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Analytical Ways to Choose The Correct Fender Stratocaster Neck

May 12, 2008
After spending some time writing this article, I can see why you would want to stick your head in a hole when it comes to guitar necks. The array of choices is dizzying if you get very involved.

The Fender Stratocaster is the guitar neck we narrowed it down to. Why, because the neck bolts on and obviously unbolts to come off. What differences can we expect when it comes to mounting a guitar neck? The two methods of preference are, #1. Glued on necks as in most Gibson Guitars and #2. Bolt On necks as in most Fender Guitars.

Is one method of installation better? Other than the ease of exchange and variety of necks for a Strat, most of the preference is personal in terms of what type of guitar you prefer to play.

Bolt on necks are easier to replace and therefore more interesting to talk about. Fender Strats have bolt on necks. Using four bolts to secure the neck into the CNC (computer numerically controlled) or machined by a super accurate computerized tool, and then perfectly bolts to the body with four bolts as mentioned above. That sounds easy enough, that is if you go back with a stock replacement neck.

Simple enough, right? Now we can get dirty deep into Strat neck(ology). You want a custom neck, or something that fits your hands better?.

The array of woods available is surprising and interesting. Both in terms of type of wood and cost. The shapes or curvature of the back of the neck includes six to nine styles, at least for a Stratocaster. Wide and deep for giant hands (SRV had giant hands), check out the boatneck. Or a narrow V-neck such as the Eric Clapton Strat, for for others hand sizes as well. Size and contour has a lot to do with your music style, particularly if you play (farmers chords) which is where you are playing a barre chord, but using your thumb on the low E string.

Then one must deal with fret sizes. Ranging from narrow frets to huge super jumbo frets, which are my preference. Of less importance is the type of fret wire available. I definitely prefer standard wire, which is actually the same material as guitar string wire over the softer stainless steel or gold color fret wire.
Nut options should be limited to bone. It provides the best of all worlds.

The beat guitar-resource for explaining the anatomy of a neck, and some of the custom choices available including: the Binding, Conversion Necks, Finishes, Fret-board Extensions, Fret-board Radius, Heel Width & Mounting, Inlay/Custom Inlay, Neck Woods. Peg-head Veneer, Scalloping, Side Adjust Mechanism, Truss Rods and Tuner Holes better than Warmoth Direct.

I'm not telling you to buy from Warmoth, some of these stores may be better places to buy from in terms of pricing and availability from online guitar stores.

Just don't doubt the difference you can make in terms of personalization, playability and comfort, not to mention sound when you get a rare opportunity to change your neck. One nice change is to make is to go to a reverse headstock. It changes the sound and playability since you have reversed the string lengths on a Strat when you do that.

Enjoy, read, and you be the judge.

Note: When looking for a replacement guitar neck, make sure the style of neck you are looking for will fit the guitar body you plan on attaching the neck too. Don't be bashful, do a lot of research by emailing or phoning the company to get the feedback you need to have when replacing your neck.
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