Hardtail Strat build - Neck Angle issues?

Cheesecake

New member
Messages
2
Hello,

being a guitar gearhead and a reading member of this forum for a while now, I started my first own Warmoth project: a hardtail Strat with an 80's shred touch.

The build is comprised of a Warmoth show-cased standard top-routed strat body (neon chartreuse) routed for a hardtail Fender standard American Bridge and a Warmoth Strat neck (birdseye), coupled with black Schaller locking tuners, black Strap locks, black pickguard and a pair of purple BKP Holydivers...

I opted for an ABM 3256 bridge with locked saddles (54 mm spacing, which should equal 2 1/8"), which should be a direct replacement for the Fender bridge.

However, after putting together the guitar, I encountered a weird issue with the bridge height/neck angle:

Apparently, either the bridge ist too low or the neck too high/at the wrong angle, as I cannot get the strings to lift away from the frets. I showed the guitar to a guitar tech and he noted that the neck pocket appears to have the wrong angle to work with a fixed bridge.

This made me wonder, because I assumed that if Warmoth sells a body to be equipped with a hardtail bridge, shouldn't the neck pocket be routed accordingly?

Has anyone encountered a similar issue on their instrument?
 

Fat Pete

Senior member
Messages
1,653
If the body was routed for a Fender standard American Bridge hardtail the neck pocket should be 5/8" - 15.875mm deep and not angled - unless the spec stated otherwise.

I'd expect that bridge to work ok from the info you've given if the screw and string holes lined up ok(?)

Apologies for the patronising question but you have tried loosening the lock screws and raising the saddles to the maximum height right? How high do they go - to the string break point?

Are you sure the neck is correctly adjusted - no back bow? It could be just a case of replacing the adjustment screws if it's not too far off.

 
S

swarfrat

Guest
Cool - wasn't familiar with these guys - but it looks like they might have a good solution for headless guitars with fewer or more than six strings.

headless_units_5_2.jpg


Since this was a showcase body - it could have had an angled neck pocket, but 1) this should have been listed, and 2) I've never ever seen an angled neck pocket unless the bridge route was already routed for non-recessed TOM bridge of some sort. Weird stuff sometimes ends up in the showcase due to cancellations, but again - if it was a cancellation, and it had an angled neck pocket, I would expect it to already be routed for a TOM.

Is the guitar rear routed? Could it have the .720 mod? Measure the neck pocket depth.
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
I was drawing out a sketch to prove you wrong, when I realized somewhere between "neck angle" and "720" I inverted the problem and was trying to solve the opposite problem.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Cheesecake said:
Apparently, either the bridge ist too low or the neck too high/at the wrong angle, as I cannot get the strings to lift away from the frets. I showed the guitar to a guitar tech and he noted that the neck pocket appears to have the wrong angle to work with a fixed bridge.

This made me wonder, because I assumed that if Warmoth sells a body to be equipped with a hardtail bridge, shouldn't the neck pocket be routed accordingly?

Has anyone encountered a similar issue on their instrument?

I did. Different bridge, but same problem. There's a thread on it here.

Long story short, I ended up having to lower the floor in the in the neck pocket.
 

Day-mun

Senior member
Messages
925
Cagey said:
Long story short, I ended up having to lower the floor in the in the neck pocket.

-And it probably didn't take much! I have recently changed necks between a couple of my Warmoths, and fitting great with no issues in the first configurations, one went to causing trouble like what you are describing, when placed on each other's body. Tight fit in the pocket was the issue in the case I just mentioned. I think the finish on one neck was thicker than the other. -Caused it to not seat as low and snug, and thus sat too high for the bridge on that particular body (a hardtail strat no less. Coincidence?). -Didn't notice the fat neck heel on the other; being a Jazzmaster, I had all the height adjustment in the world to remedy the tall-sitting neck.

Anyway, just cleaning out the pocket, especially focusing on the corners where the floor meets the walls of the pocket and particularly in the end deepest into the body (toward the bridge) did the trick for me, -that and being sure the neck was completely seated before tightening the neck-mounting screws. -And be sure to tighten the mounting screws evenly; tightening the outer-most screws first (really tight), then the inner/lower ones can compress the wood (not to mention crack the finish around the neck plate) and pitch the neck backward.

Forgive me if everybody already knows this stuff; I just figured I'd cover the bases that popped into mind to be thorough.
 

VinceClortho

Senior member
Messages
104
I had the same issue as Cagey with the Hipshot bridge that has the .125" base plate.  I swapped out the saddles with some stainless steel saddles from GFS that were thicker and have longer height screws and that worked fine. 
 

stubhead

Senior member
Messages
4,669
This stuff.... it's just part of guitars. I just stuck a Warhead neck on a Mustang I have, just to get the neck vibin', and the string saddle screws started biting me. I got pissed off at it enough to do something at 2:40am, so I put the capo on the top of the neck (no you DON"T have to unstring it every time like the damn fools at Premier Guitar tell you), yanked the neck off. I have fortunately shimmed a pile of guitars so I have a really good idea what different in angle is made by, say, a credit card shim vs. a medium pick shim. This is very, very helpful to know. On ordinary bodies you may want to sink a little guide drill hole .020" or 0.040" deep or so, but on a Warmoth, fortunately, all you have to do is either sand off the little turtle's head or his ass. Depending on which way you wanna tilt, see?

So I started with a 4-in-hand rasp but it was too slow so I wrapped 50-grit wet/dry around a little thing and went GRRR-BRRR-GFRRR... you can keep the floor flat by KEEPING THE FLOOR FLAT but if you're an idiot, you can check it with the neck plate edges too. Or JUST DON'T SAND IT CROOKED. I probably should've cut cute little eraser plugs to keep the crap out of the neck inserts, but I just closed my eyes and blew real hard (try it with your eyes open, once, for the learning exp.). And I screwed it on and tuned it up, then tuned it down cause it was SO right and jacked the saddles up (LOOK MA NO BITE) and tuned it back up and I was DONE at 3:10am. And played till sunup, worried cats be damned. I woulda spent TEN TIMES that half-an-hour just worrying about a stupid power router, instead it's all done.

Moral of the story: don't mess with Stubby at 2:40am, I guess. A duel to the death with sanding blocks is sure to be more gripping than one with power routers? Or at least a lot slower.
 

Cheesecake

New member
Messages
2
Thanks guys for all the insightful posts!

To give ya'll an update on the build: I had both the neck and neck pocket reworked by my guitar tech in order to "lower" the neck into the body and correct the neck angle relative to the bridge at the same time. As a fellow poster noted above, it did not take much wood to be taken away, but still enough measuring twice and sanding once to be beyond my (rather unsophisticated) woodworking skills.

In any case, she is now beautifully set up and plays like a dream (having a remarkable sustain for a strat type guitar).

I shall post some pictures shortly, once I get my fingers of her...  :guitaristgif:

Thank you all!
C-cake
 
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