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Dan Erlewine's neck alignment topic.


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There's one thing that confuses me about Dan Erlewine's pages on neck alignment in the March issue. Surely no matter how much wood was removed from the side of the neck pocket, once the neck is re-installed it's still bolted on through the same bolt holes and as such would be in exactly the same place as before. Can anyone explain?
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This is just a guess. If I remember correctly, the bass in question was an older, three-bolt Fender with a micro-tilt adjust.


I imagine that the holes drilled through the body are just a bit larger than the screw thread diameter. For a bass outfitted with a backing plate, the body would, in reality, be sandwiched in-between the neck and the plate. The amount of play would be determined by the hole diameter minus the thread diameter, then divided by two.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Even with a four bolt system there can be more than enough side to side play. I periodically check the bolts/screws for tightness and give them a good 'snugging'. If you place enough opposite force onto the side of the neck it will give to some extent. Shaving the neck pocket on the bass actually gives it someplace to move to. If you are doing this...relax the screw before you try. Less resistance the better.

It also comes to mind that the neck pocket on the body wasn't cut correctly from the beginning if this needs to be done.

(didn't read the article if this is what Dan was talking about or fixing)

Don't have a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. ~ Johnny Carson
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I agree with all that Bottomgottem and Brocko said and would like to add that a very tight neck pocket aids the transfer of vibration from the neck to the body. This should enhance the sound. Loose is bad, tight is good.



"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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The screw holes in the body should be larger than the screw diameter, just a little, enough for the screws to pass freely through. That allows the screws to pull the neck and seat it properly against the bottom of the joint, it also allows just enough lateral movement to adjust the neck towards either side or forward as needed.


On many mass-produced basses screws are driven through the body into the neck in an undersized pilot hole; that can cause the neck to push away from the body if it is not clamped on tight enough and it prevents the neck from being shifted to correct position.


My Toby came with the screws driven through the body and neck like that. After drilling the body holes out I was able to shift the neck firmly against the bass side. For final re-assembly after defretting it I tightened the screws, strung up the bass and tuned it, loosened the screws a little to allow the string tension to fully seat the neck heel, then tightened the screws again. I found that idea on the web, and it worked well.


PS - if you are going to drill out the holes on a finished bass you may want to put a little masking tape on the painted side and drill from the painted side into the pocket. Paint chips will likely be covered with a plate or washers, but it doesn't hurt to be on the safe side.





- Matt W.
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