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How tight should a neck pocket be?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Mark the Moose, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Building my first partscaster, I wondered how tight the sides of the neck pocket should be when putting the neck into position? Gappy? Drop in? Snug? A little thumb pressure to slide it in?
     
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  2. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I think snugness is irrelevant as the neck is screwed to the body with 4 screws.

    Other thoughts... the pocket is kind of like a dove-tail in that the pocket is tapered like the neck is tapered, wider at the heel. It should not be able to slide in from the end, only from above.

    In fact, tight of any kind is probably bad. Wood really does expand and contract at different times of the year. Snug AT ALL could lead to the neck causing cracks as the different woods expand and contract.

    But if the gaps are too wide around the neck, it can LOOK like it is of poor quality, even though a tiny gap is a good thing.

    To me, perfect is when the neck drops down from above with no resistance, but if you try to pull the neck out toward the headstock it is locked in. And if you try to fit a business card in between the neck sides and the body, it almost kind of wants to fit, but doesn't.

    Sheet of good paper? 0.1mm?
     
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  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just a little force should be needed - and it should seat it completely, not partially. When you remove it, it shouldn't just drop out. and you shouldn't have to pry it away from the body. Just barely snug.
     
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  4. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Right now it requires a little thumb pressure to press it down into place, and it doesn’t fall out if I turn it over. Just wondered if I should keep sanding.
     
  5. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    thats what I have with my AVRI62 teles. I think thats pretty good
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    leave some room for finish coatings, if they are both bare wood now,,:)
     
  7. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    The neck has two coats of tru oil, stopping there. I did not finish the neck pocket on the body. Didn’t seem necessary.
     
  8. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    It always makes me feel better if it's a little snug but not tight, if that makes any sense.
    I could be wrong, though.
     
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  9. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

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    On several counts, "too snug" is not a great outcome. As noted earlier, the four screws are what freezes the position, and even there you need to make sure the "through holes" on the body don't bind the screw threads. On several of my guitars I have appreciated being able to loosen the neck screws and pivot the neck to the left or right just a tad to adjust the string position on the neck. I actually like a bit more room on the high E side so I can be a little wilder with vibrato without having it fall off the cliff. When the neck is too tight in the pocket, it better be dead on in that regard for what you want, or you're stuck.
     
  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You want a bit of wiggle room so you can get the e strings where you want them. These aren't mortise and tenon joints.

    Too tight won't allow any adjustment. Fender spec's used to call for +/- 1/32" on the drawings if I recall correctly. Plenty of CBS era bodies had some pretty big gaps and they still worked out.

    specs.png




    Neck pocket / neck issue? | Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum (strat-talk.com)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  11. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    A tiny gap is what you‘re looking for.
     
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  12. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    That is perfect.

    ;)
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    here's the thing.. they should be as tight as YOU want.. but remember... wood shrinks and expands.... you're not gonna stop that from happening.. so..

    if the wood expands, the neck's heel gets larger, but... the neck pocket is getting smaller,. so you have colliding masses of wood.. this is where the notorious neck pocket cracks come from, and if the wood shrinks, the opposite happens, and guys whine about sloppy neck pockets...
    and in either case absolutely nothing of any consequence happens that impacts tone..
     
  14. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks all. Sounds like a just bit more sanding may be in order.
     
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  15. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    As Ron said. I have consistently found that a neck pocket before finishing that requires any pressure to get in will be tight after finish and end up with cracks on the corners of the neck pocket from the expansion.

    I have repeatedly seen people taught a neck pocket so tight they can pickup the guitar by the neck without screws. Then you have to push the neck a bit for e string alignment & it is destined for a crack in the pocket in. the near future.

    I don't want them sloppy but I want them to set in easily before finish.

    By the way, just listen to Ron on anything building and it will be right!
     
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  16. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

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    A little bit of pressure is perfect. A few years ago I put a lot of thought into this. I make my necks a little wider (Gibson thick at the heel - so no e-string alignment issues) and mostly non-fender type bodies (Gibson kind of shape with an Ibanez AANJ fender-like neck joint for the most part) and I always shape the lower bout a little closer to the bridge and use just a little more wood in the body shape for where the lower bout meets the neck pocket so that it's less likely to crack: With those design changes (with the AANJ the lower screw is actually right at the point where the neck and body meet on the lower bout (see pics below). I think those tiny changes do help with getting a tighter fit if someone wants that. But, the standard Tele neck joint will crack if made too tight, and honestly the Fender neck joint is perfect for what we build Teles for.

    IMG_1205.jpg

    IMG_2090.jpg

    With those design changes I do make my necks fit pretty tight: Not so that any kind of "force" is required to get them in, but they kind of "lock in place" and only go in if aligned really well. The joint is tighter than if I were to glue the neck on. And, I do that because the pocket on my guitars is shorter, but very much a dovetail joint kind of idea - but without loosing the ability to take the neck off for doing neck work or swapping the neck.

    I made those design changes because I wanted to have upper fret access where the heel did not interfere, but also to get a tone that is somewhat closer to a glued in neck - gaining sustain and low-end tone while not loosing a lot of the sparkle in the high-end tones and producing very loud acoustic sound with a lot of resonance. I went down this path over a decade ago when I noticed how well a Warmoth Strat neck and body fit together - I don't know if they just happen to be exceptionally well made on the right day of the week... but I loved the tone of that guitar and I copied a lot from that one. The neck joint was just tight enough to keep the neck perfectly in place while on a guitar stand and I think that is just the right fit for a Fender neck joint.

    Making guitars is never a "one-size fits all" kind of thing. I think there is a lot to be said for extremely precise neck/body joints for certain guitar design attributes that one may want and that can be achieved. However it's a bit of a different animal.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I THINK on the internet we way overthink this.
    In fact it's begun to annoy me how much discussion there is about a range of minutia that makes zero difference.
    So many options and mods to make the guitar exactly the same!
    Followed by: "Oooh, it has more resonance and sustain now with the special $50 screws!"
    But when I'm annoyed it's probably a good time to not say nuthin at all...

    Fitting the neck though, yeah, tight snug and loose.
    My first partscaster in 1980 I made the fit veeerrrrry tight, no problems.
    All worked just the same.

    I do think that looser with more movement is the fastest way to crack the body.
    But that just like my opinion man.
     
  18. Martian

    Martian Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I wonder then if during the high humidity months the screws should be loosened just slightly to accommodate any swelling. Btw, I recently loosened the four neck screws on my Baja tele and it seemed to help the intonation. It seemed to just feel better. I thought it was my imagination but after reading this post, maybe not.
     
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  19. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    It doesnt really matter that much. I have never heard or seen a difference. If its a tight fit , it is probably easier to get the small cracks at the pocket , if the guitar gets a whack.
    No 1 , Assemble guitar
    No 2 , Play guitar , and stop fussing about all the little details !
     
  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's aesthetic only. Having a wide gap looks bad. Too tight and paint chips sometimes.
    In a perfect world I'd like to have .005-.010 gap
     
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