Sunday, July 31, 2011

Neck Bolt Insert - Retrofit

This is an upgrade for bolt on necks. You will need minimal skills and some patience. What is this upgrade? The idea is to create a efficient body / neck interface that will maximize sustain and enhance tone. Many will argue over whether sustain is increased but will decrease bolt hole ovalization or stressing the neck material itself. Tone is a subjective parameter.
The modification is relatively simple, remove your strings, remove the neck and bolts. The stock bolts are wood screws that stress the wood due to the broad conventional radial vectors they employ. The retrofit requires that you install bolt inserts into the screw holes. Next you will need the proper machine screws. You will need 10/24 stainless steel screws (use your old wood screws to match length). All of this can be purchased locally or use the links at the bottom of this article.

Tools required:
I use soap to lubricate the insert threads that tap the wood.

Once you remove all the old parts do the following.
Lube the insert (bar of soap applied to threads) and carefully install the piece into the neck with an Hex key (beware of chipping)
Install the machine screws (hand tighten -over tightening is bad).

In some cases you might need to slight increase the diameter of the existing hole on the neck. Beware to not ream the hole to a size too big.

**Always use similar materials to avoid Galvanic corrosian.
Links for supplies:

Keep your old hardware - never know when you might need it!
I'll leave the debate about built in necks vs. bolt on for later.

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