Warmoth has been making necks and bodies for guitars for ages now; several decades by my estimation. If there’s something that you don’t like about a Fender (or Fender compatible) guitar, chances are Warmoth can make a replacement neck or body that will fit the bill.
I’ve had two full Warmoth builds, and two Fender Strats with Warmoth necks, and while I had issues with one of the complete builds (more on that later), I think they make excellent stuff.
Warmoth Neck #1
I bought a used Mexican-made Strat from Guitar Center, and replaced both the pickups and neck, the latter being a Birdseye all-maple neck from Warmoth. The quality was just outstanding; literally never played a nicer neck from anyone. Sold the guitar for other reasons, but foolishly had already sold the stock neck, so the Warmoth went with it.
Warmoth Complete Build #1
I had my local shop build a black limba “Soloist” shaped Warmoth guitar, with a wenge neck. It was a beautiful guitar that played extremely well. The problem was that unbeknownst to me, wenge is not an ideal neck wood when used by itself. It shifted a lot in the ever-changing IL climate. Instead of just getting a new neck, I sold the whole guitar. Stupid move, once again.
Warmoth Neck #2
Another Fender MIM Strat. Quartersawn all-maple neck this time, again very, very nice. Sold this guitar too; I just can’t gel with Strats!
Warmoth Complete Build #2
Same idea as #1, but different woods; mahogany body, roasted maple neck with ebony fretboard. Beautiful, well-made guitar.
Amusingly enough, I had gotten the neck with a “Wolfgang” profile, and at first, I hated it (though I had played an actual Peavey Wolfgang and liked it). I even ordered a near identical neck with a standard thin profile to replace it.
However, as I waited for the new neck to show up, I kept playing the Wolfgang neck, and gradually I warmed to it. So now, I have a spare neck! What do you do with a spare neck? Well…….
Complete Build #3
So I figured out what I didn’t like about Strats. It’s not how they sound; I dig a good Strat tone. It’s the pick guard’s close proximity to the strings. I’m used to there being a larger gap between body and strings, and the pick guard throws me off. Coupled with how close the volume knob is to the picking area, and it’s a no-go. So build number #3 will be again a Soloist body, no pick guard, just one volume knob far from the strings. I’ve got the neck, pickups, tuner, and bridge, just ordered the body.
I know there are other really good builders out there, such as USA Custom Guitars (former Warmoth guys) and Musikraft. As much as I’d love to give them both a try, I’m hesitant, only because Warmoth has been really good to me thus far. Perhaps someday I will though.
Overall, when looking for a guitar, don’t ignore the parts makers such as the above. You can often get closer to what you actually want, with a quality American build, rather than bending to what the big companies actually make.