A customer brought in a replica flame maple Tele neck that he found online for ridiculously cheap. The flame in the maple was incredible, however someone had modified the nut slot. The nut slot was widened to 1/4" for some reason. Maybe someone thought a larger nut would improve tone or something? Who knows. A bigger nut is not really a problem though. This is a knock-off replica neck, so there is no real "Fender" value to ruin with funky modifications. The problem is that the slot was widened towards the bridge instead of adding width back towards the headstock. The leading edge of the nut where the strings break, along with every fret and bridge saddle location, is very critical to a guitar playing in tune. This nut slot modification pushed the nut 1/8" closer to the bridge and makes intonating the guitar impossible. Since this neck has a beautiful flame pattern to it, the player decided to put some money into it and have it corrected.
The plan breaks down into two parts: fix the neck and setup.
1. Flatten and square the existing nut slot
2. Fill in the nut slot with a piece of maple
3. Recut an 1/8" nut slot in the correct location
4. Make a new bone nut
5. Transfer tuners and string tree from the stock Tele neck over to the new flame maple neck
6. Remove the stock neck from the body and install the new neck
7. Level, crown, and polish the existing frets to account for an uneven fingerboard surface
8. Intonate and setup
: : : : : :
Part one: Fix that sloppy nut slot.
Part two: Switcheroo the neck and setup.
And after much leveling of this "roller coaster" fingerboard, the frets were ready for crowning and polishing, leaving the guitar ready for intonation and setup. The neck came out great, other than being a little on the floppy side. I have definitely have had much stiffer necks come across my bench. Thankfully the neck pulled up enough for me to be able to tighten the one-way truss rod. This will allow for adjustments to be made both ways should the neck move in the future.
The player loves the feel of this new neck and the flame maple really stands out. I do not think another one of these jobs will come across my bench again anytime soon, but these projects sure are fun! This was certainly an odd modification to a nut slot.