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Ok, need advice on making a neck shorter!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Norrin Radd, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    So here’s the story. I ordered one of those cheap Chinese necks from eBay. It’s actually surprisingly good quality. It’s 22 frets and I am installing it into a vintage style strat body. I checked the scale length and it is dead on. The issue is that the neck, specifically the butt end, it’s about a quarter of an inch too long (the part that is under where the 22nd fret hangs over). This completely changes the scale length and throws off the possibility for intonating incorrectly. There is not enough throw on the intonation adjustment screws to make up the difference. I run out of screw, and the saddles are sitting almost on top of the bridge installation screws, and that is still not enough room.

    So, my question is what is the best method for shaving off about a quarter of an inch on that butt end? I do not have a router, or a router table, but this might be the opportunity for me to finally end up getting one! So, if that’s the answer, I’d appreciate some recommendations on a router, and I’m not opposed to a smaller one because I will only be using it for guitar work. Also, if anybody has any recommendations how to properly set up the neck so that it doesn’t move so that I can work on it, I would appreciate those suggestions as well.

    Thanks guys!
     
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd take a small handsaw to it, then file the endgrain and finally sand with a sanding block and abrasive. At this point a router can do more damage unless you make up a perfect template and use a router table and template bit.

    A small backsaw from woodcraft would do it. They are really sharp. Saw down perpendicular to the centerline of the neck until you almost get to the fretboard. Then cut in from the end parallel to the fretboard glue line until the saw cuts meet.


    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/...MIx_HXkYTx7AIVHwiICR1NxgdHEAQYASABEgKgUfD_BwE

    Any router that fits into any router table would do. I made my own years ago and wish I still had it because it was much better than the ones I have now that I bought.


    A porter cable 690 router used to be the most popular model around these parts. I used a craftsman for decades in my router table. 1 to 1.5 HP ones were pretty cheap and long lasting for the cost.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  3. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    I suppose...but why not send it back? There are too many good necks out there looking for a good home to waste time on a mutant POS.
     
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  4. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Meister

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    I had the same issue on a tele style neck that came off a firefly tele. It however was only about 1/8 too long. I gave it a pass on the router, put the edge of the fretboard on the fence. No drama, but it is very easy to ruin something at 30,000 rpms... You might not be able to do this, because your fretboard edge might be rounded like the strat heel.

    I second cutting the heel with a saw. That is how I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t find my jig due to a recent move and got frustrated (can’t find anything, ever lately) and just took a pass on the router. I had to narrow the heel anyway for the pocket it was going into (not a strat) so it was all set up anyway. The saw is the least likely way to hurt the neck or hurt you. Here is a picture of what I did:

    B668CB9D-74BC-4B4F-A704-BF9D44032FE2.jpeg
     
  5. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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    If you don't care if it stays as a 22 fret neck, just pull the 22nd fret out and use a chop saw / miter saw. That's what I did.

    The result:

    20201107_133137.jpg

    20201107_133141.jpg

    The plugs in the end are from the original mounting holes.
    Remember, the neck may not be as tight in the pocket due to the slight reduction in the heel width. Not a big deal but worth noting.
     
  6. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    Sounds incredibly reasonable and probably the way I will go. Thank you!

    I’ll just have to go slow and painstakingly round the corners! ;)

    What??? It’s just wood and metal and plastic. Plus, I’m not sure how many places want to take back a neck that I have already installed tuners on! Just because it got to me on a boat doesn’t mean that it’s junk. And it would most likely cost me more in shipping than what I paid for it!
     
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  7. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    I appreciate the suggestion, but I specifically bought this neck because I wanted that 22nd fret!
     
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  8. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like a damn good excuse to buy a router.
     
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  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    You do not need a router to shorten a neck, in fact it will be a bit of a hassle to make a jig to hold it and somehow index the router in the correct place. If all you want to do is saw off the end, then saw off the end. I would use a Japanese pull saw and clamp a block of wood on the heel as a fence, then I would clean it up with chisels, rasps and sanding block. Refinish, drill mounting holes and bingo!

    All of this assumes that scale length is correct and you are putting it in exactly the right location..........
     
  10. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    That is a great suggestion! Unfortunately, I already have a saw very similar to a Japanese pull saw that will work just fine. This destroys all hope I had of finally purchasing a router! :confused:
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    No, if you build guitars you will need a router (or at least a laminate trimmer) for other operations, just not wacking off the end of a neck.

    Each time I build a guitar I look back at the tool or device that would have made the last one easier and add it to my tool box. I borrowed a laminate trimmer when I built my first (an acoustic, I needed it for binding) and I bought one for my second. I bought a router table for my first neck just to do the truss rod channel (it has other uses), bought a router base for my dremel to do inlay, and finally bought a full size router when I decided to make a chambered guitar. I'm about ready to replace the laminate trimmer, its 15 years old and has been involved in 27 guitars now.

    Ps - there happens to be a router thread running right now at the DIY tool subforum
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  12. ghostchord

    ghostchord Tele-Meister

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    At the risk of stating the obvious you might also want to check how well the neck will fit the pocket after you chop it down. The shape of the heel isn't a rectangle. If the neck doesn't fit there might be other parameters, like the string spacing, that are wrong. Check all that stuff before you chop it down to the point of no return ;)

    Since you already put the neck on(?) I'm guessing the neck "bolt" holes are also in the wrong place? or did you drill those to fit your current heel and you're planning to drill another set one you re-position the neck?
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another option is to use sharp chisel and deepen the neck pocket so the neck is 1/4" closer to the bridge.
     
  14. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    This is exactly correct. I’ve already drilled the holes but will drill new ones after I “saw” the neck. And yes - I’ll have to shape the rounded corners as well. I’ll be copying the saw/shaping lines from another neck that I have.
     
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  15. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    I don’t want to modify the body, because that eliminates the possibility that I can use other necks with it in the future. A 22 fret neck and a 21 fret neck should both work on any Strat neck pocket without modding the body. I’d much rather take a chance in f’ing up the neck (inexpensive initial investment) versus ruining the body. YMMV
     
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  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I've had to cut a neck to make it fit before, noting wrong with doing it.
    Measure and draw a line. Use a hand saw or chop saw and stop befor you get to the fretboard. Not a hard process, just make sure you have enough heel to use in the pocket.
     
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  17. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    Try not to over-complicate.

    Saw the mother off!!! :)

    Profile the corners with a file, followed up by careful sanding.

    Approach the work with a plan and common sense and take your time.

    Clean-looking work always gets plus marks :).

    .
     
  18. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    You could clamp the neck upside-down securely and employ a guide block to hold your saw against to help keep your cut perpendicular and square :).

    A good craftsman takes advantage of whatever aids or helps that present themselves ;).

    .
     
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  19. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hmmm this doesnt make sense. If it has a 22 fret overhang, then why is the wood under too long? the scale must be off....? Oddball body?
     
  20. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    measure...check...measure...check again....go for coffee and cig if you smoke...go back...measure...check..measure check....another coffee....then fire up the chainsaw....(joking)...cut carefully....look up to the skies and pray to whatever god or gods you believe in...then hope it fits!.
     
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