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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother had a stroke not long ago, he used to fix guitars among other things. Needless to say, he's closing shop. He has a storage locker about half full of neglected & unused gear and he's sending it to me slowly. Some of it is cheap junk, other stuff has possibilities.

I recently had a scalloped neck mounted on a Strat body and the thing wouldn't play properly. It measured ruler straight without strings, but as soon as there was string tension, it was out of tune and was impossible to intonate or truss adjust. My guitar tech told me that it's not me, it's the neck - it was basically a noodle and a piece of Chinese junk. It took some time & effort to mount the damn thing too - piss me off. Some more necks are coming in courtesy of my brother, all virgin with no mounting holes (ahem).

Does anyone know of any test I can do that will prove the integrity of the neck without having to go through the trouble of installing machine heads, drilling them out, stringing them up and performing a complete setup only to snap it over my knee because it's just good-looking crap? Or is that the only way (minus the snapping part)?

368954
 

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First of all, I'm sorry about your brother.


I hope some of the experienced builders will have some insight about this.

All I do is to make sure the truss rod is able to be adjusted and examine it with a straight edge to make sure there aren't any obvious defects. Sometimes I'll need to dress some fret sprout and other minor fret work.
Other than that I've never had a total piece of crap (unusable).

Is it possible the scalloping caused the instability?

Those look like nice necks, but pictures can be deceiving as many who have bought Chibsons have learned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. Brother is recovering. he's moved from a walker to a cane now - guy is younger than me.

Yes, I agree - it's possible the scalloping did cause that neck to become unstable. It's just that I've lost my confidence in wasting time with the others. Given the reputation of most musicians, they are more than likely inexpensive necks as well. A quick look on eBay shows many of these type of necks available there for less than $100. I would think a new well engineered neck is at least a couple hundred. I mean, they feel terrific in your hand, but that means nothing if they aren't stable w/ tension.

It's hard to tell what they are too. There are no markings on them at all, no serial numbers, brand names, nothing. It doesn't take a science degree for that to spur suspicion. Seems a waste to use them for kindling (and there's more coming).
 

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Thanks. Brother is recovering. he's moved from a walker to a cane now - guy is younger than me.

Yes, I agree - it's possible the scalloping did cause that neck to become unstable. It's just that I've lost my confidence in wasting time with the others. Given the reputation of most musicians, they are more than likely inexpensive necks as well. A quick look on eBay shows many of these type of necks available there for less than $100. I would think a new well engineered neck is at least a couple hundred. I mean, they feel terrific in your hand, but that means nothing if they aren't stable w/ tension.

It's hard to tell what they are too. There are no markings on them at all, no serial numbers, brand names, nothing. It doesn't take a science degree for that to spur suspicion. Seems a waste to use them for kindling (and there's more coming).
You're about right on the prices.

A decent neck generally starts at $200 and can go way up from there. I recently installed a couple of Warmoths that I believe were in the $600 area (each).

I wish I could have a look at them. I'l wager there will be at least a few decent salvagable necks in the group.
 

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Learned my lesson. I only buy either Fender or a Fender Licensed necks for the ones I have built. Otherwise it's a hit or miss. It's more expensive but it works 90% of the time. Mind you I'm not even close to being a luthier. LOL I just put guitar parts together, a bit of fret work and the setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I've seen that YouTube video a while back, thanks for posting. I won't be buying anything like that, I'm not a luthier (nor do I want to be one). Besides, it's easy to tell if the neck is junk by mounting it up, I'm sort of trying to avoid that. But it's looking like I don't think I have a choice.

I suppose having these necks is better than a sharp stick in the eye, I shouldn't complain. Maybe I should just go ahead and mount them and see how it goes for each one.
 

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Yeah, I've seen that YouTube video a while back, thanks for posting. I won't be buying anything like that, I'm not a luthier (nor do I want to be one). Besides, it's easy to tell if the neck is junk by mounting it up, I'm sort of trying to avoid that. But it's looking like I don't think I have a choice.

I suppose having these necks is better than a sharp stick in the eye, I shouldn't complain. Maybe I should just go ahead and mount them and see how it goes for each one.
That's what I would do, unless, as I said, obvious defects were visible.

Good Luck.
 

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There not really any way to tell until you bolt it to the body and add string tension.

The chinese necks are hit or miss.

I have had a few good ones pass through my shop.
They all needed fret work and a new nut.

I have had just as many crap ones.

Nut slot not parallels to the frets, neck heel wasn't flat etc etc

Nathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Nathan. I have no experience with Chinese necks. Hit or miss ain't encouraging...they look and feel so good too, it's like reaching for nice ripe fruit and getting a turd instead.
 

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@nnieman Sorry I missed putting your name on my list in Post #4. Not enough coffee.
I'm very pleased that you saw this thread and commented.
 

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Thanks, Nathan. I have no experience with Chinese necks. Hit or miss ain't encouraging...they look and feel so good too, it's like reaching for nice ripe fruit and getting a turd instead.
My advice is buy 2 and hope you get at least 1 good one.... of course at that price you aren’t any cheaper than buying a quality neck from all parts or warmoth showcase....

Nathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^ I'm only paying shipping for these necks, my brother has at least a half dozen more to come. This is why I wanted some sort of off-mounting method to test these things to see if they're any good rather than installing each one.
 

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Pretty easy to test. Sight down the neck, make sure it's not warped, then take your truss rod tool and see if you can put a back bow in the neck and then back it off and see if it responds to give relief. Loosen first before trying to back bow the neck to make sure the rod isn't already fully cranked. With a bit of back bow, place the headstock in one hand and the neck heel on a table and then press the neck in the middle to see how stiff it is. If it bends like a wet noodle, probably not worth using. If the truss rod is doing its job though, the neck should be useable.
Tap test all the frets to make sure they are well seated. If you find frets that respond with more of a hollow "thud" then they may have sprung. You can then super glue them down. If you've never done this kind of thing before, there's definitely a bit of a learning curve to it. You can bet that pretty much any new neck of dubious quality will need fret levelling and other work to make it playable.
 

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Good advice.
I was going to suggest putting it over your knee, press down on both ends and if it doesn't snap ..
 
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Pretty easy to test. Sight down the neck, make sure it's not warped, then take your truss rod tool and see if you can put a back bow in the neck and then back it off and see if it responds to give relief. Loosen first before trying to back bow the neck to make sure the rod isn't already fully cranked. With a bit of back bow, place the headstock in one hand and the neck heel on a table and then press the neck in the middle to see how stiff it is. If it bends like a wet noodle, probably not worth using. If the truss rod is doing its job though, the neck should be useable.
Tap test all the frets to make sure they are well seated. If you find frets that respond with more of a hollow "thud" then they may have sprung. You can then super glue them down. If you've never done this kind of thing before, there's definitely a bit of a learning curve to it. You can bet that pretty much any new neck of dubious quality will need fret levelling and other work to make it playable.
What he said.
Maybe post a quicky close up shot of each neck here - headstock (front & back) and butt end in particular - it's possible that a neck may have some sort of 'tell' to allow someone here to identify the maker or source.
 
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