Warmoth Guitar Products
Where did Warmoth get its start?
Warmoth Guitar Products
Years hot-rodding: 30
Starting at: $160
Typical wait time: 3–4 weeks
What did you want to provide to people?
I began working with my dad at Boogie
Bodies way back in 1978, and ended up
running this enterprise up until early in
1980, when we dissolved that partnership
and started up Warmoth. Dad was the
machinery guy, he built the cool tools used
to make necks; his partner was the guitar
junkie/salesman. We supplied many parts to
Charvel in their early years, but for the most
part, we simply sold wholesale to guitar
techs around the country. Warmoth supplied
many of the early boutique builders, the
biggest of which was probably Valley Arts,
while they were still a California company.
We began making necks because nobody
else was doing it, and there were a lot of
Fender guitars with trashed necks. This was
in the years prior to the “vintage” market
and, hence, putting a new neck on your ‘66
Strat was no big deal—it was even less of a
deal on your CBS-era guitar that could well
have come from the factory with a crappy
neck. Most Fenders of the era had 1-5/8”
wide necks with 7.25” radius fingerboards,
and there was a buzz for wider necks and
flatter fingerboards with Gibson frets; this
is the bandwagon we jumped on.
The old Charvel guitars used by Van Halen
had necks that we built on them—I know
there has been a lot of fame-claiming
on this one, but the fact remains that
Warmoth built all the necks at Boogie
Bodies with 1-3/4” wide nuts and a 10” fingerboard
What should guitar players ask themselves
before purchasing a replacement neck?
Guitar players don’t really analyze what it is
about the mechanics of a neck that they like
or hate. They do with pickups and bridges,
but not so much with necks. If they’d simply
get out of the idea that one size fits all,
they could look at the size of their hand,
the diameter of their fingers and ask themselves
if a wider or narrower neck might be
more accommodating, or if a different neck
profile might make their fretting hand more
comfortable. There has been more recognition
of this in the past decade, however it
still gets little coverage in the magazines.
I would pose a few questions that might
have great interest to your readership:
How does fingerboard radius effect neck
What is the compound radius?
How does neck thickness affect tone and
How does nut width effect neck
What are the advantages and disadvantages
to the new stainless steel frets?
Do they affect tone?
What are the advantages
and disadvantages to the different nut
Locking tuners versus
non-locking tuners: how do Sperzels compare
to Gotohs or Schallers or Planet Waves?
The list could go on and on in the parts/
custom guitar arena.
What can you provide players that other
people or companies can’t?
To the best of my knowledge, nobody else
offers a scalloped replacement neck—either
a half or full scallop. No other outfit offers
as many radius options, fret options, preps
for locking nuts, LSRs or compensated nuts.
Heck, nobody else offers precut nuts fitted
to the individual neck, regardless of fret
size or fingerboard radius (and no, there is
no generic precut nut, off the shelf, that is
going to fit well in any neck). Nobody else
offers peghead veneers or custom inlay like
we do. If you want much, say, in the way
your neck is going to be made, and you
want it at a reasonable price, there really
aren’t a whole lot of choices out there.
Will you accept completely custom
orders from a customer, or are you
limited to the options in your catalog
(as many as there may be)?
Usually not, although we have done such
necks in the past. Unfortunately, the cost
for a craftsman to hand-fabricate a neck to
very specific requirements takes a lot longer
than pre-canned CNC operations with preprogrammed
options. Ninety-nine percent
of the guys wanting a completely custom
neck for some esoteric guitar don’t have a
budget to compliment it.
The phrase “parts guitar” is often used
by guitarists in a less-than-positive sense.
How would you respond to that?
A DIY guy can come up with a “parts guitar”
that is like no other. He can appease his own
heart’s desire with no regard to whether anyone
else in the whole world likes his ideas or
not. As long as he’s happy, who cares about
the critics? Tons of players have been totally
frustrated because they were unable to find
a factory guitar that suited them, and they
can’t afford to have a boutique guy do the
job for them. Where else can they turn but
the DIY parts guitar realm? I really feel like
we’ve pioneered the DIY guitar parts market,
leading the way for others and offering
opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
In the years to come, I only see this market
growing as more and more players discover
what it has to offer them.
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