Fender replacement necks - Mexican vs American

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by 1stpitch, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:10 PM.

  1. 1stpitch

    1stpitch New Member!

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    Hello. I'm looking to replace the neck on a MIM Strat. I have decided that I want a Fender replacement neck, but I can't decide whether to get another MIM neck, or spring for an American, at over twice the price. I own several MIM Strats and Telecasters, and I really like the necks, and have not played an American but once or twice. So what makes the American worth the extra bucks?
     
  2. Ave

    Ave Strat-Talker

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    It depends on neck profile, fretboard, finish, etc.

    I've played a few American strat necks in my day, and it's probably just me but I love the soft satin finishes. I like the modern "C" shape.

    So my advice is to figure out what kind of finish you want, what kind of fretboard, and what kind of shape especially.


    Then decide if you want to pay twice the price or more for the American serial number. And I will say the American necks can be better in some cases, but I'm not sure if they are always worth that much.
     
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  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    higher production costs, reputation. Fret ends may or may not be better dressed.

    Can't say I can truly feel the difference between MIM neck and MIA. The only truly discernable difference is the truss rod plug in certain models, and the "made in" logo. They're made from the same stuff.
     
  4. lammie200

    lammie200 Senior Stratmaster

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    Do you want the decal? Allparts makes great necks that work well for Fender bodies. They list all the specs, too. Stratosphere sells them cheaper than Allparts list as well.
     
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  5. cranky

    cranky Strat-Talker

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    I don't know if you can get rosewood fretboards, rolled edges or satin finishes on an MIM. Old MIM Standards used to have a rosewood option, but I'm pretty sure it's only maple and pau ferro now.

    If a MIM meets your spec requirements, I wouldn't hesitate on it. But for me, for example, knowing what the AmProII's neck and frets feel like, I'd put one of those on any other Strat that I had if it's neck needed replacing. But the Vintera necks also give you some other options with girth and radius.

    Does it have to be Fender? Not Warmoth?
     
  6. Mr Jagsquire

    Mr Jagsquire Strat-Talker

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    I put a MIM neck on an Esquire build I did; a nice fat 'U' shape maple fingerboard. I had to cut the nut slots as they only come with guide 'marks' (same for an MIA anyway) and I did a bit of work polishing the frets, fret ends. It's a lovely neck and got me out of my 'slim neck' rut that I'd been in for 40+ years. I ended up sanding off the poly finish and respraying it with tinted nitro to better fit with the aged body I bought ready finished for it. It was fine as it came though.

    Currently I'm working on an Allparts FAT Rosewood Strat neck as part of a back up Strat build (using up various parts I've accumulated over the years ;) ). The fret ends were very sharp and there isn't a nut fitted at all, so there has been more work to do with this option. I'm pleased with how it's working out, though I still have to spray it when the weather gets warmer here, but it's definitely more work than a Fender neck. This one is much fatter than the AO60s neck too, which for me was part of the point, to make it different to my JV Squier, medium neck with maple 'board.

    I've played a lot of MIA guitars fairly recently too, including a friend's AO60 Strat: I was considering buying that neck for my project, but in the UK it's over £600 ($750?), a MIM would be around £300, but no Rosewood option and the Allparts one was £145, plus another £7 for a bone nut with guide marks (I fitted one to the MIM Esquire after the respray, so not a problem).

    You pays your money and takes your choice I guess, but just to lay out that the Allparts is about 1/4 the price of the MIA one, but you have to be prepared to do the work on it (or pay someone, which might even it up to MIM prices anyway). Also depends on what you want on the headstock, since an Allparts one is blank and the other options will say 'Fender' of course...
     
  7. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    One of my favorite necks is my 2017 American Special.
     
  8. uncle daddy

    uncle daddy Strat-Talker

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    I've used both Hosco and Allparts necks. I found the fretwork to be slightly better on the Hosco, but they both needed work to finish them before fitting. Once the frets were levelled and dressed, they're pretty good.
     
  9. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Even a Fender replacement neck is going to need to have the frets leveled and dressed.
     
  10. Mr Jagsquire

    Mr Jagsquire Strat-Talker

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    The MIM neck I bought thinking I'd need to take it to my guy to be levelled and dressed, but it plays so well I don't see the need. Maybe I was lucky (I did polish the frets/fret ends a bit), but he's done my Strat and an Epiphone Les Paul (including new frets on those), so I have a good reference.

    It'll be interesting to see if I feel the need to take this Allparts one to him once it's all assembled.
     
  11. MartinC

    MartinC Strat-Talk Member

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    Just bought and fitted a MIM baritone neck. I was impressed by the finish and overall quality. Out of the box it was as good as the neck on my MIA Performer. So I think it comes down to whether the specification you want is available in both.
     
  12. 1stpitch

    1stpitch New Member!

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    Thanks. I'm leaning toward the MIM, and haven't seen much to convince me otherwise. Even if I got a MIA, I would try to find one as close to the specs on my current MIMs as I could get.
     
  13. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Strat-O-Master

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    I don't have experience but I hear the frets are softer on the MIM necks. They are still good though from what I can tell. I love the feel and the satin finish of the previous MIM Standards and the new Players Series necks.
     
  14. 4wotitswurth

    4wotitswurth Strat-Talk Member

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    Two lefty fender MIM maple necks purchased in last 6 months
    $199/each
    no leveling needed
    no smoothing nor polishing needed
    String tree needed
    Precut cut nut slot filing needed
    Looks gorgeous
    Feels nice
    Guess I was lucky...
     
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  15. mapleglo

    mapleglo Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I've had really good luck with the MIM necks I've purchased from The Stratosphere, but the MIA necks are simply better. More attention to detail, I think. I really like the Elite neck with the compound radius.
     
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Go with MIM

    .
     
  17. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    This.

    I have an uncorroborated story that the Mexico plant can't do compound radius necks, which is why if you want one, you need to go MIA. That may change overtime if there is enough demand and it's worth Fender investing in the additional machinery to offer this. This may have already happened.

    If you are buying a neck with an unsealed fretboard and have a bit of skill, you can round the fingerboard edges and fix the fret ends to make an MIM into an amazing instrument. If you want a sealed maple board, it might be worth spending the extra on the MIA to get it good as possible.
     
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  18. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Strat-Talker

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    Bought two MIM necks in a year. One i will never sell, felt i was lucky as it was 1mm narrower nutwidth than specs said. Love it.
    And a roasted maple vintera tele neck.
    Good necks.
    But the MIA necks have Nitro finish (not all) and the MIM has poly i believe. I dont mind either.
     
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  19. ryunker

    ryunker Senior Stratmaster

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    I purchased one each.

    The American one is compound radius, two way truss rod and rosewood and awesome, configured it with the micro tilt thing too. It is a direct replacement for the American deluxe got it in 2015.

    The Mexican one is "vintage" 7 1/4 radius heel truss rod adjustment rosewood again. Supposed to be like a Mexican classic 60's neck. It too worked out very well.

    Both required nut work, kind of major. American one got a new nut, the Mexican one just got adjusted. Both necks required fret level work.

    It is now six years for the American one, and like 3 or 4 for the Mexican one. Both stable.

    Hope this helps

    Here are some photos of the Mexican one, no photos at hand for the American one. IMG_5914.JPG IMG_5918.JPG IMG_5919.JPG
     
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  20. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    Welcome! The difference in price is the cost of labor.
     
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