On the Shelf...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by 2 Headed Goat, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    1940's and 50's Fenders Broadcaster, Esquires and Telecasters have a 'shelf' along the treble side of the neck pocket and most are known for their natural sustain.
    My '78 MM Sabre I has a pretty prominent shelf and is also noticeably very resonant unplugged. That got me thinking, did Mr. Fender intend for it to be there or was it just a by-product of the body routing process? There's even a small shelf on the bass side…

    Would having a wider surface area under the neck transfer more sustain?


    I'm curious too when the shelf disappeared… once CBS took over? Do late 60's and 70's tele's have them? None of the 80's G&L's I own have a prominent shelf and while they're pretty resonant, they don't have the zing that the Sabre I does unplugged.
    Any thoughts on this?

    Has the 'shelf' ever been discussed here on TDPRI?


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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  2. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Are you talking about the "extension" of the neck below the last fret, down to the butt/heel of the neck?

    If so - Leo-era Music Mans do have that longer extension of the neck (and corresponding deeper neck pocket on the body); that is the way they were designed. And since they have 22-fret necks, the necks do extend deeper into the body than a vintage 21-fret Fender neck.

    The current 22-fret Fenders have an "overhang" - the neck's heel/body neck pocket dimensions are the same as the traditional 21-fret models - so on a Fender the 21 and 22 fret necks can be interchanged. The lone exception - the Made in China Fender Modern Player models are made with a full 22-fret neck, similar to your 70s Music Man.

    Current Music Man models still have the full 22-fret neck heel, but they are not as deep as the Leo-era models. Similarly, G&Ls also have a full 22-fret neck heel, but I don't believe they are quite as deep as the old Music Man designs.
     
  3. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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  4. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    I'm talking about the 'extension' of the body portion of the neck pocket that protrudes on the treble side of the guitar…

    Perusing images on Google I've noticed that not all old Fenders have them… some reissues have them.. many relics and custom builds do not…

    Here's a few oldies that have em-



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  5. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    Ha - point taken!
     
  6. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Okay - it was just the way Leo designed the Music Mans and G&Ls - as I mentioned the neck pocket is deeper since on their 22-fret necks they extended the entire neck so the neck itself is longer; since the scale length is the same the neckheel has to go deeper into the body, therefore there is more body contact down to the end of the neck on the treble side.

    Fenders were designed for the 21-fret neck, so the neck itself is shorter - Fender kept the "geometry" of the neck heel/neck pocket the same and just extended the fingerboard on a "shelf".
     
  7. 10thoufirst

    10thoufirst Tele-Holic

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    The only reason I can think of for the larger neck pocket is to allow some leeway with the finished necks. The earlier ones were not made on CNC machines, so a bit of literal wiggle room was beneficial, allowing for a more liberal interpretation of the neck dimentions. That doesn't account for the later models however which must be "accidents".
    Why such an error (if that's what it is) would have any effect on the guitar's sound is beyong me, it is probably the same as all the other things that go into making a Tele a Tele, or a Strat a Strat.
     
  8. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    I totally missed the mark with my posts; I thought you were talking about the depth of the neck pocket. I suspect that 10thoufirst is correct; it was just the inconsistent tooling back then.

    Even in the Music Man days Leo wasn't using CNCs; they were using pin routers which leaves a bit of room for inconsistency.
     
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