Correct tuner spacing, Vintage Kluson Tuners?

johnP_90johnP_90 Frets: 26
edited June 2 in Making & Modding
Hi Folks,
I have recently "remastered" or upgraded my mdf neck templates using some Oak off cuts from my daughters new staircase, then got out my old collection of headstock drawings I downloaded years ago from TDPRI forum. These are supposedly a pdf from Fender USA, they are bang on scale with the major dimensions, but threw up a can of worms with the age old question:

What is the correct tuner spacing for vintage necks using 6 in line Klusons?

For years I have been using the "6 in line drilling jig" from Stewmac and is spot on for Gotoh clones and WD Kluson tuners with zero gap between each tuner.

The outer tuners (E/E) center to center spacing on this is 119mm or maybe 119.5mm but on an American Standard Tele there is a noticeable gap.

This also confirms the tuner spacing on the pdf headstock drawing print off I am using, which closer to 122mm between outer tuner centers. There is also a comparison between .015" and .030" gaps just to confuse things further, hmmm.

That should keep me busy for a while, it did!


I made up some different jigs with 122mm spacing (brass) and bought another jig from a luthier in usa with 120.5mm spacing and now have a choice of 3 with the stewmac one giving no gaps.
This is a shot of the spacing with tiny gaps using a 1/4" drilling copy of my new usa template.

Here is the Stewmac jig with same Klusons fitted.

Anyway all well and good until I started looking online at pictures of old necks and its near impossible to tell if small gaps between each plate and some seem to have none at all! More hmmmmm.

The spacing seems nice with just tiny gaps to my eyes (120.50mm between outer post centers) so I have plugged an re-drilled my master templates using my new jig from USA. This had 6.5mm drillings to allow for lacquer build up in 6.35mm (1/4") post holes but I prefer using 1/4" drillings so the post is nice and snug in the drilling. Then the 11/32" reamer which has a 1/4" guide plug, reams 7mm deep for the tuner ferules. It will work with 6.5mm drillings however but I am fussy.

These are my new oak "masters", they do not flex at all on the router table and more hard wearing and accurate than mdf but still require carpet tape and 2 screws (drilling's in future truss rod channel) to attach firmly to the neck.


Anyway, after all that what is the correct spacing on vintage Strat and Telecaster neck. Now Fender make the things all over the world and numerous "reissues" it gets a tad confusing....

Does anyone have a vintage instrument? If they dont mind sharing a few rear headstock pictures it would be a great help to clear this up, that is if there is a definitive answer on this. I suspect Fender have changed the spacing over the years as a lot of the old ones I see on the internet seem to have almost no gaps and look like one continuous plate, to my eyes at least.

Wot is "vintage correct" anyway? Sniff.... Lol...

Cheers, John













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Comments

  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31593
    I'm not sure and I don't have one to hand - but whatever the correct spacing is, it's a round number in Imperial and not metric :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • johnP_90johnP_90 Frets: 26
    Heres some pics of the USA template spacing in better light than my workshop, and with the screws in place. There are just tiny gaps between each plate with this one, not butted up like the Stewmac/Gotoh spacing.

    Still not sure what spacing they used back in the 50's and 60's but it doesn't seem to be the wide gaps used on the American Standard Tele either. I hope someone will chime in with some pics of an old vintage neck as a reference?

    If not I will use this template which interestingly (if  you have too much time on your hands) is 4.725" E to E in the old money or 120mm. The same as the Ed Hawley's '67 spacing in pic below, as opposed to the 4.805" or 121.56mm of the "current standard spacing. (I presume American Standard)


    This may help explain why the Fender "American Standard" has quite a noticeable gap between each tuner plate! I would love to know what they used in the late 50's. Its only a small thing but arn't they all?

    Cheers, john





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  • GavRichListGavRichList Frets: 4385
    Just to add to your madness.... 

    heres a 1962. 

    http://i.imgur.com/cpxqDY9.jpg
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  • customkitscustomkits Frets: 598
    I'll see if i can get to that 52 tele soon John and take pics etc
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  • johnP_90johnP_90 Frets: 26
    edited June 2
    Thanks GavRichList and Custom kits, that 1962 pic is a great help, a 52 would also be very nice. I did not put the question very well at the start, as not after an exact dimension, more if the early pre-CBS ones butted up close or had small gaps.

    I was sailing along all happy for years using the stewmac jig with zero gaps but dead accurate, then saw some early ones with what looked like small gaps and very hard to tell. Most headstock pictures are annoyingly the top face only!

    Then I saw the American Standard with noticeable gaps and got out my pdf drawings again and they all had a wider spacing than my stewmac drilling jig and thought hmmmm. Wot is going on here, what is standard? Interestingly the gaps in Gav's 62 picture look very similar to the spacing used in "Ed Hawley's '67" drawing. The pictures I just posted shot outdoors is using my new drilling jig from USA, and screwed in this time, with the same spacing as the '67. Looks pretty close to Gav's shot so a happy bunny now.

    Having said all of that, there is not much difference and so long as the spacing is even and tidy, with no bits hanging off the headstock, all is usually good. Grin. Still its good to know I'm on the right track as just about to drill a load more neck blanks for some more necks. Any pictures of "pre-cbs" necks would still be most welcome.... I understand these are like rocking horse sh** and not under everyone's beds, so many thanks Gav and Darren.

    Cheers, John

    PS Here is a neck with stewmac jig spacing, almost looks too tidy hence quest for tiny gaps....

    It does go on a bit! Lol.....




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  • GavRichListGavRichList Frets: 4385
    No worries man, looks like you’ve nailed it 
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  • customkitscustomkits Frets: 598
    I think it's more of if it's too clean and tidy it doesn't look right imo,  exactly the same with gibbo stuff if you're recreating a look 
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  • johnP_90johnP_90 Frets: 26
    edited June 4
    Yeah I know what you mean, a lot of hand finishing back in the day and slight variations. The spacing is only a small thing, but wasn't entirely happy with the wider spacing like on the american standard tele. I did a batch of one piece necks recently using this wider spacing and came out fine, only wasn't sure what they were like back in the day so to speak.

    Here are the one piece necks with wider spacing.

    Cheers, John.

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