Bolt-On Necks

How to install, adjust, and set up a Bolt-On Neck.


Here are some notes and helpful tips on installing and setting up a bolt-on neck. Most necks will require minor truss rod adjustment after installation. Please read the entire document prior to installing the neck.

Attaching the neck
Place the neck into the neck-pocket and check its fit. Ideally it should drop in, or be a little snug—you shouldn't have to force the neck into the pocket. If the body is unfinished and you are pre-assembling the instrument (highly recommended!), remember that the finish will make the neck pocket smaller—it will build up on the edge of the rout. Be sure to compensate for the finish buildup or the neck will be too tight after finishing.

Next, locate and center the neck in the neck pocket/body. (Use a small clamp with thin wooden shims on the clamping surfaces to hold the neck in place during this process.) 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.).

Drilling the neck bolt holes is one of the most critical operations in the construction of a bolt-on neck guitar. The holes must be properly sized and located so that the neck is secure in the pocket, insuring that the vibrations and resonance of the instrument are not compromised.

Please note
The two or three holes in the heel of our pre-finished necks are for manufacturing as well as holding the neck during the finishing process. They will not interfere with mounting holes or neck screws.

If the body already has the neck holes, place the neck into the pocket (properly located and aligned with the bridge), and center punch or mark the locations to be drilled onto the neck. Insert the four neck bolts into their holes, and tap them with a hammer to mark their locations on the neck.

If the body doesn't have the neck bolt holes drilled, use the neck plate to help locate them. The simplest way is to place the neck plate into the pocket and properly position it in the rout (refer to the drawing for the proper location). The measurement "A" is 5/8" for guitar, 1-5/16" for bass.

After locating the plate, centerpunch your marks and drill the holes. Most body/neck mounting holes are 3/16" diameter, and they are slightly counter sunk on the backside of the body. We recommend using a drill press to maintain squareness and proper alignment.

Next, you must drill the holes into the neck. After center punching the neck bolt locations, determine the proper size drill bit (most neck bolts use a 1/8" diameter bit) and chuck it into your drill. Place a neck bolt through the neck plate and body. Measure the amount of the neck bolt that extends up into the neck pocket, and mark your drill bit (a piece of masking tape around the bit works great) so that it will drill into the neck to that depth.

Carefully drill the holes in the neck. Pull the bit out a few times while drilling each hole to clear the shavings packed onto the bit—when drilling maple or other dense hardwoods, drill the hole in gradual steps so the bit won't get too hot or clogged.