Compound Radius Necks - Warmoth vs USCG

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Macaroni, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I'm thinking of upgrading the neck on my Fender Strat 57 RI, and have been drawn to both the Warmoth and US Custom Guitar necks with a compound radius...

    Warmoth - 10" - 16"
    USCG - 7.25" - 9.5"

    Any and all comments, comparisons, etc are appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. sampleinajar

    sampleinajar Member

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    USCG will do any custom radius you want, whereas Warmoth will only do10-16 or a constant radius of any dimension.

    I was just talking to Tommy about a 9.5-12" radius neck.....Think that might be about perfect for me.

    I have been very impressed with USCG and I haven't even bought anything yet!

    Good luck-

    Steve
     
  3. apd

    apd Member

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    I have two of the USACG in 7.25-9.5" and I love them. I've always preferred a more vintage radius though. I played a tele with a Warmoth neck and while I also liked the way it felt, I just am not a fan of a flat radius. I don't think you could go wrong with either company, they both make excellent necks.

    As a side note, I bought both necks used so I haven't personally dealt with either company.
     
  4. andygio

    andygio Member

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    I've used both and I must admit I'm more interested in neck thickness and shape than fingerboard radius. The 10-16 works well when using a Floyd, but the 7.25 to 9.5 seems to make sense when you're using almost any other bridge type. One thing that solidifies the concept of the 7.25 to 9.5 compound radius is that Vinetto guitars uses it. I've never played a Vinetto, but all the good things I've read (and just the fact that they are so damn cool looking) make me think that if you're going for the vintage/modern/familiar feel with a "traditional" type bridge like Vinetto uses, the 7.25 to 9.5 is the way to go. YMMV
     
  5. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    Unless Warmoth has changed their policy they used to offer any custom fingerboard radius for an upcharge of $35. If they've changed their policy it's understandable--10"-16" should suffice.

    Despite the beautiful pieces Warmoth makes, I will never understand why they continue to use that tone-sucking, harsh-sounding double-expanding trussrod used on their 'Pro' necks. If you go with with Warmoth get a 'vintage with modern features' neck that has a vintage trussrod.
     
  6. TaZMaNiO

    TaZMaNiO Senior Member

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    I guess some people just don't know the diff...;)

    Of course, USACG would close their operations before they sold necks with that tone-dead design!
     
  7. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    IMO, a compound radius that doesn't get notably flatter than 9.5" isn't worth much. Not for me. The whole idea with these necks, IMO, is to make the guitar easier to bend strings on than it is on typical strats/teles/whatever. I love the Warmoth 10-16" radius.

    Here's an interesting tidbit though -- Ron Thorn (who is an engineer by training) explained to me that when you're designing the fretboard this way, you're essentially using part of the surface of a cone. Makes sense right? Okay, if you do the math (which he did), the correct compounding ratio (to maintain the surface of the cone) would be 10-14, not 10-16. So I have a 10-14 on my Thorn LTD T-Caster. Can barely tell the diff from my Warmoth. Both are easy to play up and down the fretboard. Bent notes don't rattle or fret out.
     
  8. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    Here we go again...:horse

    Taz is here--where's Gary? This shouldn't take long...
     
  9. cnardone

    cnardone Member

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    I have 11-13 on my Chapin and I love it. I got it from playing an anderson corbra which was the most comfortable guitar I ever played.
     
  10. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Hey I wanna jump in too!

    My #1 guitar for the last 7 years has the double truss rod, compound radius and I get some pretty good complements on my tone. My #2 has the vintage radius and vintage truss rod. It sounds pretty damn good too. I don't even think twice about the differences. They play a bit differently, they sound a bit different, just like every other guitar on the planet.

    Ever listen to Arlen Roth? He would be happy to know that his tone sucks due to his Warmoth necks and double truss rods.....:p

    Use whatever you want but recognize that there's a whole lot of marketing BS that goes on with all this stuff.
     
  11. gmiller77

    gmiller77 Guest

    My experience with Warmoth necks puts me in solid agreement with Tim. I built a gorgeous Strat with their parts using their 10-16 pro neck. It played very well, etc. but the tone of this guitar left me cold and I rarely played it. Several pickup swaps did not seem to help.

    During a conversation with Gerard Melancon, he told me that Warmoth used a truss rod on some of their necks that was not good for tone. He knew I had some Carvin guitars and liked their necks. I took his advice, ordered a Carvin neck (same woods as the Warmoth), and that guitar came to life! Even the repair guys at Elderly were shocked at the difference, seeing as it had been in their shop both ways in a brief period of time.

    While this guitar will never quite touch my Melancon Pro Artist, it is my number 2 and I don't plan to ever sell it. It sounds and plays great. If I was to do this again, I'd opt for the vintage Warmoth neck. I don't know the "why" of this experience, but my ears will bear witness to a radical change. BTW, the Carvin neck was not an exact fit and required a bit of modification (cutting down).

    Greg
     
  12. aman74

    aman74 Supporting Member

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    Can you explain this in more detail please. Of course it's a cone, just like a standard refers to a circle or cylindar.

    Wouldn't the ratio chosen depend on how big the cone is on each end and what length it is and what section of the cone you choose to use, etc...?

    What I mean is how is 10-14 more proper than 10-16?

    Not disputing, just looking for clarification on this logic.
     
  13. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    Wasn't Warmoth one of the pioneers of the compound radius neck?
     
  14. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I will say that I'm a bit hesitant about this "double truss rod" that Warmoth offers. My next neck is going to be a conversion and if Warmoth doesn't offer it with a standard truss rod I will be trying USACG for the first time.
     
  15. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    It's the same thing that PRS uses on all their guitars, other builders also..... Johnny Hiland or Carlos (at both ends of the tonal spectrum) don't seem to be worried too much about it. In fact I don't hear much talk about it at all except in these Warmoth/USACG slugfests. Keep in mind that Warmoth offers both types....and the vintage is cheaper and easier to build.
     
  16. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    You're correct. With only the start and end radius defined, one is no more correct than the other. What I suspect Leon (and Ron) worked out was the radius that he wanted at the bridge (say 20") and then worked backwards to the end of the neck to see what that radius should be on a 10-20 cone. Once you start getting that flat, the difference between 14 and 16 is pretty small for the width of a fretboard. I think that's what Leon was saying....
     
  17. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    I suspect that rising prices have more to do with the cost of wood and labor than keeping up with USACG.:) Warmoth has always been less expensive due to the higher volume of production, but raw material and labor costs still matter.
     
  18. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yup, tha's the ticket. Yessir that's exactly what I meant. Yeppers...

    Um...actually, hhehheh...the very same question occured to me while I was posting yesterday. It occured to me then, but not when Ron originally gave me the news. To be honest...when I started thinking about it yesterday, I didn't know why you couldn't simply change the radius of the cone at the top fret. But I'm going to see if he can bop over here and explain. Could be that Fullerplast is on the right track...
     
  19. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Actually, you can also use the scale length and either starting or ending radius to define the cone. He may have done that as well, in which case you would set your bridge up to whatever radius the cone worked out to be 25" from the nut.
     
  20. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    You need 3 hard numbers to determine a proper compound radius:

    String spacing at the nut.
    String spacing at the bridge.
    A starting radius at the nut.

    The string spacing at both ends is fixed on my guitars (unless a custom nut width is requested) so those two are given.
    I started with a 10" radius because I felt that is a comfortable 1st position radius.

    I end up with a 10"-14.172" radius...close enough :eek:

    Ron
     

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