Refret or replace neck?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tim Pourciau, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    I have an old 1990 something MIJ 60's reissue strat that I am planning on upgrading and getting in tip top form. I am planning to put some new pickups and pots and switch in. The frets are pretty worn and I think I would like bigger frets than what are on it anyway. Is it cheaper to get the neck refretted or to just get another neck?
     
  2. shally

    shally Member

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    cannot tell you what others will say, but if we are talking about a MIJ guitar that has limited or no vintage value,i would just buy a new neck and be done with it.. probably going to be cheaper in the short run and you will know what you are getting
     
  3. Brien

    Brien Member

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    I guess I would go the other way. If you buy a new neck, you don't know what you're getting. Specs only tell you so much when it comes to how a neck feels. Do you like the neck you have?
     
  4. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    A new neck will often be cheaper than a refret initially, but it will still need a fret dress and new nut, installation, and setup. In the end, the costs usually end up pretty similar, so price shouldn't really be the deciding factor.

    If the old neck has other issues or you want a different profile or materials, get a new neck. If the old one is stable, you like it's feel, and all that needs changing is the frets, then get it refretted.
     
  5. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    You also run the risk of the re-fret not going smoothly.

    Maple/r'wood/ebony are all different in terms of how hard it is to chuck the new frets in without hosing the fingerboard.

    Someone recently posted a horror story of having his guitar hosed by a tech with a good rep.
     
  6. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    I like the feel of the neck, but I would probably replace the nut too during my revamping. I may just go the route of getting a new one seeing as there is really no vintage value. Maybe I will get one with the big headstock. I always liked them. Will any neck fit or do only certain ones fit the MIJ 60's reissues?
     
  7. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    In most cases I'd buy a new neck unless you can find someone to do a re-fret for no more then $125. Even though your frets are worn if you have a MIJ fender neck its probably at least worth $50 on ebay. Allparts makes good stuff relatively cheap and its supposedly made by Fender Japan anyway. I still usually recommend USAcustom necks is Tommy is real nice to deal with and is stuff is top notch.
     
  8. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    Do the necks from allparts or usacustom come with frets and nuts?
     
  9. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Depends on where you are. I have a GREAT tech who would d a complete refret for about $125 or so. That is cheap by most standards.

    I've seen other paying upwards of $300, which I think is outrageously high. But if that's all you have access to, then a new neck might make sense.

    The real question is, do you love the neck you have? If so, refret it. But shop around, because not all refrets are created equal -- either cost-wise or quality-wise.

    If not, now's the time to find a neck you really bond with. Lots of choices out there today, with Musikraft, Warmoth, USA Custom Guitars, Allparts, etc., all carrying a wide variety of woods, profiles, fret types, etc.

    Note that even if you buy a brand new neck, you will probably need to have a tech set it up, adjust the nut (or install one) and dress the frets for your particular guitar. A good setup makes all the difference in the world.
     
  10. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    The more i think about it, the more i am thinking this is a great opportunity for me to get a brazillian board and sweet ass neck for a guitar that didn't cost me much when i got it 15 years ago. I may as well go all the way and make it an awesome strat. I mean, the neck that it came with is ok. I like it enough. But that may be because I have had it for so long. Even so, it still is just the stock neck from a cheap guitar. If I could get myself a better quality neck for $300 or so, then that would probably be the way I should go.

    Now another question. Who makes the best ones? Musikraft, Warmoth, USA Custom Guitars, Allparts?
     
  11. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    You'll get a bazillion opinions on this.

    MY opinion? In order of preference, I like Musikraft, USA Custom, Warmoth, then Allparts.

    Problem with USA Custom is that the headstocks are shaped "different" from Fenders, so you will have to do some additional sanding/shaping if you want it to look like a Fender neck. That said, they make great necks, IMO.
     
  12. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    $125 refrets??!!! Holy carp! Give me their number, I've got to figure out where they get their subsidies from! :rolleyes: I'd literally be paying out of pocket to do work at that price. With a new nut and setup refrets start at about $320 in my shop, which I'd say is a very fair price. It probably comes to less or equal to the labor rate at a local hair salon or auto repair shop. Unless they're doing repair for leisure out of their home, I don't see how any professional could do a top quality job for that.

    Get quotes from your tech. At my shop the installation of a new neck would run around $160 with the fret dress (new necks will need it), bone nut, install tuners, string tree(s), etc., and setup. So if you were going to spend $250-$300 after shipping on a quality finished neck from Allparts or Warmoth, you would be looking at the $410-$460 range to replace the neck at my shop, vs about $320 to refret. Prices (and quality) will vary though, so get quotes with whatever tech you would be using.
     
  13. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    this is a good way to judge it. A new neck is one thing, but it is easy to overlook the cost of finish, nut, fret level/dress, set-up.etc.

    I think if the original neck has a nice fit in the neck pocket, is stable and true, has a finish on it that looks good and feels nice under the hands- find a great tech and have it refretted. It will be cheaper in the long run, and you won't have to worry about neck-fit, finish, etc.
    Plus, if you have a fender, might as well keep it a fender and keep your logo.
     
  14. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    You might start by shopping around for a guitar tech. Once you find someone good in your area, then find out how much it's going to cost with him either way. And don't sell the MIJ neck. That guitar is actually somewhat desireable, and in 10 years will be "vintage" so having the original neck lying around will be a good investment (and you can sell your new neck at the same time to recoup some cash). If it were me and I was buying ONE neck to last me another 15 years, I'd look at a nice chunky Warmoth with the stainless frets in Gibson size, rosewood board and compound radius.
     
  15. Shiny McShine

    Shiny McShine Member

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    I would like that name and number also.
     
  16. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    The old neck is often more stable than a new neck will be (key issue here is that we're talking about a long piece of wood, and not something like an old TV, which is often unwise to invest more money into)
    If you find someone good, to refret the old neck, it's like having a race car mechanic make your car a whole lot more fun to drive around the track (tweaked out engine, suspension, wheels, brakes, etc). More attention to detail going in, with what the mechanic specializes in vs. something off the assembly line, which can't have too much time spent on every detail.
    Or get a new neck, and it'll likely be more like buying a new Ford mini-van, which will flip over when you try to have fun going around the track.
    But then again, if we're just concerned with pulling off "cowboy chords", then yeah, just needs to drive well enough to go to church.
     

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