This is the second time I've tried realigning the neck to get the strings right - now I have to do it a third time

Old Verle Miller

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It would help if you can post a picture of the body including the bridge.

Something else you might try to keep a neck from shifting laterally is to increase the friction between the neck and the body by gluing a piece of 320-grit sandpaper to the surface of the pocket face up. (Depending on the glue you use you may have to let it sit for a day.) Then when you clamp and start drilling and putting in the screws, the neck probably won't shift as much.
 

Dostradamas

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This is my own homemade body, and a neck I bought off of BYOGuitar.
Looks like all fender spec necks on BYOGuitar so I doubt it is the neck.

How did you cut the neck pocket?

What pattern?

Did you use a router?

Not sure if you have done other guitars and had this issue or you are just having issue with this one.

We are here to help if you wanna throw more pictures and information up.
 

Silverface

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loosen the necks screws a bit
bump the headstock a little with the heel of your hand one way or the other (in this case it looks like ya wanna hit the tuner side)
Agreed.

The OP is overkilling this situation beyond any DIY tech project I have ever seen!

The ONLY time you re-do the screw holes if you're installing a new neck or the existing one was mounted incorrectly the FIRST time - common on DIY builds (and one of my regular types of repair
jobs.

And unless the holes are SERIOUSLY in the wrong place - like 1/2 the hole diameter or more - you can just use a dowel that fits the SCREW hole fairly snugly, smear it with Titebond II or another permanent aliphatic glue (not hide glue - dries too brittle for this), tap the dowel in - then re-drill.

By redrilling and inserting a full-fit dowel you are constantly drilling/bolting into end grain - but by inserting a dowel into the screw holes and redrilling you mix end and cross grain AND force glue into both - and despite many DIY's disbelief it's actually stronger and a tighter fit - as long as you drill at or just under the diameter of the neck bolt *shaft* - not the threads!

UNLESS YOUR NUT SLOTS ARE SPACED TOO WIDE FOR THE NECK - all you need to do it slightly loosen the screws and nudge it - I just brace the waist of it between my legs and pull a bit at the 1st-5th fret area and tighten the screws. Hell in most cases the screws get - at most - 3/4 turn.
 

trackerdan

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clean the crud from the neck pocket.... then tighten the screws . . tight enough ...
Is there a published torque specification on neck screws? This is my Stratocaster. When I purchased it both strap buttons were loose. I took it to a local luthier recommended to me. He installed hardwood dowels, which has been verified through reading this post. I used to just shove tooth picks into this situation in the old days.
 

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Stratellafella

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Every time, I've managed to screw up getting the neck straight and it always looks like this:

View attachment 992474
The low E is practically leaping off the end of the fretboard, so each time I, in order:
-Remove the neck
-Fill the old holes with wood glue and a dowel and mallet it in
-Saw off the rest of the dowel
-Wait for it to dry
-Seat the neck in the pocket with a clamp to hold it (I know my neck pocket is oversized, but at this point I can't fix it)
-String up both E strings almost to tension
-Wiggle the neck back and forth until it looks like both strings have an even amount of space on either side
-Fully clamp down and string to tension
-Use an electric screwdriver to drive all 4 neck screws partway in, then drive them back out
-Use a drill bit to go the rest of the way in
-Put the neck back on, string it up, screw in all 4 screws
-End up with the neck still misaligned

I think it might just be my dowels are softer than the rest of the neck wood, and thus the screws keep going in that way, but can anyone at all help me so I that I only have to do this one more time?

EDIT: I think that gap on the low E side may be the source of my issues. I *might* be able to stuff some wood filler in there and put a bit of paint on it
Try shimming the neck pocket a hair to hold the neck in place and dont sweat it because you are more likely to be playing up further on the high E string verses the low E string You can also adjust the saddles a bit to compensate also most dowels you buy are soft and the grain runs the wrong direction so you need to make your own dowels with the grain running in the correct orientation and also out of a similar hardwood
 

Stratellafella

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In addition you could always go to threaded inserts and machine screws and use automotive feeler gauges to properly align the neck before final tightening than just pull out the feeler gauge when you get it where it needs to be
 

GeekyToneChaser

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If multiple attempts has not fixed this, the body/neck orientation may be a "characteristic" of that guitar. It can still work if you put the bridge in the rights spot. This can be done with dowels similar to what you described, and then it's just a centerpunch and a brad point bit in a drill press so the bit won't wander.

If that doesn't end up quite perfect, I'd replace the nut with a blank and slot it after the neck is installed, that way you are guaranteed to get the string spacing just the way you want.

If that doesn't work, as a last resort I'd change the bridge saddles to the ones with the v/n narrow spacing.

Any of that help?
 

Lindsay Wells

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The less you do the better. on the e1st side take out a little from the neck seating so it will allow the neck to move away from the E6 don't mess with screw holes, bridge replacement, it just the neck seating, sometimes it will move slightly just with a nudge but yours needs a bit more. think geometrically and also try move it with screws slightly loosened, but I think a sharp chisel moving in the grain direction and don't cut any of the curved seating edge it's the back of the seating edge that needs ever so small amount taken out.
 

ghostchord

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I think it's been said but I'll say it again maybe differently. The neck screws generally don't influence this alignment. The neck is sitting in the neck pocket. The screws are pulling the neck to the body and clamping the neck in place, they don't position the neck (generally speaking, unless they're *way* off which would be highly unusual). Moving those screws isn't how you deal with alignment issues. Once the neck is clamped in place the friction between the bottom of the heel and the top of the pocket will hold it in place, it won't go anywhere. There's usually enough play between the screw and the hole and if the issue is actually the screw vs. the hole then widening that hole a tiny bit would fix that without causing any problems.

From the photo it looks like the standard neck "chiropractor" move should be enough to fix this. I.e. loosen the screws a tiny bit, push the neck in the right direction, re-tighten. If this isn't working then it's about the fit of the heel to the pocket vs. the location of the bridge. You can move the bridge but I would probably adjust the heel or pocket. Again given the photo we're talking about the tiniest of adjustments.
 

Jay Jernigan

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I have had this problem more than once. In one case, loosening the screws and pushing the headstock until the neck aligned then tightening the screws back up worked the first time. In another case, it was necessary to remove the neck and rough up the finish in the pocket and on the neck heel. Friction was my buddy; problem solved.
 

robinrockus

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Every time, I've managed to screw up getting the neck straight and it always looks like this:

View attachment 992474
The low E is practically leaping off the end of the fretboard, so each time I, in order:
-Remove the neck
-Fill the old holes with wood glue and a dowel and mallet it in
-Saw off the rest of the dowel
-Wait for it to dry
-Seat the neck in the pocket with a clamp to hold it (I know my neck pocket is oversized, but at this point I can't fix it)
-String up both E strings almost to tension
-Wiggle the neck back and forth until it looks like both strings have an even amount of space on either side
-Fully clamp down and string to tension
-Use an electric screwdriver to drive all 4 neck screws partway in, then drive them back out
-Use a drill bit to go the rest of the way in
-Put the neck back on, string it up, screw in all 4 screws
-End up with the neck still misaligned

I think it might just be my dowels are softer than the rest of the neck wood, and thus the screws keep going in that way, but can anyone at all help me so I that I only have to do this one more time?

EDIT: I think that gap on the low E side may be the source of my issues. I *might* be able to stuff some wood filler in there and put a bit of paint on it
Maybe it’s the bridge/saddles? Just a thought. Neck pocket in body could also be off.
 

jimmywrangles

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If I had a dollar for every time I've done this I'd have maybe 10 bucks. At least it's not a set neck and you've got maybe 20 minutes to get it right before glue stuff happens.
I have no suggestions except relax a little. Doing guitar work while angry/annoyed can lead to bigger mistakes, take a break, have a cuppa tea/coffee/bourbon and try again.
good luck.
 
Last edited:

Weazel

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As many (including a luthier of a certain reputation) already have suggested: Loosen the neck screws a smidgeon, then smack the neck sideways until the strings allign to your taste. You will not break anything.
This is not rocket science.

Unless you can provide some pictures which proves otherwise.

If so, I suggest you approach a rocket scientist.
 

Ronkirn

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Is there a published torque specification on neck screws?
What??? if there was suchathing .. ya think it might have been published more than a few times in the past 70 years of the guitar's existance?

But for those that might have missed it.. ya tighten till it's exactly tight enough and not one bit more... unless ya want to ... then only as tight as ya wannit.. any tighter, and well, damn, it would be tighter than it was before, unless ya wanted it too tight, then it wouldn't be too tight, it would be just tight enough..

But then if ya wanted it too tight, and ya got it there and that's where ya wanted it, it would be tight enough, not too tight, so the quandary would remain unanswered... so factoring the correct torque is kinda like solving Fermat's conjecture with a 4 function solar powered calculator in a dark room.. :p

they're working on this at JPL labs, I'll keep ya informed as data is released... but the guy that was closest to solving the problem, screwed the pooch... He mumbled something like "that New girl looks amazing, wonder if I gotta chance with her.".. He was overheard by Earnestine Barfenstool-Schidtporbrainz, who between belches, reported him to HR, so now he's been fired, and canceled so he and his PhD can only find work flippin' burgers and anyone that says anything in defense of him sent to a gulag in Siberia..

OMG?? there's one of those "COP" knocks at my door, at 7:49 What, who in heck can this be??? 🤪
 
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jfiffik

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I used feeler gauges as shims on a three bolt neck tele to keep it from tweeking out of square as I used to be a little rough on it..... you could try that. They are metal and you can stack them to get a really tight fit.
 

ghostchord

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ya tighten till it's exactly tight enough and not one bit more

Jokes aside, some people have no feel for this or experience and it can be intimidating... That said the intersection between those people and people that own a torque wrench is probably pretty small. I'm sure we could figure out a torque value if we really wanted. Also as an aside even in applications where torque is specified it's not as precise as some people believe it to be. The torque wrench itself can be pretty far off and even with the same torque and wrench you can get a lot of variability depending on friction and various other variables. This is usually dealt with by having plenty of margin... It's amazing how complicated something like this actually is, something seemingly simply such as the use of washers is actually pretty crazy complicated when you actually care.
 

Peegoo

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Remove the neck. Make sure the holes on the body are large enough for the neck mounting screws to slip into. If you have to rotate any screw to get it through the body, the hole is too tight.

Next, clean the neck and body mating surfaces. Rub a little bow rosin in the floor of the neck pocket. Reinstall the neck, but don't crank down the screws yet. Just slightly snug is good.

Install both E strings and get them just tight enough on the tuners so they're not laying on the frets.

Look closely at the distance each E string is from sides of the neck at the heel, and nudge the headstock in the direction you want the strings to go.

When the E strings' distances are identical, handle the guitar gently. Make sure the neck doesn't slip out of position as you snug down the neck screws.

Tune up both E strings and check the distances at the heel again to ensure nothing moved. Lastly, install the remaining strings.

That's it, you're done.

Bow rosin is the perfect medium to lock a shifty neck In position in the pocket. If you have none, blackboard chalk will work, and in a pinch I've used billiards chalk. It takes just a little bit to hold everything in place.
 




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