Custom Fender Jazzmaster. Fitting tuners to a new Fender neck

I’ve now completed the recommended four week lay off after my eye op. “No heavy lifting, or too much of anything which will induce eye-strain”. After doing as I’m told – things are still feeling a bit “gritty” and sore, and I still seem prone to the occasional eye-strain headache if I over-do things. However – the difference the procedure has made to my sight is dramatic. An overwhelming dark curtain on the left hand side of my vision has been completely lifted, and the world seems much larger, brighter, and largely focussed again – at least at medium and long ranges. I’ve lost any “macro”, close up vision I previously had – so I’m hoping that’s something which can be improved upon with the next planned visit to my opthamologist. It might just require the right sort of glasses, although I am resigned to losing a little clarity and depth of field. My close-up vision – up until the onset of my recent problems – had been phenomenally sharp – although probably taken for granted. We don’t sometimes value things like that, until they’re gone.

A few components have arrived during the down-time, and there are all sorts of various outstanding tasks to be picked-up, on my active projects. However – I’ll ease myself back into things at first, and will start by picking up on some basic assembly jobs. First up – just about the easiest outstanding task of the lot. Fixing a new set of Gotoh tuners to a brand new, 2020 dated, Fender “Classic Player” Jazzmaster neck.

“Easy does it”… Instructions – “Fit tuners to neck”…

It’s just about the easiest assembly task there is. Fit the bushings and tuners into the pre-drilled holes, using the screws provided. Since Fender supply their necks already pre-drilled for suitable screws – there’s no real chance of messing anything up here. No real challenge – I’ll not insult the reader’s intelligence by over-reporting here…

Packing out a slightly under-sized bushing

The Gotoh SD-510 tuners I’m fitting are my current favourite “vintage-style” tuners. They’re slightly more expensive than some of the other alternatives – but I’ve never known one to develop a rattle. They are absolutely rock solid, and tuning becomes a positive breeze. The tuners are supplied with suitable bushings, (slightly differently sized to similar Fender bushings – so you have to use the ones supplied). They’re slightly under-sized for the peg-hole openings, at 11/32″ (8.8mm) – (The peg-holes seem to be drilled out to 9.0mm) – so I’ll pack them out with a couple of turns of copper foil.

Fitting the bushings

Once the extra packing has been applied, it can be pressed down into place, and it should mould enough to still allow the milled grooves in the bushings to slightly bite into the sides of the peg-hole openings. I want the bushings to fit tight and snug – just enough so I can easily press them home with a piece of pack wood, and my thumb – but yet snug enough so they won’t ever move about.

Fitting the C-A-R-D spacers, and tuners

With the bushings firmly in place, I can turn the neck over and insert the special C-A-R-D, carbon fibre spacers. These help keep the tuner posts straight and perpendicular, and also provide a cushion which stops the tabs on the bottom of the machine heads from digging into the lacquer on the neck. The C-A-R-D inserts sit slightly off-centre – so there’s only one way to fit them. They just drop into place, and provide snug bushings at the rear, machine head side of the neck, which butt almost right up to the metal bushings already installed within the peg-holes. This all goes to help keep the tuner posts firm, straight and true. Once located – each of the tuners can be slipped into place over the top of the inserts, and the securing screws loosely tightened.

Aligning the tuners, and tightening down

With all six tuners in place – their positions are checked so that they lie perfectly in-line. A metal straight-edge down the sides of the tuners helps provide a solid indication. The supplied screws fit well into the pre-drilled pilot holes – but there’s not too much bite – so over-tightening should be avoided, otherwise there’s a risk the screws will strip-out the pilot holes. Easily fixed in the event – but a “PITA” nevertheless – which is always well worth avoiding.

Fender “Classic Player” Jazzmaster neck, with Gotoh SD-510 tuners fitted

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