The neck arrived and the next challenge arose!
These early Bullets had Telecaster style necks with the smaller headstock, due in some part, I suspect, to the original ‘82 Bullets having a bit more of a Telecaster shape without the top horn being cut out.
I’ve previously purchased necks for different projects ranging from a cheap £50 eBay repro up to a genuine Fender Tele replacement neck. As this project is not intended to break the bank, I pitched for a neck in the middle of that price range from Northwest Guitars.... https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk
Out of the the box it looks good and it’s hard to tell any significant differences to the previous genuine Fender neck I bought , other than the missing logo and a different method of closing the truss rod cavity below the heel.
Offering it up to the guitar throws up a bit of a problem. It appears that a previous owner or would be luthier has slightly opened up the neck pocket - probably resulting in that little bit of timber between the pocket and the neck pickup being broken off! This leaves the neck able to shuffle in the pocket and potentially being an inch out of place at the headstock!
So this is another fastidious session with a measuring tape lots of marking before breaking out the drill. Northwest Guitars don‘t pre-drill their necks so that they can’t be accused of misalignment, which makes sense but I could have done with a starting point!!
Where to start? Well, the time and effort already spent on the pickguard template and the bridge is a benefit here. This sets up a centre line from the bridge, through the pickups and to the heel of the neck. Then it’s easy to measure centre line from heel to headstock on the neck itself.
Blue tape, black marks, a pair of clamps and we’re good to start.... boiling the kettle to make a cup of tea. Then remeasure and check again!!
One nice thing about the holes in the Bullet neck pocket is that they are 95% drilled and clear of the screw threads and the last little bit was enough to hold the screw and guide it to the neck without resorting to a hammer. This leaves a little mark ready to drill the neck.
As the neck is radiused on the front I can’t make use of the drill press as it would rock side to side (I suppose i could make a guide for future use) so a guide hole was drilled by hand.
The first screw secured, the neck realigned, checked and clamped. Then the process was repeated with the diagonally opposite screw. Then checked for alignment and the last two screws holes drilled.
Plus a little time to make a neckstand out of some left over ply!