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Best source for "cheapie" necks

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by MN Punk, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. MN Punk

    MN Punk Tele-Holic

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    I like building budget teles. They are good practice to somebody like me who is still a bit green, and it's fun to sell/give them to cash-strapped beginner players when I'm done.

    While I love pickup wiring and finishing/refinishing, I'm not really motivated to learn how to make necks at this stage (and lack a lot of the the tools I would need to do so), so I'm always on the look-out for inexpensive yet relatively usable necks.

    My experience with necks from GFS has been... not great. I like their pickups; I like a lot of their electronics. I even like some of their el-cheapo bodies... The necks are just awful. Maybe the couple I ordered were dogs and I might give them another chance or two, but generally speaking, it's a $50 neck for $50 plus shipping.

    For the moment, the most reliable way I'm finding to get a hold of CHEAP yet beginner-worthy guitar necks is:

    1. Watch Craigslist for budget strats and strat copies. (Squier, Peavey, Yamaha, and various wonders of the J&R catalog.)

    2. If the neck is good (or only has problems that are fixable) and they are willing to part with the guitar for $40 or less, buy it.

    3. Put new tuners and/or a new nut on the neck. Chuck everything else in the parts bin.

    4. Fix any fret issues, refinish as desired, set action after it's mounted.

    Not only do you end up with a neck (which you pre-inspected and cherry-picked) for less than the cost of an unfinished "paddle-head" neck from GFS, but you add to the bin of sometimes-useful parts (audio taper pots, pickups for Nashville builds, 5-way switches, etc.) so I find that this is more often than not the better way to go.

    Sometimes the heel needs to be reshaped a bit, and you may need to change things up to accommodate differing lengths or nut widths... but more often than not (especially if you manage to find a "closet classic" from somebody that got a guitar for Christmas one year and never bothered to learn to play) you end up with a neck that needs less work than one of those GFS jobs.

    Every once in a while, you also end up scoring a relatively desirable Strat body which you can clean up a bit and then turn around and sell to people who like assembling custom strats, which means the neck ends up costing you damn near $0.

    Anybody else find good neck sources for those garage-projects that you don't want to buy a brand stinkin' new Warmoth or graphite Mighty Mite for? I'm talking about those projects where you want the whole guitar to cost less than what some of the well-established "good" necks usually go for.
     
  2. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  3. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    About 200$ worth of materials.
    I built the body, 1 piece southern yellow pine
    Eden paddle headstock, neck
    Wilkinson Bridge and tuners
    GFS hardware
    Lil puncher pickups
    camoclad camo
    Krylon hosta leaf color, krylon acrylic lacquer clear.
     
  4. inspectorted

    inspectorted TDPRI Member

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    That guitar is boss!!! And for what you have in it, I'd say your doin alright. Good job
     
  5. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

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    A person can make a better neck than they might be able to buy for about $15-$20 after some practice. If one gets a deal on the right wood form time to time maybe cheaper.
     
  6. Zatar

    Zatar Tele-Meister

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    and of course the ebay :) (so i mean: make your own)
     
  7. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

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    I've had really good luck with Mighty Mite necks lately. I've built and sold two guitars using MM necks and the guys who bought them say they play really nice.

    I get mine from MJW Customs. He does a fret level and polish included with the base price. Both mine have been sweet for about $100 each.

    http://mjwcustoms.4t.com/whats_new_1.html
     
  8. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

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    This one used a Strat V profile, rosewood board.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've bought necks from Mark as well. He is a good guy to deal with, plus he is cool to call up and BS about building guitars with.

    The thing I don't like about MM is that the frets can be very soft, and wear out quickly. But the woodworking is usually pretty good though.
     
  10. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

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    This one used a Strat compound radius neck. It's a nice 9.5-12 radius.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

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    I don't keep 'em around long enough to wear the frets out :D
     
  12. MN Punk

    MN Punk Tele-Holic

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    Last time I re-strung my Highway One, I discovered a groove or two that indicated that MM is far from the only neck-maker with the problem of frets that are too soft. :(

    Colt: Thanks for the heads-up on Eden! I bookmarked their site so I can give them a try on one of my next projects.
     
  13. kyle1167

    kyle1167 Tele-Holic

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    Mark contacted me recently and told me he was no longer dealing MM necks. I guess the quality of the last two batches he received was horrible.
     
  14. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

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    Well, that tells you something. About MM and Mark!
     
  15. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    There are number of China / Hong Kong sellers on ebay that sell finished and unfinished necks very reasonably. I took a chance on one recently and was pleasantly surprised. There have been a few sellers whose neck pictures have not inspired confidence, so were easily ignored. The neck I bought exactly matched the rather more impressive pictures that were posted.

    Most of the ones I've seen have replica headstock shapes, so you don't have to put up with some odd shape.

    The risks of importing do depend somewhat on how strict your country's customs and quarantine regulations are. You may get hit for import duty, and some countries are strict about wood products, requiring them to undergo checking for pests (at your cost)..

    But you may find a local importer who's already bringing them in in bulk, again via ebay.
     
  16. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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  17. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry to digress on this thread but...Colt, what did you use for knobs on this? Are they shell casings? Got a close up photo?
     
  18. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Those are Winchester steel shot 3" twelve gauge brass. The selector switch is a .40 cal.

    I cycled the 12 gauge shells through my 11-87, cut the plastic off, and filled them with two part epoxy, like mitey putty. I cut the .40 cal brass shell short on my metal band saw and mounted it the same way.

    I'll check and see if I have any close ups of that guitar.
     
  19. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Sweet! I might have to borrow that idea if ya don't mind:D
     
  20. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Go for it man.
     
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