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Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:28 am
by Brian Evans
I looked up the dimensions of a Fender bass neck, and the heel was noted as 2.5". Perhaps naively, I assumed the heel was rectangular, that I would route out a rectangular recess to accept the neck heel. I bought a Warmouth neck, and it needed shimming to match the heel. No problem sez I, I probably routed it wrong. Then I happen to have my dial caliper in hand and measure the neck heel. It's tapered, starts slightly larger than 2.5"and gets smaller (2.55" to 2.42", matches the taper of the fretboard, which does seem logical). So from people who've been there, are Fender neck pockets tapered?

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:56 am
by Barry Daniels
Yes.

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:20 pm
by Freeman Keller
I have one set of strat plans that calls it out as 2.2000/2.1875 on the inside and 0.84 degree angle and a set of tele plans that call it as 2.224 on the inside and 2.135 on the outside. Warmoth shows it as 2-3/16 and at the outside and does not mention the taper. Your numbers seem excessively high.

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:06 pm
by Peter Wilcox
When I used to make Fender clones, I made templates for routing the neck pockets (bass, Tele or Strat) and templates for the necks. I routed the pockets first, then when I shaped the necks I finessed them for a tight fit (easier to shape the neck heel than the pocket). But yes, as noted above, they are tapered to the neck shape.
Freeman Keller wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:20 pm
I have one set of strat plans that calls it out as 2.2000/2.1875 on the inside and 0.84 degree angle and a set of tele plans that call it as 2.224 on the inside and 2.135 on the outside. Warmoth shows it as 2-3/16 and at the outside and does not mention the taper. Your numbers seem excessively high.
It's a bass. :)

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:01 pm
by Freeman Keller
Oops, my bad. Your numbers are probably just right for a bass.....

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:37 am
by JC Whitney
“Fender Manufacturing” video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bzm7OfuNBcQ

About three seconds in there’s a shot of a neck having the full length of one of its sides run along a stationary belt sander. Mr Leo aimed to make his production line run quickly and smoothly... I wonder if it was a judgement call that it was easier to pattern route a tapered pocket than deal with a change from parallel to tapered sides when sanding every neck?

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:34 pm
by Steve Sawyer
I can't answer your either/or question, but if you're making a neck, I just did a bass that had a taper at the heel (continuous straight lines from the nut to the heel) and used two templates to rout both the heel of the neck (actually the entire neck shaft) and the neck pocket. I got as close to a perfect fit as I could on both templates as shown in the first picture below, then used one to rout the neck profile and the other to rout the neck pocket. A tiny bit of fitting resulted in a perfect "piston fit". Note in the pics below the holes in the templates that are used with 1/8" stainless steel dowel pins to make sure everything lines up properly. If I was doing this with a purchased neck, I'd make a template to perfectly match the neck, then rout with that.
Neck Pocket Jigs 1.JPG
Neck Pocket Jigs 2.JPG

Re: Fender neck pockets - rectangular or tapered?

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:17 am
by Brian Evans
Thanks, guys. Now that I know it's a taper, if I ever make another one, I'll just make a tapered routing template. In hindsight, it makes a lot of sense. Easier to make a template and a thousand bodies than it would be to make a thousand necks not tapered. In the meantime, this body is shimmed and the neck fits. I'm making two more necks, probably as penance for buying the Warmoth neck in the first place, and it will be easy to taper them as well.