I just got done making this custom neck for one of Flagstaff’s great guitar players. Ben Tillman came to me a few months ago and wanted a new neck for his strat. He had been using the biggest neck made by an aftermarket parts company, but it wasn’t even close to big enough for him.
It’s not that Ben has huge hands, it’s actually a comfort issue for him due to some arthritic hand problems. Super light strings and an extremely chunky neck makes his shredding easier and keeps the pain from setting in. The large profile forces his hand to stay in a somewhat open position… think of grabbing a coffee mug around its body versus holding the handle.
- 24.75″ Scale
- Vertical grain orientation (quarter-sawn) for stability
- Double-Acting Truss Rod
- Maple Fingerboard
- 1-5/8″ Nut Width
The other interesting aspect of this project was the scale length. Fenders have a 25.5″ scale length. Ben likes a Gibson scale AND 22 frets on his necks… not the easiest thing to accomplish on a strat. Other unique and custom aspects of this neck include the vertical (or quarter-sawn) grain orientation and a separate fingerboard piece. Fender still uses slab cuts and flat-sawn wood blanks for their necks. WHY OH WHY?! I suppose this is to stick with tradition and to save costs on materials, but this creates a potentially unstable neck with a tendency to warp and twist, even slightly, creating many problems down the road.
This turned out beautifully. After installing the neck and setting it up with a bone nut, it was ready for Ben’s blues shredding.
Here’s Ben ripping at Mia’s Lounge back in February.