Is the fender neck pocket structural?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by thechad, May 28, 2020.

  1. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Hi everyone,

    I am thinking of building a guitar body that will have a fender style bolt on neck. Fender always has the top of the neck pocket going in around the 17th fret on top and 21st fret on the bottom. Does this give more strength to the guitar? upload_2020-5-28_8-10-3.png upload_2020-5-28_8-14-53.png upload_2020-5-28_8-15-11.png

    If I wanted to make a guitar with SG style horns to free up access to higher frets, would the guitar be less structurally sound? upload_2020-5-28_8-12-29.png Does this have something to do with bolt on VS set necks? Or is it all strictly an aesthetic consideration?

    I am thinking it might be wise to stagger the SG horns according to the standard fender pocket layout.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Its just two different ways too accomplish the same goal - some how you need to attach the neck to the body. The Gibson M&T glued joint is an offshoot of the various "set" joints that they had used for a hundred years. Leo's genius was to design a neck that could be easily and cheaply mass produced. Done correctly either joint is adequate for the forces involved. Done incorrectly either joint can have problems.

    My experience with set neck guitars where the neck joins the body at a very high fret (18 or so) is that often the tenon is too short for adequate gluing surface. Gibson does have some models of SG's and LP Jr's that have problematic necks joints (I can show you pictures if you decide to pursue this), but in my humble opinion with care you will be alright.

    If you decide to do a screwed on neck there is no reason that you have to copy the fender pocket dimension if you are not joining at the 16th fret. you could make something like a long LP tenon and still screw it on. And if you are really concerned about the strength of the joint you could extend the neck farther into the body (in an LP and some SG's it goes into the neck p/u cavity)
     
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  3. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Freeman, funny I was going to bother you with a DM but thought it might be a good topic to put up for general discussion. I am buying a warmoth neck, so it will be bolt on with the standard fender design. I guess the main point I was getting at was just having the body mass around that pocket...whether it was for strength or aesthetics. I would guess aesthetics but I wanted to double check first. I do plan on giving my guitar body an offset waist so I may need to stagger the SG style horns a little anyway just to give the top some better flow...
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Well I certainly think the sides of the fender pocket give some support but how much is anyone's guess. I personally like the way a set neck can be made to flow into the body - it looks more elegant and finished. I guess I would worry more about a short tenon M&T joint failing than the #8 wood screws - I think you will be fine.
     
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  5. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence. It may be sometime before my materials are delivered so I am using the time to contemplate and work on the body shape. Aesthetics will be my main consideration knowing that the body mass around the pocket isn't super important.
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    One thing you might consider. If you look at SG neck joints the body is slightly wider than the neck all the way around

    [​IMG]

    I believe the tenon on these is full width and they made the little shoulders to give it some lateral support. It kind of offends me but you could do something like that with your fender neck.

    Edit, I also know that Gibson changed the SG and Jr joints over and over, I'm not sure they were totally satisfied.
     
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  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You'll find SG style guitars with bolt on necks. Fender generally joins the body at fret 16. Given a Gibson scale length, I wouldn't shorten the neck cavity up too much or the neck will tend to flex. SG's already do that a bit, even with set necks.

    I have a Maestro body like the one linked. I put in a cheap MIC Gibson scale bolt on neck with 22 frets. It joins right between fret 16 and 17.

    The cutaway shape will also help dictate how much access you'll have. You'll notice early SG's have a real pointy shape with extra carves as compared to later ones which were carved less to minimize some of the problems. They added more meat on the neck cavity underneath to add some more support.

    https://reverb.com/item/27360506-un...n=9712458896&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google

    https://www.musicgoround.com/produc...MI99unx_nW6QIVlIjICh0gGw7aEAYYAiABEgK3XfD_BwE

    Early SG join the body at fret 22. Later joins at fret 19 or 20
    https://reverb.com/item/29936683-1962-gibson-les-paul-standard-sg

    https://reverb.com/item/31002254-gi...0.yHRj_-mnGHEZskPZyi-7YjrbsiL1v3bz9SyVc-4-R6s
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  8. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  9. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Baby steps....I've never built a guitar before. Even the "buy a neck build a body" approach might be out of my league :eek:
     
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Yes it does, but not as it bears against the side of the neck. With a screwed-on neck, another way to think abut this is the critical component being stiffness of the wood through the 'floor' of the neck pocket (the black outline in the pic below). If it's flexible, that's bad because that is what holds the neck in the same plane as the guitar body against the tension of the strings. The upper portion of wood that wraps around the bass side of the neck (red outline) adds stiffness to the lower area of the wood.

    Unlike Fender, Gibson's approach does use that upper wood as direct support to prevent neck movement because the neck is glued to the sides of the pocket.

    Pretty much all stringed instruments--including pianos--spend their entire lives trying to turn themselves into a taco. How we build them is what prevents them from doing so.


    [​IMG]
     
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  12. slobberjaws

    slobberjaws TDPRI Member

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    I've had a number of experiences lately that have led me to believe that SG neck joints are mostly not so great, especially if you want to play in tune. It seems to me that the lack of material around the joint, due to the thin body and that the joint floating out in space with no other part of the body really touching it is most of the reason.

    I would be pretty concerned about removing too much material from around a fender type bolt on neck pocket.

    The first guitar I ever bought, a cheap epi SG with a bolt on neck had been lying around my place, and I had some parts that I thought might be fun to put on it, as well as try out some different wiring options that I don't have on any other guitars.

    I knew that this cheap guitar was in fact, cheap, and also had some more specific issues, but nothing a little hand craftsmanship couldn't solve, right? I've made a bunch of cheap guitars play really well, piece of cake.

    So after installing all new electronics with coil taps, polarity reverse switch, new bone nut, new schaller tuners, leveled and recrowned frets, I was excited to play this weird thing!

    So I sat down, tuned up, plugged it into an amp, and hit a chord. My heart sank. Suddenly I remembered what it was like playing this thing when I was in high school. It never played in tune. The weight of your hand on the neck pulls it out.

    Sure, cheap guitar. But then I got curious and started testing out other similarly shaped guitars. A nicer, modern SG shaped ESP/LTD with a set neck and thicker body. It didn't pull out nearly as badly, but it did more than some of my other guitars do. I even went to a music store and tried out some of the SGs that said Gibson on the headstock, same thing, not as bad as my cheap epi, but worse than the LTD and worse than most other guitars I play.

    The one that really capped it off was while I was going through this SG experiment, I ended up running sound in a local bar during a city music festival. Getting lots of bands on and off stage and trying to keep the show going on time works about like it sounds, lol.

    So I get this band going, and as I've got my head in the rack turning knobs, I think to myself, "boy those guitars are out of tune," so I pop my head up and look...sure enough, not one, but two SGs.

    That joint (or lack thereof, in the case of a neck through) is a lot of what makes a guitar a guitar.
     
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  13. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Very nice illustration on the stability/flex issue. Thanks for that! Something to keep in mind for sure. I have a feeling my pocket might end up looking more fender than gibson SG when all is said and done.
     
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  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Another thing that will influence this a lot is how you decide to build your geometry into the top and neck. Melvyn Hiscock has a pretty good discussion of geometry in his book (which you need if this is your first or third or tenth guitar) and he uses SG's and LP Jr's in his examples.
     
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  15. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

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    The main conceptual difference in the physics between set-neck joints and bolt-on necks is that the sides in the set-neck add a lot to the glue surface area and it's all about the non-butt surface area of the glue joint. Since the butt of the joint adds very little and the strongest parts of the glue joint are the sides and bottom. I came up with a pocket design that maximized the glue surface area inside of the Fender style neck heel - just 3" long (vs 4 to 5" with a '61 SG)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I did some rough calculations comparing a LP joint with a glued in Fender heel and my design:

    [​IMG]

    My guess is that a '61 style SG joint (in Freeman's post above) gives about 250-275 lbs/in^2 of support and if one were to glue in a neck with a Fender heel it would be about 200 lbs/in^2. The '61 SG neck joint is one of my favorite design elements, but it's only just strong enough. Gluing in a fender 3" long heel is much weaker than that, but people actually report that that works fine for them.

    Back on the point... One thing that I have found is that if I don't have a lot of wood under the heel of the neck on a bolt-on design (less than 1" thick) I make the neck pocket pretty tight (so that the neck will stay in the pocket with a little force) and then make the screw holes through the body just bigger than the threads so that it won't move around much. In the bolt-on Epiphone SG design they tended to leave too much play in the pocket and all of that will flex. If it all fits tight it will flex less. If you find that you like the neck/body combo you can always bolt and glue it...
     
  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No, the body portion around the neck (above the mating surface) is not structural from a neck attachment standpoint. In fact necks seldom contact any of those 3 sides (even .001" clearance is not contact)
    The extra wood looks better and may have something to do with body mass/tone and BODY rigidity, but nothing to do with the neck.
    The reality is that screwed on necks sound just as good as glued in necks. Taylor and Fender prove that.
     
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  17. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    After some consideration I think my body shape will be something like this:
    upload_2020-5-31_15-25-0.jpeg

    As I figured, the top horn is a little tight having the offset waist. Total body length from longest points on either side is 19” which is about what a jazz master runs?
    disregard the pickups/bridge etc which are only roughly sketched in for visualization purposes only.
     
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  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just in case you aren't aware. The neck pocket isn't a rectangle. The sides are tapered as they go to the 16th fret. A neck should drop in from the top, not slide in from the front.
     
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  19. thechad

    thechad Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, I’ll get more detailed as the time comes to build. Just working out a rough “to scale” idea on paper, I appreciate the heads up though!
     
  20. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Marty is correct. Here is a pic of a Tele neck pocket.

    TeleNeckPocket.PNG
     

    Attached Files:

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