Heel size and 1.6" nut

TheRootWill

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
May 15, 2022
Posts
2
Age
33
Location
Netherlands
Hello guys!

I have started to build my own TELE from the scratch and I came across this question: does all TELE necks has the same size of the heel?? All those years? No matter of the nut width? I was trying to find out the answer online, but it seems like everywhere is believed that all strat / tele guitars has the same heel size (with a very minimal variation).

I'm trying to re-build 1964 model with the narrow 1.6" nut. I I have already collected all original Fender parts from that year.
From my earlier experience of building guitars, I know that the heel size is the result of the few factors: string spacing at bridge, string spacing at the nut and distance of the E strings from the edge. The classic bridge - has a fixed string placement. It means that only width at the nut will determine how wide heel should be (so both E-E strings would run parallel with the edge). I have found some high quality pictures of 64" telecaster with 1.65" nut width - I can see really clearly that first and last strings are going parallel with edge. In my calculation that means that the heel HAS to be narrower that the "standard" - 2-3/16. In fact, I have made drawing in CAD software, and I'm getting exactly 2 1/8 at the end of the heel.

I can't find any reliable blue prints of 64" telecaster. Can anyone point me out - what was the heel size of the original fender 1964 with 1.6" nut?
 
Last edited:

guitarbuilder

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2003
Posts
25,015
Location
Ontario County
Typical tele necks are 2-3/16" wide at the heel. Some will be larger and some will be smaller. Fender had plus and minus tolerances for their parts like any other manufactured product. You'll find the neck pdf in this link below is a real good drawing. It was by Ed Hawley from his '53 build. You want to print at 100% scale. The octave position markers reflect the changes that Fender made. Now the neck needs to fit into the body which may be painted, so the neck cavity should be slightly larger than 2-3/16" to accomodate paint and the tolerances. I spec mine out at 2-7/32" on the body for some wiggle room. You don't want a mortise and tenon fit on a bolt on neck where you may need to adjust the e strings a bit one way or another.



neck.png




Thanks Ed! https://www.tdpri.com/threads/53-cnc-build.83286/
 
Last edited:

dsutton24

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Posts
10,878
Location
Illinois
The only one I can think of that varied from the norm very much was the Modern Player. It was slightly wider.
 

old wrench

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Posts
3,181
Location
corner of walk and don't walk
Yes, Telecaster heel widths are all basically the same - as long as they are built to Fender specs

Tele necks were designed to be inter-changeable, with not only other necks but other bodies as well - so the heel dimensions need to fall within a pretty narrow range

.
 

RickyRicardo

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Posts
3,929
Location
Calgary, Alberta
The standard nut width from 1962 to 1969 was 1.625" with very few exceptions.

Wouldn't your bridge be a standard width that is for a 2-3/16" heel? I think all that changes is the way the nut gets slotted. String spacing at the E's to the edge of the neck is all you have to adjust for.

From here. A good source.
GuitarHQ
 

schmee

Telefied
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Posts
20,114
Location
northwest
Yep, 2-3/16th. Some off brands are different though.
The nut width matters little compared with bridge width.... except to your fingers down there at the Cowboy Chord area.
Too wide a bridge string spacing can be troublesome rolloff regardless of nut width.

Something to watch for; a neck off a guitar with a certain scale, may not work on a different guitar with the same scale. It's because of where they place the neck rout and the heel shape of the neck. For instance, a Jag neck off a (Vintage Modified?) may have 22 frets WITHOUT the overhang fretboard. It wont work on another guitar of the same scale. It's all about the distance from the heel rout to the bridge... (dont ask how I know!)
 

TheRootWill

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
May 15, 2022
Posts
2
Age
33
Location
Netherlands
Thank you so much for all of your input, it's been very helpful!
Further research allowed me to make a conclusion, that telecasters at that era was really inconsistent, because of manufacturing process.

I am a professional woodworker, I build luxurious cabinets and interior, we have a really high standards, we work at a very high precision. I though that guitar builders should follow even higher, dead-on blue-print specifications. Not with Fender :)

Many people have reported that even two guitars made at the same factory about the same time - could be completely out of specs. (well... 0.02" it's already a lot for me).
 




Top