Neck Length?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Johnny_B, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Okay, thanks for the info. I get it now!
     
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  2. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Hey Cheap Guitar Guy, the drama continues. I'm pretty sure my original fender neck is 25.5" but now that I did a second closer look and compared my Fender neck to this China neck the frets don't line up and waver down the middle of the neck... So now I'm really confused. The China ebay listing actually didn't specific the scale length so I just assumed it was 25.5 but it could be 24.75.

    (I've had my Fender Strat neck on a squire tele body and it worked fine, so that's why I assume it must be 25.5. Otherwise not sure either way.)

    Can somebody tell me if this China neck, which is probably a Modern Player neck with extended heel, is 24.75 or whatever? Geeeeez.
     

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  3. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    measure from the nut to fret 12 and double it for the scale....
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Measure from the fretboard/nut edge to the center of the 12th fret and multiply that number by 2 to get the scale length.
     
  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've been using chinese necks on builds for years.. never had a dodgy one that needed any work on it besides finish... tele, strat and bass necks... Kmise is a good brand....:)
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got something kind of similar on the bench right now. A guy screwed up the truss rod adjuster on his Ibanez bass, then further screwed up the neck trying to fix it. He bought a cheap Chinese neck somewhere - probably intended for a P or J bass. When nothing fit he brought it to me.

    Both necks are the same 34 inch scale (16-15/16 to the 12th fret). The Ibanez neck was 22 fret, the replacement 21 (I know that P/J basses are usually 20). If I put the replacement butted up against the end of the cavity the scale moves enough that I'll run out of intonation adjustment. Lining up the nuts you can see how much longer the Ibanez is than the replacement

    IMG_5412.JPG
    IMG_5413.JPG

    Here is the heel, Ibanez on top

    IMG_5414.JPG

    Solution was to put the Ibanez neck back in and mark the 17 fret location (easier than the body joint) with a piece of tape, then put the new one in lining up the 17th fret, marking and drilling.

    IMG_5415.JPG

    I told the owner there would be a gap between the end of the heel and the end of the pocket and I could make a new pick guard that would hide it, he said he didn't care.

    Don't know if this helps or not, sure better than screwing the neck down and then finding I had to move the bridge
     
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  7. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, the problem is the fret spacing lining up quite closely with your fender neck tells me it is a 25.5 scale neck that got hacked off 1 fret too early making it too short. That means even if it the length of a 24.75, the fret spacing is off to be used for it. If they would have run the heal wood all the way to be flush with the fretboard it may have been close. It looks like the made it to have the fretboard overhang of a 22 fret neck with 21 frets.


    Eric
     
  8. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Thanks - measured them - they are both 25.5"
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Johnny, as I look at your pictures and measurements, your problem is the opposite of mine. It looks like both your necks are the same scale and both have the same number of frets. But the heel on the Chinese neck is simply too long and probably is not within Fender's specifications.

    If you use it as is the neck will be shifted away from the bridge by whatever that distance is and you will likely not have enough travel on your saddles to properly intonate it. My rule of thumb on locating a bridge is that when the saddles are all the way forward they should be sitting more or less on the scale length as determined by the neck in the pocket. That would be my first criteria - crank the saddles all the way forward, clamp the neck in the pocket (don't drill screw holes yet), put a 36 inch rule against the nut and see where 25.5 is relative to the saddles. If they are at the scale then you're good.

    If not, you have two choices to use that neck. You can route the neck pocket deeper (towards the bridge) by the difference in the heels. The only problem with doing that is now the body has been customized to fit a non standard neck. If you ever want to put a "real" Fender neck on it there will be a gap at the end. Not the end of the world but I'm not a big fan of modifying Fender bodies to be out of spec.

    The other choice is to modify the heel to be within Fender specs. It looks like you have lots of wood to remove and probably should shorten the f/b extension to match the Fender neck. In theory you could make a little template off the Fender neck and use a router to trim the other one but for a one shot deal I would just cut it off and shape with rasps and chisels.

    As far as the slight differences between fret locations on the two boards - it could be that different companies have used different methods of calculating fret locations (there are actually three different formula that give slightly different results) or it could just be that one of them was made on a particularly sloppy cnc or jig. We calculate fret locations to three decimal places and then measure with a stick marked in 16th of an inch and expect it to be "accurate".
     
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  10. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Yes, thanks for your note and for your previous pics. I think you've clearly identified the issues and options here. You also explained why the fret locations in certain spots don't line up between different necks with the same scale length - that was something that started to make me question if this China neck was usable. Not sure how fret locations can be slightly off so I guess i'll only know if it'll be in tune once its done.
     
  11. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Got a question here. Wouldn't you want the saddles lined up in the middle of the bridge when measuring out the scale length so that you have room to adjust on either side in case your neck placement and intonation is slightly off one way or another?
     
  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    No, altho a lot of people do exactly that. You will never have "negative compensation", the note always goes sharp as you fret it and you will always need to add a bit of length to "compensate" for that. In the acoustic world it is normal to add 1/16 inch of initial compensation to the high E and 2 or 3/16 to the low - then further compensate each string which gives the characteristic B string notch.

    If you put the scale at the center of travel you have effectively wasted half or a little more of the travel. Why do that?

    In fact you can calculate the amount of compensation that any string needs based on its scale length, tuning and physical properties

    https://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/compensation.htm

    The calculated compensation will always be a positive number.

    btw - its interesting to run that calculator and compare to an actual guitar that you've intonated by ear or using a tuner.
     
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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Johnny, one more comment. I've been working on that bass this afternoon and I will say that this neck has the absolutely worst frets I have ever seen. The neck came with a whole lot of back bow cranked in, however that came out when I loosened the truss rod. With the board flat the frets were like the ocean, high, low and everywhere in between. The ends were like little razor blades. Everything dressed out fine but I just wanted to give you a heads up - I hope mine isn't representative of what our friends in China are sending this way.
     
  14. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    To me, the frets do NOT look like they match. Can't tell much else from the pics, though it's clear these are not interchangeable parts. If the nuts are lined up and the scale lengths are supposed to be the same, one or the other is clearly screwed up.
     
  15. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    I hear ya, thanks!
     
  16. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Ton of great info here! I'll have to take some time on this... Thanks!
     
  17. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    I'm glad you mentioned Kmise because i found a listing on eBay for a Kmise neck and I really love the shape of the headstock - something that you don't see often. So, i was thinking of trying it out at some point in the future. Would you recommend this one?

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Kmise-Elect...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649
     
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  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Johnny, that neck would concern me. First, when I go down to the specifications I read the following:

    Width of heel 57mm (2.244 inches). My tele neck plans call that out at 2.189 inches, my strat plans give the width of the pocket at 2.200 inch.

    Thickness of heel 28mm (1.10 inch). My tele neck plans call that as 1.010 inches

    The good new is that your neck is oversize so it can be trimmed down to fit a standard fender pocket, the bad news is that is oversized and needs to be trimmed..... Or the pocket enlarged. If you sand on the neck then you'll need to do some refinishing....

    The f/b radius is given as 15 inches - the is flatter than most fender necks, flatter than even a Gibson neck and almost as flat as most acoustic necks. Be sure you want that. And they give the scale as being a tenth of an inch longer than standard, but of course then they add the qualifier that all measurements can have 1-2mm error.

    Not saying don't go for it, however those are red flags for me.

    One of the things I like to see on a neck is the "Licensed by Fender" stamp - that means they are paying a royalty to fender but also tells me that they are at least close to Fender's standardized dimentions


    IMG_3683.JPG
     
  19. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    I understand exactly what your saying. Thanks for the heads up! I haven't started researching specs just yet. I'm hoping to build one or two tele "test" runs in order to get familiar with tools and for these kinds of problems and issues to reveal themselves. Eventually when i'm good enough I will seek out better materials and parts. That guitar neck in your pic looks great! (Can't make out the brand, but I do see the license!)
     
  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, one of the big advantages of building Fender style guitars is that everything is so standardized - at least in theory. Leo was a genius in that respect - his guitars were designed to be mass produced by workers with no lutherie skills and sold at a profit - at least in theory. Build to the standard and you will never go wrong.

    A few more random thoughts - that Kmise neck says the scale is 650mm - that is a "standard" for classical guitar necks. Leo of course used inches, his necks would be 647.7mm - close enough, I guess. People give me a hard time because I do all my setups in decimal inches but that happens to be the system we Yanks work in.

    The earlier comment about the frets not lining up could be true. There are a variety of reasons for this and if you really want to get into it I can help explain. The paradox is that there is nothing you can measure on a guitar that will be at the scale length - if you put a 25.5 inch ruler anywhere on a strat it won't measure to anything. The closest you can get is the 12th fret is ALWAYS at the half scale. Unless of course the builder has decided to do some compensation at the nut and first frets (you will probably never see that on a production guitar and certainly not on a Chinese neck). As long as your two necks measure the same distance from the face of the nut to the crown of the 12th fret they are the same scale.

    I believe the neck in that photo is a Mighty Mite neck. It is built to Fender specs and I have used several of them. They have all needed fretwork but I just expect that, even with a new guitar. The other necks that I have experience with are Warmoth - again, built to spec and fit perfectly. One bit of irony is that my understanding is Mighty Mite ships maple from the eastern US to china to have the necks milled, then back to the US for sale. So I guess technically they are Chinese necks.

    You could have potential problems with necks by either of those companies - increasingly its hard to ship any wood products across any borders because of the CITES requirements. All rosewood just got added to Appendix II which greatly limits its ability to travel. Since you are in Canada you may want to source all of your stuff there.

    I'll follow your building with interest - if there is anything I can add let me know. I did a brief paragraph in my Basic Setup thread about scale length, inharmonicity, temperment, compensation and intonation. Its interesting stuff, I can point you to more.
     
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