New neck or new guitar??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitars4me, May 22, 2015.

  1. guitars4me

    guitars4me Member

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    Stupid question I guess but....

    I have an Eric Johnson Strat that I really like- electronics sound great, very resonant guitar (which is very important to me) and the back neck profile is very comfortable. My problem is that I just can't seem to fit my fat fingers on the strings in certain positions without muting other strings. I will admit to not being a very good player but I also think that I would play better on that guitar with a wider neck since I do fine on my Les Paul- which I am much more comfortable on. I tried a newer American Standard Strat the other day and liked the width of the neck alot better- not so sure about the back profile since it seemd a bit thin but I think I could get used to it. Not sure the American Standard is up to par with the EJ quality-wise either? Couldn't get a feel for the resonance.

    So- would I be better off going to USACG, Musikraft or Warmoth and specing out a new neck or just moving on to a new guitar.........or learn how to maneuver on this neck better? I worry that some of the guitar's natural acoustic resonance will change if I replace the neck. I doubt it's as easy as ordering a new neck and just bolting it on, right?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    Depends on how DIY you are, and how much in general you want to (or able to) invest in gear.

    For myself, I have not ventured down the custom neck path, and I seem to be OK with many of the production necks out there. I would probably just buy a new guitar with a neck that works for me better (as well as the electronics, etc), and sell the EJ. I think they keep their resale value reasonable well, yes?

    But, if you can't find a guitar that has the neck, as well as all the other things you like off the shelf, then venture down the custom neck path. You should consider keeping the EJ neck, so if you decide to sell the guitar in the future, it will be much easier with the original neck.

    Replacing the neck typically does require some additional fretwork cleanup, and I would probably have it professional fitted and setup.
     
  3. guitars4me

    guitars4me Member

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    Thanks! I woud definitely keep the original neck for the EJ if I changed it. Just as an example, I am seeing necks that seem close to what I think I would like for around $200 on some of the custom neck sites (that doesn't include tuners or installation).
     
  4. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    How narrow is the EJ neck at the nut? I know some modern Fenders have much wider string spacing also... so something to think about. If I remember right my Clapton Strat bridge spacing is at least 1/8" wider than like a mexi spacing. Not sure what the EJ is, but the Mexi at the bridge is 2-1/16.
    Keep in mind an after market neck is not nearly complete when you get it. Do you have Luthier skills? Also, Musikraft seems to have the most options when ordering a neck.
     
  5. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    The EJ is 1 11/16", so it is as wide as any normal strat gets.
     
  6. ELmiguel

    ELmiguel Member

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    A lot of people won't agree with me, but I think the neck has a lot to do with the guitar's sound. I have experienced a definite change in tone when replacing a neck on a strat.
    The EJ Strat has a 12" fretboard radius with a soft V contour and it is 1.65" wide at the nut.
    The American Standard has a 9 1/2" fretboard radius with a C contour and it is 1.685" wide at the nut.
    The difference in the nut width is 1/32". That's not much, I don't think I'd notice. I think Les Pauls used to be 1 11/16" wide at the nut.
    The contour and radius of your Les Paul would depend on which one you have.
    Maybe what you don't like about the EJ strat is the flatter radius and the neck contour.
     
  7. zztomato

    zztomato Supporting Member

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    I find a 12 radius with vintage spacing at the bridge to be a bit awkward.
    You could spec out a Musikraft neck with 9.5 radius, a 1 3/4 -though you're probably fine with a 1 11/16th- nut width and some very premium wood all finished for less that you could sell the EJ neck for. I say do it. You could go with quarter sawn maple with a vintage nitro lacquer tint and have a very similar look but with the neck shape you want. Their 59 profile neck is really great too.
     
  8. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Without a doubt. After pickups, the neck is the biggest factor in a guitar's tone, IMO.
     
  9. guitars4me

    guitars4me Member

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    The Les Paul definitely feels wider to me than the EJ. I'm comfortable on the LP. I guess I thought the American Standard Strat (at 1.687) and the Les Paul (at 1 11/16) was the same? Probably close but not exact but that's probably OK. The neck changing the tone alot is what I am worried about. It's such a great guitar- rings like a bell unplugged and sounds great plugged in. I've compared it to a couple of friends Custom Shop Strats and it is just as good. I guess I could try the neck swap and if it doesn't do it for me, I'd just put the original neck back on. Swapping the neck just seems a bit intimidating!
     
  10. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    If you swap in a new neck, be very sure that you know the exact specs you want, otherwise you'll likely be disappointed. I suggest trying a bunch of Strats in a store and see what you like from there. It's entirely possible you find one that you're willing to swap your EJ for.
     

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