Neck Joint Not Tight

I built this beautiful bass a few months back, but I’ve been having a problem with it.

It seems every time I pick it up and check the tuning-- all the strings are flat. My Squier never had this problem; put on new strings and a week later it pretty stable.

I ordered a Warmoth body and and Fender Standard P-Bass neck. I guess I really was a bit anxious, and bolted the bridge on it right away, and then I realized that the neck didn’t fit firmly in the pocket. In fact, the neck seemed a bit undersized all the way around, or the neck pocket was a bit oversized. I couldn’t tell which. Warmoth told me the screws would hold it securely. Well, something is moving, and I thought about the fitment of the neck. It’s really bummed me, because I wonder if string height it gradually drifting as well.

Anyone ever have dealt with a loose pocket?


First: do you indeed mean the tuning (of all strings) is going flat!? Or were you referring to the intonation? If the former: how fast are you losing proper tuning? If the latter: there might also be an issue with your bridge (potentially)…

I guess you’d need to take the strings off in any case to test the fit of your neck, and then work with shims to get a tight fit between the neck and the pocket. Isn’t Warmoth having some information on that on their webpage?

Here is what a quick search gave:

The dude isn’t exactly treating this body very delicately, but it might give you some pointers!

a neck joint must be as tight as possible, but when it’s not, the instrument should not have such tuning stability problems. for exemple on my red Precision (the BEAD plywood crap) the neck joint is not tight at all, but the bass keeps its tuning pretty well.

are your neck screws tight enough to “force” the neck to keep its position into the pocket ?


If it’s a tuning issue, couldn’t that be caused by faulty tuners as well?

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Yamaha BBs (434 and 734A) have that pair of additional neck screws, cool feature idea.


Screws are good and snug.

Confession time. I had a surgery last month, and my bass sat for the last 6 weeks before I put it back on last weekend. After I first built it, it was flat every day, and after a 6 week layoff, it was flat last weekend too. That’s when I wrote my post. I thought the pattern would continue, but today for the first time it seemed ok. In fact, two of the string were sharp. I guess the instrument needed time to settle in.

Tuners are good (Hipshot), and the strings are trimmed and spooled well. However your question made me think about the nut. My Fender neck came to me with the nut un-filed, so I filed it myself (my first!). This might affect tuning stability. I got a bit of weirdness when loosening and re-tightening the strings.

I think also that there’s been some drift in the setup since I first put it together (tightening the strings over and over the first several weeks). May have to revisit the setup, and I’m new at this too.

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Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a luthier and I have NOT done this myself. I have simply read about this and thought it might be a solution for this problem.

There is a trick to this that I’ve read about where, while under string tension, you loosen two to three of the neck screws. This allows the tension of the strings to tighten up the neck joint. You then retighten all of the screws and retune and recheck the whole setup.

If you decide to try this I recommend looking up the proper procedure or talking to a luthier to get their take on it first.

Maybe @Jamietashi @Korrigan or another person on the forum who does this kind of work might chime in.

Good luck and whatever you decide, please check back and let us know how it all pans out.

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Hmm… seems odd to me. I’ve built 3 instruments so far with no neck pocket at all and I don’t have tuning stability issues.

The neck is basically just sitting on top of the board:

6 screws (2 are under the plate) hold the neck on:

Here’s a question for you @kwt7667, are the screw holes in the body larger than your screws? If not, they need to be.

Sorry if you already know this but, even if you do, maybe it will help somebody else. If the screw threads are biting into both the body and the neck then you will never be able to completely draw both pieces together no mater how much you tighten the screws, they will always be the same distance apart as when the screw left the body and started to thread into the neck… and your joint will be weak.

If, however, the hole in the body is large enough that the screw passes freely through it then the neck will act as a nut and everything that is sandwiched between the screw head and the “nut” will be compressed.

Different type of screw in this video but the same idea…


This has some merit I think. The idea is to take up most of the slack at once. I like it.

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At first I didn’t know what you were asking, but after some thought I know where you are coming from. Yeah, the good folks at Warmoth sized the holes perfectly. right positions, right size, lined up with the Fender neck perfectly…except space around it all.

Worked late again today, but I’ll strap in one tomorrow and were the tune it.


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UPDATE: Work has kept me very busy, so not much time to post and practice, but I am slowly climbing out of the hole.

I was doing some finger exercises one day, and it was frustrating. For some reason I picked up my old Squier and found that I could do the exercise much better. Since my time is so limited, I decided I didn’t’ have time to learn to do a good setup on my bass. To get the experience it takes real time with trial and error-- and to be honest, I’d rather be learning how to play my bass.

So…I recalled that the seller told me who setup the Squier I purchased (Fenix Guitar Repair if you are in the Houston area.). In three days I got it back, and not only did it play much beter, but holds tune now. I was real worried about the neck joint, but it was the nut. He re-filed it and set the action properly.

Some of you tried to tell me long ago, “Just get a setup!” To all of you I say, “You’re right, and I should have listened!”