Are All Fender Stratocaster Necks Interchangeable?

If you are a guitar player, you must know what a Stratocaster is. 

Strat-style guitars have been chosen for loads of guitar players and are equally sought after by both vintage and modern musicians.

Since many players wonder about this topic, today we will discuss Strat necks.

Nowadays, is common to think of guitar upgrades and modifications but would every strat neck fit in any strat body? 

Are all Fender Stratocaster necks interchangeable? 

In short, they aren’t because Fender has produced as many necks as strat models. As a result, not all of them present identical features required to be interchanged, at least without any modification.

Due to the complexity of the topic, we will give you useful information for you to immerse in it. 

In this article, you will find data about every existing aspect regarding strat necks, continue till the end and it’ll be your new area of expertise.

How to know if a strat neck will fit on your guitar?

When installing new parts to your instrument, there always are relevant issues to bear in mind. 

In the case of guitar necks, scale length, neck pocket size, and dimensions are aspects to be considered.

Another important feature is the number of bolts in the neck joint because, over the years, this characteristic has changed in Strats. 

In addition, the neck pocket joint also varies so it must be taken into account as well.

Having explained that, if you intend to change the neck of your Strat, you have to make these attributes match. 

The shape of the new component, the measurements, and the scale length must be the same.

Otherwise, it will be impossible to make the neck fit. 

Nevertheless, if the piece shares most of the qualities presented in the old neck, could be modified to suit the guitar body.

What strat model necks are known to be compatible?

As previously mentioned, two Stratocaster necks with comparable characteristics will be compatible. 

This particular guitar model has presented few to no variations in its design, making the swap simple.

Almost every Strat model could exchange necks except for the ones manufactured during the 70s (more on this later). 

Therefore, if the scale length and the neck shape are alike, you could replace them without any problem.

What strat model necks are not that interchangeable?

Almost every strat presents the same characteristics in their necks, so in most cases, the swap would be possible. 

However, the guitars built in the 70s had a variation in their design.

We refer to the neck joint while initially had 4 bolts, Strats produced between 1971 and 1977 presented a 3-bolts joint neck. 

This modification hinders the necks interchange at least without adjustments.

In addition, models with an unalike scale length won’t be interchangeable. 

That’s because a larger or shorter scale would hamper the intonation of your instrument.

To fit a neck with a different scale your instrument will require some modifications to sound properly. 

If you do that to your guitar, the bridge will need retrofitting, it will have to be moved and reinstalled to accommodate the scale.

Are 21 and 22 fret necks interchangeable?

Contrary to what you may think, Strat necks presenting 21 and 22 frets are interchangeable. 

This swap is possible because the 22-fret neck’s design has an overhanging fretboard that extends over the guitar body and pickguard.

Due to this feature, the guitar scale length keeps the same, avoiding your instrument to present intonation problems. 

But what happens if the neck does not provide that extension in the fingerboard?

Generally, if the swap is possible, it will always depend on the instrument. In most situations, neck shape, pickup location, and more factors will make this quite a tough task.

If that is the case, the neck would be installable but adjustments will be required. This mainly occurs because the scale would be modified, affecting the intonation.

At certain points, some components will need re-routing, relocation, and electronic sections will also need to be re-wired. 

What is even worse, you might ruin your guitar, and not only its function but also its value could be destroyed.

Are there different neck pocket sizes for Strats?

Stating that every Strat has the same neck pocket size is truly difficult.

Stratocasters have changed through the years, showing variations in different sections of the instrument.

Neck joints typically present dissimilar dimensions, the standard goes between 680 to 690 but you can also find several depths. 

What is more and already mentioned, guitars with a 3-bolt neck joint are also of a different size.