1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Trying to fix a Chinese neck

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by megalo82, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    Same reason I bought mine! I knew it would be questionable at that price - and if I screwed up the neck, no big loss! However it turned out really good in the end. What makes me cringe, though, is when you see a $30 neck on ebay and then scroll down the search list and find the exact same neck - same pics and everything, for like $120! I pity the guy who didn't know well enough not to buy from the $120 listing. Buyer beware - same as with everything, I guess.
     
  2. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,646
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    I wonder if the lady noodling around at the end of the line (before packing) is the QC person, or just bored. Either way, totally best job in the plant.......
     
  3. megalo82

    megalo82 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    Posts:
    61
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2020
    Location:
    italy
    Of course iv'e cutted parallel to the fret! and from the nut start to the middle of the 12th fret i have 323,5 mm, i just need a 0,5mm shim (i don't need a shim, i can cut 0,5 from the top of the nut, shaping in diagonal)

    the peg head scoop is leaned but i don't mind about it


    i think i will go with the bone nut.

    I have to strip down because the heel now is milled away (just the fretboard) and i have to change the dot inlays, so i will strip down in order to avoid the "polka dots neck"
     
    Boreas likes this.
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    4,748
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    A couple of quick comment.

    First, fit a new nut to your slot and slot it to work with your guitar as part of the setup phase.

    Second, the frets on cheap necks are almost always bad. Do what ever leveling and crowning you need before you do any finishing.

    Third, I just did a refret on a finished maple board - it was a complete hassle and I swear I'll never do it again. Carefully decide your plan of attack for "painting" yours. A lot depends on what is on there now and what you plan to put on it - if it was me I would strip to bare wood and shoot lacquer, you might want to do something else.

    Last, this is kind of a good example of why buying something a little more expensive might be a lot cheaper in the long run.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  5. megalo82

    megalo82 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    Posts:
    61
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2020
    Location:
    italy
    a fret leveling (or maybe a refretting) will be done,
    i don't have to use this neck right now, i don't need it! i saw 30€ and i bought for learning purpose, so it's perfect for that! Once done i will mill a body and will see if i have learned enough!
     
    Boreas likes this.
  6. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    ^^^^This. I just went through this with neck (not the Chinese one I posted about earlier). Dress the frets first and spray. Ended up taking Freeman's advice after I had screwed up the refin and did exactly this: strip back to bare wood (a pain between the frets, but I stayed WITH the grain while sanding) and then spraying a tinted finished. It worked marvelously and saved that neck. I did poly instead of lacquer, but the concept is the same.
     
    megalo82 and Boreas like this.
  7. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    OP wanted something to learn/experiment on. I did as well. You can't learn much by buying a perfect neck. For learning the rudiments of fretwork and finishing, this a perfect way to start. It may never see it's way onto a guitar! You can't find used/junk necks anymore - at least in my area. At least we didn't have to strip the original finish.
     
    megalo82 and mkdaws32 like this.
  8. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Location:
    Man of the World
    I read that their truss rods run sideways....
     
    tubegeek likes this.
  9. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    3,877
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2020
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    Been there...
     
  11. Crozius

    Crozius TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    21
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2020
    Location:
    Chester, UK
    I bought one of those £25 specials off eBay last year, mostly out of curiosity. Dunno how they manage that price, must be slave labor.

    it was pretty much firewood but I was determined to make it usable. Stock nut was below the 1st fret, replaced it to find out it was about 1 or 2 mm too far from the first fret (it was straight though). I just measured carefully and cut a big wide slot with my router and stuck a Gibson-style nut on it.

    it had protruding, unfiled fret ends and a bulge in the fretboard around the 7th fret on the treble side, so it required a levelling and fileing. Before that, all notes on the G, B, E strings choked out below the 7th fret.

    truss rod also barely works, very stiff, I think it may be maxed out. Luckily the relief is close enough to my preferences.

    the heel is also very thick so putting it into a fender body means it needed a shim at the front of the neck pocket or else the strings just sat flat on the fretboard.

    I had it on a cheap parts strat for a few months and after all the fixing, it’s serviceable. Last week a swapped on an American strat neck on to that guitar, I had that neck just hanging on the wall, might as well get some use out of it. Fit and finish, and general feel of the American fender neck is just so much better, so it will stay on.
     
  12. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,736
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    england
    Maybe just sand the transition after the nut straight if needed remove the nut fill the slot with a maple plug then re-cut the slot
    pic.jpg
     
  13. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Midwest
    A Tusq nut will sand to fit. They are always slightly thicker than a standard Fender slot. The cove behind the nut is an easy fix and an easy touch up.

    I'd like to hear your reasoning for lopping off the end of the neck and leaving an un-occupied fret slot. How does that improve anything? Did the fretboard extension interfere with the neck pickup? If that was the case, I've run into that and just enlarged the pickup route by hand with a Dremel and moved the pickup. The pickguard covers all anyway and with a 22 fret neck, you can slide the pickguard slightly south as the fretboard extension covers it any way. I guess that
    option is off the table now.

    I don't know what you're going to do about an empty fret slot at the end of the fretboard. Just throw the neck out and get a 21 fret neck if that's what you really want and chalk this one up to experience.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  14. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    IME, a the standard Tusq nut for Fenders likely wouldn't be thick enough even before sanding, but perhaps measure carefully and search through the Tusq offerings that would offer the specs you need - but look at string spacing critically.
     
  15. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,566
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    corner of walk and don't walk

    I'm pretty sure you meant this in a humorous way :), . . . but, it costs the same to cut the slot in the wrong place as it does to cut it in the right place ;).


    A good neck is such an important part of a good performing guitar.

    .
     
  16. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Midwest
    I've worked on a number of these necks from China and they typically have a very thin nut. In every instance I've encountered (about a half dozen or more), a standard Tusq still needed sanding to fit the narrow slot. This slight oversize for the purpose of hand fitting would probably solve the issue for the OP.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  17. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    It could, but just eyeballing the new kerf, I would STRONGLY advise measuring the kerf and looking at the specs on the Tusq. It looks pretty wide to me. In my experience, I have never had to remove that much material on a Tusq nut. Height and width, yes, but not thickness. A few thousandths yes. The OP could also contact the company and have them measure the actual thickness of their standard nut at shipping dimensions - before trimming to fit.
     
  18. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Midwest
    So which was actually cockeyed? The nut slot or the headstock cove or both? I see by the pics you recut the nut slot to make it parallel to the first fret? I missed that pic on my initial browse.

    The easy way to fill an oversize nut slot is to rough cut a strip (or strips as needed) of maple veneer slightly taller and longer than the slot and stand them on end to line the slot. If 1 is good for a snug fit, glue it behind the nut. If 3 are needed, install 1 ahead and 1 behind the nut. Use CA glue on them. Trim and sand the veneer level with the neck and fretboard, apply some amber stain and spot spray with some satin lacquer and install the nut.

    You should be able to intonate as there is quite a bit of travel if using a vintage style 3 or 6 barrel bridge. Strat style saddles will limit your travel.
     
  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    4,748
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    I'll just repeat what I've already said. IF the face of the nut slot is now in the correct location (parallel to the frets and 323.85mm from the 12th fret) then simply make a bone nut to fit the slot. You've got some sort of fancy nc router in the picture, I assume you can make a parallel sided nut slot and did. Ideally your slot is flat on the bottom (unless you are trying to make one of those stupid curved bottom nuts).

    Get a slightly oversized piece of cow bone (or whatever other material you fancy) and make the nut. Making a nut from scratch is one of the most fundamental operations in building and setting up a guitar - this is a good time to learn how to do it.

    I personally don't believe in making the nut until the frets are leveled and the neck is on the guitar, but you can start by fitting the bone, rough shaping it and leave the slots a little high - refine them once you've got the guitar together.

    If the nut slot doesn't meet the requirements above then do whatever it takes to get it right. This is not a good time to consider a zero fret - that would take filling the slot you have just milled out and making two new slots.

    There is one other aspect of this that could be really interesting if you want to try it (I've been thinking about getting a cheap POS neck and trying it myself). There has been some theoretical work done on compensating both the nut and the saddles - basically splitting the difference but it also involves slightly moving the nut towards the bridge AND moving the first two or three frets. There was a good article in American Lutherie about it, if you are interested I could look it up. This is not "wiggle fretting" but simply trying to improve equal temperment at the nut end.
     
    megalo82 likes this.
  20. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I am going to try a cheap, pre-compensated bone nut (top 3 strings) I bought on eBay in one of my Teles. Doubt I will notice much difference. I am not a nut on tuning anyway. Good enuff suits me...
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.