom of the heel to the top of the fretboard. Using a typical Tele style bridge, the neck cavity as EAllen mentioned is 5/8" deep. That leaves the neck proud by 3/8". To really clean up the neck cavity, you could rout it out level and then replace the wood with some new wood to achieve the above measurements. Depending on your available resources, I think the worst case scenario would be to fill the divot with plastic wood, level it, refill, level it again to the above specs. Plastic wood can be drilled and is a cellulose product. Routing would be my first choice, but you need to do what you can do. A chisel or router plane are also possibilities to clean that cavity out but a chisel requires some decent woodworking abilities. If you have access to a drill press, a good forstner bit in a drill press with a depth stop could remove material down to the same depth too. That still would leave material to clean up as well as little pointed divots from the bit tip.
 
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will033023

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Fender necks typically are 1" thick at the bottom of the heel to the top of the fretboard. Using a typical Tele style bridge, the neck cavity as EAllen mentioned is 5/8" deep. That leaves the neck proud by 3/8". To really clean up the neck cavity, you could rout it out level and then replace the wood with some new wood to achieve the above measurements. Depending on your available resources, I think the worst case scenario would be to fill the divot with plastic wood, level it, refill, level it again to the above specs. Plastic wood can be drilled and is a cellulose product. Routing would be my first choice, but you need to do what you can do. A chisel or router plane are also possibilities to clean that cavity out but a chisel requires some decent woodworking abilities. If you have access to a drill press, a good forstner bit in a drill press with a depth stop could remove material down to the same depth too. That still would leave material to clean up as well as little pointed divots from the bit tip.
Well, that about settles it! I actually thought about doing exactly what you suggested, but didn't know whether it was a sound idea, but with your affirmation I am confident to try it!
I know several carpenters at my workplace whom I can probably lend some of those tools from. I will try routing it level and building from there, and I think I wanna give it a shot with gluing the edges around the pocket back together, without the use of any plastic hopefully, as I would prefer to only use that for the drillings.

If you don't mind, I do have two more questions:

1: The low E tuner is slightly misaligned from the others (caving in) which results in the string deviating slightly, past the nut:
IMG_20220507_164304.jpg

But basically, I just wanna plug the hole with a little coin of similar wood and redo the drilling. Would that budge, or am I better off doing the filling in a different way?

2: I noticed that the neck has been sanded a little flatter towards the side of the high E, among the top frets.
It's barely noticable cosmetically, but you can tell. Is that something people do for more reach? And if so, maybe the previous owner overdid it a bit? I can live with it, but it made me very curious.

Loving all the responses so far, thanks for all the information!
 
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