Fender replacement neck vs. Warmoth replacement neck
It's really easy to replace a Strat neck these days, but which is the better choice? Fender or Warmoth?
Actually, there are 3 places where you can get Strat necks (as well as other Fender necks) easily. Fender themselves (if you see a Fender logo on it, it's from Fender), Warmoth and AllParts. True, there are other places to get Strat necks, but when you want a neck that "just works" with the least amount of hassle, you go Fender, go Warmoth or go AllParts.
In the way the pricing works, Warmoth has the lowest price - but - that's only if you buy one of their in-stock necks. If you custom build a neck from their web site, the price goes up quite a bit.
Fender has the mid-tier price depending on which neck you get. If you get a Mexico-made neck, it's mid-tier cost. If you get the USA-made neck, the price is obviously significantly higher.
AllParts Strat necks have varying prices, but they do offer a very ritzy option if you want it - the quartersawn neck. It's expensive, but believe me, "quartersawn" isn't just a marketing term. It's a real thing where you get the straightest possible wood grain and it genuinely costs more to source compared to flatsawn/plainsawn.
As far as who offers the best replacement Strat neck, here's how I sort that out:
"Looks like a Fender"
Get the Fender neck. Other than buying a parted-out Strat neck from eBay (which is completely legal to do), if you want that Fender logo the legal way, you have to buy a neck from Fender.
"Gives me the most neck options"
Get a custom Warmoth neck. Necks from Warmoth can be configured in many different ways, including a custom conversion option where you can order yourself a 24.75" Gibson scale instead of the standard 25.5" Fender scale.
"Gives me the most builder-friendly options"
Get a neck from AllParts. For example, if you want an unfinished neck where you apply the sealant yourself, AllParts sells that. Or if you want a quartersawn board or even a baritone Strat neck, AllParts sells those too along with many others. When you want the kind of Strat neck that "gets you more into the wood", to so speak, AllParts suits best here.
My thoughts on not-so legal Fender waterslide decal logos
Easy to find, but I do not recommend using them.
You are better off using a custom headstock logo instead.
Because otherwise you're going to feel some serious regret.
Let's say you go ahead and buy a not-so legal Fender decal and apply it to your new non-Fender replacement Strat neck. Done and done.
Every time you look at that guitar, you know it's not a true Fender. It doesn't matter how many people you fool into thinking it is a Fender. You know it's not.
Now let's say you put your own custom decal on the headstock. That's a completely guilt-free free thing you can do. No regret involved whatsoever.
In the end, if you really, really want that Fender logo for the cheapest possible price, just buy a parted-out neck from eBay like I said above. It's not as expensive as you think. No, it's not as cheap as a logo, but at least your mind will be at ease from knowing that yes, you've got a true Fender neck with true Fender serial number on it.
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