Monday 26 September 2022

Custom Neck Installed

It finally happened, but not what I had planned... Back in March I bought an electric guitar, and then ordered a custom neck which arrived in May at which time I realised I had accidentally specified a Strat neck pocket instead of a Tele neck pocket.  While I _could_ have made it fit, I sat on my hands for a few months agonising over it, and then eventually snapped and bought a cheap second hand Strat copy from the pawn shop and installed the neck on that.

It's been an interesting exercise, I've learnt a lot.  Here is some of it!

Thanks again Leo Fender for standardising bolt on necks.  The Strat copy I bought is the same neck as a real Strat and the same as what a bloke in China made with his bare hands. So it fits just fine.  not sure why you changed the design between Strats (overhanding fretboard in the neck pocket) and Teles (flat ended in the neck pocket) though.

Looks pretty! I like the classical guitar
fretboard and the overall simple clean lines

Handmaking the nut is not complicated, but it is tedious.  There are numerous tutorials on the interwebs so I don't need to write it up here, but I am going to talk more about spring spacing in another blog. By the time I had finished the nut I was already dissatisfied with it and I will be re-making it, but it will do for now. Shout out to Mr Manchester for his handy spacing calculator. When I make my next better one I will talk about it some more then.

Aligning the neck is nerve wracking.  Clamp the neck into the pocket, put on both E strings and then rotate it until the neck is square.  Then drill!  I reckon I was pretty close - I won't need to fill the holes and do it again.

Something as simple as drilling tiny screw holes to hold the machine heads in place.  This seems so obvious in hindsight - but screw on the machine heads first, wiggle them so they are perfectly lined up, then screw the little holes to lock them in place so they don't rotate. Not before! Streuth, I don't know what I was thinking - I was rushing it.

Enough talk about the build! What is it like to play? How does it sound?

Ha ha - I don't know yet!  I think I like it! I think I don't like it! I am going to remake the nut because the intonation for the low E is awful - the action is too high - and the top E needs to come in, it's too close to the edge of the fretboard.

But it sounds like an electric guitar, so I took a moment to record something electric guitarish:

A shout out to my Patreons who help fund projects like this, and keep me supplied with fresh guitar strings 👍

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