So... neck question(s)

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by MickAmon, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. MickAmon

    MickAmon Strat-Talker

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    Most (or all) of us know about the rolled edges on a Fender Strat vs. the sharper edges on a Squier and things of that nature, but really, down to the nuts and bolts, what are some of the differences in neck construction going to be between a lowly Starcaster or Bullet neck, a Classic Vibe, an MIM, and an American, other than the finishing and attention?

    Will the wood be better? How will it be better? Are they actually more pieces or some such, like bodies?

    Will the frets be made with better metal, as in Bullet frets melt like cotton candy, while Fender frets don't?

    Will the cheaper neck be physically more prone to warpage, fret sprout, bowing, etc.?

    Bottom line: with the right level, crown, and polish, hardware upgrade (nut, tuners), rounding the edges, maintenance, etc., will an Affinity neck still be inferior to a CV, MIM, or American neck? How?

    I thought this might bring forth some interesting knowledge that I can conveniently use. Thanks a ton!
     
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  2. tschucha

    tschucha Strat-O-Master

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    This ought to be a really interesting thread. I love thin, narrow necks. Squier affinity necks typically have the right size and feel for me. Quality?..... Here's what I've found.

    I hate the finish or lack thereof on the Affinitys. I'm also not a fan of the plasticy neck of many Fenders. As far as the frets on the Squiers go they seem fine to me although the fret edges certainly can be a bit sharp. It is not rocket science to roll fret edges, especially on rosewood fretboards. I'll take Squier necks, file the fret ends and roll the edges then sand off the finish down to bare wood. I finish the neck with Minwax satin polyurethane, at least 4 coats or so depending on how it feels. I sand every other coat to build it up slow and smooth. When it feels like there is enough finish on the neck I let it cure for a few days then do the final sanding working my way up to 1500 grit. When it's done the neck feels as nice as anything I've ever played.

    Now as to the physical quality of the wood, the truss rod and the fret wire....... I think it about the same, my guess is that Fender probably uses prettier rosewood typically but could be wrong. I really look forward to some of our experts expounding on this topic.
     
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  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    all of the necks are made with the same grade lumber.,, FAS.. that determines the absence of flaws in the wood. It has nothing to do with how it looks..

    while all frets are supposed to be the same Nickel Silver alloy, It would seem the frets on lesser guitars, while the same alloy, is not the same, same as the same we're used to. (I'm practicing to be a politician, how a I dooin'? :p)

    so the rolled edge is nothing more than a "shape" to the neck... and no more prone to distortion than any other neck. And an affinity neck is only inferior if you find it has features you don't care for..

    r
     
  4. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    hate rolled edges, personally
     
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  5. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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  6. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Hi I joined this Strat Chat a little while ago ( about 2006) when I first got my second Fender in 50+ years as a present from my wife. It is a Mark Knopfler Stratocaster I loved it very much but as I don't play on stage any more I wanted to make it more blingly. My first Strat was a 1960 pink Stratocaster one of the first to come into the UK. But I had an industrial accident due to the nightclub I was playing at closed so had to go and earn money quick. I had lost the end of a finger and it affected me so badly I sold all my gear Amps and 2 Guild accoustic's as well. Eventually many years later I started playing again but always yearned for my Strat. So I decided to make my Strat a little personal and this month received from Warmoth a custom made Birdseye Maple neck. It's fantastic probably better than the original Rosewood neck. The rest of the MK Strat is great so have not altered anything else. Just posted this in case anyone was interested. Thank you.
     
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  7. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    As the Strat was before the neck change.
     
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  8. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Censored

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    Just so we're on the same page here, the decal and MK signature is fake, you applied that yourself? Because I've never seen Fender make that type of neck for knopfler.
     
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  9. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah, in his post he says he replaced the original rosewood neck with a Warmoth Custom Birdseye maple neck.

     
  10. MickAmon

    MickAmon Strat-Talker

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    First, if you're quoting Thomas Sowell, I can only quote one of my favorite lines from 'A Knight's Tale'... "If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough.".

    Second, thanks a ton for the reassurances. I'm looking for a neck for my FMT with a maple fretboard and CBS headstock so I can get it closer to my old Standard that I adored and had to sell last year. I kinda figured about the fret softness, I actually have a Starcaster that I knock around on occasionally (Coke promo I got for wall deco) and it's pitted already from less than two hours of total play. Now I feel pretty safe in grabbing an Affinity to snatch one off of, so I appreciate your input, brother.
     
  11. MickAmon

    MickAmon Strat-Talker

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    Bro, if you were going for 'blingy', you NAILED it! That is beautiful!
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    today, with the incorporation of CNC technology, there is very little difference in "cheep" necks and those targeting the more Bourgeoisie. For the end user it is mainly in the finishing work necessary to take it from the box.. to the guitar..

    And while they are all made of FAS lumber there are sections of a piece of lumber that can be more mundane while others are très chic .. with the "pretty" stuff headed for the high priced spread pile..

    r
     
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  13. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Thank you all for the positive comments the decals were put on by my Luthier after the neck was fitted. They are only there actually to show some of the history of the rest of the Strat. I have every nut bolt washer screw etc. everything from the original so it can be put back with no hassle.
     
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  14. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-O-Master

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    You had me until I saw the sticker. If you like the neck so much, it's a shame you don't have a "Warmoth" logo on it to give them the credit they are due.

    Your guitar, your choices. Stunning neck though.
     
  15. MickAmon

    MickAmon Strat-Talker

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    Exactly what I thought. Thanks for all of the info, Mr. Ron.
     
  16. Hanson

    Hanson Senior Stratmaster

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    Just my personal opinion, but I much prefer a MIA neck over a MIM neck. If I was too choose between a brand new MIM Strat or a used MIA Strat, the American made neck wins for me, hands down, every time.

    I love the rolled edges, fret work and finishing details on the MIA necks; it's actually the selling point of an American made Strat, in my opinion. I've heard people say there is no noticeable difference, but it's like night and day for me.

    Now the MIA Deluxes with the compound radius's, that's where it's really at.
     
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  17. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Strat-Talker

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    I like to use Squier Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe necks on my partscasters. It saves me a bunch of money and functionally there's no difference (to me) over that of a Fender original brand neck. If I can I use Jazzmaster necks because 1:- They can be had cheaper than Stratocaster necks (which is silly because they are identical other than the decal) and 2:- I like to fugg with people's perceptions if they wanna be all snobby or silly about it. While I might prefer a compound radius neck the 9.5" radius plays nice enough for my tastes.

    Example :
    jazzcaster2.jpg
    I do roll the edges of the frets a little so they play nice and smooth.
     
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  18. MickAmon

    MickAmon Strat-Talker

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    Okay, she's a freak and I love it!
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Critical neck differences:

    -Neck carve shape on the back 'shoulders'. MIM/MIA starts carving behind the fretboard glue line. Squier starts carving from the fretboard leading edge. That leaves a sharp knife edge to the sides of the neck but also removes a dramatic amount of wood from the back -- changing the circumference of the neck and that is what your hand feels. Width and depth of the necks are within 0.5mm but that carve shape chews off a lot of lumber.

    Some of the MIC Squiers deviated from the thin neck Fender spec for those models and are more MIM/MIA. The much higher quality, more consistent Indonesian made Squiers however toe the line to the Fender Squier skinny neck carve. Starcaster by Fender Strat Packs that are MIC are more MIM/MIA chunky than the MII arrow head that are just like the Squiers (I suspect the same factory).

    -Fretwork is less precise. A fret level can bring the Squier up to MIA playability. If you take your guitar to the tech for a $50 setup, just tell him you'll spring for the $100 fret level under simulated string tension that includes the setup and that will be the best mod money you spend on that guitar.

    -Tuners people want to 'upgrade' all the time but as long as you practice good guitar 'tuning up' you will be ok on Squier trapezoid tuners on the Bullet. The sealed tuners on Affinity are better.

    -Nuts can be cut well for all the models. Material doesn't vary enough to practically matter. Most often problems in the nuts are caused by buyers upsizing strings without adjusting the nut slots or swapping nuts and badly damaging the guitar or poorly cutting the nut in the process. Such an inexpensive part has caused people to give up after modding it and sell off their 'unplayable' guitar. Leave the stock nut unless you break it somehow.

    -Finish ... is finicky, from the players complaining about super thick poly on the MIM/MIA to a light wiped-on coat on the Squiers. "Can feel the wood", "cannot feel the wood", "too sticky", "too slippery", ... on and on. Use a high grit (1000grit+) to make the neck feel like satin and all is fine, and then you can polish back up to a shine before you sell it. Don't sand to the wood or you cut the 'guitar I'll never sell' value to half of the normal used price where you'll be back on the forum complaining about how no one values a neck sanded to the wood...

    I'll usually keep the stock pickups and swap out the pots, switch, and jack, $30 spent there can get all the benefits of what goes in the $3,000 models.

    .
     
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  20. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Senior Stratmaster

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    Ok, I’ll play...

    I don’t particularly care where the neck was made these days. It’s not where it came from, it’s the profile and it’s the radius and it’s the frets. I had a MIA Strat in the early 90’s and I did not like the neck at all. I have an early 90’s MIM Strat and I love that neck.

    I’ve got a few modern C necks with jumbo medium frets. That’s a really easy neck for my liking. 9.5” radius is great but I’ve got two Strats with 12” radius and I really like that for low action, high speed and bending without trouble.

    Lately I’ve been gravitating towards the soft V neck so that’s the Eric Johnson’s Strat or the discontinued Classic 50’s or Classic Play 50’s guitars. I’m sure there are others but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

    I’ve got a cheap MIC, 9.5” radius, modern C, Canadian maple with rosewood fretboard, medium jumbo fret neck on my Telecaster. I put on a Tusq synthetic nut, rolled the edges, levelled, crowned and polished the frets and I’ll be darned if it isn’t one of the easiest Bolt on necks I’ve played. Super cheap but like Ron says, the CNC makes all things equal.
     
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