How bad are Asian necks?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Berniefist, Dec 1, 2017.


  1. Berniefist

    Berniefist Member

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    Maybe this is a terrible mistake just mentioning this here, but.....

    I have a 2007ish Squire tele deluxe with p-90s. I have chewed the mess out of the lower frets. I keep raising the action to compensate.

    I really like this guitar, but spending $150-200 is out of the question. Not philosophically, but literally. I’ve already had the frets leveled once, and the luthier charged me $120 and told me he had removed about 40% of the existing fret height on the worst ones.

    I keep seeing these cheap Asian necks on Amazon for around $40. No info on neck profile, and from the reviews about a third are lemons.

    would you:
    Buy the Asian neck,
    Find someone who might dress the frets,
    Or maybe something else?
     
  2. antvas1963

    antvas1963 Member

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    Replace the frets yourself.
     
  3. Able Grip

    Able Grip Member

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    If you buy any neck you will still need to level and crown the frets. The odds of it bolting on and not needing a dressing are very poor.
     
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  4. pup tentacle

    pup tentacle Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]
    ''Are youuuu... prejudiced?''
     
  5. paulbearer

    paulbearer Supporting Member

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    Ayrton and Cal Webway like this.
  6. Rossi163

    Rossi163 Supporting Member

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    There is some company here in US (Ohio?) that sells imported Mighty Mite necks that they level and crown the frets before selling. The MM necks are surprisingly decent quality and the fretwork is top-notch. Can't recall the name of the company...good value though for ready to play neck.
     
  7. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Learning to do your own level/crown is one of the first things a serious hobbyists/player should learn. That being said your neck needs replacing. Your best option is an Allparts or Mighty Mite neck for about $100. You will still have to do a nut and maybe a lite dressing of the frets. I don’t know about mm necks, but ap are very good out of the box
     
  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Take the opportunity to scallop the existing neck.
    This will leave plenty of fret height protruding for relevelling and gives you a chance to try a scalloped neck.
    You may LUV it.
     
  9. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Member

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    I've bought a couple of those cheap necks for projects. They can be made into decent, playable necks. Please note my modifier "can be made into." The ones I've had have required significant fret work, and if they come with a nut, it probably needs to be replaced. Also, the woods often used on those cheap necks may not be as good as your Squire's. So you're probably not going to gain anything over the neck you have. Learn how to level/recrown/dress the frets yourself, or for $100 or so have a tech do the work. Trust me, it will make a world of difference in playability AND sound.
     
  10. Qmax

    Qmax Member

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    I’ve also bought a couple of those necks off Amazon. They felt ok to me and made great modding platforms but the frets are really soft and need work.
    I’d agree with the others have fretwork done on your guitar or but from one of the more reputable neck makers. I’ve used Musikraft and would recommend them.
     
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  11. burningyen

    burningyen Gold Supporting Member

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    CEG Hardtails, good stuff.
     
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  12. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    My experience with Asian necks is all over the board. For the really cheap stuff, it seems they just show it to somebody and ask them what they think it is, and if they say "guitar neck!" then that's what it is. Dimensions and wood quality are a crap shoot, and if it bolts onto your body without major modification then you've been blessed. Other stuff, while perhaps inexpensive, may not be so bad. The saving grace with most of them is that they don't cost much, so if they don't work, you take due and timely notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly. That is, eat it, and don't give them any more business.

    I've had some great necks from "over there", and some not so great. Generally speaking, the problem isn't with the wood, frets or finish, it's dimensional. The problem with dimensional aberrations is it usually means using the neck as a movie prop or heating fuel, as it's usually not worth trying (or even possible) to fix it.
     
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  13. Oinkus

    Oinkus Member

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    Bought a cheap Strat neck for a project and in the end required more work and money than it was worth. I plan on replacing it eventually with a Moses Graphite but they are really pricey and an extra $95 for Jumbo SS frets a nut install and setup. Go look for used necks on Ebay , you could get lucky.
     
  14. jalmer

    jalmer Member

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    While looking for comparable 1980's MIJ or MIK guitars, I will see a relatively large number of necks for sale. They get snatched up and are reviewed nicely, so maybe this is a good option? However I'm thinking those pre fret-dressed mighty mites sound good.
     
  15. Berniefist

    Berniefist Member

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    Well, curiosity got the better of me and I bought one that had 3.5 stars from the most popular online retailer. It claimed to be "Kmise" brand. It fit the neck pocket of my Squier tele like a glove. It was straight and the holes were drilled correctly. The frets and the woodwork were not that great. Frets were pretty short and soft, all the cuts were rough and cludgy. I had a fret check kit and ended up filing about 7 frets. I got lucky, as they were all above the 9th fret and I didn't worry about chasing buzz.

    QMax had it correctly. For me, this worked and it fit my budget. I'm pretty happy with the result. I spent about 4 hours total getting it in shape. If I had $150 to spend I would probably pick up a nicer neck, and I still might later, because I don't think this one will last very long. If I had cash instead of a gift card, I might have tried to get the squier neck dressed again (but I don't really think that would have worked.) For anybody expecting a total drop in, no, that's not a thing for $32.
     
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  16. Cal Webway

    Cal Webway Silver Supporting Member

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    I learned to level & crown on used or new cheap Chinese Fender copies.
    On one it was up bowed where the truss rod could not correct it. Another one gtr was too back bowed.
    Neck/pocket holes drilled off on one where the chiropractic shifting of the neck cud not align right. On several the frets were not even close to level height, a couple had loose or a fret(s) w goofy height.

    It's too ez to say any 'new' neck needsa L&C etc. I know, I know. But these were major.
    (These were off-brand gtrs, not Squire etc btw).

    .
     
  17. Mighty Melvin

    Mighty Melvin Member

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    Here's what I want to know: Why do ebay sellers list used Epiphone and Squier necks for as much or more than you can buy the whole guitar for in any pawn shop?

    What are they thinking?
    .
     
  18. Mighty Melvin

    Mighty Melvin Member

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    I just bought and returned a Mighty Mite neck. It was a CNC masterpiece and the finish was beyond flawless but it looked like it was made of plastic. It shoulda said "Rubbermaid" on it. Bad finish material. Bad Bad Bad.
    .
     
  19. Berniefist

    Berniefist Member

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    See, that's what I really wondered about. If Fender wants $225, Musicraft and Warmoth run between $180 to $400, Mighty Mite can be had for 100 and this is $32, what are the differences? Every neck has somebody complaining about getting one or two lemons. Setting aside wood choice, it's fit and finish. Roughly speaking, if the neck is about 40% the cost of a guitar, then doubling that gets you somewhere close to the kind of guitar you'd end up with.

    The Squier neck I took off had garbage fretwork from the factory (I've had it leveled twice already), but the contours and carves were straight as an arrow and spot on. You can get these on ebay for about $90. That means something close to a $180 guitar.

    The Kmise neck was straight and drilled fine, but the details were crude. The end of the heel wasn't perfectly flat and the 22nd fret lip had rough file marks. The contour around the truss adjust was uneven. It was bad enough that I thought the nut slot was crooked until i measured it. $32 x 2, That's something close to a $64 guitar. The Rogue Rocketeer is about the only thing I can think of with national distribution at that price point.

    You're not really paying for a level and crown. I don't know why, as it seems like most production guitars have it sorted. You're not even paying for the wood unless it's exotic. Even the Kmise has a nice chunk of maple with good grain. You're paying for the contours and finish. Want that lovely '59 boatneck contour? Not happening for $100. Maybe you'd like the finish to give off that sweet custom vibe. Well, bad news, the $150 neck won't do that. The silver lining here is that even if you are pretty close to broke, you can put something respectable together cheaply if you have lots of spare time and aren't picky.
     

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