Jump to content

Neck Pocket Blues


Recommended Posts

I'm ready to route the neck pocket on my guitar...I've spent the last WEEK getting the tenon sorted out and routing a template (in mdf) for the pocket.

It looks good --tomorrow I'm going to make a test run and route a pocket in some scrap.

My main concern now is making sure I get the neck absolutely straight.

I've measured and measured, double- and triple-checked all my lines, especially the center line on the body. I don't trust myself though...I always manage to screw up.

But I'm wondering if I can get any tips on getting the neck perfectly straight-- how do you do it?

Do you eyeball it? I mean, when I place the neck on the top of the body and move it into place, I get something that looks like it's straight, at any rate.

I've even used the laser on my jigsaw to help...

I'm not normally a nervous nellie...but if I screw this up, I've pretty much screwed up the guitar :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put the bridge in place and run strings (peices of thread) where the outer two strings go so I can see if it's the same distance from the neck on either side of the string. Thand adjust so it is and clamp it in place. It's worked every time. :D

Prety much this exact thing only I put the bridge on and line it up with strings also just to be extra extra sure.

Edited by Godin SD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I have a tenon the full width of the neck,I do it as in Godins link - straight bars on either side of the neck, registered against the centreline of the body.

I don't use them when I use a narrower tenon, in this case you just need to get the tenon *perfectly* parallel to your neck, and the mortice *perfectly* parallel to your centre line, and it'll all line up fine. Worst case, it shifts a fraction, you can mount the bridge off to one side to compensate. With an angled tune-a-matic nobody will be able to see if it's off centre by +/- 1mm, and you shouldn't need to move it more than that.

I also run the dummy strings like Godin, but I do this to double check bridge location when the neck is set in place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best way I have found to get the neck aligned is to use one of those lasers, used for picture hanging. Place it on the body, behind the bridge area and align it with the center line on the body AND the neck until the laser is centered on the nut. This will give you a perfect alignement. The string idea also sounds good but I think it's easier with the laser.

Araz

Edited by araz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, very helpful...

I can't be 100% sure that my tenon is perfectly straight...it looks good, and I've measured it at least 50 times to be sure...and the test pockets I've done so far all set the neck nice and straight. It's a narrow tenon.

I'm liking the approach in the site Godin pointed to more and more--I'm thinking I'll have the best luck with that (I've used it before with success--but I'd thought you 'had' to use a template)...and I can combine it with the laser on my jigsaw to be extra certain.

The difference is that this neck is already shaped--but I should be able to use the same idea, just run the beams along the tenon and use the laser to make sure the nut is straight too.

I'm not going to drill for the bridge --I'm using a Badass--until after I've gotten the neck pocket done. I want to keep a safety margin...

Man, I can't wait until this part is behind me...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually use a laser in all steps of building to reassure everythings aligned properly.

jv1laser01.jpg

While making the JV-1 I used it to check for center of neck with body in the picture above.

I also use it for bridge placement. I use the laser to make a line so that it's 1/8" away from the fingerboard edge, which is where the string should be, and make marks on the wood to show where the saddle on both outside strings should be for exact alignment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:D

You guys are great, this site is great, saved my BUTT on this one!

Came out perfect! (Well, as close to perfect as I'm ever going to get)

Right now the joint is so tight that I can barely fit the tenon in there --I can get it down about half way, and I could force it down the rest of the way with clamps, but I don't think it'll ever come out again --and there won't be any room for the glue... (besides, I'm afraid it will split the wood).

It's raining today, so that might be part of it, i.e., the humidity might be swelling the wood?

At any rate, I'm going to wait until someone tells me what to do about this--I've done some light sanding to the pocket--is that the way to go?

I have a piece of wood that fits almost perfectly, that way both sides get sanded at the same time.

Or should I be sanding the sides of the tenon?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG, that is badASS!

I never thought of that, I'll be buying a laser measure within 24 hours, and thanks Matt.  :D  :D  B)

Drak, the one I use is a cheap one I bought from Wal-Mart.. lol It works good though, but it's nothing fancy. It does come in very handy and you'd find many uses for it when building. If you can't find one cheap in your area, let me know, and I'll hook ya up bro.. :D

B)

At any rate, I'm going to wait until someone tells me what to do about this--I've done some light sanding to the pocket--is that the way to go?

I have a piece of wood that fits almost perfectly, that way both sides get sanded at the same time.

Or should I be sanding the sides of the tenon?

I sand the neck heel area when fitting a neck to neck pocket. When building I actually make the neck heel slightly wider so I can sand it for a perfect fit. It's the same way a lot of builders do it, in fact, I remember reading that Thorn does it the exact same way. I found that trying to use a jig to make a pefect fit, that there was still more slack than there should be, thus I changed my method.

i would like to ask a question...

when you have a blank body with no pickup cavities or neck pocket or bridge studs, would it be better to make your neck pocket first then attach your bridge to the proper scale?

There is a million ways to do this, but this is the way I like to do it.

1. Route neck pocket aligned with the center of the body.

2. Route pickup cavities using center of body as guide.

3. Align bridge and find proper placement before drilling or routing for bridge.

I like to do the bridge last, that way you can get the string aligned perfect with the neck (1/8" from outside strings to edge fingerboard), and where the strings are over the pickup poles. Like I said, this isn't the only way, just the way I do it. It's best to make your templates this way too, so they are perfect and you don't have to do it for each guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks alot

now getting the bridge properly aligned i could set the center of the bridge with the center of the neck and mark all my holes.

or should i put some thread on to simulate the strings and put them through the tuners and find 1/8" on both sides?

sorry for making it sound confusing, i could explain it better if you need it :D

Edited by Hughes
Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks alot

now getting the bridge properly aligned i could set the center of the bridge with the center of the neck and mark all my holes.

or should i put some thread on to simulate the strings and put them through the tuners and find 1/8" on both sides?

sorry for making it sound confusing, i could explain it better if you need it :D

You can do that, whatever works for you. What I do is extend all the saddles almost as far as they will go forward and measure your scale length from the nut (where the nut meets the fingerboard), to the saddle string takeoff point. I use a laser to make an imaginary string, an 1/8" away from each side of the fingerboard, and position the bridge so it's optimal placement. When you have the bridge at the correct distance and orientation, you can mark where your hole will have to be. For a Fender style tremolo it's usually 6 small holes, and for a TOM sytle, mark for the threaded inserts. That's how I do it, nothing written in stone though. As long as you end up with at least 1/8" clearance from the outside strings to edge of fingerboard, and have enough room for your saddles to intonate properly, then you've got it right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sand the neck heel area when fitting a neck to neck pocket.  When building I actually make the neck heel slightly wider so I can sand it for a perfect fit.  It's the same way a lot of builders do it, in fact, I remember reading that Thorn does it the exact same way.  I found that trying to use a jig to make a pefect fit, that there was still more slack than there should be, thus I changed my method. 

I did this on my Kelly copy! But the only problem came after I removed the neck last weekend to dress the frets! As you know nitro is brittle! Not like poly! So I pulled the neck straight up, but one of the screw didn't came out completely and tilted the neck just a bit to the side, and 3 chips of paint (lacquer) came out from all 3 sides of the neck pocket! I think that my wife heard me in the states!!! Just a word of advise to be extra careful when removing the necks if someone is using nitro and not 2 part poly!

And I already got a laser thingy!!! So I will (hopefuly) be building this winter!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sand the neck heel area when fitting a neck to neck pocket.  When building I actually make the neck heel slightly wider so I can sand it for a perfect fit.

That is in fact how it worked out --actually, my template bit cuts just a bit narrower --the difference is probably about 0.25 mm --enough so that the only way I could get the tenon in there was by sanding.

It gave me the opportunity to adjust the tenon and the pocket so the fit is pretty much EXACT. In fact, I even loosened it up just a tad because otherwise the joint would have squeezed out too much glue.

And then as a final step I lightly sanded the bottom edges of the tenon so that they were no long perfectly square-- this allowed the tenon to sink completely into the pocket --before that, the corners of the tenon were fighting too hard with the corners of the pocket.

The result is suprisingly good--surprises the hell out of me at any rate! :D I'll post pics in my thread in the progress section soon.

I also really LOVE the laser idea --I used the laser on my jigsaw to line up the neck with the center line . But I went out and bought a dedicated laser level yesterday --only cost 13 euros, and I can see myself using this all the time. There was another, even cheaper laser--that one also gave measurements using sonar. 10 euros!

So for the bridge placement, I plan to use both the laser level and the laser on the jigsaw (well, I'm tempted to buy that sonar box too, to have a second laser level...)

I plan on drilling for the bridge studs as the last step. I've used autocad to define the pickup placement and give me the exact Stew-Mac approved line for the length.

And GF's laser idea is EXACTLY what I needed to get the saddles lined up--I've done a test run and it helps a lot.

Anyway, Hughes, make sure you look at the link Godin gave at the top of this thread--it should make everything perfectly clear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...