9 Best Guitar Necks 2023, For Electric And Acoustic Guitars
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Guitar necks are quite the crucial aspect of any guitar. We rely on them to be able to fret our notes.
However, sometimes, a neck just doesn’t feel as comfortable as it should. Other times, you might find that you actually need a new guitar neck for a variety of reasons.
This doesn’t mean your guitar is dead! A replacement neck can allow your guitar to be played again.
Here are some of the best guitar necks available, for both electric and acoustic guitars.
Electric Guitar Necks
Fender Roasted Maple Flat Oval Replacement Stratocaster Neck – Best Overall
Looking for a worthwhile replacement neck for a Stratocaster? The Fender Roasted Maple Flat Oval Replacement Stratocaster Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) should not be overlooked.
Woods used in guitars today tend to be fairly wet, as access to old wood is not common. This, of course, can cause quite a bit of problems when the wood begins to dry out over time.
As its name would suggest, this neck has been given a heat treatment. This not only ages the wood but makes it more resistant to environmental changes.
This roasted Maple neck has all of the hallmark Fender attributes. The neck has that distinct and famous Fender headstock shape with the Fender logo.
Overall, the neck has a scale length of 25.5”, which is in line with most traditional Fender guitars. Maple is also used for the fretboard material and has 22 jumbo-sized frets.
One of the biggest differences here is that the neck has a flat oval contour. This should allow for quicker playing compared to a standard C-shape contour.
Another notable difference is that this roasted Maple neck has a 12” fretboard radius. Most Fender necks tend to have a radius of 9.5”.
This flatter radius means that large bends have a lesser chance of being choked out, which can be annoying. It also provides a platform for a player who might be more technically inclined.
The neck also comes equipped with a 1.6875” wide synthetic bone nut that has been pre-slotted. You will have to file it down to match your ideal string gauge.
You’ll find this neck to be extremely smooth and easy to navigate thanks to its satin polyurethane finish.
Item Weight: 2.7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 29.5 x 7.4 x 3.2 inches
Fender American Original '50s Telecaster Replacement Neck – Best Premium
Have a vintage-spec Telecaster that could use some new life? The Fender American Original '50s Telecaster Replacement Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is the best money can buy.
This neck has been crafted to reflect the specifications used on 1950s Telecasters. As such, you’ll find it is a bit different than what you’ll find on Telecasters today.
Before we point out the differences, let’s start with the similarities. This neck is made from Maple with a Maple fretboard.
The scale length measures 25.5” and the fretboard has a 9.5” radius. There are 21 frets outlined by black dot inlays on the fretboard.
As is traditional with Telecasters, this neck has that signature small-sized Fender headstock. All of the holes have been pre-drilled for attaching tuners.
This neck has also been equipped with a nut made from real bone. It has been partially slotted, but you may have to file the slots for your string gauge during setup.
As you can see, this neck is fairly similar to today’s necks. What are the differences between this and a newer Telecaster neck?
One of the biggest differences is that this neck has a U-shaped contour, taking inspiration from 1952 models. This will feel much different than the standard C-shape contour that Fender regularly employs today.
Another notable difference is that the back of the neck has a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. This is more in line with the vintage spec guitars, as it was most commonly used in the 1950s.
Overall, this ‘50s Telecaster neck is the sure choice to keep your Telecaster feeling like a vintage instrument. It might cost a pretty penny, but it’s sure to be worth the price.
Item Weight: 2.7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 29.9 x 7.5 x 3.4 inches
Mighty Mite Vintage Amber Tele Neck – Best Budget
On a tighter budget, but still need a worthwhile replacement neck for a Telecaster? The Mighty Mite Vintage Amber Tele Neck is definitely worth checking out.
Although this neck doesn't have an official Fender stamp on the headstock, it shares traditional Telecaster specs. You won’t have to worry about whether the neck will fit in the guitar’s neck pocket.
This Mighty Mite neck is crafted from Maple with Maple used for the fretboard. It has a 25.5” scale length with a fretboard radius of 9.5”.
There are 22 frets on this fretboard, which are outlined by black dot inlays for a traditional look.
This neck has a traditional C-shaped contour for that Fender feel. You’ll forget that this isn’t a Fender neck altogether.
The neck itself is finished in a polyurethane finish, which is pretty much aligned with modern Fender necks.
All of the holes have been pre-drilled for you to connect your tuning machines of choice. However, the holes have not been drilled to connect to the guitar’s body.
While it can be scary to drill the mounting holes yourself, there’s a good reason for it being this way. This essentially lets you ensure that the neck fits your guitar’s body without having excess and unneeded holes.
Another thing to note is that you shouldn’t have to force the neck into the neck pocket during installation. If the guitar is unfinished, the lack of lacquer/finish could cause the neck pocket to be too large.
Overall, the Mighty Mite Vintage Amber Tele Neck is an excellent choice for the budget-conscious. It is essentially a Fender neck without the Fender logo that fulfills its needed role quite well.
Item Weight: 3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 30 x 8 x 4 inches
Fender American Original '60s Stratocaster Replacement Neck
Have a little extra to spend on your vintage-spec Stratocaster? Consider checking out the Fender American Original '60s Stratocaster Replacement Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater).
This neck has been designed to reflect the neck construction used on vintage 1960s Stratocasters. As such, it’s the perfect neck to ensure your Stratocaster maintains its vintage feel and playability.
For the most part, this is a pretty standard Fender neck. All of the specs are similar to what you would expect if you’re familiar with Fender designs.
The neck itself is crafted from Maple and has a 25.5” scale length. A thick C-shaped contour is featured to provide comfort, although some players might be turned off by this thickness.
Nitrocellulose lacquer has been applied to the back of the neck to provide that vintage feel and shine.
Attached to this neck is a beautiful Rosewood fretboard with a 9.5” radius. There are 21 frets here (matching its vintage origins) which are outlined by white dot inlays.
Another thing that is true to vintage designs with this neck is the location of its truss rod adjustment. You’ll need to make any adjustments to the screw found at the heel of the neck.
The nut on this neck is made from real bone. Each slot has been pre-filed to a degree, though some work may need to be done for a proper setup.
All of the holes (for both tuning machines and mounting screws) have been pre-drilled. There will be no guesswork in attaching this neck to your beloved Stratocaster.
Overall, this is a prime choice for a Stratocaster neck. Many guitarists have raved about how great this vintage-spec neck feels and plays.
Item Weight: 2.7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 29.9 x 7.5 x 3.4 inches
Fender American Professional Jazzmaster Replacement Neck
Have a Fender or Squier Jazzmaster that could use an upgrade? Be sure to check out the Fender American Professional Jazzmaster Replacement Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater).
This neck is built to contain all of Fender’s traditional build qualities. You’ll find it to be the perfect blend between vintage and modern design.
As is traditional, this neck has the iconic Fender headstock shape and logo. A skunk stripe is featured on the back of the neck for a classic look.
The neck itself is crafted from Maple and has a 25.5” scale length. A deep C contour is featured here, which feels like a vintage contour without too much depth.
A satin polyurethane finish has been applied to the back of the neck. You’re sure to find navigating this neck to be a silky smooth experience, uninhibited by gunky residue.
Rosewood is used for the Jazzmaster neck’s fretboard. This has a traditional 9.5” radius with 22 narrow-tall frets outlined by white dot inlays.
The neck has been equipped with a real bone nut with a 1.685” width. String slots have been pre-filed, but you may need to file further for the correct setup with your string gauges.
This neck makes installation a breeze. The holes for mounting screws and tuning machines have been pre-drilled for your convenience.
Overall, this is an excellent replacement neck for any Jazzmaster and could make a worthwhile upgrade for a Squier. The Rosewood fretboard is a traditional choice for Jazzmaster guitars, providing that spongy feel and tonal warmth.
It might be a little pricey for some to consider. However, you can be sure that this neck will be the perfect fit for your beloved offset beauty.
Item Weight: 2.89 pounds
Package Dimensions: 30 x 8 x 4 inches
Fender Roasted Maple Flat Oval Replacement Telecaster Neck
Does your Telecaster need a bit of a facelift in regard to the neck? The Fender Roasted Maple Flat Oval Replacement Telecaster Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is a viable, economical solution.
Like the aforementioned Roasted Maple Stratocaster neck, this Telecaster neck has been given the same treatment. This means that the wood has been dry-aged and is less susceptible to environmental changes.
For the most part, this Telecaster neck is pretty standard fare for a Fender neck. The neck has that traditional Telecaster headstock shape with the signature Fender stamp.
Maple is used in the construction of the neck and is also used for the fretboard. It has a 25.5” scale length with a 12” fretboard radius.
This neck also has a flat oval contour, which should feel a bit thinner than a traditional C-shape contour. Nevertheless, this neck will still provide that comfortable feel that Fender necks are known for.
The back of the neck itself is finished in a silky smooth satin polyurethane finish. You won’t be dealing with any gunk buildup during your play sessions with this neck.
There are 22 jumbo-sized frets on this neck which are outlined by black dot inlays. When coupled with the flatter fretboard radius, this should provide ample space for even the largest string bends.
The neck comes with a synthetic bone nut installed. Each string slot has been pre-filed but may need extra work for the best setup possible.
Every hole for the mounting screws and tuning machines have been pre-drilled. This is extremely convenient, providing a fool-proof process of connecting the neck to the body.
Accessibility for truss rod adjustment can be found at the headstock, rather than the heel.
Item Weight: 1 pound
Package Dimensions: 29.8 x 7.4 x 3.2 inches
Fender Player Series Stratocaster Reverse Headstock Neck
Looking for a replacement neck that has a definite, iconic look? Be sure to consider the Fender Player Series Stratocaster Reverse Headstock Neck (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater).
This reverse neck design was originally made famous by Jimi Hendrix. However, as a left-handed player, he originally played a right-handed Stratocaster upside-down.
Despite this, Fender has had a number of successful and popular runs of reverse headstock Stratocasters in the past. However, these are becoming more and more rare as time passes by.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a reverse headstock Stratocaster of your own. This replacement neck easily makes this an accessible opportunity for anyone who is inclined.
Maple is used for the construction of the neck, as well as the fretboard. It has a 25.5” scale length and a 9.5” fretboard radius.
There are 22 medium-jumbo frets on this fretboard, which are outlined by black dot inlays.
The neck itself has a standard Modern C-shape contour for a blend of comfort and playability. A satin polyurethane finish has been applied to the back of the neck for a smooth playing experience.
This neck also comes equipped with a synthetic bone nut, with slots pre-filed to a degree. You may have to file the slots more to fit your string gauge for the best setup possible.
Another thing to note is that the holes for the mounting screws and tuning machines have been pre-drilled.
Overall, the Fender Player Series Stratocaster Reverse Headstock Neck makes the perfect upgrade for any Stratocaster. You can use this neck for both Fender and Squier Stratocaster models without any issue.
You’re sure to embody that soulful Hendrix style with this neck equipped on your guitar.
Item Weight: 2.45 pounds
Package Dimensions: 30 x 7 x 3 inches
Acoustic Guitar Necks
SHUNTIAN Replacement Acoustic Neck
In need of a replacement neck for your acoustic guitar? Be sure to consider the SHUNTIAN Replacement Acoustic Neck.
This neck is crafted from Mahogany and is rated to be suitable for a 41” full-size acoustic guitar. The neck has a wide C-shape contour, which most guitarists should find fairly comfortable.
One thing to note here is that this SHUNTIAN neck is completely unfinished. As such, it does not come equipped with a fretboard and has no finishing lacquer applied.
However, it is primed for tuning machines, as holes have been pre-drilled for your convenience. This headstock has the tuning machines to be set in a 3×3 configuration.
The neck also has a traditional neck joint heel to be easily glued to your acoustic guitar’s body.
Will this be the best choice for a high-end acoustic guitar? Likely not, as it is a fair gamble whether it will play as good as your original neck.
However, because it comes unfinished, it does allow you to shape the neck according to your liking. You’ll also get to apply your own desired lacquer finish, ensuring that the neck meets your satisfaction.
Similarly, this neck does not come with a nut, either. You will have to source a nut out for yourself.
For some, this neck won’t be ideal, simply because of the work required to install it on an acoustic guitar. Others may enjoy being involved in every aspect of the neck’s design and construction.
Item Weight: 1.54 pounds
Package Dimensions: 25.59 x 3.15 x 2.36 inches
LoveinDIY Replacement Acoustic Neck
On a tighter budget but still in need of a neck for your beloved acoustic guitar? You might want to consider the LoveinDIY Replacement Acoustic Neck.
This neck by LoveinDIY is crafted from Mahogany. The neck itself has been contoured to have a C-shaped contour, though it is unfinished.
You’ll be able to shape the contour the way you wish because of this unfinished state.
Another thing to note is that this neck does not come with a fretboard installed on the neck. Instead, you will have to install the fretboard to the neck yourself.
Fortunately, the fretboard has been supplied with this package. The fretboard itself is crafted from Rosewood.
There are slots in the fretboard for 20 frets, but you will need to supply and install the frets yourself.
Similarly, the holes for tuning machines have not been pre-drilled. However, this gives you the freedom to choose what tuners you wish you use.
There is also no nut that is supplied with this neck from LoveinDIY. This can be an inconvenience for some but gives you the option to choose your nut material of choice.
Again, this neck might not be the most practical solution for a high-end acoustic guitar. However, it is a great starting point for someone who doesn’t mind putting in a little bit of work.
You’ll be involved with nearly every aspect of how this neck is put together, which can be great for some. For others, it might not be worth the hassle, especially if your craftsmanship is not up to snuff.
Item Weight: 1.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 20 x 4 x 4 inches
Why Would Someone Want A Replacement Neck?
There are multiple reasons why a guitarist might wish to seek out a replacement neck. It’s not always because the original neck has become damaged or unplayable.
Sometimes, guitars come with certain schematics and features that guitarists simply do not desire. This could range from anything like the neck contour to the material used for the fretboard.
Buying a replacement neck gives the guitarist an opportunity to have a neck built to their preferences. We all know that it’s the little things that allow a guitarist to connect more with their instrument.
Of course, there are other times when a guitarist might have a vintage guitar, but the neck is lackluster. Or, perhaps the neck is in a condition that it shouldn’t be played to retain value and integrity.
A well-played neck might often need a re-fretting, which can be extremely costly. However, these jobs can reduce the value of vintage instruments.
In these instances, a replacement neck makes perfect sense. It allows the guitarist to be able to continue playing the guitar without worry.
There are also instances where guitarists will seek out budget-priced guitars. While these guitars are playable out of the box, upgrades go a long way in providing playability.
Many guitarists will swap out hardware such as pickups, tuners, etc. However, the neck is an area that often sees a replacement as well.
A replacement neck on a budget instrument can often make it play like a high-end guitar with the proper setup.
Are There Certain Types Of Necks That Are Easier To Replace?
When it comes to guitars, there tend to be 2 different construction types when it comes to the neck. These neck joints are known as bolt-on and set-in.
Set-in necks are essentially necks that slide into the guitar’s neck cavity. The luthier will then glue the neck into place.
Bolt-on neck joints, on the other hand, connect the neck to the guitar with a number of screws. This design was forged by Leo Fender, who opted for a modular design, allowing for quicker production.
Some guitarists and manufacturers claim that set-in neck joints provide more sustain and resonance. However, the difference is likely marginal and not too noticeable to most guitarists.
Because of the difference in neck joints, modular bolt-on designs are by far the easiest necks to replace. Simply remove the screws from the guitar and you’ll be able to remove the guitar’s neck.
Modular-based guitar manufacturers tend to produce necks with consistent schematics. This allows you to easily find a replacement that has the proper fit in the body’s neck cavity.
Set-in replacement necks are typically not as readily available. These necks require precise work to ensure proper neck angle and balance.
Why Aren’t There Many Replacement Acoustic Guitar Necks?
The aforementioned neck joints refer only to the construction of electric guitars. For acoustic guitars, the process is a bit different.
Acoustic guitars, in a sense, do use a set-in method for joining the neck to the body. However, there is a much greater amount of precision required to properly join the neck.
Like set-in electric guitars, these necks need to be placed at the perfect angle. The acoustic guitar’s body must also be cut to correctly fit the neck.
For this reason, replacement acoustic necks are generally not found on the market. Replacing the neck is not as simple as removing screws, as bolt-on method acoustics do not exist.
If you need a replacement acoustic guitar neck, consider whether it is worth the cost of labor necessary. A luthier will likely be able to help you out, though it might not make the most economical sense.
Top Guitar Necks, Final Thoughts
Replacement necks can be the perfect upgrade for any guitar. These necks have the ability to give an old guitar new life, sometimes with a completely different feel.
Of course, you’ll also be able to find necks that feel like your tried and true, favorite neck. A replacement of this sort is sure to feel like your favorite pair of well-worn pants.
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