Started work on Elliots Strat this week.
I believe this involves the most critical step in building a Strat – the neck to body joint. This brings us into the debate regarding “bolt on / set neck” advantages and disadvantages. I think a nice tight fit for a bolt on is key – you have direct “wood-on-wood” contact as opposed to “wood-glue-wood” construction of a set neck. Less sustain arguments are mute as I believe the guitar’s resonance comes from many many other considerations, not just the neck joint. Basically quality construction and materials are key.
Here are a few pictures and explanations of the process:
Checking the body for correct dimensions and cleaning up any excess lacquer in the cavities – this will allow the hardware to install without any issues (in theory)
Drilling the neck holes in the body:
I try to make these holes snug, but not too snug on the screws – friction caused by an undersized hole can snap the screw heads. I apply wax to all the screws as I install them to lessen the chance of them breaking off. This neck is going to be bolted on and off many many times during the build. I clean off the wax periodically as dust, shavings etc can adhere and get into the neck holes.
Checking the neck position prior to drilling the neck itself:
I always check clearances while I am doing a build – I like to check that the neck is in the precise position in relation to the body and bridge saddles. Here I am checking the scale length is 25.5” / 650mm.
Here is the guitar with the neck attached – looking good: