1. When removing the original neck, guide
the screwdriver shaft to prevent it from slipping
out of the screw and gouging your guitar.
2. Compare the baritone neck with the original
by aligning both necks at the 12th fret (the
octave). Here, you can see that the 24-fret
baritone neck extends both lower and higher
than the stock Tele neck. 3. Warmoth baritone
necks are licensed by Fender, so they sport
iconic Fender headstock shapes and the heel
is sized and drilled to Fender specs. To ensure
a snug fit, we’ll remove the red sticker before
installing the neck. 4. Before mounting the new
neck, remove any debris, stickers, or tape from
the neck pocket. This ensures a tight, secure
fit for optimal sustain.
Disassembling a guitar can be fun, but
before you begin, be sure you have the correct
tools for the job—and always save all
the parts you remove. (An empty pickup
box is handy for collecting screws and
parts.) Here’s the process:
- Remove the strings.
- Unscrew (counterclockwise) the
neck bolts, remove the original
neck, and compare it to the
replacement (Photos 1-3).
- Inspect the neck pocket and clean
out any debris (Photo 4).
5. Use a nylon- or rubber-tipped hammer
to gently tap the tuner bushings into place.
6. Check that all the bushings sit flat against
the headstock. 7. Use a metal ruler to align
the tuner housings. 8. With a sharp-tipped
tool (I’m using a soldering iron tip), mark the
proper spot for a pilot hole for each tuner
mounting screw. 9. To prevent the drill bit
from splitting the headstock wood, countersink
the pilot holes with a small Phillips
screwdriver. 10. Check the countersink:
You should see a small cone at the lip of
each pilot hole. 11. Before drilling, check
screw length against the headstock depth.
12. Measure bit width against the screw
shaft and mark the bit to indicate
maximum drilling depth.
13. Drill slowly and carefully into the tunerscrew
pilot holes. I’ve used a red Sharpie to
mark maximum drilling depth. 14. When installing
the tuner screws, be sure your screwdriver
is the correct size so its tip doesn’t butcher the
screw heads or slip off and hit the headstock.
At this point, the new neck has no tuning
keys, string nut, or string trees, so we’ll add
these components next.
- Install the tuning keys. First, use a hammer
with a soft nylon or rubber head to
tap the tuner bushings into their holes
(Photos 5 and 6). Turn the neck over
and lay the tuners into their holes. With
a metal ruler as a guide, carefully align
the tuners in a straight line (Photo 7).
Still holding the tuners in alignment
against the ruler, use a sharp-tipped tool
to mark a spot for the pilot hole for
each tuner mounting screw (Photo 8).
Countersink the tuner-screw pilot
holes using a small Phillips screwdriver
to create a cone at the lip of each
screw hole (Photos 9 and 10).
Tuner mounting screws vary in length
from one brand to another. Before you
drill any holes, always check the screw
depth against the headstock (Photo
11). If the screws are too long, you risk
drilling through the headstock face or
splitting the wood with the screw tip.
Insert a screw into a tuner, then
measure the screw’s length and width
against your drill bit. Match the bit
width to the screw’s main shaft—not
its cutting threads—and mark the bit
depth with a Sharpie or piece of masking
tape (Photo 12).
With the neck resting on a padded,
stable surface, drill the tuner screw holes
into the back of the headstock. Work
slowly and methodically (Photo 13).
Finally, attach the tuning machines,
starting with the 6th or 1st and working
sequentially along the headstock
- Temporarily install a pre-slotted
string nut. This acts as a guide for
aligning the neck. In our project, the
temporary nut will be replaced by the
finished bone nut later in the assembly
process. (If you’ve ordered a neck with
a pre-installed, pre-slotted nut, you’re
already set and can skip to Step 3.)
Tip: If you don’t already have a used
pre-slotted nut, synthetic pre-slotted and
shaped nuts are available from such
retailers as Guitar Center and Musician’s
Friend. Stewart-MacDonald sells bone
nuts that are cut, sized, and slotted for
Fenders, and starting with one of these
and then modifying it for baritone
strings can be a real time-saver.