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New Neck Completely Changes GAS

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Triple Jim, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    My '76 Strat's frets have worn out, so the neck needs a re-fret. I decided to buy a custom neck for it and try out some interesting things while I'm re-fretting the original. Then when it's done I can put it back on and stick the new neck on another body.

    I wanted the new one to have a 24.75" scale, stainless steel frets, and a 1-3/4" nut width. My fingers are pretty big, and it's tough for me to finger just one string near the nut. I wanted the Gibson scale because I've never owned a guitar with that scale and wanted to try it. I like tuning down to get a little less string tension, and the shorter scale would give me that with standard tuning.

    The new neck is from USA Custom Guitars. I tried Warmoth, but they wouldn't make me a 3-bolt 24.75" conversion neck. They do conversion necks only with heel adjust, and that doesn't work with the middle neck bolt. I got in touch with Susan at USACG and told her what I was looking for, and she was happy to do a head adjust neck for me. As I was selecting wood, she mentioned a special price on flame maple, and since I wanted a maple neck to match the original, I took her up on the deal.

    Their web site said the lead time would be about six weeks, but Susan said she expected it would be more like four. It arrived here in 2-1/2 weeks. I got busy with Tru-Oil and got the guitar back together a few days later. I've gotten about a week of play on it, and it's completely changed my GAS:

    1. I don't want to spend any more money on any guitar that doesn't have stainless frets. They feel noticeably smoother and slipperier than "nickel silver" frets, and better than that, they don't wear anything like NS frets. In the past, after 10 or 15 hours of playing I have always been able to see fret wear beginning. With about 15 on these, I can't see any wear, even when using a magnifying glass.

    2. The 1-3/4" nut width is much better for me. It's only 1/16" wider than a couple other guitars I have with 1-11/16" nuts, but it makes a difference.

    3. I love the 24.75" scale. There's a small but noticeable difference in string tension, and I like it. I don't hear any significant difference in tone, but I'm sure there must be some small difference, probably less than when tuning down. And the difference in fret spacing is so slight I can't really tell. I'm sure you guys with Gibsons already knew this stuff, but I have only a few minutes of play time on Gibsons, and that was 40 years ago.

    Craigslist, Reverb, (etc) have become much less interesting. Now instead of browsing there I think about what custom neck-body combination I'm going to set my sights on for my next guitar. And custom doesn't even mean particularly expensive.

    The new neck with staggered Kluson vintage tuners and a Graphtech black TUSQ XL nut:

    new_strat_neck.jpg
     
  2. jayoldschool

    jayoldschool Mod Admin Staff Member

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    I'll bet that Silvertone sounds great! Congrats on the NND.
     
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  3. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks Jay. The amp's a hoot aright. It's my first amp, and it had its share of problems when I got it for next to nothing in the mid '70s. I recently went though it and got it working right, and added a master volume. Now it's a pretty darned nice amp. Other than the infamous bizarre reverb, that is. :)
     
  4. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I'm sure I'm not the only one who read this without the punctuation :D
     
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  5. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Very nice!

    Hard-tail, short scale, with a mini-bucker in the bridge, I bet that thing thumps and sings!
     
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  6. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Wow
    I was just going to skim this
    But
    Bedtime digestion gonna happen
     
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  7. sgarnett

    sgarnett Strat-Talker

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    Your 76 has the vintage string spacing at the bridge, right? Is that playing nicely with the 1-3/4” nut?
     
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  8. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    looks amazing. Can you zoom in on the frets? I wonder if they roll the fret ends
     
  9. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    The center to center string spacing at the bridge measures 1.175". I don't fully understand, since that seems to be partway between vintage and modern spacing. But yes, the strings have decent distance from to the fretboard edges and I haven't found any cause for concern.

    Edit: I solved the string spacing mystery. I had been measuring the C-C distance of the strings at the bridge saddles, but with a little Google research learned that it needs to be measured at the saddle adjust screws. It's 1-7/32" as predicted for a vintage bridge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  10. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    I'll try to remember to get a photo tomorrow. They were nicely beveled when I got the neck, and the fretboard edge was mildly rolled, but I used a fine sanding sponge to do a little smoothing on them before I put it together.
     
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  11. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    I have a push-pull volume pot to split the JB Jr. When I get the original neck refretted I may move the JB to the new body with the neck to keep the '76 original, but it's more fun the way it is for sure.
     
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  12. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    hmmm really? I've bought like 3 warmoth necks so far. Only one came miraculously rolled (perfectly actually). My next one might be USACG then
     
  13. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    This is the natural evolution of GAS.
    As you become more familiar with the item, and realize that there is not a huge difference between anything commercially available, you begin to want to branch out and have something truly unique to only your hands.


    But you'll still want a few dozen of them :D
     
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  14. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    Unless I'm missing something, USACG won't supply "double expanding" truss rods... not double acting, but the kind that has two rods and bends on its own instead of putting compression on the neck. I'd prefer to have that type because it's not sensitive to things like changing humidity. I like this new neck very much, but if I buy one for a 4-bolt body I might be swayed to Warmoth because of the truss rod.
     
  15. Jim H

    Jim H Strat-Talk Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Hi Triple Jim, about a week ago I started a thread called"wider necks and regular width necks (what do you think)". You might find it interesting. I have several custom made necks and guitars that (because of my large hands) I had them made with a large C shape with 1 3/4 inch nuts. I really like that particular size. I have some 1 7/8 and some 2 inch necks also. But overall I think I prefer the 1 3/4 the best.
     

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  16. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    I had this neck done with a C-shape and .860" thick at the nut end, which is pretty beefy and the same as the original neck. I thought about the Warmoth "Superwide" necks that you can get with 1-7/8" spacing, but even if I liked that spacing I didn't want such a huge difference compared to my other guitars, which I still like a lot. I'm glad I tried the 1-3/4", because as you said it fixes the big-finger trouble fine without going overboard.

    I read a little of your thread, but will go back and take a better look, thanks.
     
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