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Old 04-08-2013, 01:08 AM   #1
Dyrti
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Getting a Tight Fit for a Bolt on Neck

I am currently building a Tele type guitar and the Neck is a close fit but needs adjusting.

While checking how well the neck fit into the neck slot my friend and I noticed a little bit of wiggle room, and that it was not a very tight fit, so he suggested that I fill the neck route with a similar wood, build a template off of my neck and re-route.

My dad with his experience in gunsmithing said he has used a type of epoxy to do a similar job but with metal parts, the stuff is called Acraglas. My dad said to apply it we would just cover the neck plate holes with clay and cover the neck where it would sit in the neck pocket with wax, then slap some of the epoxy in the neck cavity and push the neck into the cavity and let it sit overnight clamped in. Then take it out the next day and make sure that it was clean and presto it would be a perfect fit and we would just be able to screw the neck on without having to do all that other stuff.

My Friend said it sounded interesting but was unsure of the vibration transfer, if the epoxy would dampen it, or if it would allow it to travel through like a normal wood to wood connection.

I was hoping some of you builders would have some experience and would be able to shed some light on this idea. I'm focused on the quality of the guitar and don't mind the extra work if it is going to be worth it, but if the epoxy would work just as well, I would rather go that route, seeing as how I don't have to purchase more wood to just glue in then cut out.

Thank you in advance for any knowledge you share.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:51 AM   #2
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First off,
All bolt on necks will have some wiggle, especially if the neck pocket is short.
Second, unless it is really really loose, there really isnt an advantage to re routing the entire neck pocket. It can be done, but at pretty much no noticeable gain.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:27 AM   #3
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^ This. For a bolt on neck its not critical. A tiny amount of play is fine.

For a set neck, it is critical. You want a tight fit.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:29 AM   #4
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I would (and will) argue otherwise. You can get away with a tiny, tiny bit of play in a set neck because so long as it's in the correct position when glued, it ain't going anywhere. With a bolt-on it will always be left with that space, giving you less direct contact between neck and body. This means you lose resonance. It's like the difference between having a vibrato floating and having it decked, or a roller nut and a solid brass one.

I make my pockets and heels so tight you can string up and play the guitar without even using the bolts. If you have already cut the pocket too wide, your best bet is indeed to fill with a good epoxy then reshape very carefully by hand until the neck just fits in, with effort. Gluing on other random bits of wood and reshaping doesn't offer any improvement.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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You can argue if you like. I don't mind. This is my take on it.

If you have play in a set neck, you wont have max surface area wood on wood contact on all sides where the glue creates its maximum holding force and rigidity. You should be able to hang a set neck without glue and it will hold. This gives the set neck max resonance at the neck joint.

In a bolt neck, the fixing mechanism is obviously different. You can epoxy fill all the play if you like, the hold wont be any stronger because thats not its primary method of retention and the resonance will be different by having wood through epoxy through to wood. Mind you we aren't talking about the amount of play you can drive a truck through, because then its pretty much stuffed epoxy or not. Maybe a playing card thickness play all around.
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 04-08-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
Dyrti
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Thank you guys, I appreciate the replies.

So what I'm getting from this is that it should be fine as is, but if I wanted to I could get a tighter fit and overall not much would change? If it were to, it would just be a subtle Degree of resonance that would be changed?

That is basically what I surmised from the information given, or am I mistaken?
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:01 AM   #7
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Essentially. Some people insist on only the tightest fit possible (I am mostly in this camp myself, though check out the guys on the Warmoth, Sevenstring and TDPRI boards if you want to find people who will really push for this), other people are comfortable with a little bit of play (lots of people here, on the official Fender forums and on the Offset boards). 'Evidence' to support either opinion is purely anecdotal. Some of us have had bad experiences with loose neck pockets, others haven't.

The reason I lean towards having the tightest neck pocket possible, other than because it makes sense mechanically and sounds better, in my experience, is because there's no harm that can come from having a tight neck pocket. When there's no risk, might as well do it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #8
Dyrti
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Groovy, appreciate the help. I also had felt that it would be better to have a nice tight fit over a fit that had play.

I'll check out the epoxy and let you know how well it works.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:26 PM   #9
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I like a little slop in my pocket. When installing a bolt on neck, aligning the strings to the centerline of the fretboard can be adjusted to some degree if there's a bit of room in the pocket to allow a slight right to left movement in the neck to line up the strings as the neck is screwed down tight. I put the two center strings on a guitar tight enough to be straight, using the neck's dot inlays, as a guide to align the neck to the bridge as I tighten it down. Good luck.
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