Updated: Jun 12
I thought i would bring the Black Strat to complete form in terms of look. The neck was something i put on hold. Until now.
The Classic Series 50´s neck comes in two finishes if you looking to buy one. One in Nitrocellulose lacquer (0990061921) and one in Polyurethane finish (0991002921). Photos left gives a good difference in finish and tint.
Not to be mistaken for a Classic PLAYER neck. Although neck shape is the same, but frets are medium jumbo on those. These are produced in Mexico.
I obviously went for the Nitro. These are in tinted nitro so that you get the look right off the bat without waiting 7-10 years. My biggest concern is how a pre-tinted nitro neck will look in same given time from now. Time will tell. However, for a black Strat build, this is the economy model. By todays rate, these go for higher price due to inflation. I ended up paying $460 for mine with tax and shipping. And mind you, these are becoming scarce. I have no idea if Fender will make more of these, but the production of them takes time because of the lacquer that needs curing time between each layer they put on..
The market is starting to become dusted for these necks. Mine was one of the very few left on the market. Which is the reason why i bagged one. For many who wonders if the colour on the stock photos are the same as the actual product. Yes. More or less. When i unpacked it, i thought it looked more similar to my roasted maple neck than anything. But my eyes have since adjusted to it, so yes, the neck dont disappoint. I actually dig it. Over time it will go darker too since Nitro has almost no UV-protection that Polyurethane has. Neck has the classic 7,25 radius and it bothers me none. I can play virtually any radius. But shredding on these thing is not really what it was design for. Although possible, shredders will find flatter radius more appealing.
Frets on these are vintage Frets, these are the smallest frets to boot in the Fender line. To my hands, soloing and chording on these frets are a breeze and gives me an ease of playing, but bending is not as easy like on more bigger frets.
I have over time grown more fond of rosewood necks since doing vibrato during a bend is way easier on rosewood boards. Lacquered fretboards are more a hindrance to me as the friction comes to play during a bend. And since vintage frets are the lowest size you can find, you have maximum contact with fretboard
So further down the line, i will re-fret this neck with SS Jescar FW47095 frets which are slightly larger, and they land in between Medium Jumbo and Vintage Frets. I believe slightly larger frets will do bending more easier, but i do not want to compromise the soloing and chording ease of the original frets that much. But so far, i will wear these out a little bit. Apparently, Gilmour had these frets on his 57´ neck that his Black Strat had. I do not know why he preferred them as much bending that he does. But they work for him. Neck needed no pre-leveling before install. Since Vintage frets has limited life in terms of fret-level intervals, i just mounted and played it. And no fret buzz at all. Since this is a vintage neck, it comes reamed for Kluson style 11/32 - 8.73mm holes. Pre drilled for fastening screws too. (No 2-pin here) Tussrod adjust at heel is on place. Currently my Black Strat is on the other side of the planet right now. But my JV Strat have the honor of being a host for testing it. Photos of the Black Strat with this neck will come. Part of the skunk stripe on the back had sort of swollen perhaps, or felt like it havent been sanded flush. It had a minor elevated edge on the upper parts, but nothing to much of an issue. I scraped it down so i could not feel it anymore and polished the finish up. PRO`S: - Beautiful look. Deep orangey-honey-tint Nitro finish - Lovely soft-V - My neck came perfect. No fret-level needed or fret work. - Lovely to chord and solo on.
CONS: Vintage style frets is not for everybody and only takes a couple fret-level before re-fret is due. Harder to bend on. Lacquered backside means sweaty hands will struggle (Friction)