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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Brass "Grub Screw" Inserts For Neck Bolts

jesse1d

canada

Apr 4th, 2019 05:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like the concept of these over-sized brass inserts which screw into the neck and receive bolts (not screws) to attach the guitar neck. The theory behind it states that the neck can be pulled tighter to the body without as great a risk of stripping the neck holes as screws often do.

Any thoughts on whether or not to do this? I have 2 stripped holes in a Fender Baja neck and thought this a good fix. Not concerned about resale depreciation for this particular neck.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 4th, 2019 06:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

It doesn't make for a better or tighter joint to use threaded brass inserts and matching machine screws.

The only really sensible reason for using them is when you need to frequently remove and reinstall the neck on your guitar--for instance, if you fly with a guitar in a carry-on bag.

Unless you're careful, reinstalling the neck with wood screws the wrong way does, after several iterations, destroy the threads in the maple. But you can avoid damaging the screw holes by not being a gorilla about reassembly. Here's how:

The screws should slip all the way through the holes in the body. When the screw reaches the neck, apply very light pressure with the screwdriver and rotate the screw very slowly counterclockwise. You will see (and feel) the screw's threads meshing with the threads in the maple, and the screw will "cam" up and then drop. Stop right there. The screw's threads are now aligned with the threads in the wood, and you can drive the screw in without leaning on the screwdriver and damaging the wood.

If you have stripped screw holes in the neck, drill out the stripped holes, glue in hardwood dowels, trim them flush, drill for the screws, and reassemble.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 4th, 2019 06:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

The above advice applies to any screw in wood, such as the little screws that attach a Strat's pickguard to the body. Leaning on the screwdriver and driving in the screws just chews up the wood. Work carefully, and the screw holes will last as long as the guitar does.

When it comes to making a neck "tighter" on a screw-on neck guitar, think about it this way: if the wood screws are properly installed, they have enough bite and force to suck the neck plate down into the finish, compress the wood, damage it.

What this means is the amount of force necessary to hold a neck in place is quite a bit less than the amount of force those four wood screws are capable of generating.

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Apr 4th, 2019 06:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, those brass insert screws are indeed nice!
Brass is the type to use because you won't have any corrosion issues.
Are the holes in your neck stripped because of continuous removal? Or maybe due to the body holes not being large enough for the screws to pass through without having to screw through the body wood before reaching the neck? The body holes should allow the screws to drop in place with the very slightest of resistance. So, if this is the problem, then neck hole threads will not always match up and cause you to cross thread or create new screw holes, thus, stripping out the holes.
Make sure that you drill out the body holes so that the screws will pass through without having to use a screwdriver. Just enough clearance to allow the screws to drop in place. The necks at the factory are pressed to the body then drilled. Once you have the body holes drilled out properly, then the neck screws should be started by hand to mate properly to the existing holes. Thus, not stripping them out.
This happens more often than not and the repair is plugging and gluing the old hole and redrilling.
Just thought I would mention this if you have future problems. I was concerned and thought I'd share this information.
Best regards, Woody

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Apr 4th, 2019 07:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well, I guess I was late to the party but glad to see that I was sharing the same information.

jesse1d

canada

Apr 5th, 2019 06:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the advice guys. This neck has come off quite a bit and is not original to the body. I do have some hardwood dowels and will give that a try. Just thought the brass insert concept looked easy but I suppose if it was better Fender would have used it by now.

DrKev

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Apr 6th, 2019 03:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is the most excellent explanation for this ever. Bravo young man!

"if the wood screws are properly installed, they have enough bite and force to suck the neck plate down into the finish, compress the wood, damage it.

What this means is the amount of force necessary to hold a neck in place is quite a bit less than the amount of force those four wood screws are capable of generating."

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 6th, 2019 11:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Cheers, mon ami.

Bill Kirchin, the Master of the Telecaster, did this mod on his battle axe guitar he affectionately dubbed The Coal Burner.

He would loosen the strings, put a capo on the first fret, pop the neck off, and stick it in his suitcase during travel to gigs. He was playing almost every night somewhere in the US.

Those are Bardens in there. This guitar is pretty much retired from the road.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 6th, 2019 11:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

A few years back I built a Tele body from a slab of red cedar; I wanted to see how that would sound as a Telecaster. Cedar is extremely soft wood.

When I attached the neck to the body, the neck plate was being sucked down into the wood, and the neck was still loose enough to move around in the neck pocket.

I was heartbroken because how do you prevent that from happening? Cedar is a stiff wood lengthwise, but it compresses really easily across the grain because there's a lot of air space in the cells of the wood.

I disassembled it and took a close look at the neck pocket, and I realized there was a ridiculously simple fix for this.

I drilled out the through-holes in the body to 3/8" diameter and glued in four 3/8" spruce dowels. I drilled down the middle of each dowel for the neck screw.

Since the screws were now acting against longitudinal wood grain in the spruce, there was no compression, and the dowel ends were concealed by the neck plate. So nobody knows I cheated.

[ahem]

Except you guys now.

Added a pic of the subterfuge

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 02:40 PM, Apr 6th, 2019)

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 6th, 2019 12:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

I love this solution! How did that Red Cedar guitar sound?

I'm also curious, and please tell me if this an inappropriate hijacking of a thread- but as experienced players who have very cool guitars to choose from. How do you decide which one(s) you're going to play? At any given time do you have a "main" one that you settle on and play for a while, or is your selection gig specific, etc?

I'm still trying to figure out what "my sound" is, and with the limitations of my playing skills, I find that I get comfortable with a guitar, and if I move to another one I make more mistakes (even though I have set my guitars up very similarly) until I get used to that specific guitar. So I have a "main" guitar that changes, usually when I make something new or go back and modify something I have made before, and I don't change guitars during gigs.

I marvel at players who change guitars effortlessly and skillfully, but I often can't hear a difference tonally, and wonder what determines the changes beyond things like different tunings, etc?

And again my apologies if this should not be posted in this topic thread.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 6th, 2019 12:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

The cedar--I expect it would be a bit mellower than ash or alder, but it's really impossible to know because I installed some GFS Gold Foil humbuckers. They're a sort of a P90 format but they have a very broad, balanced, 'hi-fi' tone. It's different, and it's a "good" different.

Let's take this over to the Performer's Corner because that's where folks that play out pop in to discuss this sort of stuff.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 03:00 PM, Apr 6th, 2019)

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
*****

San Diego, CA USA

Apr 6th, 2019 01:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Peegoo- I moved it over!



FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Brass "Grub Screw" Inserts For Neck Bolts




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