Significance of neck plates

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Significance of neck plates

Post by Shrutis1 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:46 am

Hi newb here,
   Just trying to do some research on Thunder I basses. I am looking at some pictures and I'M wondering the significance of the neck plate. Some are cast and some are stamped and plated. Some say Westone (cast ones) and others Matsumoku and a serial number. Is there anything to the variations?
Thanks
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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by Shrutis1 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:54 am


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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by punkyjam67 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:44 am

And some say 'Westone' AND 'Matsumoku', but have no serial number... (from my 1985 T1-A bass)



I've always associated the black/cast plates with early instruments for some reason, but don't know if that's actually the case.
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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by Barry on Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:44 am

I think what you're looking at is simply an evolutionary manufacturing process in order to reduce costs.

The original cast plates are elaborate and dramatic, but they are more expensive to make and finish. They don't have a serial number on them so that meant a separate step was required to brand the head stock, i.e., more labour.

Moving to a plain stamped steel plate with logo was cheaper to make but still had no serial #. Again a separate operation was needed to brand the head stock.

Finally, neck plates were made in a very utilitarian way, but included a serial number. Much cheaper to make, but the serial is now divorced from the instrument and are interchangeable with any Mats model.

Speculation is that these plain plates were simply drawn at random from a container at assembly time and installed with no significant connection to the model. The manufacturing date is likely correct however.

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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by punkyjam67 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:34 pm

Except that the 'Westone' ones with the serial numbers appear to be the 'middle ones', pre-dating the ones without (at least on the '84 & '85 Thunders I have, in contrast to the '82 serial plate shown above). Then of course you have the post-Mats Korean Thunders that just have the serial number, I believe...

It seems a different story with other models, though - my '86 Pantera has the serial on the neck-plate, but that's probably because there's no clear space for it on the back of the headstock because of the Allen key holder.
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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by Barry on Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:18 pm

(I moved this topic to the "General" forum from "Wanted"  Wink )

The one thing that is clear about our Uncle Mats is that nothing ever stayed static for long, and that "specifications were always subject to change without notice".

In their short time in the guitar universe they changed almost everything, more than once, including their logo. So it's no surprise that just when you think you have it all figured out, you don't! It isn't unusual to see features and hardware overlap production years and models, or be reused "out of synch".

Don't forget that they were under some financial pressure in the latter years, so it's not and unlikely that the same would hold true of something as small as a neck plate.

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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by Shrutis1 on Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:30 am

The interesting part is that both of those basses are made in 1982. I wonder if the cast one was an early run, and then to reduce cost they started using the steel. Stuck with it and then realized that stamping the serial number on the neck plate wasn't a good idea since they were easily changed or replaced and went back to stamping the head.
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Re: Significance of neck plates

Post by Shrutis1 on Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:32 am

Thanks for moving this, I didn't realize when I started the thread, I was in the Wanted section.
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