Are The Stratocaster And Telecaster Guitar Necks Interchangeable?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Fender has created an infinite number of legendary instruments and instruments that have made a big impact on the guitar industry. It is a well-known manufacturer of quality instruments that has set standards high for its competitors. 

The specifications for Fender guitars and basses are mostly standardized, and many manufacturers adopt them. Sadly, they are not all-encompassing, not even for Fender products.

Fender guitar necks may occasionally be interchangeable between different guitar models. Unfortunately, it would be difficult in some cases, at least without the right modifications.

Brief History Of Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters

The Telecaster became a revolutionary product when Leo Fender unveiled it in 1951. It became the first solid-body electric guitar to achieve commercial success.

Leo Fender wanted to produce guitars and amplifiers for western swing guitarists searching for more volume and projection at the time, which was a few years before rock & roll.

With the Stratocaster, Leo first intended to improve the classic Telecaster design, but along the creation process, a completely new model emerged from the dust. The Stratocaster was a step ahead, with three pickups with switching and settings that increased tonal diversity, a contoured body, and an inventive bridge.

The guitar was first played by Buddy Holly on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957. However, it wasn’t until 1960s guitar masters like Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Robin Trower, and Eric Clapton that the instrument truly attained international renown.

Major Factor That Makes It Difficult To Interchange Stratocasters and Telecasters Necks

You must consider a few factors to be sure that another neck will fit your guitar. The only way to be absolutely certain that your parts are compatible is through careful measurement. 

Before you remove the parts from your Stratocaster and Telecaster, you’d have to consider these factors. The proportions and contour of the neck, in short, are the most important considerations.

It’s important to remember that all Fender models, regardless of where they were made (USA, Japan, Mexico, etc.), will have the same dimensions. This is because all Fender models are standardized even though they are manufactured in different places.

Heel And Pocket Shape

The length of both the Stratocaster and Telecaster’s necks are the same, but Stratocasters have rounded heels, while Telecasters have squared heels. Due to the rounding, a Stratocaster’s neck fits on a Telecaster with only a few tiny gaps. You’d have to round the necks first, otherwise, it won’t fit. 

The intonation will be out of tune if the neck isn’t fitted properly, and the guitar will only play in tune on the open strings.

Fender Model Necks That Are Known To Be Interchangeable

We can say with certainty that some necks on Fender guitars are interchangeable. If the scale, fret count, and bolts are the same across necks from the same guitar model, they can be switched without a problem.

Stratocaster And Jazzmaster

The Stratocaster and Jazzmaster have necks and heel pockets with identical dimensions and can easily be interchanged with one another. Both are rounded. The only visual difference is in the headstock. This is not a functional issue, so switching their necks will not be a significant problem if aesthetic variations don’t play a role in your decision.

Jaguar And Mustang

For Jaguar and Mustang models, it’s important to remember that only models with a 24″ scale length and 22-fret length should have interchangeable necks. Otherwise, the components won’t fit at all and your instrument won’t sound right.

Would Fender Imitations Fit On Original Fender Stratocasters And Telecasters?

Since Fender has established a huge name for itself, it is no doubt that there are numerous imitations of its models. 

Sadly, Fender imitations are probably not going to fit well on authentic Fender guitars. That could be a result of the fact that Fender has trademarked the body shapes of their guitars, making them protected and impossible to accurately copy. 

However, a lot of component manufacturers produce and market replacement necks for Fender guitars. On their websites, they explain thoroughly which necks would fit each type of guitar and which ones wouldn’t. By doing this, you can be sure that whatever you buy will work with your instrument before you install it.

Where To Get Necks Compatible With Fender Guitars

These days, there are several online retailers where you can purchase parts that work with a variety of Fender guitars. You can explore each of them by visiting their websites.

Warmoth

Warmoth is a fantastic custom shop where you can buy guitar bodies, pickguards, and even hardware additions in addition to guitar necks. Additionally, they offer bass necks and bodies and provide comprehensive product details.

Stratosphere

Stratosphere is a store that offers a wide variety of parts, including metal plates, pickups, knobs, strings, and even straps in addition to selling guitar bodies and necks.

Allparts

Another provider of parts and accessories for guitars and basses is called Allparts. From necks and bodies to tuning pegs, bridges, knobs, and even pickups, it offers its consumers a vast range of guitar parts to choose from.

Guitar Mill

A luthier shop called Guitar Mill specializes in fixing old guitar parts. You can purchase customized products, however, it is limited to guitar necks and bodies only.

USA Custom Guitars

USACG is similar to Guitar Mill. They too, focus on necks and bodies from guitars to basses. 

Key Takeaway

The majority of Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster parts have qualities in common that make their necks interchangeable, but occasionally the necks will differ in one or more ways, and in those situations, the necks won’t fit the guitar’s body. 

Contrary to popular belief, there wouldn’t be any significant disadvantages if the neck suited the body. Everything will work out as long as the neck has the same amount of frets, scale length, and dimensions. But if the neck is not identical, a setup may be needed to simply fix everything appropriately.

In general, Stratocaster and Telecasters neck are not interchangeable on their own. You would have to make modifications to make them fit. The Stratocaster has a rounded heel, while the Telecaster has a squared heel, making it impossible to interchange their necks without a few tweaks and adjustments.