Our Necks are Truly Custom Made
A number of unique features differentiate our necks from those of our competitors. In fact, it took nearly 2 months to design our neck construction method. We knew that if we were going to do it, it had to be done the RIGHT way, not the quickest or cheapest. We are truly proud of our design and we hope you feel and hear the difference.
- Fretwire slots are cut at the same curve as the fretboard radius, and not just with a straight bottom, as it would be if employing a gangsaw. When the frets are pressed in, there is minimal space (if any) between the fret bottom and the fret slot, creating a stiffer neck.
- We use a slight amount of “fall away”, which is where the fingerboard is sloped down below the 12th fret. Every neck we've made from day one has employed the use of “fall away” which is virtually undetectable to the eye – the only thing you’ll notice is a great playing neck with cleaner string bending in the higher registers.
- Truss rod channels are routed with a bullnose bit which creates a round-bottomed channel. This keeps the truss rod well seated inside the neck, for better stability. Thicker necks have deep set truss rods, enabling you to exert more pressure for greater truss rod adjustment.
- Our truss rod ends are double welded, and not peened (hammered together with a ball-peen hammer), so there’s no need to worry about the rod breaking inside the neck. In fact you’d probably strip the screw before breaking the rod!
- All of our heel adjust necks use a stainless steel adjustment nut (or as we like to call it a “butt nut”), to prevent it from rusting out over time.
- We bevel the fret ends and roll the edges of the fingerboard for a more comfortable feel. This is a standard feature on all necks, so if you don't want this done please specify when ordering.
- We use a .208" thick fingerboard (thickness before the radius is milled) on our 2-piece construction guitar necks. It is a more time consuming and more expensive approach than just slapping on a .25" thick fingerboard to avoid the extra work of using a filler strip like some other parts manufacturers. We feel it is worth the effort because of the tonal benefits of a thinner fingerboard.
Our necks aren't the cheapest you can buy, but we do feel they are the BEST available. If we didn't truly believe that, we wouldn't be building them in the first place.
- Two piece construction maple guitar neck: $228
- One piece construction maple guitar neck: $248
- 4-string two piece construction maple bass neck: $248
- 5-string two piece construction maple bass neck: $268
Additional charges will apply depending on woods, fret material, inlay, and other options. See our quote forms to spec out a neck.
Scale Lengths and Other Neck Options
Our standard necks are 25-1/2" scale with a choice of 21 or 22 frets, made with either 1 or 2 piece construction.
One piece necks use a walnut skunkstripe.
We also make a 25-1/2" scale 12 string neck.
Rounded fingerboard ends on 22 fret 25-1/2" scale US-2 and similar necks are standard. Both round and square heel shapes are interchangeable at no extra cost.
We offer three different "alternate" scale replacement necks for those looking for a different feel on their favorite bolt-on body.
- 25" scale - 22 frets
- 24-3/4" scale - 22 frets
- 28-5/8" scale baritone - 24 frets
All conversion necks work with any standard (25-1/2" scale) body. Square fingerboard end overhangs are only available on these retro-fit conversion necks - sorry no rounded fingerboard ends due to the way in which the different scale is achieved.
For those of you who prefer your necks with a bit more girth, we offer a 1-7/8" nut width.
These have a with a wider heel width (2-5/16") to attain the proper string spacing. They must be used with one of our S or T style bodies with a compatible sized neck pocket.
Super wide necks are available with 2-piece construction, US-1 or US-2 pegheads, and a C shape with your choice of thickness.
Super wide guitar necks are priced the same as our 2-piece Bass Necks.
We offer 20 or 21 fret 4 string necks with 34" scale length.
Our 34" scale 5-string bass necks have 22 frets with a fingerboard overhang, and the 35" scale 5-string bass necks are 21 frets with an overhang.
We also have a 21 fret 30" scale 6 string bass neck to be used with our Baritone VI body only.
All bass necks are 2 piece construction and feature a pair of graphite stiffening rods for extra stability and light weight.
We have got a great selection of fret sizes to suit every players' needs and preferences. We use standard nickel silver alloy frets, and offer stainless steel frets thanks to many customer requests.
SS frets are available in sizes similar to Dunlop 6230, 6105, 6150, and 6100. Add $30 for any Stainless Steel fret installation.
(w x h)
|6230||.080" x .043"||small wire for a more vintage feel|
||.080" x .043"||6230 available in Stainless Steel|
|6130||.106" x .036"||low and wide fret for lots of fingerboard feel|
|6105||.090" x .055"||tall and narrow - a great all-purpose fret|
|6105SS||.090" x .055"||6105 available in Stainless Steel|
||.095" x .047"||a new size for the player that wants something in between 6105 & 6150|
|6150||.104" x .047"||true jumbo fret for rock and bass players|
|6150SS||.104" x .047"||6150 available in Stainless Steel|
|6100||.110" x .057"||huge fret wire for those who want a scalloped feel|
||.110" x .057"||6100 available in Stainless Steel|
|6000||.118" x .058"||railroad ties - the largest size fret available|
A note from Tommy about stainless steel frets (in case you were wondering)...
Some things are just magical and shouldn't be messed with.
Quite honestly they look great and they wear great, but I am a little old fashioned and think they will affect the overall tone of the instrument in a bright way - kind of like a big truss rod. Some things are just magical and shouldn't be messed with. We really feel they would change the tone of the parts we so carefully make for you - we have formulas that we know work well for parts. Sometimes it's scary to mess with a good formula.
We still stand behind our comments above, but also know that many of you have your own "tone formulas" that may be best achieved by using Stainless.
Nut Slot Specifications
We can cut the nut slot with a curved or flat bottom. We only recommend a curved bottom when using a radius of 7.25" at the first fret. We can also accommodate the LSR roller nut or Earvana OEM nut at no additional cost.
Choose from the vintage 1.650", the modern 43mm (a skosh wider than 1-11/16" = 42.8625mm), the wide 1-3/4", and the super wide 1-7/8". The 1-7/8" wide neck requires one of our custom made S or T style bodies with a 2-5/16" neck pocket. Please specify when ordering.
Choose from the narrow J width or the wider P bass width; our 5 string necks have a 1-7/8" width.
Why we won't sell or install pre-slotted nuts.
Nut fabrication and installation should be one of the last things done in the assembly process. We feel that to attempt to do this at this early stage would be doing the instrument a disservice. Since we don't offer hardware, this also prohibits us from providing the nut blank material.
There are lots of guitar shop supply companies who sell nut blanks, and trained guitar techs/luthiers who can cut and install a nut that will be a perfect fit based on your preferences (desired string height, string spacing, etc.) We may even be able to recommend a tech in your area. Ask us when you place your order.
Locking Nut Plateau
We use standard 1/4" dot inlays for the fingerboard face. Nothing fancy going on here. No blocks, no traps, no skulls, no stars. Just old school dots. We can also do Side dots on facesmaller side dot sized inlays for a sleeker appearance.
The standard inlay dots we use are black delrin, white plastic, or a creamy faux clay.
Callaham REAL CLAY dots are an extra $20.00 per neck, and available on rosewood boards only. These give off a true vintage vibe.
Premium shell inlays are available for an additional $10 for face dots only (w/plastic side dots) or $20 for both fancy face and side dots.
- Mother of Pearl
- Black Mother of Pearl
- Paua Abalone Shell
You can choose no fingerboard inlay at all. We do recommend side dots.
In its simplest form, radius can be described as the curvature of the fingerboard. Vintage bolt-on neck guitars pretty much all had fingerboards with a 7.25" radius. Flatter radii became more popular over the years, as well as the concept of compound radius. In this case, the radius changes from one value to a flatter one, further up the neck. We started using the 7.25" to 9.5" compound radius back when we began in 2000. Many other builders saw how comfortable this was, marrying the vintage feel in the lower frets, and more modern flatter radius up high. Our compound radius has proven to be the most popular choice by our customers as well.
We offer the following straight and compound radii options with no additional upcharge.
- 7.25" - 9.5"
- 9.5" - 12"
- 10" - 14"
- 10" - 16"
- 12" - 14"
Neck Back Contours
We know that the way a neck feels in your hand is such an important factor in the playability of your guitar. All of our necks are precision cut and contoured using state-of-the-art computer controlled routing equipment, which results in a perfectly contoured neck. Players will feel the difference when on stage, in the studio, or in their living room. Our OEM customers can expect absolute consistency in multiple run construction, with necks that are ready for finish sanding.
We have the following neck back shapes from which to choose: C, U, Asymmetrical, Super Soft V (SSV), Medium V, and Hard V.
The Medium V shape has a bit less shoulder than the Super Soft V. The Hard V contour is a pronounced V, with initial cuts done by the CNC, followed by hand shaping by the expert hands of our master luthier.
Although we hate so say "NO", there are some limitations: 12 String necks, 25" scale conversion necks, and bass necks are only available in a C shape, but with your choice of thickness.
Over 100 Combinations
Custom Neck Contours
Once you've decided on the shape, choose the thickness. Thickness measures the size of the neck from front to back, including the fingerboard. Our fingerboards are .208″ thick before a radius is milled.
You can get a thickness anywhere between .750″ to .900″ in .010″ increments. We use a standard .070″ taper from the first fret to the 12th. From all of the necks we have measured, .070″ seems to be the best feeling taper.
If you’d like a super thin neck (between .750″ and .770″ thick @ the 1st fret), we highly recommend the use of internal graphite stabilizing bars ($60 extra). In fact, we do not warranty super thin necks without the graphite bars!
Due to the amount of handwork involved with finish sanding any of our back contours, precise taper and 12th fret measurements are not feasible. This information is somewhat generalized but if you have specific needs please let us know. We will do our best to accommodate you!
If you're overwhelmed by the number of options available we have some of your favorite contours and thicknesses already programmed and ready to go.
- Fatback - C Shape 1". Little to no taper at all.
- Boat Contour - Soft, but not super soft “V” with some shoulder…like a boat hull!
- Texas Blues - Asymmetrical .860" (.070+ taper)
- Texas Blues Brother - Hard V that changes into a C around the 9th fret. Usually anywhere from .830"-.850" (.070+ taper)
- Slow Hand - Medium V - around .860"-.870" (.070+ taper)
- The '54 - .850" Soft V that changes into a C with a .090"+ taper
- The '63 - Taken directly from an actual ’63 Strat, it’s a “C” shape that starts out at about an .830 with a .090+ taper.
- E.B. Contour - Asymmetrical .850" (.070+ taper)
- Super Fatback (or as we like to call it the "J.W. Holmes" contour) - just over 1" at the first fret. A beast of a neck like this will cost an additional $50 USD.
Our pegheads are reminiscent of classic shapes, but are original to USACG. If you look around the interwebs, you'll see other parts vendors are also using our designs. Don't be fooled by imitations!
We offer custom peghead shapes, either programmed into our CNC for multiple neck orders or individually "hand cut". Please contact us for a price quote to bring your special design to life. We can not cut copyright protected peghead shapes. Please don't ask.
We use only hand selected, straight grained wood with minimal runout. Almost all necks are made from cathedral cut blanks (Cathedral cut woods show a pronounced V grain pattern) which adds strength and stability. In fact, we have only had less than 15 necks returned (out of nearly over 5,000) due to warping in the past 3 and a half years.
We don't normally stock "exotic" woods such as bubinga, wenge, goncalo, korina, etc., but we will custom craft a neck made of these woods supplied by you. Pricing for the use of your neck woods is the same as a Maple/Maple neck. Please contact us for more info.
Here are some subjective descriptions of the woods we use for our necks based on years of building, playing and listening.