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Need Advice On A Heel Modification


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Hi,

I'm working on a partscaster (Fernandes body + Ibanez neck...) that has a regular, blocky strat heel. I prefer a contoured heel, as the big block really interferes with upper fret access, especially if I'm switching around from an Ibanez AANJ or JS style heel back to the Fender style heel. The neck was originally an Ibanez AANJ neck, so that there is actually a gap where the neck tapers into the AANJ style, but the block heel on the body does not match that shape. By the way, this was a regular 22-fret body and a 22-fret neck, so none of the strangeness about 24 neck heels is an issue.

As you can see from the picture below, I already modified the neck plate so that it is now similar to the plates used on Fender's contoured heels (American Deluxe HSS, Jeff Beck, and possibly others). The next step would be to shave wood off of the body to conform with the plate contour. In the image, you should be able to see a line I have etched in the paint to mark how far back I would shave (~3.5 mm from the edge of the plate).

Now in the Fender models, the part of the heel that abuts the neck is not much different than on a regular strat, but it tapers back to match the plate contour. I could do it the same way so that the neck-to-body surface area is not changed. Alternatively, I'd like to shave more wood so that the body heel matches my etched line all the way down. That would provide significantly better access over either the regular strat heel or Fender's contoured heel. However, I am somewhat concerned about loss of stability. My hunch is that removing this much wood wouldn't be a problem, as I would only be taking about 1-cm at the maximum point (plate to corner of the heel).

You guys know a lot more about this kind of thing that I do, so I'd appreciate any input before I start shaving.

Thanks in advance!

Bert

Here's the Fender contoured heel:

FenderAmDeluxeHSS_heel.jpg

And here's my guitar with the proposed mod:

HeelMod_1.jpg

Edited by stratoskier
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OK -- sounds like the consensus is that I can proceed.

Dylanwad, we really are on the same track, aren't we? The only difference I see is that it looks like you're planning on leaving the body-to-neck contact area as is, similar to the Fender version. As noted, I was planning on also removing that area. Any reason why you decided to leave that part alone?

Bert

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I bought a Squire Showmaster cheap off Ebay a while back and it has this kind of heel. The carve fits nicely into the palm of the hand, once the corner is taken off the rest of the heel isn't in the way at all. I'm not sure removing the rest of the wood would make a difference. Try to find a guitar that has this heel and play it to see if you need to take the extra wood off. It's probably more about how you want it to look, I think both would be just as functional. Just my opinion, if you want to take it all off you should go for it, it's your guitar after all! :D

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OK - the shaver and sander are ready to rock!

You know, this is one part of the traditional strat/tele design that just makes no sense to me. Pretty much everyone I know that has tried one of the new heel designs has been hooked. I'm inclined to think that it didn't make much of a difference in Leo's era because players didn't spend much time at the uppermost frets. But most modern players wander up there pretty regularly and that blastest big block lies right on a collision course. Also, it's interesting that Fender's contoured heel only shows up in a few models -- I would have expected more demand for it. Anyway, now that I realize what an easy mod this actually is, I may even do it on another one.

Thanks for the input!

Bert

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remember that leo's tele's and strats were a very early electric guitar design. before that people were playing acoustics and archtops so the brick shaped fender heel was really ergonomic in comparison!!

same goes for les pauls, do it with a full width long tenon that extends through the neck pickup cavity and you can carve away most of the heel into something very comfy

strange thing is, people want them just like they were, even knowing they could be done better!!

you dont have to remove much at all to make it really comfy, thats why i just took the corner off on the one above, although i would have done the AANJ or warmoth method along with the rounded heel if it was for a shredder or done in a more modern style

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  • 3 weeks later...
remember that leo's tele's and strats were a very early electric guitar design. before that people were playing acoustics and archtops so the brick shaped fender heel was really ergonomic in comparison!!

same goes for les pauls, do it with a full width long tenon that extends through the neck pickup cavity and you can carve away most of the heel into something very comfy

strange thing is, people want them just like they were, even knowing they could be done better!!

you dont have to remove much at all to make it really comfy, thats why i just took the corner off on the one above, although i would have done the AANJ or warmoth method along with the rounded heel if it was for a shredder or done in a more modern style

like this one?

4275_3.JPG

DSC_0200.jpg

DSC_0213.jpg

Edited by teddybear
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That Ibanez looks really good with the bass side shaped like the treble side - nice! Somewhere for the inside of the thumb to rub up against when playing the higher frets. Might incorporate that into my current project!

DJ

wanna more frets?

try this one

SH042-07.jpg

225311946_o.jpg

at the singlecut back. :D

happy making.... :cheers

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

I never posted a pic of the completed neck mod, so here it is. I repainted black and cleared over it, but the finish isn't perfect. That doesn't bother me, as this guitar may eventually be refinished, although I kind of like it as a beater. Adding this neck mod really makes all the difference -- now I can comfortably play everything in my repertoire on this guitar without slamming into the block heel. To me, this is as significant an upgrade to a strat as changing pickups, trem, etc. I like it a lot.

MongrelNeckJoint_1.jpg

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