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Neck mounting screws


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Hi, I have been ordering the materials for my next build. It will be an Ibanez rg/jem style guitar. I ordered the neck screws and ferrules from stew Mac. When they came in they are a smaller diameter than I expected. My Ibanez has much bigger screws. Should I plan to use them? It seems a bigger screw could be tightened down harder and be a lot stronger with less chance of ever stripping. What do y’all think, are these screws plenty for holding on a neck? Stew Mac says 11/64" (4.2mm) dia. x 1-1/2" (38mm) long

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That's the standard thickness for neck screws, don't know if Ibanez has originally used thicker ones. But that 4.2 mm is the standard for e.g. Fenders and I've never heard that the neck would come off because of the screws failing.

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4.2mm is plenty big enough but if you're worried then any old Phillips head wood screw would do. Don't forget the bigger the screw, the more wood you're removing from both the heel and the tenon and it's the wood that provides the strength. That's why I tend to stick to set necks, that and glue is cheaper than screws. 

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2 cents here... I think the size of the screw matters a lot less than the quality of the screw... if you ever break off a neck screw in a neck - that detail will be imprinted on your mind like nothing else (ask me how I know).  Stew screws are pretty decent quality.  Another good alternative is the screws from philledelphia luthier - which tend to be bigger (they are likely similar to what your ibanez has) and this is much more important when using ferrules (lots more pressure on the screw head).  If going chrome anyway... the stainless steel screws you can get at local ace hardware are also good quality.  Likely all three are made in china... but my experience has been that you can tell a lot about how good a screw is by how easily you can deform it with a screwdriver... for that reason I have stuck to the above three and had zero issues.  The one thing you def don't want to do is use some "unknown" off evilbay or amazon. 

Further, having had a lot of experience screwing together cabs made of mdf for nurse stations and the like... I will tell you that probably more important than the screw is the hole.  You want the hole in the body side big enough that the screw threads won't grab... but small enough that the screw has nowhere to go/move.  By making those holes bigger, it will allow the thread to grab on the neck side and pull the body into it.  If the threads grab in that hole... your screw will not pull the pieces together as tight and won't hold as well over time.  If you can imagine what it takes to have a drywall screw hold two pieces of mdf together for 20+ years... well that's what I learned from the old timers re laminated bars/islands/displays. 

Another trick I always use (learned from sm place)... is to use a tapered bit whenever grab is important.  This means you have to be more exact on your depth because you can end up creating too much pressure on the thread and/or blow out the material.  I am convinced it makes a big difference esp when going into hardwood that will not compress.  Instead of the tip of the screw being in a loose hole that is uniform in width to depth, and much more likely to strip over time... a tapered bit will ensure the grab at the tip of the screw is tight and there is nowhere to go... ie it will be far less likely to strip and will hold with much more pressure. 

Lot of details for just a screw... but a lot of folks out there with old guitar necks that the screw holes have stripped on.  I have at least one guitar, 24 years old, that I've taken apart hundreds of times (old fender style heel adjust gets taken apart any time truss needs adjustment) and those threads are still solid as a rock... so there is my evidence albiet empirical. 

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Good tips, @mistermikev!

Let me add one more: Rub the screw with some sort of wax. You don't need much, it's enough if you screw it into a soft candle or jar of paste wax. Even a piece of soap will do. That will lubricate the threads for easier insertion without sacrificing the grip.

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1 hour ago, Bizman62 said:

Good tips, @mistermikev!

Let me add one more: Rub the screw with some sort of wax. You don't need much, it's enough if you screw it into a soft candle or jar of paste wax. Even a piece of soap will do. That will lubricate the threads for easier insertion without sacrificing the grip.

thank you and right on.  I didn't mention it because it's such a "101" thing (putting wax on screws)... and I forgot, but I use mink oil for this.  It's commonly sold for shoes.  In the cab industry they used it all the time.  It is thick enough that it will actually seal the wood too.  What's more - it's fairly cheap.  I use it on my cnc bed to lube the channels and keep my 1/4 bolts sliding easy.  Used to use it on my planer sled to keep the router sliding right... small amount of resistance so it feels like you have control... but slides easy.  anywho... good call.

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