Please Educate Me About STRAT Necks...

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Moose Lewis, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    OK ~ here's the deal. I've played quite a few and owned 3 nice Strats over the years, including a '66 that I modded. I've never found a neck I liked, particularly above the 15th fret when pushing strings with vibrato.

    In a recent post, I saw a reference to a number of different shapes and profiles for Stratocasters - so I was wondering... is there a Strat neck with a rosewood fretboard that has a low radius that allows at least a 3 semitone push/stretch without cutting off the note due to the arched shape of the fretboard?

    I love the neck pickup sound of an Alder or Ash Strat. I used to get that tone from my heavy Ash Kramer (sold it - regret it), which had a pretty flat radius and was an easy player. I don't expect to find another exactly like it, and was hoping to find a model of Strat that my hands would be happy on... or do I need to start looking at Jacksons?

    Any suggestions? Pics illustrating the radius & profile would be super cool.
    Thanks!
    :cheers:
     
  2. StootMonster

    StootMonster New Member

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    I don't know man. I've owned one strat. It was an Olympic white American Standard with a maple fretboard. I loved it. Traded it for my Vintage Mahogany Les Paul Studio.
     
  3. musicman

    musicman Active Member

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    Personally I like the soft V profile.

    I'm just about to start to build a partscaster and will use a Mighty Mite 2900V neck but it's only 9.5" radius so probably not flat enough for you.
     
  4. poeman33

    poeman33 Well-Known Member

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    The MIM Deluxe Player and the Eric Johnson Strat have a 12" radius which is pretty flat to me. The new American Deluxe's have a compound radius neck. They start at 9.25 and get flatter as you get to the bottom to a 14 radius. Personally I don't like the flatter radius and find it easier overall with a bit of round, but not too much. I am fastest and bend the easiest on a 9.25 neck...but whatever your preference is. Jimi didn't have any trouble bending notes waaayyyyyy up with a 7.25 neck. You will get a lower action on a flatter radius...but I like my action a little higher...so your preference in that is one thing to consider too.
     
  5. Strateuphoria

    Strateuphoria New Member

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    the new american delux strat, has a compound radius going from 9.25" to 14" up the neck.
    Eric Johnson, SRV, Kenny Wayne Shepard, 60's Player strats, Jim Root strat all have a 12" radius with jumbo frets and varying neck shapes.
    50's V-shape (ideal for thumb over the top players)
    60's C-shape (comfortable modern to very thick)
    70's U-shape (thumb behind the neck, classical position perhaps?) different feel.
     
  6. jcmjmp

    jcmjmp Well-Known Member

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    @ Moose: What kind of guitar do you play now? If you play a LP, you're probably used to a 12" radius, as am I.

    The key thing to be able to do wide bends on the upper registers is a radius of 12" or more. Most old school Strats have a radius that is more like 9.5".

    When I build my necks, I also incorporate an ever so slight drop in the fingerboard to ensure no issues on the fretted neck. I have yet to encounter a problem with fretting out using this method and action at a hair over 3/32" on the high e, 17th fret.
     
  7. jsowder

    jsowder New Member

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    those V neck teles and strats are killer, Id love to play one for a few hours though to see how it feels, I have a korean strat from 89 with a 12" radius
    its flat but then again I had a squier standard strat that was awesome from about 2000 and it had I think a 9" radius, so comfortable.

    easy to get that low action on the flat necks but they seem to be more prominent on floyd rose equipped geetars and pauls..

    compound radius necks are tops though.
     
  8. Strateuphoria

    Strateuphoria New Member

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    yeah, when I heard Fender took over Charvel, I knew it wouldn't be long before they incorporated Compound radiusses on some models.
    Deluxe strats made after 2010. It would be silly to buy an mia std these days, if you consider spending a few quid more for the Deluxe.
    9.25" up to the 12th fret then it flattens out, you don't notice it really untill you bend and over bend with that low action and hear it rings clearer and sustains better. +1
     
  9. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    the compound radius is a pleasure to do business with, at least for me. I like a pretty low action and have always found that the 9.25 was just a little uncomfortable. Just for a reference, all, or at least most gibsons use a 12 inch radius and I've never heard anyone complain about bending on a Gibson. I guess in the end it depends on what you play. They say that a smaller radius is great for chord work, but runs into trouble for lead type playing, but as another poster said, people have been bending on strats for years with small radius fretboards. I've also heard of people who get a small radius strat, then pull the frets and use a radiused sanding block to go up to 12. If you had a guitar that was due for a fret job it could be something worth thinking about, as I understand it, strats have plenty of meat in the fretboard to accomplish this without fear of rubbing through to the neck wood or causing any undue weakness in the neck. I have a tele with a warmoth compound neck that goes from 10 to 16, and uses a shorter gibson scale length and it is so comfortable you can't believe it. Everybody who plays that guitar wants to buy it.

    Oh, I just re-read your post and saw the question about pics illustrating radius and whatnot. I had a quick search but couldn't find anything, but you can see for yourself on a piece of paper. Just get a 12 inch piece of string with a pencil on one end, hold the other end down and draw a circle, or at least part of one, and that's a 12 inch radius. Obviously you could do it with 9.25, 14, 3000, whatever you like.
     
  10. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    after playing my ball bat 50's neck LP i can't even play a strat. jackson soloist necks come the closest for me.
     
  11. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. Currently I'm playing the old Dean V in my avatar and a recent acquisition that I've rebuilt, a Dean Sarasota Solid Body (not the f-hole hollow bodies you see everywhere) - which is essentially a double-cut Les Paul type guitar (that suits me better than the Gibsons I've run through). X-jumbo frets on everything, low radius (feels like 12-14). Having started life as an acoustic guitarist, and studied classical guitar in my youth - the flatter the better.

    I looked up some of the models mentioned with a compound radius, and the ones with a 12"... whew! Most of them are priced beyond what I can currently afford (SRV, Eric Johnson, etc.). So I guess I'll be hunting an alternative with an Alder/Ash body.

    Huge THANKS for the replies tho. For an old f'fer who has owned some (now) vintage Strats, it seems my knowledge of the instrument was severely lacking, lol.
    :cheers:
     
  12. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    i gave up electris & only played nylon string flamenco style for 5 years before getting my LP. i feel ya... that's why i mentioned jackson strat necks.
     
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  13. Strateuphoria

    Strateuphoria New Member

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    The Kenny wayne Sheppard is $899, 62' shape neck with 12" radius jumbo frets.
    The 60's classic player strat is cheaper I think. These are MIM strats.
    Then there's also Charvel, Production Model series. :cool:


    Also, Gibson owns (saved) Kramer now.
    http://www.kramerguitars.com/Guitar.aspx
     
  14. Georgiatec

    Georgiatec Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Looking for something I don't remember what.
    Hey Moose, you will get more bang for your buck if you build your own from components. The one pictured is a Fat Strat body with a Mighty Mite 22 fret, 9.5 radius neck and Texas Specials. The neck plays very easy and is best with 9 - 42 gauge strings 3 semi or even 2 tone bends are easily possible and I have the action pretty low. The whole guitar cost about 350 bucks and I had loads of fun shopping for the bits then building it up. It's almost a bonus that it's a great player too!!.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  15. Georgiatec

    Georgiatec Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Looking for something I don't remember what.
    Sorry Moose Photo doesn't want to show Have to click the link
    [​IMG]

    Ahh...sorted. PC at work is full of anti stuff
     
  16. johnfv

    johnfv Well-Known Member

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    +1 on building a partscaster. I really like my compound radius neck from Warmoth (and you can do the contoured heel for easier access to upper frets). You can choose very nice wood, your favorite pickups, etc. and still pay less than many of the Fender models. That said, my EJ Strat is very nice also (but significantly more expensive)...
    Here is my Warmoth build - light swamp ash body, flame maple neck with abalone inlays:
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    that whole rig screams surf. check my surf music thread in the cellar.:)
     
  18. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    this is as true as it gets!! I bought a mij tele body off ebay, a warmoth neck, gfs pickups, a bit here a bit there. Took me about 4 months to collect everything and put it together, but when it was all said and done, I got a completely custom made guitar, exactly how I wanted it that sounds and plays killer, for around 800 bucks. Now, imagine if I called the Fender custom shop and had them build me one, what do you think I'd be paying?
     
  19. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    At least as much as my van cost. :lol:
     
  20. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    yeah, but you'd never get them to fit tinted bubble windows:lol:
     
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