Are All Fender Guitar Necks Interchangeable?

Fender is one of the most popular brands among musicians, this company has built infinity of iconic instruments and equipment which have become a remarkable issue in music history. 

We all know its popular guitar models such as Stratocaster, commonly used by the eminencies Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, Telecaster which the great Keith Richards and Tom Morello are famous users, and Jaguar, played by Mr. Kurt Cobain.

All of these great pieces have their own characteristics but is it possible to combine their parts? 

What about installing a different Fender neck on another guitar? Well, I will answer those questions for you.

In some cases, Fender guitar necks could be interchangeable among their guitar models. Unfortunately, in some others would be impossible at least without making proper adjustments.

Let’s dive deeper into this issue, through this article I will explain every aspect concerning interchangeable Fender guitar necks. 

In the end, you will know everything needed about this confusing topic and you will become a subject matter expert.  

Would any Fender guitar neck fit on any other Fender guitar model?

If we do some research just for a while we can find countless Fender guitar models, for that reason, we will focus on their main models being Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, and Mustang. 

Most of these pieces share features regarding the neck so they would be interchangeable but on some occasions, the neck will differ in one or more aspects, in those cases, necks won’t fit the guitar’s body.

In short, the main aspects to bear in mind are the neck’s dimensions and shape.

Fender guitar and bass specs are mostly standardized and many manufacturers use them but unfortunately, they are not universal, even among Fender products.

The Jaguar and Jazzmaster are very similar models, the latter was meant to be used by jazz players but they rejected it and became truly popular among surf rock players instead, that’s why Fender created an improved version of Jazzmaster: the Jaguar.

Although there is a quite strong bond between Jaguar and Jazzmaster, they present differences that will make the neck exchange tough.

If we look at them, we cannot notice major variations regarding the body and neck but let me tell you that they are not exactly the same. 

The Fender Jazzmaster typically has a longer scale neck (25.5″) than the Jaguar, which has a 24″ scale neck.

When installing the neck of a Jaguar in a Jazzmaster some adjustments will be needed, as the scale length is not equal you will have to move the bridge slightly down. Otherwise, the intonation will be destroyed.

In the case of Stratocaster, they have the same scale length that Jazzmasters (25.5″), therefore necks can be replaceable. 

However, when assembling a Strat neck into a Jaguar you will have to do the modifications before mentioned.

Telecasters and Stratocasters share not only the scale length but also the neck pockets which have the same width, length, and pocket depth

Nevertheless, we can find an incompatibility that makes them non-interchangeable.

Although both necks have the same dimensions, they differ in shape. 

Stratocaster’s necks present a curved, rounded heel and pocket while Telecaster’s necks are squared at the end and pocket as well.

Regarding Mustang, they have a 24” scale length, the same found in Jaguar, plus 22 frets in the fretboard, which is also the amount presented in Jaguar guitars. 

Therefore, you may think that they could be exchanged and it is true but some Mustang models present variations.

The most popular Mustang models are 24” scale length but some of them come in smaller sizes thus, necks have a lower scale length (22.5”). 

Even though those models are not so popular, you should be aware of them.

Are Fender guitar necks from the same model interchangeable?

In most cases, necks from the same model would be interchangeable but in some specific situations, they may not fit. 

Remember what we discussed below about the Mustang’s scale length neck variation from one model to the other.

Another example of this would be the Stratocaster pieces assembled in the 70s. 

From 1971 to 1977, Fender launched a Stratocaster version with a 3-bolt neck joint while earlier and later models use 4-bolts.

What is more, Strat neck pockets have size differences, they have made various depths being the most common 680 to 690. In addition, another feature that also varies is the fret quantity, there are guitars that are either 21 or 22 frets long.

Can you just install a neck from another guitar into your guitar?

Contrary to what you might think, if the neck fits the body, there wouldn’t be any real inconveniences. 

As long as the neck matches the same number of frets, scale length, and dimensions, everything will be OK.

When doing that, a setup may be required just to adjust everything properly but the real challenge appears if the neck is non-identical. 

Completely different necks might need some extra work, they could have incompatible features that require to be modified to suit the guitar’s body.

Can anybody put on a new neck on a guitar?

Installing a new neck on a guitar wouldn’t be as difficult as most players think, if the neck fits naturally it is just a matter of adjusting a few screws. 

Although assembling the pieces is completely doable and rather straightforward, I recommend you follow the process with the help of a tutorial.

However, if you don’t feel capable of doing it, you can always have your guitar serviced by a technician. 

You can send it to a music store or hire a luthier to do the job.

What to take into consideration to see if another neck would fit your guitar

To make sure if another neck will fit your guitar you have to take into account some features. 

We already talk about the dimensions of the neck but the number of bolts, neck pocket size, and depth plus year of the particular model, reissue or year design are truly important as well.

Careful measurement is the only way to be completely secure your parts are compatible. 

The characteristics mentioned below take a relevant role plus are the ones involved in achieving the correct intonation and playing action.

Fender necks known to be interchangeable

Within Fender guitars, we can state that some necks are interchangeable for sure. 

Necks from the same guitar model are for sure replaceable if they share the scale, the number of frets, and bolts.

Regarding different models, Jazzmaster and Stratocaster with the same dimensions are for sure exchangeable, necks are quite similar except for some aesthetic variations in the headstock

Concerning Jaguar and Mustang, their necks should be interchangeable only on those models which have the 24” scale length and 22-frets long. 

Otherwise, the pieces won’t fit at all and your instrument will experience intonation problems.

Finally, in the case of Telecasters we have a lot of different versions of the same guitar, they differ in scale length and number of frets. 

If we focus on the overall model we will notice that shares many features with Stratocasters thus Jazzmasters as well.

However, the neck on Telecasters presents a squared heel which makes them not replaceable. 

In that case, the heel should be modified to avoid intonation inconveniencies.

Would necks from brands other than Fender fit on Fender guitars?

After a while of looking at the market options, we can realize that exists a lot of Fender models imitations. 

Unfortunately, their necks are unlikely to fit well on Fender guitars.

That may be because Fender has patented their guitar’s body shapes which means that they are protected and cannot be truly imitated. 

Nevertheless, many part makers build and sell replacement necks for Fender guitars.

Their websites provide clear instructions as to what neck would work on each kind of guitar and which one wouldn’t. 

In that way, you can always be sure that what you are buying will suit your instrument before installing it. 

Where to get necks compatible with Fender guitars

Nowadays, we can find many stores online to get compatible components for your Fender guitar. I will list them with a link to their websites for you to explore them.

  • Warmoth is a great custom shop where you can find not only guitar necks but also bodies, pickguards, or even hardware components. They also have bass necks and bodies plus they give detailed information about the product.
  • Allparts is a supplier that sells guitar and bass parts and accessories. It has a wide range of products from necks and bodies to tuning pegs, bridges, knobs, or even pickups. 
  • Guitar Mill is a luthier shop focused on correcting vintage guitar parts. It is relegated to guitar necks and bodies but it gives you the chance of ordering custom products.
  • USACG are initials which mean USA Custom Guitars, so you can picture what they work on. They pay attention mainly to necks and bodies for guitars and basses as well.
  • The Stratosphere is a shop with a wide range of products, they not only sell guitar bodies and necks but also provide metal plates, pickups, knobs, strings, or even straps. Take a look at their website to see the broad stock they have.