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Warmoth Guitars vs Name Brand

Pinelake

Member
Messages
670
I've been a Les Paul player since 1977 and a Fender Strat guy since 1986. Got the itch for a Tele or 335 model. I've looked at the Fender Baja series and like a lot of what I see for the price point.

Is there any advantage to having one built by a company such as Warmoth or is it just as easy to buy the Baja or what ever I decide on? Any experience with Warmoth or other companies I should look at?
Thanks
 

mrpinter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,943
First of all, you don't "have one built" by Warmoth. They make "replacement" bodies and necks that will fit their bodies/necks or Fender's, under license to Fender (in the case of their Tele or Strat parts). They are most careful to NOT make any claims or suggestions about making guitar kits - this would violate the terms of the license and put them in direct competition with Fender. But you CAN buy all the parts from them necessary to put together a complete guitar, and these can be of very high quality, if assembled properly.

I have only one guitar built from Warmoth parts, but it is a beauty. It's a 72 Thinline Tele semi hollow body, with an exotic wood neck (goncalo alves) and two Seymour Duncan humbuckers. It feels, plays and looks great, and I love it. Would I do another? Sure... probably will, and I recommend them highly. One caution: your final outcome depends on skillful assembly - I paid a professional tech to build mine.

Here is a picture of it:

 

snowblind56

Member
Messages
567
The only real benefit to Warmoth(and other parts companies) is assembling something you can't get off the shelf.

I find it amusing the amount of black Strats with white pickguards and generic maple necks for sale on ebay and such. To me, the point of partscasters is to do something unique, like body/neck woods, pickup configurations, bridges, neck profiles, etc.

And that black thinline tele above is pretty sweet...
 

aT19er

Member
Messages
344
If you see what you want in the Baja and want it NOW, go for that. I had to wait a few weeks for my parts to be made and delivered. Unless there's something like different woods or neck carve, etc, that you want that you can't get from the Baja, I say go for the Baja. You can always replace hardware and pickups and such.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,879
I did a lot of warmoth stuff in the 90's and i just don't care for the maple they use. I don't care what anyone says, it's not the same as what fender uses. It may be the same species but it's grown locally to warmoth which turns out slightly different even in the way it looks compared to fender. And i believe thats one of the reasons i was never happy with the tone i got from them, even with thier vintage spec necks. They just never had quite the same tone as i get from fenders, even some of the squier stuff. You also have to watch out for those double truss rods necks...they sound horrid IMO.
 

waygorked

Member
Messages
603
That's exactly what I used to think as well. I was complaining about the thin neck on my '08 American Standard Strat often enough for my wife to surprise me with a Warmoth fatback replacement neck for Xmas. All maple, with their double adjusting rod. My Fender neck sang, and I was really hesitant to even attempt the other neck, but it blew me away with the huge resonant tone it produced. Better than the USA Fender by quite a margin. Just to be sure, I did some parts swapping against my '52 RI Tele neck, and had the same result. It was enough to convince me that I need another partscaster.
 

huutevar

Member
Messages
989
I think the Warmoth stuff is pretty good. I never had a problem tone-wise with the maple Warmoth neck I had.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,742
Loving my Warmoth neck, but it is a tad heavy, I was lucking and got a heavy body by accident. The guitar is heavy but offers a more LP type tone as compared to my medium and light strat. Just be aware of weight when ordering so you balance well.
 

wwit

Member
Messages
497
Loving my Warmoth neck, but it is a tad heavy, I was lucking and got a heavy body by accident. The guitar is heavy but offers a more LP type tone as compared to my medium and light strat. Just be aware of weight when ordering so you balance well.

Same here. I love my Warmoth Strat. Indian RW 59 neck w/ebony board and SS frets. Solid mahogony body with shedua laminate. The neck is fantastic. Raw is amazing.

But I didnt plan ahead weight wise and it weighs a ton...well not a ton, but as is its 16 pounds and is very uncomfortable to play standing up.
 

wwit

Member
Messages
497
And i should have mentioned, If I had to do it again, or If I build another Warmoth someday, I would still go with one of the raw playable necks. But I would not go with solid mahogony. Would be chambered or just lighter in general like basswood, or ash.

And the other weight item I never concidered was the locking tuners. They work awsome, but they too are heavey compared to traditional non locking ones. More or less twice the weight hanging out there on the headstock.
 

rockonomics

Member
Messages
516
Warmoth parts are good. But building a guitar from strictly Warmoth parts is only good if you have deep pockets. More cost effective to find a guitar that you like and put on a custom neck from Warmoth or USACG. IME the customer service is better at USACG. And what's this **** about charging more for a straight radius neck? C'mon, Warmoth, not everybody likes that.
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,244
I almost started a thread relating to this topic. I've been a parts-o-caster guy for years. I've probably tried just about every combination of pickups, wiring, necks, bodies possible. Yet every time I got back to playing one of my real American made Fenders I realize the difference in quality immediately. They are just so much better. YMMV
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,309
Building a guitar from Warmoth parts can produce a very nice guitar, but remember that this is not simply a bolt-together operation and it can be pretty expensive compared to other options.

Worth noting that Warmoth does not complete its fretwork, for example -- it's best to have a good tech level, polish, crown, etc., the frets once the guitar is assembled. They essentially install the frets but not much else.

I doubt very much I'd buy an already -assembled guitar done of Warmoth parts (or anyone else's) unless I had a pretty good idea of who assembled it and what their abilities were. Most Warmoth-parts guitars actually sell for less than the sum of the cost of the parts.

That said, I have one guitar assembled from Warmoth bits and pieces snatched off eBay, and it's just fine.
 

jaycee

Member
Messages
8,306
My warmoth strat plays just as nice as any strat i've ever played, vintage included.
 

wwit

Member
Messages
497
Warmoth parts are good. But building a guitar from strictly Warmoth parts is only good if you have deep pockets. More cost effective to find a guitar that you like and put on a custom neck from Warmoth or USACG. IME the customer service is better at USACG. And what's this **** about charging more for a straight radius neck? C'mon, Warmoth, not everybody likes that.

Id have too agree that all that also. They have some serious options available if you want to pay the price. I just bought my Epi JB LP a week ago and theres no way i could have built such a great guitar out of Warmoth parts for the same money.

As a quick comparison, I just priced out a Warmoth LP with simular specs and hardware as my Bonamassa.
Warmoth @ $1850 and its still need assembly.
JB LP w/case I paid $630 after 10%off discount I got from GC.

Yes there is the whole USA vs MIC thing, but I can live happily with a good LP that Im 100% sure wouldnt have played or sounded any better had I payed $1200 more for.

The only other thing with Warmoth necks is that they arent ready to play. Warmoth presses in the frets and leaves it from there to the end user to set up, file, dress, etc.
 

AprioriMark

Member
Messages
1,697
Warmoth parts are a tad expensive, but worth every penny. Their maple is better than anything I've seen on major brands. To be clear, I've build over 50 guitars from Warmoth and USACG parts (Tommy rocks!). I've also owned many vintage guitars, and can tell you that I vastly prefer the differences between most vintage necks and a W neck of any sort. Sure, there are "vintage gems," and I've held onto those, but there are also "Warmoth gems" that are equally or even more amazing.

Some things to note:

1) Warmoth necks are heavier when you get the double-expanding truss rod. Necks with this will also sound "brighter" if you get a thinner neck profile. If you go 59 roundback or thicker, I can't notice a difference between the double expanding or single truss rod.

2) Warmoth necks are REPLACEMENT PARTS and while they may be plug and play for some, I always do some work to the fret ends and roll the fretboard edges on mine.

3) They cut their nuts HIGH if you order one. I'm guessing because it's easier to remove material than replace it. Be prepared to file a bit for perfection.

4) Exotic, raw woods are amazing. Some sound very different from maple, however, so know what you're getting into.

-Mark
 

Deathmonkey

Member
Messages
2,430
I know very few people that have a Warmoth partscaster as their number one. But the few that do, love em. I think a lot of it has to do with what you're going for, and how much knowledge you and/or your tech have to get you there.

As with Carvin, I think people can run amok with options and put together stuff that they think will work, but doesn't, or at least, not the way they envisioned. Being of organic material, there is always going to be variation, and having expectations of an outcome with so much variability - especially when trying to replicate or duplicate another guitar's sound - is a bit of a doomed endeavor.

With a production model, you can go try them out and get the one that suits you. But you're limited to the options and models available. With ANY custom or customized build, you run risks of it not turning out how you imagined. I think this is the biggest issue for me in this arena. If you are tonally fairly open minded, go nuts. But if you're really hoping to get something that has to fit into a tonal image in your head, it's dicey.

Warmoth makes great parts, and I'm with dspellman and jaycee, when put together well, they can be some killer guitars. It's just the variability vs cost that I would caution about, not the quality.

All this is to say, if you like the Baja, get it. If you really want a mahogany tele with a flame maple neck, 20' radius, pao ferro fretboard, and jumbo stainless frets, go Warmoth.
 

FLStratcat

Member
Messages
514
My warmoth neck absolutely blew my strat's stock neck totally away. But then again, it's a stock (albeit a gem of a MiM) MiM neck vs. a quarter-sawn maple, fatback contour, 10-16" radius w/ 6105 stainless frets n' abalone inlays as well as the LSR nut prep. done. :dunno I only had to polish the frets on the warmoth though, no real dressing/leveling required. Superglued 'em all as per usual as well.
 

rockonomics

Member
Messages
516
I have two nearly identical USACG necks. One is maple, the other mahogany. All sizes are identical. Tommy is a joy to work with. When I was looking for a custom neck I tried to get answers out of Whoremouth. No luck.
http://www.bestguitarparts.com/guitar-category/Guitar_Necks
I've also been looking at these. Prices are incredible, especially if you don't mind sanding your own. I'm not sure how the fret work is (USACG sends them out damn near perfect) but I'm capable of addressing that issue if needed.
No I don't work for USACG, I just like their CS and products
 




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