Will micro-tilt (body) work with non-micro-tilt neck?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by expat701, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. expat701

    expat701 Tele-Meister

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    Hi, I’ve built a partscaster Tele using a Fender American Standard Tele body and a Warmoth maple neck. The body came with micro-tilt, however the neck doesn’t have the flat plate at the heel end for the micro-tilt screw to press up against.

    Would the micro-tilt still work with a standard neck heel or will the screw simply dig into the wood?

    Could I glue a flat piece of metal on the heel for the micro-tilt screw to connect with? I don’t have the facilities to route the heel and install a plate like Fender does...

    What are your thoughts? Has anyone tried to make the micro-tilt work in a partscaster? At the moment I’ve removed the micro-tilt screw and shimmed the neck the old school way however it would be nice to have it available.
     
  2. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Holic

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    jdiego likes this.
  3. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    IIRC the American Standard body is drilled for a 4-bolt neck plus microtilt plate, right ? Not the original 3-bolt microtilt.

    In that case forget that microtilt ever existed and just bolt the neck on with the 4 screws, as one would on a body/neck without microtilt. You can use the regular rectangular neck plate with just 4 holes (so the body microtilt hole will be covered up), or the one with 4 holes plus the (unused) microtilt hole. The 4 holes are in the same position on both.

    You're lucky it's a 4-bolt. The original 3-bolt microtilts are a PITA to deal with if the body and neck are not both set up for it. The 4-bolt version is designed to allow neck attachment with OR without the microtilt plates on either the body or neck (a big truss rod anchor suffices there). So a standard 4 bolt neck can be attached to a 4-bolt micro tilt-equipped body. The microtilt function is just not useable if either the neck or body lack it.
    [​IMG]

    If you have the misfortune to have a 3-bolt body and a 4-bolt neck (ideally undrilled, or the top 2 holes will have to filled, because they are in a different place on a 4-bolt neck vs 3-bolt body), this is one of the least painful options ...
    http://www.wheeldiamond.com/proattach.htm
    Setting up a 4-bolt or undrilled body to take an existing 3-bolt neck is more painful and should be avoided at all costs ...
    https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...ow_Boogie_Fever_led_to_a_Neck_Transplant.html

    But all in all, 3 or 4 bolt microtilt was and is a bad idea. If a neck needs tilt (eg to get back some lacking bridge saddle height adjustment range), shim it properly with a full-pocket tapered shim.
    https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a...itar_Necks/StewMac_Neck_Shims_for_Guitar.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  4. Raimonds

    Raimonds Tele-Meister

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    Why?
     
  5. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Sitting one end of a neck heel - that has ~40kgf of shear force on the bolts from the strings, plus the compressive force of the screws themselves - on the tip of a microtilt grub screw, and secured by a 1/4" machine screw (in the 3-bolt version), is just crummy engineering IMHO.

    There's also the argument that microtilt/narrow shims - that do not cover the whole pocket - are one explanation for the 'ski jump' phenomenon at the end of the neck ...
    https://hazeguitars.com/blog/neck-shimming-and-ski-jumps-the-latest-research

    That argument will probably never be fully settled, as it would require following a lot of unshimmed necks, full-pocket shimmed necks, and microtilted necks, over years, to see if one group is any more likely to develop ski jumps than others.

    Finally, there is evidence that allowing any micromotion at the neck-body joint - probably unavoidable with microtilt - is responsible for changing neck mechanics such that some high frequency string vibrations are damped / lost from the vibrations detected by the pickups ... see from 5:56 ...


    Now that full pocket tapered shims are readily available from Stewmac, there is no remaining use for microtilt. At best it could be used to trial a little tilting and, if effective in solving a problem (eg bridge height, downforce), then it should be replicated more permanently with a full pocket tapered shim.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  6. Raimonds

    Raimonds Tele-Meister

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    Crummy or not, but it works, so I would rather call this solution as engineering success - the system is not falling apart despite of the string, screw and other forces, including your opinion :)

    The usually used small shims are placed under the neck where the screws are going in, so I dont see any force which would potentially could bend the are of the neck between screws to ski jump. Nor there is enough force to bend something else. Can you please explain what force(s) could potentially make straight blue line between screws 1&2 to curved?

    neck.jpg



    Interesting video, did you notice that the high frequencies are more attenuated when the neck is screwed down more firmly? All 3 examples start with pretty much similar signal on low frequences around at 60 (dB?) and then on first graph drop on high frequences goes to 10, on last graph to 30. I see more highs for loosely bolted neck than on firmly bolted.

    Screenshot 2019-09-22 at 17.48.20.jpg
     
  7. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    It will work, but just shim it instead of the using the micro tilt anyway. It's better. The other thing I should mention is: I have yet to need to shim the heel end of a Fender guitar... where they put the Micro Tilt ! It's always the other end, headstock end. Go figure, just a coincidence of my guitars? All my Fenders do have a shim in the headstock end.
     
  8. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    The top screws are clamping the top of the neck heel flat against the top of the pocket (end towards the headstock). The bottom (other end) of the flat heel cannot rest where it 'wants' to, but is pushed up by the narrow shim. Imagine a 10mm shim (or microtilt grub screw pushing the end of the neck heel up) in there and the effect becomes more obvious; the potential is there for a lessor effect with a more typical mm or sub-mm shim. So the straight blue line could become a curve over time.

    But like I said, whether narrow shims (or microtilt) applied to one end of the neck heel cause the heel to bend up into a 'ski jump' over years will probably never be decided. On the optimistic side, there are a lot of guitars that left the Fender factory decades ago with shims in place, especially jags/jazzmasters. And there doesn't seem to be an epidemic of those guitars turning up at luthiers requiring fretboard re-profiling / refrets for ski jumps.

    It just seems that there are much better engineering solutions to achieve an angled neck pocket. Like a full-pocket tapered shim, or the recent generation Fender offset guitars that have neck pockets cut at a set angle at the factory.

    I can't speak for the engineer who did the vid, and the vertical axis units are not labelled (not good scientific practice), but my first guess would be that they are normalized units, commonly used with such power spectra. If so, the different relative frequency content in the 3 examples makes precise relative amplitude comparisons impossible. The graphs would merely show the relative loss of a section of the frequency spectrum. Another possibility is that the thumb picking used to excite the string was responsible for some amplitude variation. If he ever publishes a scientific paper we may get the units confirmed. In the meantime, his background doesn't strike me as the type of guy (MIT mech eng PhD, experienced vibration engineer) who would make an undergraduate mistake to misinterpret his units in a simple FFT frequency analysis experiment. So I accept his interpretation for now that there was a loss of some high frequency string vibrations in the pickup output with the less-clamped neck, which he attributes to micromotion at the neck-body interface. It is my speculation that a narrow shim or microtilt - with the attendant lack of full contact between the two surfaces of the heel underside and the neck pocket - also suggests the potential for micromotion greater than that with a full-contact joint. Definitive proof of that, and its effect on pickup frequency content, awaits experimental evidence. ;)

    Add all that to the litany of practical issues in dealing with 3 and 4 bolt microtilts on partscasters that I outlined, and I still contend that microtilt is a bad idea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  9. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Tele-Afflicted

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    Personally, I dig em. (Leo-era Music Man's and G&L's). I don't go crazy with em tho the nice thing is you don't have to... you can dial the action easily and quickly. Shims IMB are a PITA. Been playing G&L's for the past 20 years and have had no issues. Diff strokes yo...
     
  10. Raimonds

    Raimonds Tele-Meister

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    I hope so, otherwise I see increase where it is said that there is an attenuation :)
    I have made couple of archtops and on prototype I used shim to fine tune the neck angle. The real guitars were made with full neck contact at the pocket but I cant tell the difference in sound. Shim is around 4mm thick at the end of the neck pocket and the neck do not exhibit any problem after years of using the shim. Maybe some advanced model will show that there should be something different between both solutions (full pocket contact vs shim) but my ears tell me no difference, go figure.
     
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