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Thread: Are Warmoth "Screamin' Deals" Necks Factory Seconds?

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Are Warmoth "Screamin' Deals" Necks Factory Seconds?

    I've been thinking about building a partscaster for a while now, and the urge is getting too difficult to resist. I hate the idea of spending way too much on a project like this, so I've been looking at the Warmoth "Screamin' Deals" necks and bodies. But looking at them closely, I'm not sure that they're such a great deal.

    The Screamin' Deals Bodies, for example, seem to be where they put all of the undesirable bodies that they can't unload. For example: as a rule of thumb a good Strat body should weigh in at about 4 lb. 0 oz. or thereabouts, yielding a guitar that weighs about 7.5 lb. Looking at the current inventory, the bodies look like they tend to fall into two groups:

    Screamin' Deal Bodies

    Group 1: hideous colors that nobody would ever want, and
    Group 2: heavy bodies that nobody would ever want.

    Most of those bodies that aren't painted in a hideous color seem to be on the heavy side -- 4.5 lb. up to 6+ lb. Adding 3.5 lb for the rest of the guitar, those bodies that weigh 5 to 6 lb would end up making strats that weigh 8.5 to 9.5 lb. That's a full 1 to 2 lb heavier than a "typical" strat.

    So I think I've figured out that the "Screamin' Deal" bodies aren't such a great deal. They're the orphans that nobody really wants.

    But what about the "Screamin' Deal" Necks? Is there anything that's "wrong" with them? Looking at the inventory, I can't spot what's wrong with them, so I'm wondering if these are also rejects in some way. As in, more likely to have fret dressing problems, more likely to require shimming or some other sort of non-obvious defect.

    Does have enough experience with them to know?

    Screamin' Deal Necks

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    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    bob,

    I am not sure if the job I just did for someone was one of the Screaming Deal necks.
    It was a Strat build using Warmoth neck and body. I know he got some kind of supposed great deal on the neck, but as stated not sure if it was one of them. The body was fine but the neck was not, it was a Maple neck with Maple fretboard. I didn't check the frets before I put the finish on the neck, put the logo he wanted on the peghead, cleared over the logo and everything else. I should have checked the frets, they were horrible, the guitar could not be setup with anywhere near a reasonable action. I told him to call them rather than paying me to do a fret level and it needed a complete fret level. He claims he did call but I was not there when he called so I'll leave what he told me they said out of this.

    I have done a lot of work for people that bring Warmoth parts over and never had much of a problem with the necks. Once in a great while I might find one fret down near the body that could be a bit lower.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    thanks for the interesting post.

    Quote Originally Posted by J Luth View Post
    ...I told him to call them rather than paying me to do a fret level and it needed a complete fret level. He claims he did call but I was not there when he called so I'll leave what he told me they said out of this.
    If I had to guess, they said, "Once you paint it, it's yours to keep." I've read on their web site that their necks can be mock-up mounted and still qualify for a return if something is wrong, but as soon as you mount tuners to them and leave impressions, the neck is yours to keep. I'd imagine taht they'd respond the same way about finishing -- once it's finished, they won't take it back.

    Was I close? If not, I can understand you not wanting to post something that you got second hand on a public forum. Would you care to send me a PM?

    edit: the idea that you can't return a neck after the tuners are mounted creates a catch-22 sort of situation. I think that most people might not recognize just how bad a neck might be until they've mounted it, strung it up, and looked at the action. The problem is, to get to the point that you know that the neck is bad and has to be returned, you have to mount tuners, and once you mount tuners it's non-returnable. So you'd better figure out if the neck is bad by inspecting it before you assemble it. The problem is, I can see where many people wouldn't be able to do identify the problem until after the neck has been mounted and the guitar completely assembled. Once that happens, they're stuck.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    What is a "reject" or a "second" WRT a neck??? I didn't think Warmoth would intentionally send out a neck with their name stamped on it that had problems like popped frets or a twist. Ugly paint? Sure, why not. Heavy? Eh, ok. But unplayably flawed? I don't think so. I would expect the necks to be mostly custom orders that didn't go through for one reason or another or even necks with ugly wood anomalies.?. Warmoth is a company that has built itself up with a reputation of quality. I once bought two Warmoth necks from a discount used music store that had a barrel of Warmoth pulls and "seconds". One neck had a hump that I decided was unacceptable. The other is the very best neck I've ever played and I still use it. Both were new, not pulls. How an unplayable neck with the Warmoth stamp on it got into public hands had always been a mystery to me, but J Luth's account would seem to second the experience. So... I guess they do sell their garbage sometimes? The above considerations for what MOST of the "screamin' deals" necks are is probably right, but there may be some junk in there too. In the end it's buyer beware. You don't wan't to spend a fortune on a partscaster. I understand. But you really don't want to waste money either. I bought two discount Warmoth necks for the price of one... And threw one away. You'll probably get lucky if you stick with a neck that looks, by it's features, to clearly be a special order that wasn't purchased and stay away from more standard featured necks which would seem more likely to be seconds. But there's no guarantees. I can tell you that the quality is there if you pay their premium.

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    Bob,

    The reason I am not sure about what he told me and did not post what he told me is the link posted below.

    Look at the 1 year warranty.
    It should have been within 30 days for the 1 year.

    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Warranty

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    JL, It sounds like they voided his warranty because he didn't have you finish it within 30 days of purchase. That's a published policy that's well known, but I think it's shitty of them to enforce that on their customers. I find it hard to believe that their necks should just go bad in the way you described just because they weren't finished within 30 days. If the necks are that unstable, then none of the necks that they keep in inventory would remain stable on the shelves. To me, that bad case example suggests that the Screamin' Deal necks must be seconds and/or rejects, or as Chuck said, custom orders that failed for some reason. For that to be true, they'd have to build custom necks before getting paid for them. I don't think they do that. I think you have to pay in full before they start work on any custom neck. That would imply that the Screamin' Deals are indeed seconds.

    Chuck, I've been reading about W necks on other forums, like Strat Talk and TGP, and it seems that there are a LOT of people who are reporting fret problems with brand new Warmoth necks. There are people who've paid $400 and $500 for custom order necks and then ended up complaining that the fretwork was so bad that they had to pay a luthier another $150 to fix the problem for them.

    I don't think that extra $150 is a problem if you buy a cheap neck, but when you're paying over $400 for a neck there should be enough quality control that someone at the factory makes sure that the neck is straight and the frets are level. But it sounds like W doesn't bother to do that, and they shove that responsibility off onto the customer. It's kind of hard to imagine paying as much or more than you'd pay for a Fender neck and then having to fix things that are wrong with it.

    After reading some of the horror stories with W the expensive F guitars aren't looking that bad.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Chuck,

    Completely agree with you on Warmoth quality that's another reason why I didn't post what he told me. Only what I found when I assembled it.
    Maybe he approached it the wrong way if he did call.

    When people ask what to buy I always tell them spend the money and go to Warmoth and I always will. It's a lot less expensive than having me make them one, which I don't do much anymore and their quality has always been great. It's also less expensive going to Warmoth than buying a bargain basement brand and then having me do a fret level, fret ends and making the nut work or having to replace the nut before it's put together. That happens on just about every less expensive neck.
    The neck he got was in stock not built to order so who knows.
    Had it not come in their packaging I would have thought it was one of the lesser quality brands. It had Stainless Steel frets installed what a pain to get all the scratches out and polish.

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    Last edited by J Luth; 03-06-2018 at 07:09 AM.

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    Bob,
    I am almost certain the finish was done within the 30 days.

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    Last edited by J Luth; 03-06-2018 at 07:07 AM.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Then I'm seriously not understanding why they didn't honor his warranty claim.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Bob,

    In the past month or so, I have put together at last 4 guitars for people that bought Warmoth parts. This is the first serious problem. I have one friend that is constantly having me put guitars together for him or changing out necks for him and he always uses Warmoth and never problem.

    $150.00 Dang, I need to double my price!

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    Bob,

    That's why I posted the warranty page. I can't figure out why they didn't warranty it. Maybe it was over the 30 days from the time he got it but it wasn't over 30 days from the time I got it.

    Like I said maybe he approached them the wrong way if he called them at all.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I'm having reservations about the partscaster build because the more research I do, the less appealing the idea becomes.

    There's the problem with the low cost necks looking like they're seconds; there's the problem with the high cost necks being high price; there's the problem with the high price necks having to be finished and W charges an extra $130 for that; after you've paid $400-$500 for a neck, then you're faced with the horror of finding out that it's got crappy fretwork and having to pay someone to fix it (or fix it yourself); then there are horror stories like yours about W not honoring their warranty; and all those problems are just with the neck.

    The body is another can of worms. The low cost bodies are undesirable; you have to pay them extra to give you a custom order body that isn't heavy; Add a few minor options and a simple Alder partscaster body is at or above $300. Add another $230-$270 if you want them to finish it. Now you're looking at $600 for a body.

    Now your build is already pushing $1000 and all you've got is a neck and a body. You haven't even bought pickups or any of the hardware.

    Buying a real Fender neck from Fender Parts keeps looking better and better.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I wouldn't expect Warmoth necks are unstable in any way. Stored correctly you should be able to keep unfinished necks forever. And since they're Warmoth, that's what they do. The neck I'm using on my partscaster was a second pulled out of a barrel! Unfinished for who knows how long. As far as Warmoth is concerned it's still unfinished since their warranty didn't honor tung oil at the time that neck was made. Not sure if that's changed. The body is Warmoth also, but it's a paint grade two piece alder and the seam is at the bottom third and not center. It's very light weight though. I tung oiled that too Looks great to me. I went shopping there a little bit ago after reading this thread and it looks like I can a body and neck like the ones I have for $415 at their non discount price. I didn't even shop the discount stuff. I built my partscaster well over twenty years ago and it looks like I could build another today for about $75 more than it cost me then! Not bad. About $850 today total for all the same parts I used. No additional expense for finishing since I rubbed the whole thing in tung oil. Pickups are top end and the bridge and tuners are high quality, but standard fare. I know it sounds like a lot for a pretty standard strat build. Ok, it IS a lot. But I do love the guitar and have for over two decades. So that's totally worth it for me. You can do it for less to be certain. Mighty Mite necks are a lot cheaper and all I've seen have been good. Thin fingerboards though and that looks cheap. If you went with maple it wouldn't matter so much. And who cares if it's a Warmoth body? It's a block of wood. As long as the routes are correct and it's not heavy. For pickups you sure don't need to spend what I did. I put a Seymour Duncan JB mini in the bridge and Van Zants in the neck and middle (when Van Zant was the new, hot thing). Now I have custom pickups that Terry here on the forum wound for me. One thing you can't cheap out on is hardware. Plated, pot metal crap will give you no end of grief and is worth less than the packaging it comes in. If I did it again I'd probably bite the bullet and go with Warmoth again. Mostly because they're the only ones that make the neck profile I prefer.

    JM2C

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I don't doubt that Warmoth necks have to be stable; what I do take issue with is the fact that they will refuse to provide warranty on them if they are 'unfinished', as if that implies that they are unstable without a sprayed sealed finish. We know that instability is not a problem, so this amounts to a money grab by W. IMO an oiled finish should be good enough. The fact that they refuse warranty to customers who refuse to buy finish work from them gives me the impression that they're trying to jam you for an extra $120 for a 60 second shoot of lacquer, and they punish you by voiding your warranty if you refuse to be squeezed. That gives me pause. Serious pause. To me that's a red flag about how the company treats it's customers. The anecdotal stories by customers who get screwed on warranty certainly doesn't inspire trust.

    An uncommon neck profile is the *only* reason I'd be interested in *any* Warmoth product. I hate skinny C and D necks and I want something of substance. That immediately renders most off the off the rack guitars out for me. Just about every company builds their inexpensive lines with skinny necks and pushes you into expensive custom shop instruments if you want a thicker neck profile. I don't want to pay huge money for an object d'art. I just want a serious player's guitar that doesn't have a cheap guitar's neck profile. Unfortunately that puts you in a position where everyone in the industry wants to squeeze you.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well, look at it this way...

    Buy an unfinished neck from W at their normal price so you can order it the way you want it. It's a partscaster so, IMHO, it doesn't need to be fancy. I like plain necks so that's $212 for maple/maple or maple/rosewood with a 59 profile, 6150SS frets and the compound radius (which I like). I'm really picky about my nut spacing and height so I'd be installing that myself as well as rubbing four coats of tung oil on it. If you want a shiny appearance but a better feel to the back you can always lacquer the headstock with a rattle can.

    There are a butt load of already finished and unfinished bodies on *bay for under $200. You can probably find something you like without paying Warmoth to finish it for you. Weight? Dunno. Perhaps you'll need to write a lot of emails, but you can turn something up I'm sure.

    Pickups, hardware, pickguard, pots, etc. are what they are and will probably cost about $350 give or take if you're buying quality.

    So that's $762 without finishes for top notch playability and tone. Add finishes (let's go spendy and make it a burst), that means using a Warmoth body, and it jumps to $1082. Yes, you have to assemble it yourself, but that price literally represents as good a strat as you can get with cosmetics taken care of. You can't touch that price in a factory guitar of that quality and you can't touch the quality with any lower priced factory instrument.

    Like I said, the way I roll is with tung oil. I like the feel on the body and neck. It's lasted for decades now and scratches can be buffed and rubbed out if your inclined (I don't do it). Any bone head can apply tung oil so it amounts to a free finish. I'd probably skip the Warmoth body too. I'd probably shop hard and ask questions and get an unfinished body for a hundy (Taking a small chance there could be routing issues). So "my" price is $395 less ($687). I don't have a burst finish, there's no warranty on my neck and I'll need to do a little more work, but otherwise it's the same guitar with the same playability and tone.

    IMHO there's just no point at all in doing it if any of the parts compromise quality. So, depending on what you want in extras the cost is between $687 and $1082 for a partscaster. Not ANY partscaster, as in "I put a Warmoth neck on a Squire body and replaced the neck pickup with a John Mayer special. Derrrr." but a partscaster that any guitar player would love and you love even more because you selected every part with personal preference in mind.

    This is the bottom line of you propose to do.

    EDIT: Don't even consider a cheap "kit". You might just as well go buy the Samick guitar and set it up as best you can. It'll probably be "ok" but it will never be a partscaster. Those have Warmoth necks. And I was surprised at the price of Mighty Mite necks now! Just as much as Warmoth products.

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    Last edited by Chuck H; 03-06-2018 at 06:25 PM.
    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I'm considering trying one of these?
    https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Strat-...357501&sr=1-53
    T

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I understand the appeal. But I wouldn't. All the cross grain the flame grain is WAY less stable than slab cut. I've only known a couple of flame maple necks and both have variable relief depending on the weather. And it's been my experience that less expensive necks/guitars have frets that are softer and oxidize more easily and the fretwork is typically poorly recrowned and the flats on the frets are variable in width because they aren't arced in a smooth radius (for one reason or another). It can even make for intonation problems. I wouldn't take the chance.

    Sorry I don't like to be the turd in the punchbowl, just trying to help.

    EDIT: In the more expensive necks you can get quartersawn which is (generally) more stable than slab cut. But I've still known flame necks to be the most unstable. If you REALLY wanted the flame look, and didn't mind the $$$ you could get a quartersawn neck with a flame fingerboard and headstock overlay. You can't order that way on the Warmoth site, but I know they can do it. Probably around 300 bones with SS frets!!! That would be a lot more

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    Last edited by Chuck H; 03-06-2018 at 07:46 PM.
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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I often worry about those W necks on *bay. I'm thinking that *bay is where the screwed up necks go when it's time for people to dump their mistakes. I don't have a problem paying what it costs for a custom order unfinished neck and doing the finish work myself. I think the necks are worth it, especially if you need to custom order a specific profile. But not the bodies and certainly not the paint.

    I'm thinking that I'm more likely to go with a Fender body and W neck. I have become accustomed to the 55-58 LP neck profile, which transitions from 0.9 to 1.0, and is bigger than the 59. So I've been thinking about the fatback and sanding it down, or maybe the 59. I'm very comfortable on a fully round 55-58 so I don't feel a need for the shoulder-relieved necks that appeal to thumb-over guys, like the boatneck. I take it your W is a 59?


    Part of the problem with Chinese knockoffs is that the wood and the frets are typically softer than you really want them to be. They tend to be less stable and the frets wear quickly.


    The price for a plain-jane strat body from W is pretty ridiculous. A bare alder strat body with no options comes in at $175.00. A sunburst finish adds $230 (!) to the price, resulting in a cost of $405. Compare that to a brand new Mexican alder 3-color sunburst body from Fender parts at $170:

    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/parts/...=parts&start=1

    I know it's hard to believe, but you can get a sunburst Mexican Fender body for less than the cost of the bare W body, and save the $270 W charge for paint. IME Mexi Strat bodies typically are not bad, though I'd be taking a chance on weight. At that $170 new price it's hard to consider buying one used on *bay. The W body would have to be one hell of a nice body to justify it's price.

    Another point for comparison: Stratosphere buys new Fender guitars and parts them out on *bay. You can get a new American Special Strat body, fully loaded (which is basically the complete guitar with the neck removed) for $500.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/LOADED-Amer...cAAOSwtDdahNjP

    ... or you could buy any of the unpopulated new Fender bodies and stuff them with your favorite parts.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I'd go with the Mexican Fender body for sure if I wanted a finish. And sure, weight is a crap shoot. I bet none are especially light as those would have been "selected" and designated for special guitars. But I've played many import Fenders with light-ish bodies and none that were especially heavy, so there must be some QC in that department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I understand the appeal. But I wouldn't. All the cross grain the flame grain is WAY less stable than slab cut. I've only known a couple of flame maple necks and both have variable relief depending on the weather. And it's been my experience that less expensive necks/guitars have frets that are softer and oxidize more easily and the fretwork is typically poorly recrowned and the flats on the frets are variable in width because they aren't arced in a smooth radius (for one reason or another). It can even make for intonation problems. I wouldn't take the chance.

    Sorry I don't like to be the turd in the punchbowl, just trying to help.

    EDIT: In the more expensive necks you can get quartersawn which is (generally) more stable than slab cut. But I've still known flame necks to be the most unstable. If you REALLY wanted the flame look, and didn't mind the $$$ you could get a quartersawn neck with a flame fingerboard and headstock overlay. You can't order that way on the Warmoth site, but I know they can do it. Probably around 300 bones with SS frets!!! That would be a lot more
    But Chuck, you have more Dinero, Rubles, Pounds, Jack, Greenbacks, etc, than me!
    I do cheap import Sh*t.
    That's what I do!
    I just piddle around!
    That way I have more stuff to start fires with!
    I've built up tons of cheapo strats, and Teles, no big issues that I remember.

    T

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    Keep Rockin! B_T
    Terry

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    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I'm considering trying one of these?
    https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Strat-...357501&sr=1-53
    T
    Here is Kmise i just bought, hope you like orange. Mine was from Aliexpress and was cheap. I haven't finished the setup yet.Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm made of money.

    How do you think I know about the drawbacks of inexpensive guitars And!.. Some of the coolest guitars I've ever known were modified cheapies. My favorite was a Hondo strat with the neck replaced (a pull from a Charvel IIRC) and an old DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker clumsily mounted in the bridge position. The guy was sick of his strap coming loose so he screwed big eye bolts in where the pegs were and had trigger clips on his strap. Playable as hell and sounded great. And my own history is peppered with cheapies. One I wish I still had. A 1985 Standard Stratocaster! I got that one during a $199 ea. blowout at Guitar Center when Fender started moving production out of Japan and no one wanted the Japanese made instruments Should have bought ten!

    I'll stand by what I said about figured maple necks though. Spend less and get a better neck or spend the same and get a much better neck. Though not better looking.

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  23. #23
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I can afford to buy a custom shop guitar but I don't see the value in sinking a lot of money into one instrument that has to be handled with kid gloves. It's like placing too many eggs in one basket. I've been through the scene of owning an uber-valuable guitar and it was a burden. I have a lot more fun owning a good guitar that I don't have to worry about. Today there are so many inexpensive guitars out there that are just as good from a player's standpoint, if you're only willing to put a little work into them.

    I bought an Indo G&L Tele (made by Cort) for $270 as one of the GC/MF Stupid Deals and it's a great performer. It's worst feature was that it needed a better nut. That's an easy fix if you're a tinkerer. I've had it for about a year now. I'm totally happy with it and I'll never let it go. And I paid so little for it that I don't feel the need to worry about it. I can always get another one. It's only problem was that during it's first winter it developed a little fret sprout. It's amazing how sensitive our hands are to agonizing over fret sprout. My guitar felt like it had horrible fret ends as the neck shrunk a bit. So I grabbed one of the girls' emory boards and gave two quick passes on each fret end with the finest grade side of the board. Two passes was all that it took to make the neck feel like butter. It's amazing how such a ridiculously small amount of fret end can feel like a knife against your hand.

    Rather than gambling on the cheapo necks that you can get on Ali Baba, my recommendation is to buy one of the Cort-manufactured G&L guitars when they pop-up on the MF/GC blowout sales. What you get is a very high quality instrument on a cheepskate budget. And if you're a tinkerer who's willing to fix any minor problems that may come along, you'll love it.

    I ended up buying three different G&L guitars at the blowout sales last year, two teles and a strat. I'm perfectly happy with both Teles, they're keepers. but the G&L Legacy (Strat) has a body that feels like a boat anchor. And true to the G&L format, the Indo Tribute model replicates the American Legacy's neck profile, which is wider than a Strat. Some people love it, some hate it. To me the heavy body is the real deal-breaker. The biggest downside to the G&L is that the necks don't interchange with Fenders unless you're interested in woodworking... which brings me to the partscaster thread.

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    Last edited by bob p; 03-07-2018 at 03:48 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I can't get over how orange some of those fake-vintage finishes tend to be. They're just too far over the top. Like the W vintage tint necks. I'd be happier if they cut the amount of tint in half, but for some reason everybody seems to be taking the vintage tint idea to an extreme. I think something midway between the un-tinted and the vintage-tints would be a lot more appealing. What ever happened to subtlety?



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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  25. #25
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Yep. Though it's not like the orange color isn't pretty It's just fake as hell. Modern polyester and urethane finishes don't amber like lacquer and shellac. Some of the older instruments really ARE very amber. It still looks fake on a new neck though and I agree it would look better if they cut the tint in half.

    Tung oil, FWIW ambers like crazy. My guitar is a tad browner and half as amber and it's over twenty years old. They must have surveys and panels that they bounce these decisions off because there's no way the entire replica market decided on f#@&ing orange arbitrarily. So I guess most shoppers like it.?.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    I have a completely different take on this based on information from a top-notch luthier via a good friend. Practically none of the mfgs glue frets on a new neck (or on a new guitar for that matter) which introduces the problem of frets popping up a little bit anywhere from the time of manufacture to when the end-user finally tunes it up and plays it.

    Maple necks from Fender are usually coated with a lacquer which helps secure the frets. So if you order an unfinished maple neck you really need to have the frets checked for levelness before finishing or installing it which you can either learn to do yourself or have a guitar tech or luthier do for you.

    Guitar necks are made from wood which is organic so their response to the tension from your preferred gauge of strings and a properly set truss rod can create high and low frets which were not present with the bare neck. When a guitar is assembled in the factory you expect that some setup may be required, either before or after you purchase the guitar. If your standards are high you will probably need some fret leveling and recrowning which you can learn to do yourself or pay someone to do it for you. I like to bend strings so I want no fretting out at the higher frets with 3, 4 or 5 fret bends. (Shredders have their own requirements.)

    When you buy a finished guitar you can hope that a full professional setup was done at the factory but I never count on it. Besides, depending on your playing style the requirements of a professional setup can vary.

    If you are assembling guitars from pieces you can expect to do a professional setup when you are finished. If you can't do any required leveling and recrowning yourself then have your luthier or guitar tech check out the neck before you start to make sure that there aren't any major problems. It could be that just a few high frets need to be tapped down as is often the case with new guitars that I have checked out.

    Most decent guitars sold today come from the factory much better than the guitars we bought in the 60's and 70's. Back then Gibson and Fender figured that the professional guitarists would pay their guitar techs to set them up while the kids like you and me would not know any better. (Damn, those guitars were very hard and painful to play back then!)

    I guess it was the PRS SE guitars built in Korea in the mid-00's that really knocked me out with their playability right out of the box but my friend who tutored me in luthiery the past few years wasn't that impressed — the guitars he sets up play so much better. So I am now a believer in professional setups, something I think that most of us here can learn to do with the proper tools and instruction (there are a lot of good videos on YouTube but you need to find the ones that are appropriate for your style of playing... good luck on that!)

    Steve A.

    P.S. While some people have mentioned finishing a maple neck with tung oil I personally recommend Tru-Oil which is used for giving a very hard finish to gun stocks (go NRA!)

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000C5398/

    While the price for 8oz isn't that high there are several threads on how to make your own if you will be needing a quart or more...

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/tru-oil-recipe.399201/

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  27. #27
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well "fret sprout" (a term I hadn't heard but leaves no questions ) isn't a glue or lacquer issue. It's a wood shrink issue. And the four coats of tung oil I put on my guitar twenty some years ago is holding up very well. In fact the back of the neck has developed quite an even polish. Though it still isn't sweat sticky like higher build finishes. And I've actually been very impressed at how well it's resisted grunge staining. But I can get behind Tru-Oil. I use to use tung for a lot of things I now use Daly's Teak Oil for. The Daly's product sets up harder, faster, but still doesn't act like other more polymerized finishes. More like a fast tung oil. I imagine the Tru-Oil to be a similar thing. I used the Daly's product on a pool cue shaft (maple, needs to slide on skin) and it feels just as nice as tung. If Tru-Oil is like that then I suppose it could be great. I've heard about it enough by now that I really should get some and experiment with it. Since I live in the PNW now I can't rely on the same drying conditions I enjoyed in California so plain tung oil might test my patience. Still, it's naturally affected to polymerize with evaporation by heat tratment. Somehow I like that better than synthetic polymers. I don't know what Daly's really is, or Tru-Oil, but if they're just thinned out synthetic polymerized finished there's a lost aesthetic for me. I'll look into it though. A guitar neck should be at least as tough as a gun stock.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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  28. #28
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    "fret sprout" is a bit of a misnomer, as it suggests that the frets are growing rather than the wood shrinking, but I still use it because it is a colorful description of the problem, and it's a non-ambiguous term to people who understand the underlying process.


    I was hoping that Chuck would give us the answer about Tru-Oil, since he knows a lot more about finishing than I know. A great many musicians and gun people swear by Tru-Oil. Tru-Oil is damned expensive for what it is.

    My understanding is that Tru-Oil is nothing more complicated than a brand name for a traditional Danish Oil type of drying oil, or finishing oil. That would make it either a tung oil or linseed oil mixture that's diluted in a stoddard solvent (white mineral spirits) to thin it out. Tru-Oil's marketing people claim to use some sort of "proprietary modified oil" in the mixture. But as far as I can tell that could be nothing more complicated than boiled linseed oil; boiled linseed oil has drying agents added to it to enhance polymerization. Typically, those are metal catalysts that use environmental oxygen to promote cross-linking of the oil molecules, which results in hardening of the finish.

    I've been a long time user of boiled linseed oil for wood finishing. I built a bench swing for great-grandma last summer and I used a BLO finish. It hasn't started to amber yet, but I know that it will turn brown in years to come.

    I was hoping that Chuck could fill me in on why tung oil might be better than linseed oil, or if one is just as good as the other.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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  29. #29
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well, not being a chemist I can't speak to the molecular difference between the products, but I can tell something about what they are at face value and how they are to use.

    Tung oil is made from tung seeds and linseed oil is made from flax seeds. They are treated about the same as far as processing to extract compounds from the raw oil and modifying it to polymerize. And it's not unusual for products called "Danish oil" or "Teak oil" to be made from either, neither or some combination as many seed oils can be prepared like this and behave similarly. Though most are indicated as tung oil. Still, Danish oil and Teak oil are generic terms for prepared seed oil and intentionally do not imply any specific product. Unless, as I always assumed, Danish oil were made from Danes Ok... Using them:

    Linseed oil is typically sold as it's made. That is, thinned only to a viscosity that allows it to be packaged and used. About as heavy as motor oil, which is pretty heavy if you want penetration. It's sticky and slow to dry, requiring easily twice the dry time of of most tung oil or generic oil finish products. I only use it for rough work, like rubbing down fence boards, concrete forms, dipping posts or soaking floor planking, etc. because it can be purchased cheaply by the gallon. Of course it can be thinned too. And I did finish a gun stock with linseed oil once. It took many coats and took forever but looked great and FINALLY got acceptably hard after a few months! Color is nut brown/amber (though it's said to be clear, it's not)

    Danish oil, Teak oil, etc. tend to be thinner. The solvent aids in penetration and probably allow faster evaporation of any surfactant properties because they do harden faster than linseed oil. Still pretty slow IME and though 24hrs. is usually indicated, 48hrs. between coats is better. Color is usually a little lighter than linseed oil but these products are sometimes tinted and offered in colors by the manufacturers that implies a stained wood appearance with the finishing process.

    Tung oil is similar in viscosity to most Danish/Teak oil products, though sometimes a little thinner. It works about the same too, but seems more "waxy" and less "sticky" even when dry. It's also lighter in color than all of the above and leaves wood with a more natural "wet" look. Dries slower than most Danish/Teak oil products but 48hrs between coats with good dry conditions seems fine most often. Probably some longer chain oils left behind in the preparation slow it down and might also be responsible for the waxy feel. A long time favorite for a natural wood feel on the back of guitar necks because it's a little easier to control surface sheen, the waxy feel and the lighter color.

    But with enough surface build and dry time between coats ALL these products will shine. Tru-Oil? Maybe it's like one or all of these products. But if it's not different, why market or sell it? I'll look into it, but my fear is that its a Homer Formby kind of thing, which is just a thinned out polymer finish with a little processed seed oil in it. Designed to dry out hard and fast. More of an instant gratification product. I hope this is not the case. Whether it performs as well or better than other products I really don't know. I do know that there's a long and well respected reputation for the other products.

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  30. #30
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Great post, Chuck. Thanks for the finish expert's opinion.

    I found the MSDS for Birchwood-Casey's "Tru-Oil". Looks like Linseed oil diluted with a Stoddard solvent, along with a "proprietary modified oil" which might be nothing more than boiled linseed oil. So it sounds like it's a natural seeded oil product that's been pre-diluted and perhaps tinted. It's definitely been well marketed and has achieved brand recognition.

    https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/getat...Sheet.pdf.aspx

    BTW: There seems to be a popular opinion that Tru-Oil consists of linseed oil plus a urethane component. According to the MSDS that's not true.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  31. #31
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Nice! It doesn't surprise me that it's a linseed oil product since linseed oil has loooong been the "correct" thing to use for gun stocks. That's why I used it when I had to finish one. If I had to do it again I'd use Daly's Teak oil

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

  32. #32
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    "Fret sprout" is when the ends of frets poke out from the wood in the neck or fretboard. High (or proud) frets are when the fret pops up from the fretboard for one reason or another.

    For fret sprout you can use a mill file to remove the excess metal and then use a fret end dressing file to round the ends. While StewMac sells a fret end dressing file (#1175) for $14.67 plus $9.99 s/h you can make your own with a Nicholson 02375N 5×1/4" Tungsten Point File for $7.60 from Amazon by smoothing and rounding the edges with a grinder. What makes both files special is their very fine double cut teeth. BTW the StewMac has one edge rounded with the other edge flat so if you hold it wrong it can cut tiny little divots in the edge of your fretboard. Ouch!

    https://www.amazon.com/Nicholson-023.../dp/B007C6OKB0

    Either one of these files comes in handy with most Gibson guitars selling new for under $1000 at least since the 2013 model year. The 2013 and 2014 LPJ's utilized new production techniques to meet the desired price point and my unconfirmed theory*** is that they started pressing in pre-dressed frets using CNC technology. If you look at the side view of the frets they are rounded but looking from the top down they are bluntly square. If you read the user reviews for these models at the Gibson site the blunt fret ends are a big complaint. I picked up used 2013 LPJ's for as low as* $399 so it doesn't bother me to spend 45 minutes doing the job that Gibson skipped doing at the factory to keep the price down.

    The subject of gluing in frets is a different matter. Besides holding the frets in place I find that it really improves the tone and sustain as the vibrations from the string are better transferred to the neck and eventually to the body. Here is what Erick Coleman has to say about it with the picture showing the bone nut test:

    Super glue your frets for better tone! | stewmac.com





    Here is a TGP thread about gluing frets (I prefer using Titebond nee Frankin Luquid Hide Glue myself):

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...or-not.513217/

    BTW one of the posts from 2009 mentions that all 5 necks he got from AllParts had the frets glued in. To me it sounds like a very economical way for them to prevent costly returns.
    Steve A.

    *** Rather than pay workers to manually level frets, Gibson has been using Plek machines to level frets on all of their production line guitars according to reports I have read. This is not the same $400 Plek job you might have done at a luthier's shop but just a quick'n'dirty way for Gibson to get the frets level. In many cases it looks like they don't bother to recrown the frets after leveling them even on $2,000 Les Pauls.

    As for the square end frets on most of the recent Gibson guitars selling for under $1000 I think that they have to be that way to be pressed in with machines using CNC technology — if they came to a rounded bullet end I don't think they would press in properly. And with CNC technology the frets can be cut and dressed before being pressed into the fretboard.

    This is all speculation on my part but I could even imagine them pressing the frets onto the fretboard before gluing it to the neck. With computer technology everything can be done with a precision unheard of not too many years ago. The most recent video I could find showing the Gibson production line was from 2011 and I suspect that they have made changes on building their entry level guitars, possibly learned from Asian factories.

    There are some YouTube videos showing a luthier pre-dressing frets using a special Dremel rig he made before pressing them into a neck he was refretting. Here are two from the guy...

    https://youtu.be/moxUw3Ke2Q0

    https://youtu.be/JdjPd5kiDgk


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    I have found them overpriced. Have had great success and a good choice of profiles etc with Mighty Mite necks

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  34. #34
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    The Mighty Mite web site is just awful. There's no way to figure out what kind of necks they offer without clicking on every neck and reading it's specs.

    Their necks might be OK for some people, but they're a C shape, just like the Fender necks that I don't want. Unfortunately for me those C necks could be *FREE* to me and I still couldn't use them.

    At least W gives you more selection options, including customization options, and more importantly custom neck profiles that Mighty Mite doesn't offer... but you pay for that.

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    Last edited by bob p; 03-09-2018 at 12:26 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    PartsCaster Update

    Just in case anyone's interested in my slow-motion story about a parts-caster build:

    PartsCaster Update:

    I decided to go with a W* neck, volunteering my wallet to be a guinea pig in a guitar building experiment. Like Chuck suggested, it's probably a good idea to look for a custom-order / oddball type of neck that's out of the ordinary types that you see on the "Screamin' Deals" page to minimize your chances of getting some kind of production line reject. This doesn't give any guarantees of course, but it seems like a reasonable idea.

    I have sort of oddball likes when it comes to necks, as I started off playing bass on those 70s Fender U-shaped necks, so I like a fistfull of neck on a guitar. Short of a mid-50s Gibson no guitar neck is ever fat enough for me. So this project was going to require an oddball / custom order type of neck anyway. It seemed like a custom order was inevitable, but to avoid spending $$$$ on a partscaster I decided to try to limit my wants to as few oddball features as possible, focusing only on things were mainstream, or as middle of the road as possible, and only deviating from mainstream where I really had do, in the hopes that I could find something off the shelf.

    My basic criteria were basic variations on the standard low-cost options: Maple neck, fatback profile, rosewood fretboard, standard 1-11/16 nut, 10-16 compound radius. Everything else was negotiable.

    After watching for a while I found a few necks come up, some with regular rock maple, some with roasted maple. Because this neck was going to go onto a brown Strat body, either one would work well. Being old school I prefer a uniformly dark fingerboard over one that has color streaks, so I had to wait a while until something good came up that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I ended up paying a little extra for a roasted maple neck so I wouldn't have to bother with constant refinishing, as my plans for this guitar are to start with as fat a neck as possible and sand it down in increments if I decide that I want to change it's shape. I also opted to pay a little more for a dark rosewood fingerboard, but those were my only options. I opted for a Schaller-type tuner ream because I wanted to try Fender locking tuners. And I went with 6100 SS frets, because big frets and fat necks don't scare me.

    Here's what it looked like before I ordered it:



    It took 2 weeks from the time that I ordered it to get it in-hand. One week for the tuner reaming and fretwork, one week for shipping. It finally arrived today. I haven't had a chance to do anything with it yet, but the preliminary inspection looks pretty good. Out of the box the fretwork looks very neat, the unmounted neck passes the metal straightedge test and there are no sharp fret ends. Finish sanding is ultra smooth. I had originally thought about burnishing it with 400 and then 1000 grit, but out of the box it feels just fine. There's only one insignificant problem -- someone dinged the back of the neck during handling, but because it's at the heel, the micro-ding is going to be tucked away into the body's pocket, so nobody will ever see it. My first impression is that the W* gets a thumbs-up.

    More to follow if anyone is interested in vicariously experiencing my slow-motion build-up.
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    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by bob p; 04-05-2018 at 11:30 PM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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