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Advice on replacement necks

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Btbp, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Btbp


    Mar 2, 2008
    Everywhere at once
    (Apologies up front if there is a thread on this already, and if so please send the URL)

    I've given up on finding an affordable Fender Zone Deluxe, and have a builder willing to make a body to my specs using my Lyte as a template.

    So I need a neck.

    Ideally I'll get the same Ebony fingerboard J-bass neck from Moon, if they still do that (they modded two of my basses about 20 years ago when I lived there - they are still my mains).

    But...if not, I have questions for selecting necks around these areas: makes, quality, fitting, finish, shape, frets, length, wood.

    On one hand with Mightymite you have few choices vs. Warmouth there are many, so there's a lot to consider.

    Shape/contour: I've been playing for many years and am far from being unfamiliar with equipment, but I am not familiar with all the Fender neck configs (i.e. C-shape, D-shape, etc.) - are there any guides to these?

    Fitting: As the builder of the body will be building from scratch, I'm assuming (for now only) that the neck pocket can be made to accommodate any neck.

    Length: Ideally, as this would be a semi-custom bass, I'd prefer 22 or at least 21 frets, and that probably means the fretboard hangs over the neck base. I'm sticking with 34" as I have small hands.

    Frets: I've used Fenders for years, and don't really like jumbo frets, and the more narrow profile seems better. I play somewhat aggressively and with slightly higher action than some people as a result.

    Any issues with narrow frets? I have them on my Decade Skyline, but it's not a good reference point as that bass I find difficult and uncomfortable to play for very long, and going back to my J-neck is extremely comfortable. I think the neck shape is the reason but the frets may be as well. But the solid build on the Decade is quite appealing, much like what I'd expect of a Rick, which I've never owned unfortunately. So many basses, so little $....

    If there's a thread on thin vs. wide frets I'd be interested to read that.

    Wood: I'm not looking for a $3,000 bass and want to keep costs down but not so much so to not get what I want in the end. The goal is a warm, Fender-y sounding bass and not a MM funk machine (= Marcus Miller or MusicMan).

    I prefer Rosewood / Ebony and not a maple fretboard. I'm pretty lost with Pao Ferro, Bubinga and the like. Warmouth do a nice job of explaining these, but I'm still a bit lost on the utlimate combination.

    Years ago I tried a MM with a Modulus graphite neck and really liked it, but it's one thing to like something in a shop and another to live with it. Kinda like my Decade.....

    Plus now we have to consider the new laws for exotic woods, and I live in Singapore, so some US-based makers can't export some varieties.

    Finish: I believe the finish on my Moon necks are Satin, so I'd like to stick with that.

    Quality / Makes: Any recommendations, either for or against?
    • MightyMite
    • Warmouth
    • usacustomguitars.com
    • Moses Graphite (if one wants a graphite neck, which I am considering)
    • AllParts
    • Musicians Friend
    • Stewmac
    • ...and I'm sure there are others

    Apologies for the long post and many questions, hopefully it will spark an informative discussion and others will benefit.
  2. Jeff Huber

    Jeff Huber

    Oct 15, 2010
    Got me, but I'm eager to see what the informed have to say on the subject as I'm feeling a Frankenstein J Bass project coming on. I'll be sticking some esoteric electronics on a new body and neck that are currently idling on a Squier.

    At this early stage, Warmouth has the lead among the high end/boutique body parts makers, but I need to do some more research.

    FWIW, I really like Warmouth's necks so far.

  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Warmoth has the most options, and a slim option so they could probably get the closest to what you want, they can do 22 so there is no problem, and ebony is no problem. UsaCG can also do the 22 and the ebony per your order. Both are very well made F-type clone parts makers. If you are going the cheap route, look at Mighty Mite, mid line with the take what you can get would be Stew Mac, Allparts, WD, Musikraft etc. All are well made, and will serve you well. But also take a look at Carvin, their necks are outstanding, and you can order how you want.

    All of the high end have neck design calculators online, so compare what you want, and see which fits your budget, and shipping needs. Best of luck.
  4. Jeff Huber

    Jeff Huber

    Oct 15, 2010
    Thanks for suggesting Carvin, ML, I hadn't thought about them.

  5. I purchased a Warmoth Slim Taper jazz neck Maple\Rosewood with Pearloid inlays and binding
    love it!!!! very stable and has great sustain and the slim taper design is lighter than their standard contoured neck
    now i have Warmoth necks on almost all my basses
    great quality you won't be dissapointed
  6. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    P.M sent
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Sorry for what may be an elementary question, but what's so hard about finding a Fender Zone Deluxe? The hard part might be getting shipped to singapore, but they come up pretty frequently and are a heck of a lot cheaper than getting one custom made, even if you buy a pre-fab neck (especially if you buy a pre-fab neck). I'm a little lost here, you can get a 4 string for around 275-400 and a 5er for 400-600... in my book that's a heck of a lot cheaper than a custom build and it's the real thing...

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