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Thread: Recommendation for someone who can build me Strat neck to custom specs?

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Recommendation for someone who can build me Strat neck to custom specs?

    I'm looking to have a strat neck made for an upcoming build. I figure if I'm going to spend a few(to several) hundred bucks on a high quality aftermarket neck, I want it built the way I want, or as close as I can get it.
    I'm not looking for anything outrageous or even that uncommon. It's just I know exactly what I want and it difficult to find any one neck that meets exactly that. The biggest requirement is the ability to provide a compound radius.
    I've looked at some of the larger, well known shops- ie. Warmoth, USACustom Guitars, and Guitar Mill. USACG has shifted their focus to keeping a larger stock of common necks and bodies, and they are many many weeks out for any custom work last I checked. But, I've seen their work and haven't ruled them out.
    Guitar Mill does okay, but when looking through some of their work portfolio, I have some concerns about the finish work.
    Warmoth offers a lot of different options and they come really close to having exactly what I'm looking for. But they only offer one option for a compound radius at 10"-16". Which I would love in a Gibson style guitar, but for a fender I would rather have a something in the way of 7.25"-10". If I had to, I could live with the 10-16, but I would like to see what else is out there before I make my decision.

    It may sound picky, but am I the only one out there who wants a 1-piece quartersawn maple neck, deep C/fat contour, 1 5/8" width nut, 6150 frets, and a compound radius fretboard?
    ..and an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

    any suggestions welcome.

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    Allparts has a selection. I own 2 tele nks and they're playable out of the box. I like to lightly fret level and power buff to re-polish frets and roll the edges, but that's me.

    (Several multi-radius necks @ Allparts.)

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    Last edited by ric; 06-12-2019 at 05:36 PM.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I gotta be honest. I'm a big fan of Warmoth products. I haven't used a Warmoth neck in twenty years, but they sure look like the same company to me on their site. They offer multiple neck woods for the structural and fingerboard options, a couple of truss adjustment options, several profile shape options and any frets you want. Plus they have an enormous investment in their public image! That is to say, they can't afford to "f" up your order. That isn't to say that it's never happened. We actually had a recent example here. But how countless many others are blissfully pleased with their Warmoth product even since that transpired about a year ago? My own guitar is built from Warmoth wood both body and neck and I've been very pleased with it's playability, consistency in environmental conditions and sound for over twenty years. As I said, I haven't tried their products in a long time. They still get my vote as an option to consider.

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I gotta be honest. I'm a big fan of Warmoth products. I haven't used a Warmoth neck in twenty years, but they sure look like the same company to me on their site. They offer multiple neck woods for the structural and fingerboard options, a couple of truss adjustment options, several profile shape options and any frets you want. Plus they have an enormous investment in their public image! That is to say, they can't afford to "f" up your order. That isn't to say that it's never happened. We actually had a recent example here. But how countless many others are blissfully pleased with their Warmoth product even since that transpired about a year ago? My own guitar is built from Warmoth wood both body and neck and I've been very pleased with it's playability, consistency in environmental conditions and sound for over twenty years. As I said, I haven't tried their products in a long time. They still get my vote as an option to consider.
    Yeah I like them as well, i’ve bought a tele and strat body from them and they were great. I bought a neck from them and the construction was good, but tbe piece of q-sawn lumber was not good. I can forgive that as an outlier. But a quality piece of quartersawn lumber should have straight, vertical grain lines throughout the cross section

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFetish View Post
    Yeah I like them as well, i’ve bought a tele and strat body from them and they were great. I bought a neck from them and the construction was good, but tbe piece of q-sawn lumber was not good. I can forgive that as an outlier. But a quality piece of quartersawn lumber should have straight, vertical grain lines throughout the cross section
    Sounds like you have your foot in the door with them with previous business , contact them and explain what you want, and what you were disappointed with before . A place to start

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    GraphTech TUSQ, Corian, or Bone? Nickel/Silver or Stainless Steel fretwire?

    Im going back and forth on deciding on Nut material. I'm leaning toward GraphTech material for the Nut. The low friction material is attractive for maintaining proper tuning and minimizing string breakage. But I really like the idea of a harder material for closer sounding attack and sustain you get from the frets. I've definitely played guitars that have a noticeable acoustic damping when playing an open string that deadens the sound.


    I was also going to stick with standard Nickel/Silver for the fretwire (Pretty much because it's all I know). I would like to find out more about stainless fret material before I dismiss it out of hand because it breaks with tradition. I have no experience playing stainless frets, so I worry about the risk of not being disappointed if I commit to having them installed.
    I made the mistake of buying a neck with a V profile before playing one. I thought I would like contour and feel, but ended up hating it and selling it pretty quickly. It was really awkward to play anything other than open style chords. Lessen learned.

    So I would be interested in some of you folks' experiences with these materials and what kind of differences were most noticeable, and if you noticed them at all? If you made the change from one to the other, what were the factors that lead to that change?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well if you ask me for an opinion you'll usually get one

    Having only played guitars with standard nickle silver frets my experience is limited as to fret choice, but... Not all nickle silver is created equal. And there are tricks that can enhance wear time on that material that aren't typically employed. One of my favorite guitars from my youth was a Yamaha SBG series. The frets on these guitars are HARD and wear much longer than typical. I don't know if the material was somehow different of if the extra step of "work hardening" was employed. Possibly both. What I do know is that the longer fret wear was something I liked. A lot. Stainless frets aren't new anymore and the early issues with them have been worked out. I'll definitely be going with stainless for my next neck. I've also read that Evo Gold frets are a good option for longer wear too, though I know less about that. Any supposed tonal difference with stainless has to be so small that it's ignorable. The "brighter" sound reported is more likely a knee jerk perception because new strings go on after frets are replaced. I say this because the mass of a single fret as the string break isn't much and the difference in density and hardness between SS and NS within that tiny mass becomes such a tiny factor in the big picture (wood resonance, bridge material/mass, etc.) So I don't see stainless as having any drawbacks.

    A nut should be as hard as practical for the reasons you've already noted. Proper slot geometry can prevent sticking better than the use of a softer material. Also, like frets, a nut is something you don't want to replace any more often than you can avoid. That said, I like the Graphtech stuff. It seems to wear longer than standard NS frets and the nut is nearly always replaced with new frets anyway. I haven't noticed any tonal detriment compared to bone. Though I did once play an acoustic guitar with a brass nut that raised my eyebrows a little. Maybe I never noticed the difference before because my sensibilities are trained for the standard bone and graphite nut material. Since I would probably be leveling frets and working the nut myself even on a new neck I would probably go with Graphtech if only because it's familiar and I know how to tool it. Getting a nut just right is more difficult for me than a light fret level and dress. I've never tried the Tusq stuff. It might be the bees knees and have the best qualities of all the other options.

    Neck profile is easy. You've already decided you don't like a V profile. After that there's the C and boat. There are a couple of asymmetrical profiles too that I find aesthetically offensive, so I'm ignoring those . The boat neck is a club and if you've played one and liked it then there's no other option. I like the standard C thin that Warmoth makes well enough. It's based closely on the most familiar strat neck profiles. I prefer what Warmoth calls the '59 profile. Which is based on the Gibson LP neck of that year I guess. It has more taper between the nut and the heel and feels more intuitive for me. It's also a tad thicker than their standard "thin" profile. That works for me because I have long-ish fingers. So the overall circumference just fits my hand better. So I'd say stick with a rounded C type profile. If you have average length fingers go with the off the shelf "thin" profile offered by most builders. If you have long fingers you might like a thicker neck. If you already have a guitar with a neck you like, and a caliper, there's nothing to stop you from taking some measurements and comparing them to what's available. Don't forget to check for taper toward the heel. And in this case I'd say that if you can get close, that's good enough. Your sense of feel is resilient and as long as you have something in your hands that's vaguely familiar it'll be good. If you don't have a neck you already like (or even if you do I suppose) you could try to find a well stocked guitar store and go try a bunch of different guitars. Paying close attention to the neck feel over other aspects because that would be the point.

    So for me it would be a Warmoth with a '59 profile, stainless frets and a Graphtech nut. YMMV

    EDIT: Also, I like the standard "jumbo" frets (6150) I think these are called "vintage jumbo" now by some. I slide up and down a lot and the extra width seems to facilitate that. I don't think I would like the taller jumbo styles. Too washboard-y in feel I would think.

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Appreciate that, Chuck. You’v given me some good things to think about.
    Im totally with you on the 6150s. They’re just right.
    Definitely going with the Fat C profile.

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    There are a couple of people on this group that make “hand made” necks to order that are affordable. I haven’t used one but people seem to be very satisfied:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/5146...504/?ref=share

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