Is a Warmoth neck worth it?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SullyB, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. SullyB


    Nov 22, 2005

    Is a Warmoth neck worth the investment? I plan on installing it on a MIM P-bass, and I was looking at a neck with J-bass specs and a Tele-style headstock. I think that it will look sweet. :cool: But, I have a few questions. First, will it mate with my bass? I think that any good tech/luthier will be able to take care of this, but who knows. :meh: Also, Warmoth claims that their necks are free of "dead spots." Is this just hype? Thanks for any replys and/or advice.

    Sully B. :bassist:
  2. SpanishHarlem


    Nov 29, 2005
    Try USACG instead. I've had nothing but bad experiences with Warmoth.
  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I'm kind of curious...specifically what experiences went bad?

  4. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    bad experiences with Warmoth??? never had one before ... and I can go back to the 80's for Warmoth necks and bodies

    All the best,

  5. SpanishHarlem


    Nov 29, 2005
    I've only made the mistake of ordering from them twice, but in those two orders I've had-

    - Neck pockets not cut to spec
    - bodies routed incorrectly
    - pickguards cut incorrectly
    - long shipping delays, even on in-stock parts
    - unanswered emails
    - generally rude customer service

    I know other people have had good experiences with them, but I can only share my experience. Two orders in two years, both botched, both costing me time, money and frustration. I've been in the market for a new pickguard for the project i'm working on, as well as a bari neck - even though warmoth often has competitive prices, they WILL NOT be getting my business again.

    Go with USACG. Although lots of people have lots of positive things to say about Warmoth, I've NEVER heard any complaints about USACG. And if for whatever reason you decide you need to deal with Warmoth, place your order though a third party (I'd recommend Fat Dawg @ Subway Guitars). It will save you a few bucks, and more importantly, it will save you the frustration and disappointment of facing Warmoth's rude and inefficient service team.

  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I haven't had much direct experience with Warmoth, but my guitarist loves them, his warmoth strat and he's going to do another one.

    I have heard some smack about their bass necks being heavy since they use aluminum rods not graphite.

    I second USACG they're great I built an instrument with their parts, and they totally catered and encouraged my instrument-detail-related OCD. Tommy was unbelieveable.
  7. groucho


    Sep 28, 2005
    Ringwood NJ
    I gotta say - In have put togther dozens of guitars
    and basses with Warmoth and never had any issues,

    BUT - I bought ONE USACG neck for myself, a Jazz
    Bass neck, and it has been costing me money and
    causing me misery ever since! The neck is spectacular
    in the quality of construction but is harsh sounding
    and has massive dead spot problems - even with
    the graphite re-inforcement rods, have tried various
    strings ,pickups,and changing the heads (see my Hipshot
    Ultralites and deadspots post).

    Part of the problem is (no doubt) that every mix of
    features is different! I got a classic 1962 Jazz cut
    quartersawn maple neck with pau ferro finger board
    and stainless frets, probably TOO much of a good thing
    The quartersawn maple AND graphite make for one stiff
    neck, and the stainless frets probably contribute to
    the harshness...

    Should have skipped the quartersawn and maybe the
    stainless frets...
    Live and learn :meh:

    The bass was put together by me in 1982 with a Fender
    1966 maple/rosewood P neckand sounded so good my
    instructor and mentor at the time often borrowed it
    for session work :D

    All the misery started when I put on the USACG neck...

    I am going to try swapping necks another of my basses
    to see what happens.
  8. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    As Warmoth utilizes CNC to shape all of their parts, there is incredible accuracy built into the equasion. I find it incredibly difficult to believe a neck pocket could be cut out of spec - one neck pocket out would equal all of their neck pockets out for a specific body style, and every body I've ordered (P-bass, J-bass, and Deluxe 5) have been dead on. Now if you are talking the miniscule amount of fine sanding you must due to fit any neck to a specific body ... well, this is natural for all instruments regardless of manufacturer (and is even performed within the Fender shop itself)

    Please explain what went wrong on your body. Remember, Warmoth utilizes CNC to shape bodies to Fender approved specs and then in many cases they provide you the option to choose the p/u style(s). By utilizing CNC, if one body is wrong then the entire line of this specific body style would be incorrect, if one p/u shape is wrong all of the others would be wrong, if one neck of a specific style was wrong they would all be wrong for that style. Period.

    When you speak of shipping delays, you are aware that orders are always shipped as a complete entity? If you are custom ordering something or having a part finished, your entire order ships when the last part is completed. If you want things shipped separately, you need to divide your order accordingly. IME everything has shipped within one business day of completion of the last item.

    I can agree with you on the e-mails many times being slow to be responded to. I have found that specific questions (instead of general questions where the info can easily be found on their website) tend to be answered quickly.

    Customer service is all about receiving what you dish out. You have to remember that the person you are talking to was not personally responsible for your order - they didn't make it or ship it. It always, always, always is to your benefit to treat them nicely when you call - you have to be smart up front whenever you deal with any company's customer service whether it be Warmoth, Sears, Starbucks, or your local Chevy dealer. Beginning a conversation with "You messed up my order ..." will always lead to the loo, and you being even more frustrated than before you called. If you think Warmoth has rude customer service I ask you to give Ed Roman a call sometime :D

    Obviously you won't be using Warmoth again, so I am not attempting to persuade you otherwise. My intent here is purely to expose the improbability of CNC created parts being made inaccurately and out of spec. I could be with you if this was a shop building parts individually by hand, but not a large company utilizing CNC to build hundreds of necks/bodies each month.

    All the best,


    I have not affiliation, interest, or compensation with/from Warmoth
  9. SpanishHarlem


    Nov 29, 2005

    I have a basic understanding of CNC technology, and like you I found it difficult to fathom the inaccuracy in the neck pocket. I tried four necks with the body - Two fenders, a squier, and even went so far as to buying a used warmoth neck through my local Craigslist. None of them fit. The pocket was far too narrow.

    I'm not sure what you consider 'fine sanding.' I spent a significant amount of time sanding the heels of the necks and the pocket itself. I eventually gave up, and took it to a professional. In addition to sanding the pocket, he had to remove more than a 1/4" from the sides of heel of the neck, and even then it was an incredibly tight fit. I love the idea of a tight fit in the pocket - but not so tight that I have to worry about damaging the instrument to get the neck off at some later date. Even with all of the sanding that was done, there's already a stress crack from the tightness of the fit.

    With the pickup routing, I'd specifically asked the the body be routed to fit everything - HB's, MiniHBs, and P90s. I like to experiment with new gear and different sounds, so options and versatility are always good things. I'm not sure if it was an error with the CNC or with the operator, but the body will not fit P90s. The pickguard was also cut improperly. I'd ordered it to fit a MiniHB. I started with a GFS pickup which barely fit, but it was so tight that the pickup would get stuck when trying to raise it past a certain height. The gibson pickup I tried never fit at all.

    My most recent order was parts only. No wood, no custom work. Everything in stock. I was told that my order would ship the next day, when in fact it took nearly a week to ship. And when it arrived, the order was incorrect.

    When I send emails about the status of my order, I never received a response. And even before my order, asking specific yes/no questions (which were not answered on their website), received a response of "maybe".

    I think you're selling me short here. Yeah, I'm a New Yorker, which by nature and necessity means I'm a bastard, a misanthrope, and a disgruntled sumnabitch. But that said, I'm also a small business owner, and treat people the way I'd like to be treated. I say please and thank you. I laugh at the sales guys stupid joke. Even when faced with a rude sales manager and disinterested employees, I request, not demand.

    In my experience, there's often two philosophies of customer service - either the customer is always right, or the customer is always an *******. Either way, the customer is still the customer, and I beleive that it is the responsibility of the business to keep the customer happy (of course, within reason, and without "giving away the store") and make sure that promises and expectations are met. I've worked in customer service, and know that it's not always the easiest or most enjoyable occupation in the world.

    When my order was delayed for five days, no one offered to expedite, upgrade, or refund my shipping. When my order was fulfilled incorrectly, no one apologized (in fact, the opposite was true - I was given a story about how they'd never make such a mistake, and it had to have been my error). When I had to ship parts back to them, due to their mistake, I requested that my shipping fees be at least partially refunded. What I received was out right refusal and indignation. When I asked for confirmation that they received the items I returned, well, I still haven't heard anything...

    Again, I entirely agree with you that with CNC technology, these inaccuracies should be improbable. But, I've learned that they definitely are not impossible. Whatever the reason for the errors, I was extremely disappointed with the custom work I ordered. That, combined with all of the other problems I've had with Warmoth, will assure that they no longer receive my business. Maybe my experience was that one in a million (well, now it's 2 in a million) where everything went to hell - but it's the only experience I can draw upon.

    I'm fairly new to TalkBass, and have been having a great time here. I believe in the power of the Internet, and specifically forums like this, to educate and inform the consumer. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always the most wellspoken, and I definitely haven't tried everything under the sun, but when I see someone asking "Is Warmoth worth it?", and wanting to contribute to a forum I enjoy and respect; I can only draw from my experiences, and outrightly say, "No, no, it isn't." Others will share their opinions and experiences, and from there comes discourse and discussion. It's there reason we're all here.

    Rodent, Thank You for your detailed respnse. If you want to stand by Warmoth, more power to ya. I hope nothing I have said has offended, as that is not my intention, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

    Have a good weekend.
  10. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    USACG made me a beautiful Jazz neck. Workmanship is superb, there are no dead spots and Steve was great to work with.
    They make everything to the specific customer specs, but I still had a neck and custom body at my door in under 5 weeks.
    I have heard that Warmoth necks are both heavier and a bit chunkier also.
  11. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader" Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Macungie, PA
    pair it up with a warm body.
  12. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader" Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Macungie, PA
    I've built numerous basses using both companies and I now trend more towards USA custom. The necks are just as good, if not better, and lighter, not as chunky. Tommy is a great guy to work with. Nothing wrong with the Warmoth guys, Tommy just seems, more concerned and hands on to me. The past few projects I did were warmoth bodies and USA necks. Came out mint. :D :) :hyper:
  13. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I have never used USACG, but have had nothing but good experiences with Warmoth. I thought their service was great.
  14. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    SH -

    Not hard feelings at all - and I never guessed where you were from until you noted it in your post above. Good thing I still don't live in Boston, eh? Then we could roll this over into baseball and have a load of fun :D

    One of the great things about TB is that we can have a discussion like this without yelling at each other, and that people beyond you and I can learn from our conversations on this topic. You have good points - and if I had received the same merchandise as you, I would most likely have a similar opinion.

    While your Warmoth experience has lead you to USACG, my experience inspired me to begin making my own bodies and necks. I wanted something more specific to my personal tastes, and in several cases it wasn't something Warmoth was able to do based on thiser CNC driven workflow. OK, they could physically do it - but the set-up fees would have killed me for the few bodies/necks I'd be ordering at any given time.

    All the best on your future projects - and a belated welcome to TB!

  15. SpanishHarlem


    Nov 29, 2005
    I'll be sure to post a pic of my current project when it's ready - not a custom job, but a slightly different parts-bass...

    Anyway, thanks for the welcome.
  16. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    I just finished an excellent pj project that used a USACG p neck and a warmoth body. Both parties were agreeable. I wanted to make the bass a tone monster while still keeping the weight down. This is the exact reason I choose USACG for necks. Graphite rods and top quality wood, not to mention impeccable workmanship. I got the neck, finished it assembled the bass and my tech installed the nut a set it up. He told me the bass sounds great and the fret dress was equally good - as in he didn't need to do anything. I'm working on a project to debut right here on TB using USA custom guitars. Tommy puts out a great product -and one that is essentially different from warmoth. Choose whichever neck meets your specs - for me it's USACG all the time. but if you want binding and blocks ;) better go to the turtle.
  17. dooft11


    Dec 30, 2003
    as a outside US customer, i contacted both Warmoth and USACG, the first touch feeling is the the USACG is more friendly to the enquiry. I did asked about a quote for custom width neck and some other question. Warmoth replied to me as i am talking to a road cop. while CG they explained to me very detail and most importantly the give me alternative solution. thats what really help me.( i must say my English is poor in both email to these two company - so language dont count)
    However, Warmoth seems to have better offer from their nicely constructed website- CG.. please upgrade your site.. ;)
    BTW, i heard that Carey is using CG parts for his coming Nord J bass right?
  18. My USACG experience amounts to 2 quote requests for some fairly expensive Jazz necks - inlay, widths, etc.. I made these at different times always using their forms and system to make the requests assuming that was the way to get it done...

    I have never recieved a reply, or an acknowledgement of the requests, even after doing followups.

    That should give you a really good idea of where their heads are at...well up their cavernous butts so they can't hear or see!

    OTOH, Warmoth has done pretty well. I have had the wrong item shipped (chrome instead of black) and returned it immediately for credited shipping. That's been my only real problem with Warmoth. I have ordered necks and other parts but never bodies.

    And, if I could point out, the original question was about Warmoth necks. SpanishHarlem's experiences - as bad as they've been (whew!) - only relate to bodies and guitar bodies at that, as far as he's stated. That may or may not translate to buying a bass neck but the company is the same and that's what you should consider.
  19. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I've bought three bass necks from Warmoth.

    The good:
    A more "solid" and consistent sound;
    no dead spots;
    nice fret work;
    lots of options.

    The bad:
    more weight;
    chunkier (I like Precision necks, but I wouldn't get a Precision neck from Warmoth unless you like baseball-bat necks);
    they won't drill the neck mounting holes for you.
  20. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    We do now, standard. Also the 21st-fret fingerboard extension on P and J necks now comes rounded like a stock Fender neck.