Neck Pockets Too Small: What do I resize? Neck Pocket? or Neck?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Rick C., Oct 11, 2019.

  1. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    I have two partscaster projects in the making (one Tele, one Strat style). The necks I've chosen for them are both too wide to fit in their appropriate neck pocket.

    With the Tele it's simply a matter of the neck being a bit too wide (which will make this the easier of the two to fix).

    On the Strat body, I'm using a non-Strat (Washburn) neck that is both too wide for the pocket and has a different taper than Strat necks. Put another way, part of the neck fits in the pocket. But at the end of the neck (the heel itself) it's wider than a Strat neck by around 2mm. It's a 22 fret neck and "fits" up to about the 17th fret. From there to the end it's too wide. (I also know in advance that I may need to shim under the neck to get the right angle. But that isn't a problem).

    My question (and it's probably been asked many times before) is: Should I shape the neck pockets to fit the necks? Or vice versa? Or could it be a combination of both?

    I've read and/or heard that it's best to "make it fit" by removing wood from the neck pocket. But this is the first time I'll actually be doing this. Therefore, I seek input or any tips anyone may have.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Neck pocket.
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    In general the neck pocket is the thing to resize if you have all correct spec parts you intend to keep together as a whole guitar.

    If I had a non standard neck and wanted to put it on a good standard Fender body I'd probably alter the neck there.
    If you have no tools other than a screwdriver and sandpaper, and the fit is close, no real horror if you sand a little off the high E side of the neck heel to get it into the pocket.
     
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  4. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Whichever is non-spec size should get altered.
     
  5. funkysoul

    funkysoul Tele-Meister

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    as they are partcasters i would re shape what it could be 5,5cm.so if any part next time goes in another match it would gave the size
     
  6. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    Quick replies!
    Thanks!

    What I didn't mention in the OP is that the body is from a Carvin Bolt Kit guitar (Strat style). I've had no interest in the guitar for quite some time and decided to refinish it and put it to good use. I didn't like the Carvin neck = why I'm installing the Washburn.

    I haven't actually looked at these necks very closely till today. But at least I have a pair of Stew Mac calipers which will keep me messing up. Like, not taking too much off one side.

    I'll carefully examine & will likely shape the pockets to fit the necks.

    The Tele neck, btw, is a Mighty Mite. (It actually fits snugly into one Tele body I have, but I may use it on another body that isn't a fit, as of now).
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  7. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    Yep. Relatively sure I read the same thing here @ TDPRI, maybe 15 years ago. Thanks.
     
  8. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. I kinda already replied, but this thread is related to another one I have on "Carvin Bolt Kit: Converting to 24.75" Gibson scale". Since I need to rout out some of the neck heel to get to the right scale length...I think it will be easier to get good fit by then. (Will use a router or Dremel).

    And, as I said to Nick Fanis, a vote for neck pocket reshaping seems to be a winner.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Meister

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    Never sand a neck's sides to fit a neck pocket. Always sand the sides of the pocket. Best way is to use double-stick tape to attach a piece of 120-grit paper to the side of a small wooden block and work that block against each side of the pocket. The neck should drop in with gravity. If you force things, you risk cracking the finish on the treble side.

    Why not just nudge the bridge location to change the scale length--rather than extend the neck pocket? If you do make the pocket longer, you'll have to plug and re-drill the body for the neck screws.
     
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  10. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    Theoretically-speaking, the neck could be shaped to fit the pocket. But since most recommend vice versa, that's probably what I'll do. (It's doubtful I'll ever want to put a Strat type neck back on the guitar. But should that ever happen, I could shim or fill in the gap with veneer or putty. But it won't happen. 99% chance of it not).

    Yes, I know the neck holes have to be filled in (body and Washburn neck which has them). I have various sized neck plates, but the original Carvin should work.

    Re: bridge location, etc.
    There isn't enough room to extend the bridge in that far = the Strat body has been routed as humbucker-compatible = there's no wood for where the bridge could potentially be. I considered adding wood there for that purpose, but felt shortening the scale length from both ends would give the guitar more of a balanced look and feel.

    The guitar also has a tremolo (originally a Wilkinson). I'll be using a new one with a smaller string spacing (which is my needed preference). Anyways, the original 2-point bridge/trem holes have been filled in with dowels and where the new bridge will go will be roughly in almost the same place as the original = about 3/32" in toward the pups. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Meister

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    Gotcha!
     
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  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I actually feel the neck should be sanded instead of the pocket of the body. Main reason being that the wood is very thin along the sides of the neck pocket as it is and would likely split or crack if you made it any thinner to fit the neck. There is a reason you find cracks at that location on Fender guitars, I wouldn't want to make it weaker.
     
  13. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    The guitar is currently unfinished (stripped of previous clear nitro finish over tung oil tint). Thus, no reason to be concerned about paint or finish cracking. The tung oil penetrated enough to make the pocket 'strong'. The body wood is very solid, beside, or on the edges around, the current neck pocket.

    I won't have to take any wood off the pocket till about 1.5" in toward the pups. If that doesn't make sense: The neck is wider at its end (where its heel meets the pocket). But more narrow toward the nut. Up to about the half way point, it can slip right in, but remains too wide at the heel. Due to this, the 'more fragile edges' will remain untouched, as they are.

    But thanks for your input. I'll keep it in mind before I make a final decision & will post pics. (It may turn out I'll need to "tweek" both the pocket & neck).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  14. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

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    Which one sounds more likely to work for you?

    1. You remover 2mm of wood from the Washburn heel and fit it to the body.

    2. You try and open up the neck pocket of the Carvin Body.
     
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  15. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    Aha! You just made me think of something I hadn't considered = the Washburn neck's heel is almost exactly like a Tele's (that is, flat except the corners).

    This would make it easier to take wood off the sides of the neck. Using a tri-square would ensure the sides are evenly matched = taking off just the right amount on each side, keeping the neck perpindicular to the body and, thus, the pups and bridge.

    NOTE: The heel of the neck doesn't need any wood removed. It's the sides of the neck that are too wide to fit the pocket. That is, with the exception of closer toward the nut, where it appears the neck can slip right in.

    Here's a pic of an initial mock up I did which shows how I plan to remove wood from the neck pocket to achieve a 24.75" scale length. (The ruler is under the new bridge to keep it from falling in. It doesn't exactly match the original Carvin bridge. But the bridge will be floating, so an exact match-up isn't necessary). The lines I drew on masking tape are close to where I need to remove wood.

    CARVIN MOD MOCKUP 005.JPG

    And here's a link to a 'sister thread' (which is actually 'my main objective'). I had mentioned how neck alignment was a concern there, but didn't ask about it. Thanks, Luthi3rz!

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/carvin-bolt-kit-converting-to-24-75-gibson-scale-may-need-help.979935/
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  16. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    And an add-on pic of the heels of the original Carvin neck and the 'new' Washburn. The gap between them is due to how the Washburn tapers toward the nut (i.e., to the right in the pic).

    And, as mentioned earlier, at the heels, the Washburn is wider than the Strat-styled Carvin neck.

    I should also say that issues from 'main objective' OP have been resolved. This OP was a sub-text kind of thing/deal. Thanks!

    CARVIN MOD MOCKUP 009.JPG
     
  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Shape the neck. You are bound to chip or damage the finish trying the pocket... and... a standard neck will never fit it again! I had to shape an Allparts neck for a buddy who had a beautiful burgundy mist Strat several years ago. No idea why that neck was wider than normal 2-3/16" . Maybe it was an early Allparts fiasco or something. He liked it because it was super chunky though.

    I ended up carving the sides of the neck to fit perfectly the shape of the cutout top edges. It seems in many cases you could just sand the neck sides in the pocket area then recrown the fret ends though.
     
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  18. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    There's no finish to chip, but I think I'll go with reshaping the neck, as per previous posts. Also, I think I can effectively shape it without having to touch the frets. Thanks!
     
  19. Rick C.

    Rick C. TDPRI Member

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    UPDATE: Though I haven't actually done anything. Due to other commitments, it might be a while before I finish this project. But anyways....

    I'm thinking it may be best to shape the neck pocket to fit the neck. For one thing, this would give me more neck space when playing higher up the neck. That is, in terms of the width of the neck. I'd hate for the strings to 'not match' the neck width. Or, otherwise, to 'look funny' as the strings go along the neck (wider spacing here/ not wider spacing there). Basically, I'm talking string alignment here.

    What has essentially convinced me to go this route was looking at Washburn guitars (that have my same or similar neck).

    Also, my trying to shape down the neck where it fits in the pocket -- without touching the frets -- could be too difficult to get right, both cosmetically and how-it-fits.

    I'll do the end of the neck pocket routing first with a Dremel. Then possibly barely touch the neck pocket sides with a Dremel and finish off with sanding.

    Mock up pic, showing width of neck at neck pocket (which, the neck is sitting on a pickguard).

    CARVIN MOD MOCKUP 004.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  20. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    I converted a 25.5" Tele body to 24.75" Gibson scale by taking about 3/4" off the bridge pickup route on the side of the neck and then putting the bridge up that distance. I know this will not help on your Strat style body but if you found a Tele body really cheap.....
    Sorry I could not send pictures of what is under the bridge.
    DSCN3288.JPG
     
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