One of the two Santana guitars was a ’63 Lake Placid Blue Strat with a neck that was twisted so badly that nobody thought it was salvageable. That neck had been given up for dead, but it came back to life on the Neck Jig!
|If you use the Neck Jig for your fretwork, have you made yourself a surrogate body for it?|
This is described in the instructions that come with the Jig. For bolt-on necks, it’s a stand-in for the guitar body: bolt the neck on, string up with a top loading bridge, and you’ve got easy access for adjustments. (And the vintage guitar body stays safely in its case while the work is going on.)
I use mine for bolt-on neck refrets, and I've modified it by adding the two body-shaped wings you see here. For setup work, this makes mine more lap-friendly than the simple block of wood.
|For adjustments, I like our new truss rod wrench for Fenders. It really fits a vintage Fender adjusting nut without slipping or damaging the slot.|
|The other Strat was a sunburst from Fender’s mid-60s transitional period. All the bridge saddle height-adjustment screws protruded way above the tops of the saddles measured with my string action gauge in this photo. Too-tall saddle screws are very uncomfortable: they dig into your hand. As the last step in a setup job, I shorten them and smooth their tops.|
Rather than alter the vintage saddle screws, I labeled them and stored them in the guitar case. I used new screws for the setup. Fender makes these screws in four different lengths: 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", and 1/2". One of these sizes always gets me close to my goal, then I grind them to the perfect length.
|A few screws were rusted in place and I needed to remove those saddles to work on them. I recorded the exact location of each saddle with a caliper before removing it just to be safe. (If Carlos is happy with the intonation, far be it from me to change it.)|
|To custom grind each screw to perfect length, I used a surrogate saddle to hold the screw making a nick to mark the amount to be removed with my diamond nut file. (That’s an Allen wrench mounted in a wooden handle.)|
|Then I trim the bottom of the screw to length using a stone wheel on a Dremel Tool in the precision router base. I turn the screw with the Allen wrench to create a chamfer on the end.|
Finally I carefully de-burr any sharp edges by holding the saddle in my nut/saddle vise and just kissing it with the smoothest cut of my nut/saddle file.
Check out this video on stewmac.com
Dan shows where he got the idea for the Fret Rocker: it started as a gift from a fretting workshop student. See how the Fret Rocker locates trouble spots.
I had a lot of fun on this job, and got it back to Carlos just right before Christmas.
|Later, I got to meet Carlos backstage at the NAMM musical merchandising show in Anaheim:|
|Carlos also needed a new bone nut; the original had served it's purpose long ago and was resting on a pretty thick wood shim (shown to the right of the used nut). That can't be good for tone.|
When all was done, Carlos' Strat had .065" action at the twelfth fret (a little over 1/16").