Neck replacement, worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fake Trees, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Fake Trees

    Fake Trees

    Feb 9, 2003
    HI all,
    My (used) Jazz bass apperently has a bad neck, possibly a very cheap one (the rest is really great and well worth what i paid for it, nice sunburst MIJ body, fender custom shop pickups, nice bridge, new strings). Many problems arise from the neck, however. The neck seems to be out of allinement and the tuner holes seem to be poorly placed, the neck just doesnt seem to be made for the Fender Jazz body, even though it is clearly a jazz neck. The fret job is not all that great and i cant get any decent action. The neck is pretty screwed up, the G string buzzez even when its action is set HIGHER than the other strings (which buzz much less). Yeah, so something is really wrong. When I brought it in to a local store for a set up they said the neck was really screwed up, probably taken from a cheap imitation and put on the Fender japanese body, and that i should either buy a new neck or set the action high and live with it.

    So I, who happen to have $450 saved up (for a record player), have been looking at my options. Everybody here seems to say that warmoths are really great and inexpensive. Here is where i disagree, after getting it finished a warmoth jazz neck will cost me somthing like $300+, thats for rosewood on maple with block inlays (exactly what I want).

    Are Warmoths better than Fender USA necks? For that price i can get the fender '62-style neck from Musicians Friend. Also i read on the site that the frets will still be covered with finish, what does that mean, how (and for how much) will i get that fixed, what else is involved with getting a new neck?( i know i will have to have it drilled and the nut filed). How much better will changing the neck be for my bass? Will it sound better, play significantly better?

    Remember that if i do this I will be dropping more on the neck than i did on the whole bass, so if i follow through with this ,it better be worth it. I want my bass to be the best that i can be so if im going to change the neck I dont want to settle for a medicre one which i would change later.

    Thanks a lot and peace,
    Fake Plastic Trees
    HD's edit - deleted racial slur
  2. Victor Wooten98

    Victor Wooten98 Guest

    Jul 31, 2003
    South of Heaven...
    Sounds like you just answered your own question.

    If you want it to be 'the best it can be' then it is definately worth it. The neck (for me at least) is a big deal, I was playing some basses today, and I played a MIA Fender Jazz, and the Geddy Sig Bass to see if what people say is true about the Geddy (better than the MIA Jazz) and I was VERY dissapointed, I think it sounded like Crap, and the neck was felt really cheap, I didnt like it at all, it didnt even seem as comfortable as the MIA jazz.
  3. Some will say Warmoth is better and others will say USA customs are better. I’ve have experience with the warmoth necks and I do like them.

    The neck from musicians friend is a finished neck, meaning it has varnish on it to seal the wood and yes it’s over the frets, not what I care for. Your hands sweat and they stick to the neck with all that varnish. I would take a small piece of steal wool and see if it couldn’t be removed off the frets, again it has to be done right though.

    You need to purchase hardware with a new neck unless it specifically states it’ comes with the hardware....tuning pegs, tuning rings, string retainer(s) a new nut. Then you need to drill it as you’ve stated.

    You can chose fret size, nut width, and inlays as options.

    After this is completed properly, your bass should play better then ever. BUT, if you fail to do any of these steps or have them done then it’s not guaranteed.

    Is this your only bass?

    If not then I would save my money and purchase a new bass or a good used one from Ebay or a TB member.

    Good luck.......

  4. That was a well thought out post.:rolleyes: Care to elaborate?

  5. No, a neck replacement is not worth it.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    More information Mr. Goody Good? Have you even read the original post?

    The real answer is yes, a replacement neck is definitely worth your while in your position. You can get a pretty good neck for not much doh-re-mi from Mighty-Mite ( ). Check it out. Their stuff is pretty good. You still have allthat drilling and stuff to do as Treena has suggested. You should be able to use your existing tuning pegs on the new neck, installing and cutting a nut may be a PITA. I'd have a shop do the work.

    However, the neck itself doesn't have to cost that much.
  7. Quite often you can find used Warmoth and other high quality J necks as well as new (unfinished)Mighty Mite necks (often Buy It Now $69.99)on e-bay and various on-line classifieds. You can often find good quality used, finished necks with slotted nuts for under $150. If it wasn't for people in situations like yours, there wouldn't be aftermarket neck manufacturers! Only you, though, can say for sure whether its worth it to you!


    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    At what point do you lay your bass to rest or consider a bon fire farewell?
  9. I lay my basses to rest or sell them, when they are no oinger of use to me.

    This can be due to repairs that I wish not to take on or simply because I have no desire to play the thing any more.'s subjective.

    BTW, Philbiker, good post, I forgot about mighty mite.

  10. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Check stewmac for necks too, they have necks made to fit Fender Jazzes and drilled for Fender equpment.

    You might look at Moses graphite necks in Musician's Friend too. I don't know what all is involved with setting them up, but if they'll take your hardware already, the price is worth it (no warpage, no breakage). I think they run $250 from MF.
  11. SrewMac necks also have to be drilled and a nut set.

    They are about $155.00 for the neck only.

  12. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    For me........the neck makes the bass. Not much more opinion I can put there. I have been very happy with the Warmoth necks/products I have used. I would personally much rather put together a Warmoth project than buy a "stock" bass in the local music store.
  13. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    If you're getting a rosewood board, it will not have finish over the frets - it will not have a finish on the board at all. Only on the neck.

    Maple boards do come with finish over the frets.

    This is all kinda pointless, because you'll need to level and dress the frets anyway, which will of course take off any finish on the bearing surface.

    I have a Warmoth 5 string neck and it is solid as a rock. Definitely on the heavy side, though. I've heard a lot of good things about USA Custom, but I haven't had my hands on their stuff yet. They use graphite reinforcement (Warmoth uses steel) so they should be plenty solid without being heavy.

    Personally, I do think the Warmoth and USA Custom necks are better than the stock Fender, mostly because they are reinforced. While it is certainly possible to have a good, stable, non-reinforced maple neck, it is much more of a sure thing with reinforcement. You take your chances with traditional construction. Some are good. Some are very bad. Reinforcement definitely aids the stability of the neck; it certainly doesn't hurt.

    I don't know where you're located, but if you have significant temperature and/or humidity swings like we do here in Houston, TX, or if you travel a lot with your bass, a reinforced neck is a whole lot less likely to need tweaking on a regular basis.

    My opinion on your main question.....if you've got a bass that has everything else going for it, and it sounds like you do, the replacement neck is absolutely worth it. Sounds like you'd have a heck of a nice bass for $600 or less, and that's very hard to beat.
  14. Fake Trees

    Fake Trees

    Feb 9, 2003
    Thanks for all the replies. I am close to deciding weather i should do this or not. Can anyone give me a pretty accurate step-by-step account of what i need to do (and spend) before i'm playing my bass with its new neck. What do i do exactly after i get my finished neck in the mail? Im planning on having it done in the local music store but i need to know exactly what needs to be done so i can find out how much it will cost me. By the way i saw that warmoth offers to cut your nut for $15 with CNC machines will these slots fit any gauge strings? Does warmoth (or Usa Custom) drill all the holes for string retainers and tuning machines?

    Thanks again!
  15. Yes, you can order the necks predrilled for the tuners and rings but the rest you will have to do yourself.

    I would suggest reading a few online "how to" pages.

    You might consider sending your bass to the factory and having the neck replaced by them. They will do the best job and it will be complete.

  16. Fake Trees

    Fake Trees

    Feb 9, 2003
    Thanks Treena, you have been really helpful.

    How long does it take for these companies to make a custom neck? How expensive would it be to send my bass to them?
  17. Fake Trees, I can't commit any company to a time so it would be best for you to contact them via email with your request.

    Shipping your bass to the company VIA UPS is about $35.00 one way.

    Bunny has a list of builders.

    You might start there with getting estimates.

    If you have a specific company in mind, let me know and, I will help you out!

  18. Fake Trees

    Fake Trees

    Feb 9, 2003
    ok, so i have narrowed it down to two necks;


    Aesthetically i prefer the first one. Hower it's going to be more expensive (I need to get a nut installed and slotted, Warmoth does not offer installed nuts anymore)

    The second one has stainless steel frets (6115 size) and an ebony fingerboard. Do you think this will sound different from the other one (brighter, more defined)?

    What do you guys think I should get?

    P.S. Has anyone tried stainless steel frets, how do you like them? Can you feel/hear a difference?