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Pre CBS Fender Neck Size Stamps

j45

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Jun 14, 2002
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9,081
While talking about pre-CBS Jazzmasters an interesting (to me) question came to mind. I have, in examining and being around thousands of old Fender guitars, only seen three "A "width necks... all on early Jazzmasters...one "C" width neck, on a 65 Strat, and every other has been "B" stamp width. Does anyone know of, (BESIDES student model or 3/4 size Musicmaster, Duo-Sonic, or Mustangs) or have photos of any "A" width or "C" width PRE-CBS necks and neck stamps?? Just wondering because it seems 99.99% of all pre-CBS Fenders are "B" width and since other sizes are virtually non-existent, wonder why they bothered employ the stamp n each neck?
 

Tom Wittrock

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Aug 2, 2001
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You might find the answer in Jim Werner's book, if you have that one.
My copy is far away at the moment.
 

jerns

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Mar 7, 2012
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I found a little blurb from fretboard.com on this... Have you ever encountered a "D" neck???

As to the letter designations, "A", "B", "C" and "D". These were stamped on the end of the necks from the early 1960s to about 1973 and refer to the neck width at the nut - not the shape. So when people refer to a "C" neck, referring to its shape, they're wrong. Here's what they represented:

  • A = 1½"
  • B = 1⅝"
  • C = 1¾"
  • D = 1⅞"
 

sonar

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Jan 10, 2003
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Then there's the brief period in '59 with no neck stamp.
 

Russ

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May 11, 2004
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I have a 65 strat with an 'A' neck stamp. Sorry, no picture to show.
 

j45

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I have a 65 strat with an 'A' neck stamp. Sorry, no picture to show.

Wow that is pretty amazing...at least for me. I've seen a lot of pre CBS Strats but that would be a first for me. A pic one day would be really appreciated. also nut width measurement... The C neck I once saw was almost 2 full inches...huge width at the nut.. the A must be tiny. At least from experience with Jazzmaster "A" necks.
 

j45

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Joined
Jun 14, 2002
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9,081
I found a little blurb from fretboard.com on this... Have you ever encountered a "D" neck???

As to the letter designations, "A", "B", "C" and "D". These were stamped on the end of the necks from the early 1960s to about 1973 and refer to the neck width at the nut - not the shape. So when people refer to a "C" neck, referring to its shape, they're wrong. Here's what they represented:

  • A = 1½"
  • B = 1⅝"
  • C = 1¾"
  • D = 1⅞"

The C stamped neck I personally saw was a little under 2"... more like what they describe as a D. have yet to see an "A" Strat neck from the 60's and I've been looking at old Strats for 35 years.
 

zhivago

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Sep 29, 2004
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Kerry, I moderate offsetguitars.com and we've had the odd Jaguar and Jazzmaster with an A neck through the years.

They definitely are rare...almost all are B widths...the most A necks I have seen were Mustangs.

The latest Jaguar I saw a pic on our forum that had an A stamp I think was a '65-66...Lake Placid Blue...I am pretty certain the member still owns it. It is in Ireland.

Legend has it there are C widths, but I have never seen such a rare neck stamp.
 

mingus

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Apr 3, 2006
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4,243
I found a little blurb from fretboard.com on this... Have you ever encountered a "D" neck???

As to the letter designations, "A", "B", "C" and "D". These were stamped on the end of the necks from the early 1960s to about 1973 and refer to the neck width at the nut - not the shape. So when people refer to a "C" neck, referring to its shape, they're wrong. Here's what they represented:

  • A = 1½"
  • B = 1⅝"
  • C = 1¾"
  • D = 1⅞"

Interesting.

As mentioned in another thread, I've seen an "A" neck on an early '60s Strat and recall seeing a '64 or '65 on eBay about 10 years ago. The one I saw in person had a very small nut -- possibly a bit narrower than the dimension given above.

I can't recall ever seeing a "C" or "D" neck.

Does anyone know the story with neck sizes on Fender basses? My '65 Jazz (L series) has an "A" neck, but I think most Jazz basses came that way.
 

j45

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Jun 14, 2002
Messages
9,081
Kerry, I moderate offsetguitars.com and we've had the odd Jaguar and Jazzmaster with an A neck through the years.

They definitely are rare...almost all are B widths...the most A necks I have seen were Mustangs.

The latest Jaguar I saw a pic on our forum that had an A stamp I think was a '65-66...Lake Placid Blue...I am pretty certain the member still owns it. It is in Ireland.

Legend has it there are C widths, but I have never seen such a rare neck stamp.

Thanks for the info...I'd love to see pics f you ever come across....I'm aware of many A neck student guitars...Mustang/Duo Sonic, etc.. most of the small scale or 3/4 models have them...made for children.... There are in fact C widths on pre CBS Strats. I've seen one myself on a Strat and I recall Gil Southworth had a Strat with a classical width nut C neck about 15 - 20 years ago that stayed in his ads for a while before it finally sold.

As John (Mingus) just mentioned, he has seen a couple of Strats with A necks...I've never even heard of one....this is a first for me... I also agree that the nut on the "A" neck was more narrow than the specs listed in the site quoted above. painfully tiny... IMO
 

Tom Wittrock

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Nobody else has the [Jim] Werner book? :dang

Kerry, please email me so I remember to get it out when I return home. :)
 

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
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Aug 2, 2001
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42,567
Finally got to my Werner book.
Unfortunately, it seems neck width letters were not included. :dang

I will try to peruse my old notes from the 70s-90s.
 

Jumping@Shadows

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Dec 11, 2003
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1,295
A dealer friend had a B neck '63 Strat which he bought without realising, but I can't say I've seen any others..
 

59Cherrytop

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Jul 15, 2001
Messages
122
Fender nut width sizing was not formalised until the early sixties with the A through D designations. The earliest wide width Stratocaster I've documented was one Thumbs Carlisle ordered in 1955. It was done in an early version of a reddish orange later known as Fiesta red. The nut width was just over 2"! Since he played on his lap like Jeff Healey did, the wider neck was better. His D width early Jaguar seen on the Roger Miller albums was unique too.

Freddie Tavares (co-designer of the Strat and 4-10 Bassman) had both his cream '54 Strat and Sahara beige, maple neck Feb '58 Jazzmaster made up with the 1 3/4" nut width necks. The gold hardware option Stratocaster would often use the 1 11/16th nut Gibson width too. They clearly had wide neck templates for these specials. Freddie and George Fullerton both discussed these custom neck options during our 70's interviews.

I've enjoyed playing a rare factory C width 1963 neck for the last 15 years. They are very articulate for chording in the first position. These were made up in small batches (with A and D widths) and stored for custom orders. The Stratocaster and Jazzmaster C necks were all stamped with a 4 month/year C before being sealed then finished with the appropriate decal when put on the customers guitar. They naturally used the medium width headstock lending itself to a wider nut. The more common A width 1 1/2" versions use the smaller head and 2 designation. Alvino Rey's Jazzmaster I played had the 1 7/8" D width to facilitate his classical preference.

This C neck was stamped in May of 1963 and originally put on a 1957 Stratocaster in late '64 or early '65 by Freddie Tavares. It has been complimented with a '63 candy apple red body since 1999. Another just like it was found and sold recently without a decal or final finish in Orange County. These C necks play beautifully!
http://wetakepic.com/image/vnvy
http://wetakepic.com/image/vnvM
http://wetakepic.com/image/vnvg
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
260
Wow, Robb!
That neck is as flamey as it is roomy!
I wish that that had been their standard width - multi-string bend to your heart's content.
 

Relwood

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Oct 2, 2014
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Interesting.

As mentioned in another thread, I've seen an "A" neck on an early '60s Strat and recall seeing a '64 or '65 on eBay about 10 years ago. The one I saw in person had a very small nut -- possibly a bit narrower than the dimension given above.

I can't recall ever seeing a "C" or "D" neck.

Does anyone know the story with neck sizes on Fender basses? My '65 Jazz (L series) has an "A" neck, but I think most Jazz basses came that way.

Re. The basses from experience Jazz basses always had an 'A' 1 1/2" width, 'B' 1 5/8" became the standard precision width approx. early 70s
'C' 1 3/4" was standard width for the precision in the early 60s I still have 1 'C' And over the years I have seen 2 'D' 1 7/8" width necks on early 60s precisions (unfortunately I don't have a photo) it would be interesting to find out how many of those were manufactured and how long the option was available. Also about 72-73 an 'A' width neck was available on the precision I seem to remember that they were actually labelled on the headstock as 'Narrow Necked' Thanks my adventures started when you could pick up a 60s strat in London for about £100.00 (if only I had the Tardus !)

Relwood
 

cjp54

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May 21, 2006
Messages
495
I think I remember reading that Bonnie Raits (sp) brown Strat has an A width neck.
 
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