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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Fender Necks

Grayfin68

USA

May 4th, 2019 02:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi all! I am brand new to the forum and am just getting started with working on my own gear.

Recently, I bought two early '90's MIM Strats. One is of the standard configuration with three single coils and the other has a humbucker in the bridge position.

I purchased the guitars for a reasonable price and they need some work to bring them up to my standards. Keep in mind that I own two G&L Legacy HBs and the MIM Strats do not seem to be remotely in the same ballpark in terms of quality.

I was disappointed when I took the neck off of the first one to discover that what Fender means by "Bolt on" actually means "screwed on" with 4 cheap wood screws. I was quite shocked to see how cheaply these are constructed.

My question is does anyone have any experience with upgrading the attachment of the necks by perhaps inserting wood inserts to actually then use actual bolts, which I think would improve the quality of the guitar?

I was thinking about buying more modern necks that are flatter and wider since the maple necks, while nice are a bit thin for the size of my hands. I've found some nice aftermarket ones on StewMac that I'm considering buying.

Basically, I'm going to replace everything but the bodies on these guitars to make them really playable for me. I want to strip the paint, replace the necks, electronics, pick guards, and bridges.

I am not a big fan of the tremolos they used and am considering going to a hard tail with the round rails since I don't use a trem that much anyway and I think it will help keep the guitars in tune better and increase reliability.

I plan on making one of them flat black with gold hardware and the other white with flat black hardware.

Any thoughts or advice are greatly appreciated.

Leftee
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VA

May 4th, 2019 03:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

That has always how Fender necks have been attached across the whole line. I’m not aware the Fender has ever done it any different.

frogman
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Pueblo, Co

I qualify!
May 4th, 2019 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

This method has been what Fender is all about and worked well for Hendrix, Clapton, SRV, etc. Works for me too.

Converting to hardtail is not that hard and actually there are one or two threads about that right now. The simplest way to achieve this is to simply tighten the trem down and use a wedge in the cavity (not required).

It is allot of work for little result.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 4th, 2019 04:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

Welcome to the forum!

Further what Leftee said, there have been numerous discussions here about timber screws vs machine screws with bushings over the years.
If you do a forum search I'm sure you'll find heaps to read. (there has been one thread very recently)

At the end of the day, I think most will say there is nothing wrong with timber screws. They work just fine and have done so for 60 years.

Replacing "everything but the bodies" is certainly your prerogative, but not entirely necessary to create two fine playing instruments IMO. (a professional set up for starters) This coming from a guy that just *cannot* leave things alone on any stock guitar!

As for "strip the paint"... that's a whole other thread topic if they're 90's poly.

You'll find plenty of support here for whatever you wish to undertake though.

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 03:37 AM, May 5th, 2019)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 4th, 2019 04:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Like frogman said, decking & blocking are the quickest and easiest methods to "hardtail" a vibrato equipped strat.

And "...there are one or two threads about that right now."

One of those is from me. I am doing a more elaborate fixed bridge conversion, but only because I am doing a completely new build from an unfinished body.

Otherwise I'd be decking & blocking ;^)

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 03:39 AM, May 5th, 2019)

Leftee
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VA

May 4th, 2019 04:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Oh, and pardon my lateness, but welcome to the forum! We’re always happy to see new folks here.

(-:

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 5th, 2019 03:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Upgrading the way the neck attached to the body is something that a lot of people have done but it's totally an unnecessary upgrade. The stress at the neck pocket isn't actually much at all. You can have a strat or a tele tuned to pitch and be able to hold the neck in place with your left hand quite easily. Although I don't personally do it, this way on client guitars, you can put a capo on at the first fret to keep the strings organized and in the nut slots, unscrew the neck screws, gently and with control tilt the neck forward in the pocket, adjust the trussrod at the heel, and put the neck back into the pocket and retighten the screws. I don't recommend doing it this way but at the angle of the neck, there isn't as much tension on those screws as you would think.

I've done Titebond and toothpick repairs many times on necks with stripped holes in the neck and have never once had one fail. These only ever strip-out from either a factory mistake or someone trying to go monster tight.


Leftee
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VA

May 5th, 2019 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

The other thing to remember is that the neck has thread cut in it by the screw. So you can cross-thread it. As wrnch mentions, an easy fix.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 5th, 2019 05:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

The screws are not in major tension force; they're mostly in shear force because the pull of the strings is through the cross-section of the screw, not longitudinally through the screw.

This neck attachment scheme is actually better in some ways than Gibson's method because if the guitar is stored in damp conditions, Gibson's glue can let go.

It's really easy to overthink this stuff.

Like Frogman mentioned above, it worked for many famous players who are known for having great tone and no gripes about it. Sometimes "improvements" remove that magical something from a guitar and once it's done--you cannot go back.

Welcome to the FDP.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 6th, 2019 07:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

Also, re: your comment about flat black paint on the guitar...

Flat black looks very cool on a nice new guitar, but you don't see makers finishing guitars with flat colors because they quickly develop shiny spots where play wear occurs--especially where the forearm of the picking hand rests on the body.

If you're a player that does not rest their arm on the body while playing (these people do exist!), it's less of a problem with flat finishes.

Makers do use satin finishes though (slightly glossier than flat), and even these develop shiny wear spots that can detract from the look. If you're not particularly bothered by this stuff though, have at it. I just built a Strat-alike that has no finish on it, and once I start playing it, I forget it's not black, or red, or gold...

And regarding gold hardware--no gold hardware lasts on a guitar because the clear lacquer wears off the plating and things go south from there.

The only way to keep the guitar's gold hardware pristine is to not play the thing.

If you use a metal polish on it, it will remove more lacquer and also removes the exposed plating. It accelerates the wear of the gold, and it turns silver or brown over time. Gold hardware looks pimptastic on a new guitar, but in about a year of regular playing it starts to look

like this.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 09:19 AM, May 6th, 2019)

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Fender Necks




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