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Neck Replacement Advice

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ChrisC, Nov 22, 2020 at 12:31 PM.

  1. ChrisC

    ChrisC TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I have a Vintera Tele, the Standard model with the U shaped neck with a 9.5 radius. This is the StringBender guitar I purchased from Gene Parsons earlier this year and posted about it here
    This Vintera model emulates a '50s style Tele, hence the 9.5 neck. However, this is my first experience with this style neck so was unaware it might be an issue for me.

    For years, through a combination of computer typing and guitar playing, I had developed a chronic and very stubborn case of left elbow tendonitis. After a variety of treatments, last year I finally made some progress where I could type and play pain-free again.

    However, when I play the Vintera for even short periods of time, the extra effort the fat neck requires is aggravating the injury.
    *
    As a result, I would like to replace the neck with a standard 7.5 radius style Tele neck.

    Other than the current stock Fender neck, should I consider other styles and vendors?
    Also, would any seller likely offer me some credit on my existing neck?

    Appreciate any help!
     
  2. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Are you sure it's the radius and not the U shape?
    Either way, I suppose, you want a different neck.
    I can only recommend buying something you are already familiar with.
     
  3. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    There is a big variety of neck shapes available, but not sure how you'd know what's best for you. (Like @FenderLover suggests, I've gone with my favorite of the different ones I've had.) For example, here is the list of profiles at Musikraft: https://musikraft.com/back-profile-guitar-6-string/

    One other thought, make sure you're not pressing the strings down any harder than necessary? That takes some focused practice and thought. (e.g. practice familiar scales, licks, chords and try to find the absolute lightest you need to press) Tendons take lots of time to heal/recover after inflammation starts. Good luck!
     
  4. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    If you're sitting down when you play, try putting the guitar on your left leg. That may change things enough to get rid of the problem. If it happens when you're standing up, try raising the guitar/shortening the strap.

    It costs nothing to change your body's geometry. You'll know right away whether it helps or not.
     
  5. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    There's a 50's "C" maple neck 7.25 radius and nitro finish at Stratosphere for $249.99.

    Keeps your guitar "Fender".

    The original thought was when the frets wore out you replaced the neck with a new one.

    You could sell the old neck to offset it.
     
  6. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I fully, wholeheartedly agree with Sea Devil's advice WRT using your left leg. IMO it's a more natural position for your shoulders, back and arms and a lot less stressful. Using a foot rest of some kind for your left foot also helps, to help raise your leg into position.

    You might even find out the neck shape is not really the problem!

    I am guessing right now either the back-to-front "depth" of the neck or its width is limiting your ability to reach across the fretboard and you may be over-arching or hunching to compensate.

    I am not a medical person at all but I've been plagued with shoulder tendonitis for the last 25 years and learned a few tricks.

    Another thing to consider is balance - are you having to spend extra effort lifting the guitar into position all the time? If so a wider grippy strap might help.

    I would try modifying my playing position before trying a different neck, it might be possible to avoid the expense.
     
  7. ChrisC

    ChrisC TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for the prompt replies, all are much appreciated!

    Yes, its the thick U-shape that's the problem.

    I struggled with the tendonitis for almost 4 years which included a 6 month break from playing, physical therapy, cortisone shots, and two PRP treatments (if you are unfamiliar with PRP). The first PRP did nothing and set me back a bundle since insurance doesn't cover it. Earlier this year, I was persuaded by a different doc to try PRP again where his method was different from the first and unbelievably, it worked.

    Trying to get the tendonitis to heal was a major nightmare so I don’t want to take any risks in injuring it again. I decided on replacing the neck because my '52 Reissue Tele has a much thinner neck and gives me no pain.

    I have purchased from Warmoth in the past and they seem to have a lot of options for a new neck. Last night I did my best in selecting the options and building a quote for a quality neck that I think would be close to what I have on my other Tele.

    Could you guys review and let me know what you think?

    It's not cheap but I already have a lot invested in the guitar and since I'm not taking any vacations, going to the movies or eating in restaurants...
    • Style: Telecaster®
    • Construction: Modern Construction
    • Scale: 25-1/2 in.
    • Neck Wood:
      • Shaft Wood: Roasted Maple
      • Fret board Wood: Roasted Maple
    • Right/Left: Right Handed
    • Nut Width: 1-11/16"
    • Neck Profile: Standard thin
    • Radius: 10-16" compound
    • # of Frets: 22
    • Fret Size: 6150
    • Tuner Ream: Gotoh/Grover (13/32" 11/32")
    • Inlays:
      • Inlays: Black Face Dots
      • Side Dots: Black Side Dots
    • Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: White Corian - Earvana Nut
    • Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
     
  8. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Sell the guitar & buy one that suits you better. If you keep yours & sell the U neck, you have instantly devalued it if you ever have to sell. If you have to have the body, just get a neck that suits you better & keep the original. There are usually a given # of great necks for sale at any time on the gear forums.
     
  9. ChrisC

    ChrisC TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Thanks Snidely (and a fan of the great W.C. perhaps?)

    I'm not sure how much fetish value the Vintera series will ultimately have, my MM guitar new from GC or MF would be ~ $800 and of course is a quasi-reproduction of an earlier era.

    As a player, I expect Gene's StringBender would add value to it but the neck is not a functional part of the mechanism. However, point taken about holding on to the original neck, which I will do (thanks).

    In any case, I don't have that many years left to regard my guitars as anything other than tone machines for my own enjoyment. To set context, I remember waking up to the sound of the local radio station playing Buddy Holly's new release, "Peggy Sue" :)

    Life was never the same, thereafter...
     
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.
  10. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure that the 10-16" compound radius will feel right to you if you're used to a '52RI neck, which has a 7.25" radius.

    The modern construction neck has a really nice feature, though; you can fine-tune the truss rod without taking off the neck, using the secondary adjustment on the treble side.

    You might want to try the vintage construction version, or you might want to go with a Musikraft blackguard neck with a 7.25-9" compound radius. In spite of the widespread belief that all early Teles and Esquires had baseball bat necks, there's a variety of sizes and shapes available, all described in exacting detail. They do roasted maple necks as well.

    If you're ordering an unfinished neck, I recommend "sizing up," by which I mean getting one a little bigger than you want. You can reshape the back of the neck to fit your hand by just running your hand up and down the neck while holding a piece of rough sandpaper. I mean really rough, like 80-100 grit. Then you can smooth it out up to 400 or 600, maybe even 800. A soft backing pad, like those found on Micro-mesh abrasives, steel wool or Scotch-Brite, can help to finesse the job, and you can even give the transition from neck to headstock a classic "Tadeo taper" if you want. I'm not sure I would do this with a Musikraft neck, since they're so painstakingly true to unique specs, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it on a Warmoth, and I've done it twice with spectacular success.

    I still think it's a good idea to study the mechanics and geometry of your playing, paying particular attention to unnecessary tension, and see whether some adjustments might help. There's an absolutely fantastic book about this called The Principles of Correct Practice for the Guitar by Jamie Andrea, and it's worth checking out.
     
  11. ChrisC

    ChrisC TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Apologies for the typo in my original message where I stated the radius of of the Vintera at 9.5. It should read 7.25 and the issue is actually the thick U-shape. Sorry for the confusion :oops:

    Sea Devil-
    Thanks for all the info and the link to Musikraft where their selection options are even more precise than Warmoth. You are the second response to suggest them so assume they are well regarded here at the TDPRI.

    I have to confess a lack of knowledge about many of the selection options so I need to do some research:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020 at 1:40 AM
  12. funkysoul

    funkysoul Tele-Meister

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    i ll give my exp.i've got 2 part casters tele U shape and strat V shape both 1" at 1rst fret.fat enough.4 years back i was in a very heavy job and came to place that i could use more than 15 min my left hand fingers.so from both 9,5r neck the more easyer to play was the V. and i cant inderstand how would a lower action 9,5r neck could be cause more pain than a higher action 7,5r
     
  13. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    To call Musikraft "well regarded" is an understatement. That's primo stuff. Their Blackguard neck specs come from guitars depicted in nearly pornographic detail in Nacho Banos's coffee-table book The Blackguard, for whatever that's worth; seeing the original, often with a ton of wear, won't help you to understand how it feels.

    As far as fretboard radius goes, it's not surprising that a smaller radius can be more comfortable for some players. It's designed to facilitate chording, and can be particularly good for bar(re) chords. Try a quick experiment: touch the tips of your left thumb and left index finger together with no tension. Your index finger is curved. It takes tension to straighten it the way it would have to be on a flat fretboard. Some of that tension will involve your forearm's flexor muscles, and that's bad for your condition.

    If the deep U shape is bad for you, it has to be because of the shoulder. Something about that must not feel right to your thumb, especially if you prefer to play thumb-over. A soft V might feel good, although V necks always seem weird at first.

    One of the Warmoth necks I re-shaped has this profile; the widest point is actually below the slab board. It feels fantastic! (Yes, it involved filing down the ends of the frets as well, but the nut is 1.75", so there was still plenty of width.)

    23CF6382-5D1D-4016-BD90-C45273D38C9C.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020 at 10:52 AM
  14. ChrisC

    ChrisC TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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