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loose neck

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by chief, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. chief

    chief Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    Hi first post on this site. Have a '74 strat that I've had since '78 so it's practically part of me. My problem is with the neck attatching to the body. That year strat has only 3 screws hold the neck to the body. no matter how much you tighten the screws, there is still some play in the neck if you push on it. when you drop the low e string a step, all the rest of the strings go out of tune because the neck moves slightly when you take tension off of a string. I guess there is too much play where the neck joins the body but i don't know what to do about it. I tried to shim the neck so there is no movement, but that didn't work,still moves if you were to break a string or drop tune.Other than glue the neck to the body and put another couple of screws in the neck( don't worry only joking )I don't know how to correct this problem. Had this strat a long time and would hate for it not to be 100%. Hoping someone out there had this problem and knows a fix. Thanks guys
  2. thelonius7

    thelonius7 New Member!

    loose neck solutions for 3-bolts?

    A couple of ideas-- if the screw holes in the body are just getting too big,
    an easy fix is to glue a wooden toothpick in each hole with some white glue. This makes the holes smaller reducing play. You can just drop the toothpicks in each hole, put a couple of drops of Elmer's in there, and then screw it all back together.

    Whatever you do, don't just use a bigger wood screw.

    Another option is to have an experienced luthier install a metal-metal system. They tap out the holes in the body, and install female machine-screw receivers (also called threaded inserts) into the body. Then you screw the neck onto the body using machine screws with a finer thread count. Going metal to metal makes for a much stronger connection that doesn't get weaker every time you take the neck and body apart. Lots of folks report that this also improves tone and sustain. The other big advantage of this is that if you fly a lot, then you can just take the guitar apart and easily comply with luggage length limitations. With a stock system that uses wood screws, generally it is best to minimize taking the body and neck apart since every time you do this it has the potential to create play. This is a bad enough problem for four-bolt Strats-- for three-bolt Strats it is much worse!!

    You might also need to buy a beefier neck plate-- the machine screws can be subjected to much greater torque, to the point that you can warp the neck plate. Or just make sure not to be ham fisted!

    Rockler offers threaded inserts. You might also be able to do it yourself.

    Here's a link to a faq that Rockler provides on their threaded inserts.
  3. thelonius7

    thelonius7 New Member!


    sorry-- the threaded inserts go into the neck, not the body.

    Here's a FAQ from someone on the TDPRI page--

    I've used threaded inserts for years on all my guitars. I've tried them all and the very best are the steel knife thread models made by E-Z Lok

    I use the model 400-3-CR. 3/8" OD with 10-24 threads.
    These steel inserts are much easier to use than the brass. The brass have very coarse thread and are exceedling difficult to put into rock maple.

    You'll note that they have a special hex drive insert tool for these inserts. This is essential, you can't put them in with a simple screwdriver. But, using the tool and a wrench, and going slowly, it's easy enough.

    A couple of caveats: do some test runs in hard maple before working on your neck. Make sure you are completely comfortable with the process before working on the neck. Also make sure you use some kind of lubricant on the outside threads of the insert. Soap, wax , or a telflon spray will work fine. Go slowly too.

    Once you've got them in your neck you'll see a couple distinct advantages over the traditional woodscrews. One, you can remove and replace the neck countless times with absolutely no hassle. Two you'll be able to tighten your neck to the body with considerable force which should help a little with sustain.

    Hope this info is useful.
  4. chief

    chief Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    WOW!!! great reply to my problem-after my post I realized just what you said- too much play in the holes for the screws.also will get those inserts for the neck. Thanks alot for the help
  5. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

    Feb 12, 2009
    Antioch, IL
    McFeeley's sells ss inserts designed for use in hardwoods including maple. Bolt Depot sells 1 3/4" ss machine screws (bolts). I'm planning to do this to all my Strats/Teles. Sorry, I don't have a link to either site...ya'll hafta use google!
  6. Lowdown

    Lowdown Strat-Talker

    Jan 25, 2009
    Great idea thelonius! I'll keep that stored in the "what to do if this happens" vault.
    Would never have thought of doing something like that.Ever. This is what I love about this forum.