Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Tele (caster) Me Some More


It has been a while since I updated...but now we're back.  A bunch of projects in the works:

- Blond Tele
- Finishing Sunroom
- Building some stompboxes (!)

So let's talk about that blond Tele!  When we last left it, the neck was finished in Tru-Oil, and the tuners installed.  Now we chust gotta drill the neck bolts, make a nut, slap de decal on and set it up.

Whatcha see in the picture on the left is the Tele with its "original" neck.  I put 'original' in quotes cause I bought the body and neck off you-know-where and they weren't originally partners.  But through the miracle of assembling F-style geetars, they became partners.  The body is a super high quality MIJ 50s reissue with the post-1955 translucent blond finish - whiter than the '49 to '55 'butterscotch' blonde.  The neck is a MIM 50s reissue.  I liked the body - it's super light - but the neck was a bit chunky, so's I got de new neck which we gonna put on.

Naturally, the first thing to do is take off the 'old' neck.  Loosen de strings, and unbolt it.  The neck plate, FWIW, is a Callaham one.  A little thicker than a stock Tele plate.  It also comes with a 'random' serial number punched in it.

Our nice new neck doesn't have holes drilled yet for the new bolts - that's what I'm going to do.  In order to get the holes in exactly the right spot, I'm going to do the Crawfish Guitars method...well, actually, it's a method I read about on the TDPRI site, so I can't take credit for it.

I put the new neck onto the body, and took the low and high E strings and strung it up with just enough tension to pull the strings in a straight line.  We're not gonna play it, we're going to just use the strings as a guide for lateral (side-to-side) placement of the neck in the neck pocket.  With the correct relationship established, we'll then put guide holes into the neck for drilling the final holes.  Stick with me.

I had an old nut I made for the Surfcaster that was a bit too short, but I hung on to it.  It's perfect now for lining up the two outside strings.  If they are too far one way or the other, they might pull off the fretboard when it's played.  Since the nut is already measured, and the distance from the edge of the fretboard is established, it's a perfect guide.

Now I can take the old neck screws and run them through the holes in the neck plate and the guitar body and make a small divot, or guide, into the neck.  You can see how I used one of those inexpensive but versatile Irwin C-clamps to hold the neck and body joint together.

With the neck clamped on, I double-, triple-, and quadrulple-checked all the alignment.  Then I gave each screw a couple of turns into the wood.  Just enough to leave a clear mark.

The green arrows at the left point to each of the marks.  I'll use these to start the drill holes.

Unlike the wood screws that are used to hold together 99% of Fender "bolt-on" necks and bodies, I'm going to put stainless steel threaded inserts into the neck and use machine bolts to hold the neck on.

The theory is that one can achieve a higher torque on the fasteners and thus obtain a tigher neck-to-body joint.  This is said to increase tone and sustain.  I'm not sure about the last part, but I do like the idea and clearly it will eliminate the chance of stripping the wood in the neck when removing the neck in the future for trussrod adjustments.


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