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Aluminum neck.  Stainless steel frets.  Brass nut.  You realize a metal pick killed Eddie Van Halen, don't you? 

Alcoa made these about 80 years ago. They seem to hold up well.

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Looking slick. Can’t wait to hear what you think about how it feels and sounds. 

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44 minutes ago, topekatj said:

don't touch your tongue to it in cold weather!

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2 hours ago, specialk said:

Too bad gloves have already been done:

 

Gloves didn't make a difference for Bowie's acoustic voice there, he wasn't playing that thar guitfiddle at the end of the video. That was the great SRV on that entire album.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The guitar body arrived last Saturday.

But the seller had forgotten to include the neckplate, sent it separately, and it didn't arrive with it.

I put the neck on the guitar, just to make sure it fit, and it did.  I didn't screw the neck in tight, tho, because I didn't want the bold heads to damage/bite into the wood.  And so the neck was fretting out all over the place.  It being aluminum, nothing was going to shift it.  No truss rod, since it would have no effect. So I was nervous, and was looking forward to the neckplate arrive Monday to finish it up.

But Sunday I had to make an emergency flight out to the KC environs to help take care of my parents because my Dad was hospitalized with gallstone complications (he's since recovered).

Got back yesterday, and put the neckplate on, and tightened it down.

No fretouts, but on a few of the strings, it fretted out on bends.

So this highlighted one limitation of the neck.  I mean, I knew this was a limitation, but it kind of rubbed it in my face: there is no way to adjust the relief at all.  So it kind of decides for you what your string action is going to be.

Sure, you can raise the bridge, but that will cause higher action at the neck heel than at the nut.

Luckily, I like low action. So it took just half-twist of the saddle height screws (I guess I could have also raised the trem body, but that's a lot more hassle) and now there are no fret-outs or bend-outs anywhere.

I've only played it a few times, and haven't even A/B'd it yet, but my impression is the tone is a little harsh/brittle than my other guitars on my current settings.

But with a Firehawk FX with all the amps, tweaks, and stomp-boxes available to modify the tone, I'm sure I can get some great tones out of it, and turn that brittle into glassy, and harsh into rasp.

Overall, it's really comfortable.  It doesn't seem thin, or thick, or wide, or narrow. It just seems like a neck.  Other than the coldness of it (being metal), I really don't notice the neck dimensions.  But I have played on a bunch of guitars and am really tolerant to differences.  I have at least 3 widely different neck shapes that are my Most Favorite or Most Comfortable.  So your mileage may vary.  But it seems to me to be a straight up, basic, Fender neck carve.

The other thing is it seems to clarify and/or exaggerate articulation. I could hear some sloppiness in my playing, but with a little extra effort on the 2nd playthrough, I was able to clean it up easily.  I don't really know how to explain it other than that.  Part of it is stainless steel frets: I feel like I can be MUCH more precise with the microtones when bending.  Maybe it's actually half-imagination. Or maybe fully imagined, but I feel like I can get much more subtle in my bending and actually *hear* it.  I feel the same way with the aluminum neck and articulated notes.  I feel like I can *hear* the muffling of a note I didn't press down enough or perhaps didn't get my finger placement behind the fret correct. I feel like I can hear the timing slightly better of each pick attack.

Again, it might be all imagination. If it is, well, at least the neck doesn't have any negative impact on my playing at all. $800 may be pricy, but considering this neck will NEVER bow, NEVER twist, and likely never need a refret, it ain't bad at all.

I'll report back as I continue playing it.

 

 

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Semi-Final Analysis:

I can't recommend it to anyone.

It's fine for what it is and what it does. I don't exactly regret getting it. I'm not going to turn around and dump it.

But it is neck heavy. Very neck heavy. Reach for a tuner and you feel like you're chasing it as it slides down.  Play your licks, and the ones where you might have let go of the neck to shift up/down rapidly? It drops on you.  So now you have to brace the neck to keep it at the playing angle you are used to for the song, but that slows you down.

I haven't really started working on trying to dial in the tones on it yet.

But you can see the body is pretty cool looking, and it has a Custom Custom in the bridge and a Tone Zone in the neck...the guitar body itself has the potential to be a #1 or a Top Five with the right neck.  But this neck drags it down a little.

I still appreciate that it is indestructible.  I will continue to still pick it up and play it. I'll probably continue to find good things about it.

But I can't recommend spending $800 for a neck that you have to adjust to.  The point of spending $800 on just a neck is to end up with a guitar that fits YOUR preferences, habits, and techniques.  It fits my preferences, but I'm going to have to play it differently than my other guitars, and that makes it a fail, overall.

It still is visually stunning.  It still is cool in concept. So I don't regret it.  Heck, it's still within the period where I could return it, no questions asked. I like it enough I'm not going to do that.

But I can't recommend it to anyone else with these issues.

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On second thought, maybe I will return it.

Maybe.

I'll think about it in the few days I have left on the return period.

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1 minute ago, Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame said:

On second thought, maybe I will return it.

Maybe.

I'll think about it in the few days I have left on the return period.

How long is the return period?  I may have missed that if it was stated before. 

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2 minutes ago, Travis said:

How long is the return period?  I may have missed that if it was stated before. 

30 days.

Not sure if it is from the delivery arrival date or the purchase date. But I bought it on the 29th of January, so I should have until at least the 28th of February to send it back if I want to.

More if it is from the arrival date (so you actually have a full 30 days to try it out).

Edited by Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame
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The neck is solid? I thought maybe it was hollow with the fretboard welded on or something. The Alcoa bass neck is hollow with a wooden fingerboard attached to the front. You could always try the acoustic guitar approach of attaching the strap at the headstock, or put a strap button on the back of the headstock like an old P-bass.

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After typing that, I picked it up and played it again for about an hour.

I can't say I don't like the neck.  there are lots of things I like about it, even with the neck dive. The articulation is great. Harmonics really sing out. it seems like it is easier to tell if it is out of tune, and when in tune, is just crystal clear with a little distortion.

And this time, I seemed to realize that I don't need to use my fretting hand to stabilize the neck, but just a little more fore-arm pressure from the right arm on the body of it.  That seems to prevent the neck dive.

I've still got a few days, I'm going to use them to continue to evaluate.

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40 minutes ago, killerteddybear said:

Drill a 3" or 4" diameter hole through the body, centered on the word 'we'. Replace with brass rod stock epoxied in place.

No more neck dive.

My suggestion is to get a second strap that goes around the right thigh to keep the neck from diving. 

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1 hour ago, Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame said:

And this time, I seemed to realize that I don't need to use my fretting hand to stabilize the neck, but just a little more fore-arm pressure from the right arm on the body of it.  That seems to prevent the neck dive.

This reminds me of the old vaudevillian joke about the guy who goes to buy a bespoked suit, and his tailor keeps mauling it on the customization, until both get impatient with each other. The tailor says, well, just walk around with your right leg a little hitched up, and your left arm a little retracted, and your spine hunched over with your shoulders thrown back, and it LOOKS GREAT!

Buyer walks out the door strutting like a palsy victim, gets halfway down the street past two dudes sitting on a bench. One dude says to the other, wow, look at that poor guy. How crippled he must be. There but for the grace of God go I.

Other dude says, "Yeah, but look how well his suit fits!" 

.....bah boom dis.

 

I like that neck's appearance and the whole guitar looks badassed, but I have been warned about aluminum necks and their tendency to wander out of tune when they heat up under stage lights or just a little too much caressing. (The neck dive is just one more irritating factor. and the price is another)

Have you experienced any of that?

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2 hours ago, Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame said:

I can't recommend spending $800 for a neck

I whole-heartedly agree.

It is cool looking but it should be more than that.  For that kind of money the expectation should be that it compliments you and your playing rather than you making adjustments to accommodate the neck.

 

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1 hour ago, Ed Rechts said:

This reminds me of the old vaudevillian joke about the guy who goes to buy a bespoked suit, and his tailor keeps mauling it on the customization, until both get impatient with each other. The tailor says, well, just walk around with your right leg a little hitched up, and your left arm a little retracted, and your spine hunched over with your shoulders thrown back, and it LOOKS GREAT!

Buyer walks out the door strutting like a palsy victim, gets halfway down the street past two dudes sitting on a bench. One dude says to the other, wow, look at that poor guy. How crippled he must be. There but for the grace of God go I.

Other dude says, "Yeah, but look how well his suit fits!" 

.....bah boom dis.

 

I like that neck's appearance and the whole guitar looks badassed, but I have been warned about aluminum necks and their tendency to wander out of tune when they heat up under stage lights or just a little too much caressing. (The neck dive is just one more irritating factor. and the price is another)

Have you experienced any of that?

neck dive, but no tuning instability at all. 

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1 hour ago, cynic said:

I whole-heartedly agree.

It is cool looking but it should be more than that.  For that kind of money the expectation should be that it compliments you and your playing rather than you making adjustments to accommodate the neck.

 

Yep.

the seller (an agent for the manufacturer) said they are selling fast, so there are things people like about it despite the price.

 

I'm still not sure.

There are some things I really love about it. The harder the fretboard, the better, for me. Stainless steel frets. 100% impervious to climate. 

Most of the guitars that have that (usually graphite or carbon fiber necks) are much more expensive than $1200 total, and too many of them were clacky and neck light.  Necks that feel insubstantial and don't have the inertia to resist your motions are as annoying as necks that are too heavy. Sold a Viktorian Rose because of that. Found a Composite Acoustics Blade (electric guitar) that doesn't, but it's fixed bridge.

I'm leaning towards keeping it at this point. The all-metal construction does seem to add an edge to high-gain settings. It really is crystal clear for articulation, which reduces my sloppiness (kind of the opposite of the Diablo, which I also love for opposite reasons).  Naturally figuring out that bracing the body with my right forearm prevents the neck dive is resulting in not having to change my playing to accommodate it.

The main reason to post my problems with it is just so that no one walks into it unaware.

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