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Question On Length Of Replacement Necks


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I am making a neck myself - more for the pleasure of saying I did it (because it's cheaper to buy a ready-made neck), but I wanted it to conform to the "standard" neck dimensions of a replacement neck for Fender Telecasters.

So, I have a 25.5" scale rosewood fingerboard, and I wanted to know the distance from the bridge end of the heel to the bridge side of the nut slot, so I can place it accurately on the neck. That seems to me to be the critical dimension, as the heel of the neck pocket on the body to the bridge saddles , must be some "standard" distance from the bridge, thus producing the 25.5" scale length (within the saddle adjustment range). I found a mention of the overall length from nut to end of fingerboard of 18 7/16" (468.3mm) but I am not sure how much of that is the fingerboard overhang.

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Well, as you pointed out yourself, "overhang" or not makes a difference.

How many frets?

See, the scale length doesn't give any indication to the length of the neck.

Some necks may have more or less wood after the last fret, which then, of course, changes the length of the neck, but not the scale length itself...

"Standard" is a very vague thing in the guitar world, even for manufacturers like Fender.

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I am making a neck myself - more for the pleasure of saying I did it (because it's cheaper to buy a ready-made neck), but I wanted it to conform to the "standard" neck dimensions of a replacement neck for Fender Telecasters.

So, I have a 25.5" scale rosewood fingerboard, and I wanted to know the distance from the bridge end of the heel to the bridge side of the nut slot, so I can place it accurately on the neck. That seems to me to be the critical dimension, as the heel of the neck pocket on the body to the bridge saddles , must be some "standard" distance from the bridge, thus producing the 25.5" scale length (within the saddle adjustment range). I found a mention of the overall length from nut to end of fingerboard of 18 7/16" (468.3mm) but I am not sure how much of that is the fingerboard overhang.

This should help you out..

http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/necks/necks....fuseaction=faq2

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I am making a neck myself - more for the pleasure of saying I did it (because it's cheaper to buy a ready-made neck), but I wanted it to conform to the "standard" neck dimensions of a replacement neck for Fender Telecasters.

I'm not 100% certain of this, but I'm pretty sure the spec for a 'real' Telecaster calls for 21 frets with no overhang. And the heel is square.

The Fender 50s Reissue Esquire I have here measures out at 468 mm.

But what's most important to you is what is going to work with your project --- either the neck has to match the project, or the project matches the neck, if you see what I mean.

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I am making a neck myself - more for the pleasure of saying I did it (because it's cheaper to buy a ready-made neck), but I wanted it to conform to the "standard" neck dimensions of a replacement neck for Fender Telecasters.

I'm not 100% certain of this, but I'm pretty sure the spec for a 'real' Telecaster calls for 21 frets with no overhang. And the heel is square.

The Fender 50s Reissue Esquire I have here measures out at 468 mm.

But what's most important to you is what is going to work with your project --- either the neck has to match the project, or the project matches the neck, if you see what I mean.

By real, I think you mean classic or vintage. I am the proud daddy of the world's single greatest Telecaster. (Ok, maybe not, but I'm really proud of it.) Anyway, mine has a 22nd fret and it does have some overhang. The 22nd fret is right at the end of the neck. After the 22nd fret the curve at the end of the board begins immediately. I can measure it later if you like. But it seems the purpose of the overhang is just to hold that 22nd fret in there.

Bluesy, whatever you do, you should probably make sure that the entire playable part of the fretboard is supported by the neck, as does Fender.

-Dave

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Lots of replies, I'll try and respond in one post.

The link guitar101 left me is great. It shows 468.3mm overall, and in the second diagram it shows a measurement of 7.92mm for the overhang (I think, either that, or it's the distance to the pickup cavity - but that doesn't make sense).

So that makes nut to heel distance 460.38 mm.

Dpm99, by real, I meant one licenced or made by Fender, and to also address Mickguard's comment, yes, I can make it match any particular project, but I have a couple of different bodies and I thought that if I am going to make some necks, I might as well make one that is the same as the replacement Fender necks you can buy. I can't go entirely by the bodies I have because they aren't original Fender either, and might by different. If they are, I will abandon the idea of "standard" - but I needed that dimension in order to assess what would be best for me.

RAI6, you mentioned the scale length not indicating the length of the neck. If you have a Fender style body that accepts Fender necks, the distance from the bridge saddles to the heel end of the neck pocket, plus the nut to heel distance of the neck itself, should end up being 25.5 inches shouldn't it? I am still learning, so I won't be upset if I am not understanding this.

Dpm99, that Tele sounds very nice. Teles are my favourite Fender. Coincidentally, I was watching a show about guitars on TV recently, and one guy was showing off a very early Broadcaster. It was a bit worn and rusty, and coloured a nasty butterscotch shade, but still impressive, especially when he mentioned that they sell for tens of thousands of dollars!

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Lots of replies, I'll try and respond in one post.

The link guitar101 left me is great. It shows 468.3mm overall, and in the second diagram it shows a measurement of 7.92mm for the overhang (I think, either that, or it's the distance to the pickup cavity - but that doesn't make sense).

So that makes nut to heel distance 460.38 mm.

I haven't built a neck but if you read the description it says distance from nut to 12th fret, 12 3/4", to the heel (not extended fingerboard) is 18-7/16", which is 468.3 mm

not 460.38. Anyway that is how I read it. Anyone more experienced please respond. The scale length is from the point on the nut where the string breaks and to the bridge where it breaks over. If it isn't the guitar won't intonate properly. The overhang is irrelevant as far as scale length goes if the other dimensions are correct.

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I haven't built a neck but if you read the description it says distance from nut to 12th fret, 12 3/4", to the heel (not extended fingerboard) is 18-7/16", which is 468.3 mm

not 460.38. Anyway that is how I read it. Anyone more experienced please respond. The scale length is from the point on the nut where the string breaks and to the bridge where it breaks over. If it isn't the guitar won't intonate properly. The overhang is irrelevant as far as scale length goes if the other dimensions are correct.

You are right, I was looking at the diagram not the text, and they have a discrepancy, because the dimension line for the 468.3 mm measurement goes all the way to the end of the fingerboard, clearly including the overhang. Then there's the 7.92 mm measurement shown at the bottom right of the next diagram.

Oh well, I just have to fit the necks on a "by-project" basis. As RAI6 said, it seems that '"Standard" is a very vague thing in the guitar world, even for manufacturers like Fender.'

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I'm not 100% certain of this, but I'm pretty sure the spec for a 'real' Telecaster calls for 21 frets with no overhang. And the heel is square.

The Fender 50s Reissue Esquire I have here measures out at 468 mm.

468 mm seems to be the answer. I think you are right that early 'casters had no overhang as well.

Edited by bluesy
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RAI6, you mentioned the scale length not indicating the length of the neck. If you have a Fender style body that accepts Fender necks, the distance from the bridge saddles to the heel end of the neck pocket, plus the nut to heel distance of the neck itself, should end up being 25.5 inches shouldn't it? I am still learning, so I won't be upset if I am not understanding this.

The distance between the bridge and the end of the neck, irrelevant to scale length.....

The scale length is the distance between the saddle and the nut.

You have 25.5" between the high E saddle and the fretboard side of the nut. To verify your scale length, you should then have 12.75" from the nut (and the saddle) to the 12th fret (which is the halfway point).

With that knowledge, you should see that the points that matter have nothing to do with the physical length of the neck itself...

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The distance between the bridge and the end of the neck, irrelevant to scale length.....

The scale length is the distance between the saddle and the nut.

You have 25.5" between the high E saddle and the fretboard side of the nut. To verify your scale length, you should then have 12.75" from the nut (and the saddle) to the 12th fret (which is the halfway point).

With that knowledge, you should see that the points that matter have nothing to do with the physical length of the neck itself...

I understand that. However, it does become relevant when making a replacement neck to suit any pre-existing "standard" body. The distance from bridge saddle to the neck pocket is therefore already determined and fixed, therefore the neck length must be made to size so that the two measurements add up to the required 25.5" scale length. I didn't know either measurement, therefore I was asking what length to make the neck.

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Aah, see that's the tricky part...

To make a new neck for an existing body, if you don't already have a neck to compare it to.

Do you have the bridge for the body?

With the bridge in place, you can start taking some measurements.

It might help to draw this out at full-size...

On a sheet of paper, mark the bridge and the saddle position. From there, measure 25.5", and mark the nut.

From the saddle position, you can also draw out where the neck pocket is (completely drawn out).

Now you should have a pretty decent idea of where to go with the neck......

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Most guitar shops are bound to have more than a few Fenders kicking around - I'd walk on down and see if they'll let you measure one.

Barring that, I'd try contacting a smaller producer of guitar parts that works to make pieces that fit Fender instruments, and see if they could get you the info you need.

You could probably also work with a nice set of plans, (from somewhere like MIMF or Stewmac perhaps?) I'm sure they'd have the info you need.

Might be worth asking on the Telecaster forum at http://www.tdpri.com/ as well? I don't frequent there, but the few times web searches have led me there, there seemed to be a fairly knowledgable bunch of folks there; and it seems like they'd be the folks to know stuff about teles.

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Most guitar shops are bound to have more than a few Fenders kicking around - I'd walk on down and see if they'll let you measure one.

Barring that, I'd try contacting a smaller producer of guitar parts that works to make pieces that fit Fender instruments, and see if they could get you the info you need.

You could probably also work with a nice set of plans, (from somewhere like MIMF or Stewmac perhaps?) I'm sure they'd have the info you need.

Might be worth asking on the Telecaster forum at http://www.tdpri.com/ as well? I don't frequent there, but the few times web searches have led me there, there seemed to be a fairly knowledgable bunch of folks there; and it seems like they'd be the folks to know stuff about teles.

I thought he had all the measurements he needs.

Bluesy, if you need anything more, send me a private message. I'll even pull the neck off my Tele again if it helps.

-Dave

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