Fender Standard Neck Pockets Explained

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We will be writing further guides in the future to cover other neck pocket's as well, but for the moment, this guide covers Fender's two most popular neck pocket dimensions:

  • The Fender Stratocaster
  • The Fender Telecaster

It's worth bearing in mind that in terms of dimensions and shape, 95% of the rest of the guitar manufacturers out there also adhere to Fender's own neck pocket dimensions.  In particular Squier and any of the Japanese 'lawsuit' 1970s and 1980s Fender clones (Tokai, Grecko, etc), but you should always ask the seller of the item you are interested in for measurements.  This gives you the chance to measure your own and make sure that the parts will be compatible.  Also bear in mind that environmental factors can have an effect on dimensions so if you receive your item and it's just a little too big, or just a little too small, leave the body and neck together in a consistantly warm place for a couple of days and let them both settle together.

 

A Common Misconception: Odd-Shaped Neck Pockets

Firstly, to settle a lot of the concerned emails that we've received in the past asking us to look at photographs of a guitar body (almost always Telecaster) because that they think that there is something weird or unusual about the shaping of the end of the neck pocket.  Below is an image from a Fender Mexican Telecaster Deluxe body to demonstrate:

The problem to some people's eyes (negating the crack in the lacquer), is the roundedness that extends from the bottom of the neck pocket on either side but the pocket isn't as deep across the middle.  This is not uncommon, it isn't a problem and it's nothing to worry about as the scratchplate will always cover it (although, of course, you won't ever see anything like that in hand-made bodies like our own!).

Guitar neck pockets are not square in the corners - Telecaster's are squarer than Stratocaster's (which have a rounded bottom - see below) but none of them are absolutely square. To produce the correct (and consistent) radius for these corners, mass-producing guitar manufacturers use a circular router to cut each side of the neck pocket and then route out the rest of the pocket (between the two first routes), and tidy the result up. In doing this, it is very common to see where the preliminary side routes have over run by a few millimetres, which is what causes the dimples you see at either side of the neck pocket in the photograph above and commonly in manufactured Telecaster bodies.

It does, of course, make it much easier to reshape the neck pocket as well if you were to ever want to mount a Stratocaster neck into the body...!

 

Telecaster Neck Pockets

Telecaster neck pockets are dimensionally exactly the same as that of the Stratocaster neck pocket. The only difference is the 'sharpness' of the bottom corners and the flat bottom edge of the pocket (whereas the Stratocaster is more rounded - see below).

What this means is that Stratocaster and Telecaster necks are, in theory, completely interchangeable on Telecaster bodies. However, putting a Stratocaster neck into a Telecaster body will result in an area of open space around those two bottom corners where Stratocaster heel is shaped differently, although this can easily be countered by using a 22 fret Stratocaster neck - the overhang (for the 22nd fret) will cover this nicely.


Stratocaster Neck Pockets

In comparison to the Telecaster, the Stratocaster neck pocket is dimensionally still the same, but with a more rounded bottom edge

Mounting a Telecaster neck into a Stratocaster body is, again, totally possible, but will result in an open gap along the bottom edge of the neck pocket where the heel of the Telecaster neck is straight and the neck pocket is curved - this is less commonly done primarily because it can cause problems with intonating the final guitar later on, although most bridges allow enough movement to compensate for this.

If you really are bent on mounting one neck into another's body, it is easier to cleanly mount a Stratocaster neck into a Telecaster body than visa-versa, especially if you have the two dimples in the bottom of the neck pocket as mentioned previously. All it takes is a hand file and some elbow grease. Equally, it is easier to 'flatten' the end of a Stratocaster heel than it is to add the correct curve to the heel of a Telecaster neck to make it compatible with a Stratocaster body.

It should be noted that although we sell guitar parts ourselves (we are a custom guitar workshop), eBay automatically puts what it feels are 'relevant' listings beside these reviews, not necessarily our own.

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