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Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts March 2014
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Body Wood Shootout: Alder Vs. Ash

Hybrid Strat® and Tele®

Since Leo Fender first used them in the 1950's Alder and Ash have become the traditional tonewoods of solid-body bolt-on guitars. These two woods share many similarities, but also have some important differences. Knowing their properties will help you craft the sonic and visual personality of your guitar body.

Alder is light tan, with a subtle grain figure. As a result it is often finished in solid colors. It also looks great with sunbursts. The grain is closed, making it very easy to finish. It is light weight, with Strat® bodies weighing about 4 pounds - sometimes less. Its tone is well balanced across the entire sonic spectrum. These things, along with its low price, make it our most popular body wood.

Swamp Ash is our second most popular wood. It is creamy in color, with distinctive grain figuring. This makes it well-suited for translucent colors and bursts. The grain on Ash is open and absorbs a lot of finish. It is light to medium in weight, with Strat® bodies usually weighing less than 5 pounds. Like Alder the tone is musical and well-balanced, with just a little more "pop".

View In-Stock Alder Strat® replacement bodies

View In-Stock Swamp Ash Strat® replacement bodies

Understanding Fingerboard Radius

Conversion Neck Comparison

The term "fingerboard radius" describes the curvature or arc of the fingerboard across the width of the neck. Different fingerboard radii lend themselves to different types of playing. Smaller ones follow the natural curve of the fingers and are better suited for chords and rhythm playing. Larger radii make techniques like string bending and lead playing easier and cleaner.

The radius measurement is arrived at by extending the arc of the fingerboard to form an imaginary circle around the neck. The radius of this circle is the fingerboard radius. The larger the radius, the flatter the fingerboard. For example, a fingerboard with a 9" radius forms a smaller circle and is more arced than one with a 16" radius, which is flat in comparison.

Straight Radius

Straight radius necks, or necks with a single radius from nut to heel have been a standard for many years. Different manufacturers choose which radius they think is best. For example, modern Fender® necks are 9-1/2", while Gibsons® are 12" and Ibanez® are 16". Warmoth lets you choose what works best for you by offering any straight radius measurement between 9" and 16", in half inch increments. We also offer a vintage-style 7-1/4" radius on our vintage Construction necks.

Compound Radius

Conversion Neck Comparison

Over two decades ago we pioneered the technology of the Compound Radius neck. This fingerboard radius is conical in shape, increasing gradually from 10" at the nut to 16" at the heel. It is truly the best of both worlds, making chords and rhythm playing in the lower frets very comfortable, while facilitating effortless string bending and lead playing in the higher frets.

View In-Stock guitar necks with a Compound Radius

View In-Stock guitar necks with a Straight 9.5" Radius

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