Good afternoon (it's 15 o'clock in Madrid):
I've bought a Fender JB body and a Fender JB neck.
1) I've seen that the neck pocket is a bit too wide (1/16'') but as Stewmac says: "If the body is unfinished and you are pre-assembling the instrument (highly recommended!), remember that the finish will make the neck pocket smaller". I think that 1/16'' is normal. After finishing everything will fit perfectly. Am I right?
2) In order to center the neck Stewmac says "To double-check if the neck is centered on the body, take a long straightedge and place it along the edge of the neck. Be sure that a portion of the straightedge is over the body at the bridge's location. Compare the two sides of the neck, and where the straightedge hangs over the bridge (i.e. the straightedge may be even with the outside of the E-string saddles, the outer saddle height screws, the outer edges of the bridge plate, etc.)."I don't understand what does it mean... maybe it's a problem of my english. May you help me saying that with other words?
3) I've seen that the shape of the neck-pocket and the shape of the neck-heel is not exactly the same. Exactly as in this image by Stewmac (http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/i-4005/4005.gif) there are these grey zones where the neck and the body don't fit together. Do I need to fix that with shims or is this normal and it won't affect to the sound of my JB?
Thank you for your help!
Hello Stefano, I can't help you with questions 1 or 3, but regarding 2 - I take two long straightedges (mine are made of thin steel and are actually yardsticks, ie 36" long) and put one on each side of the neck (the thin edge of the straightedge is facing the thin edge of the fingerboard) . One end of the straightedge is approx even with the nut. The other end lays over the body. If your neck is correctly centered, the inside each of each straightedge will will have equal distance from where the E strings lie (or will lie). Your neck and bridge will need to be attached to check this. If you have Cumpiano's book "Guitarmaking Tradion and Technology", he goes into this alignment as well as other checks to ensure correct bridge placement. Even though he is describing bridge location, it is true also for your application which is neck setting when the bridge is already located. I don't know if this helps or not, it is a little difficult to explain without an image
Stefano, You may be making this more difficult than necessary. I assume the body is drilled for a bridge, probably a Fender style bridge. Install the bridge with one or two screws and install the neck. If the neck isn't drilled for mounting screws, hold it with a clamp, leaving a path from the nut to the bridge for the E and G strings. Stretch a string from the nut to the bridge where the E and G will be. if the two paths look symetrical, you are all set. You might find the G string moving towards the outside edge as it approaches the bridge. This means you need to rotate the neck towards the E string side.
I would approach this assuming the long edge of the neck pocket is correct, until you prove it wrong. The difference in shape between the end of the neck and the pocket won't affect sound. It may affect the neck staying aligned, but you can put something like window screen between the neck and the body which will lessen the tendency to rotate. Or you can fill the spaces with wood, once you'v got everything aligned.
I hope this helps.