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New Neck Day (is that a thing?) MIM James Burton Tele neck

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by theprofessor, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I just started looking around for another neck for my Telecaster. My 2011 FSR Butterscotch Blonde came with a modern C-shape neck with medium jumbo frets (as I suppose they all do). The C was feeling a bit shallow, and I was beginning to think that my fretting hand got tired faster than it should.

    I wandered over into the Classifieds and found @GuitarJonz advertising a 1996 MIM James Burton Tele neck. We did the deal, and he sent it down to me over the weekend. Got it in today and put it on. I love the feel of this neck. A nice full C-shape, maybe kind of a U.

    I don't currently have a contour gauge, but I found an old post on TDPRI by @timmer that includes a photo of the contour. Timmer says, "The neck at the nut is right at 7/8ths, and is just a tad bigger at the heel."

    James Burton neck profile.jpg

    As far as width goes, I measured 54.77 (2.16") mm at the heel, 50.46 mm (1.99") at the 12th fret, and 42.32 mm (1.67") at the first fret.

    IMG_0199.JPG IMG_0200.JPG IMG_0202.JPG
     

  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    One thing I've found really interesting is that it's about 1 mm narrower than the one that comes on the FSR. That one (pic below) measured 55.81 mm at the heel in comparison to the Burton's 54.77mm.

    IMG_0198.JPG

    The MIM Burton lines up with the holes on the FSR body without a problem, but there is a gap between the neck and the sides of the heel. This is just aesthetic, I suppose, and it doesn't bother me.

    The neck plays a lot faster and is a lot more comfortable so far. I much prefer these vintage-style frets to the medium-jumbo ones (By the way, what's the number for identifying these frets?).

    Here are some pics that show some comparison between the two.

    Burton on top, FSR neck on bottom:

    IMG_0204.JPG

    FSR neck on top, Burton on bottom. I'm not sure the angle of the photo is the best for comparison...
    IMG_0208.JPG

    Again, FSR on top, Burton on bottom:
    IMG_0209.JPG

    This thing's a keeper. It has a little bit of honest wear on the body, but the frets look almost new. Plays great!
     

  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Very nicely done!

    Yeah, before the 50s Baja, the James Burton was the MIM neck to get after. Deep Boatneck shape, that is, a U shape but not too much shoulder. Always enjoyed every minute I spent playing those necks.

    It looks like the James Burton has Gotoh splits on there. Is that correct?
     
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  4. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    That's right. Gotoh split-shaft non-staggered. That's what I prefer, and I think that's what came on these. I think. As for the 50's Baja, is it a soft V? How does it compare to the Burton?
     

  5. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    Mine is a '96 neck on a '97 body, original that way. It's a cool U-profile that not quite as deep at the '52 RI and doesn't have as much shoulder.

    It's used on both the Standard and Signature models, and the feature set of the neck is unique AFAIK: U-profile, vintage frets, 9 1/2" radius, satin finish, spagetti logo. I know of no other model that uses a neck with this specific feature set.
     

  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    My recollection is, the 50s Baja is actually a little thinner at the first fret and is tapered - the MIM Burton has so little taper.

    The 50s Baja has this semi-V area from fret 1 to about fret 6 that some can feel and some do not - but the Baja is in no respect a U neck and the Burton is mighty close to one.

    I've got 7 of the Bajas but I'd personally be hard pressed to say its neck is "better" than the MIM Burton. But these days the Baja gets all the buzz. It could be less than half the guys on TDPRI have ever even held a MIM Burton neck. Heck, I have not played a MIM Burton necked guitar in maybe 2 years myself. It should be the Holy Grail but I think a lot of people haven't heard of it.

    Confused to hear Archetype say the Burton Signature (USA) has the same profile as the MIM version. I've seen a fair number of the USA Burton, played maybe 2 and it seemed to me that neck profile was a good bit thinner and more conventional in cross section.
     

  7. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    It seems perfect for me so far. I like the combination of the shape (not thin at all, but not a baseball bat) and the modern radius with the vintage-sized frets and the vintage aesthetics, all without being too sticky and glossy. I think the satin thing really works. I have a 1996 Tex-Mex Strat (the immediate predecessor the Jimmie Vaughan), and it has the exact same finish and plays fast, too.

    Interesting! When I looked up discussions of it on the Interwebs before buying it, that's pretty much what everybody said: that it's their favorite neck (some of these threads likely preceded the 50's Baja) and that the guitar was worth it just for the neck. That's what convinced me.
     

  8. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    Interesting. You could be right. I've played only one example (not exactly statistically significant) of the USA model and it seemed identical to my MIM from nut to heel. They do have different part numbers, but in Fender's world that can mean anything, or not.

    0048707000 Neck, Mexico, Burton Telecaster, M/N
    0036559000 Neck, James Burton Telecaster, M/N
     

  9. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    MA
    Hey, glad you like it! I went to a Fralin/Allparts neck instead, which is .96 fat at 1st fret, but with slightly rounded off shoulders, almost to boatneck, much more comfy to me than the full size FAT profiles. I wanted the bigger frets, which my other Burton neck on my #1 had been modded with, before I got it.

    I've had a Baja neck, and liked it too. I didn't feel much of a V on that one, but found the finish a bit too thick for my taste, and didn't want to mod it with steel wool.
     

  10. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Does any of you know what these frets on my Burton neck are called, other than "vintage"? Is there a number that indicates fret type? I'd like to know.
     

  11. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    MA
    telemnemonics likes this.

  12. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Very helpful, thank you. I had never really thought of referring to frets by a number until I started seeing discussions about them, with folks throwing numbers around like it was math class...

    Also: Does anyone know how the bigger frets developed from these vintage-small sizes on the Fenders? Perhaps there were other companies using bigger or wider frets, like Gibson. But what I'm after is this: what is seen to be the advantage of, say, medium jumbo frets over these vintage-small 6230's, and was there a time in which the transition was natural, due to certain playing styles or the like?
     

  13. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    MA
    On that chart, they say that 6130 frets are sometimes called medium jumbo. I dont agree, since they are wider, but actually shorter than vintage 6230. I consider the taller 6105 and 6150 (my fave) as medium jumbo, and the real big 6100 as jumbo. But, that's just me, YMMV.
     

  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Interesting factoid: I went over to the hardware store to weigh each guitar neck on a magnificent Stimpson scale that's older than I am. The Burton neck + tuners is lighter than the FSR neck + the same tuners, just by a hair.

    Burton: 1 lb 7 oz
    FSR: 1 lb 7.7 oz

    Since my whole guitar weighed 7 lbs 3.1 oz when I last weighed it, I'm supposing that means my loaded FSR body weighs 5 lbs 11.2 oz (91.4 oz).
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018

  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Those conversion bushings on the FSR are probably most of an ounce heavier than the little bushings used (I think) on that MIM James Burton. And if one has got Ping splits and another has Gotoh splits......
     

  16. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yes, maybe it's the conversion bushings!

    I also find the different fit interesting. I mentioned this in an earlier post. The FSR neck fits better to the FSR body/neck pocket, whereas the new Burton neck definitely has some space around it on both sides. It's about 1mm thinner at the heel than the FSR neck is. I'm wondering whether some of that is the difference in age, but also the fact that the Burton neck has been living in Massachusetts while the FSR one has been living in Georgia...

    IMG_0210.JPG IMG_0211.JPG
     
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  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Here's a bit to add. I got a contour gauge today, and I took measurements of my three electric guitars. I would have liked to measure the MIM FSR neck that I used to have on my Tele, but it's already out the door. Anyway, I'm betting that it would be something like the 1996 MIM Tex-Mex Strat neck here, since they're both a "modern C" shape. I took the contour of each of these at the 12th fret.

    IMG_0234.JPG
     

  18. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    MA
    Whoa! That Epi is a beast!
     

  19. teletimetx

    teletimetx Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Jul 25, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Congrats on the neck!

    I got a JB std MIM not quite 3 years ago and like the neck a lot - in playing terms, it's been very comfortable. For awhile, I had both the JB and a 50's Baja, with the chunky neck.

    The Baja is gone and the JB is #1 for me. I like the U and like you, I really like the smaller vintage frets. Suits my style, YMMV, etc. but I think the JB is a lifelong keeper for me.
     

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