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BYO Guitar "Custom Shop" Necks Review

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  • BYO Guitar "Custom Shop" Necks Review

    Just got in a pair of necks from BYO Guitar's self-proclaimed "Custom Shop". After 3 months of rather poor communication and being misled about shipping timeframes more than once, opening a Paypal dispute finally got their attention. After that, my necks went out within just a couple of days.

    Well, today they finally arrived and I have to admit...I'm not overly impressed. :/

    I guess part of me was hoping to find a budget-friendly alternative to a bigger name like Warmoth, but these necks are very rough and in need of further refinement on almost every front. Definitely an example of "you get what you pay for". Mind you, I paid $650 for 2 necks, so it's not like they were truly "budget"-oriented necks!

    A few things that sort of bug me out of the gate:
    • Rough scratches and tool chatter marks throughout the binding on both necks. Just seems like the binding could have been finished better before shipping to a customer.
    • Binding is not even with the back profile on one of the necks. The binding is actually a tad shallow, so there is a slight hump in the wood at the transition along half the neck's length that needs to be evened out.
    • The outlines/filler of several inlays are somewhat blotchy, making them look a little "cheap" or unfinished when viewed up close. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning
    • It looks like they struggled with flexing the binding where it wraps around the heel on both necks. There's blotchy filler (like some of the inlays have) on one of the necks and the other actually has a small gap that never got filled...you can stick a finger nail in it!
    • The headstocks were clearly sanded to shape in a hurry and will need additional shaping/sanding to make right. They're basically 90% there, but it's kind of annoying because I can tell they rushed it.
    • There are tactile machining "steps" left in the neck profile that will need additional smoothing. Small price to pay for a "custom" profile, I suppose.
    • Calling one of the necks "quarter-sawn" is really pushing it. Using a digital protractor, I can tell that the grain starts off at about 60-degrees on one side and falls to 45-degrees at the opposite side, which technically makes it "rift-sawn".

    A few things I DO appreciate about the necks:
    • Relative price for the number of "features" you get (i.e. cost of adding binding, stainless frets, etc)
    • Ability to get black binding on a neck that also features a headstock truss adjust (Warmoth won't do this combo for some reason!).
    • Ability to customize neck profile/thickness, which they seem to have done a great job with for the most part.

    Basically, these are necks for guys who aren't expecting perfection out of the box, have tools and basic woodworking knowledge, and don't mind doing a variety of final finishing work on their own.

    These days, I much prefer a neck that just needs a good protective finish, maybe a nut installed, and a final adjustment once it's on the guitar. These necks need a LOT more than that to make them ready to play!

    At the end of the day, I don't think I will place another order with them. Furthermore, I would caution others to consider spending just a bit more to get a neck from a better known manufacturer with more reliable customer service and a better product overall.




  • #2
    Pretty hard to beat Warmoth quality and prices.... Now if they'd just get their delivery times speeded up they'd be golden.
    aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ICTGoober View Post
      Pretty hard to beat Warmoth quality and prices.... Now if they'd just get their delivery times speeded up they'd be golden.
      Good thing is that Warmoth is aware of the delays, and is trying to make the process quicker.
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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      • #4
        BYOG reached out to me. The owner called and offered to make me 2 brand new necks after he saw pictures of the ones I received.

        I'll be sending these back and hopefully getting the replacements in 2 weeks. I'll give everyone an update once the new and hopefully improved necks arrive.

        I'm hesitant to post the pictures, since BYOG appears to be interested in making things right, but I will friggin' sound the forum alarm and blow up all sorts of social media if they try anything fishy!

        Just to give you guys a taste of what I received, so you don't think I'm entirely crazy, here's a shot of the side dot inlays of the 2 necks next to each other:



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        • #5
          Kind of looks like an intern was practicing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by beaubrummels View Post
            Kind of looks like an intern was practicing.
            They sort of hinted at labor shortages, so it's quite likely that they have people in training.

            Unfortunately, this is a pretty complex neck to "train" on with inlays and binding like this

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            • #7
              Any possibility that they just rushed those two out the door after your concerns? No offense intended at all Bro. My guitars would be hurting for pickups were it not for you! I know you are the best. Perhaps they did not know that?
              I miss the 80's (girls) !!!

              Seymour Duncans currently in use - In Les Pauls: Custom(b)/Jazz(n), Distortion(b)/Jazz(n), '59(b)/'59(n) w/A4 mag, P-Rails(b)/P-Rails(n); In a Bullet S-3: P-Rails(b)/stock/Vintage Stack Tele(n); In a Dot: Seth Lover(b)/Seth Lover(n); In a Del Mar: Mag Mic; In a Lead II: Custom Shop Fender X-1(b)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Masta' C View Post

                They sort of hinted at labor shortages, so it's quite likely that they have people in training.

                Unfortunately, this is a pretty complex neck to "train" on with inlays and binding like this
                If they are training people a senior person should still be doing QA and signing off on the intern's work.


                | Gear Reviews | Beer | Babes | The Internet's Only Unedited & Uncensored Musician's Forum | Sports |

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Masta' C View Post
                  BYOG reached out to me. The owner called and offered to make me 2 brand new necks after he saw pictures of the ones I received.

                  I'll be sending these back and hopefully getting the replacements in 2 weeks. I'll give everyone an update once the new and hopefully improved necks arrive.

                  I'm hesitant to post the pictures, since BYOG appears to be interested in making things right, but I will friggin' sound the forum alarm and blow up all sorts of social media if they try anything fishy!

                  Just to give you guys a taste of what I received, so you don't think I'm entirely crazy, here's a shot of the side dot inlays of the 2 necks next to each other:


                  Lol I feel cross eyed looking at these
                  Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                  Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                  http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JamesPaul View Post
                    Any possibility that they just rushed those two out the door after your concerns? No offense intended at all Bro. My guitars would be hurting for pickups were it not for you! I know you are the best. Perhaps they did not know that?
                    No offense taken! They definitely rushed them, even the owner mentioned that when I sent him the pictures. He said because they were trying to meet a shipping deadline, it's quite possible the necks accidentally got grabbed by the shipping department before they had received final finishing.

                    Of course, you can't "polish" away many of the issues, like wonky inlays and separated binding, so I'm not sure what having more time would have changed, really?

                    At least they are offering replacements and I have a feeling the owner will be keeping a closer eye on what they turn out moving forward. I hope my next update is a positive one!

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                    • #11
                      I spec'd for fun a simple quartersawn maple neck from Warmoth; finished.

                      $330 or thereabouts.

                      I don't see how you saved any real $.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LLL View Post
                        I spec'd for fun a simple quartersawn maple neck from Warmoth; finished.

                        $330 or thereabouts.

                        I don't see how you saved any real $.
                        Well, take that Warmoth neck and add in black block inlays, stainless frets, a custom back profile, 12" radius, and black binding with headstock-only truss adjust...oh wait, they won't do that combo!

                        Ok then, just stick to their regular "modern" construction with the Gotoh side-adjust system, so you can keep the black binding option, and you're at $522 for a neck with essentially the same features as the BYOG...also with no finish or nut included!

                        I actually purchased a Warmoth built as close to the same specs as possible right before I decided to give BYOG a shot. It came out to about $370, but didn't have the black binding because I needed headstock-only truss adjust to accommodate the Fender "contour" heel shape. BYOG's promise of offering a bound neck at a similar price point with the adjustment type I wanted was what sold me.

                        To be fair, I've given Warmoth 90% of my neck business over the years. I can swing around in my office chair and see at least 3 Warmoth necks at this very moment.

                        I don't really feel bad trying to support a smaller competitor. Let' just hope they're as willing to earn/keep me as a customer as they seem to be.

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                        • #13
                          Are you sure they don't sub contract those out to China?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Top-L View Post
                            Are you sure they don't sub contract those out to China?
                            Not entirely sure, but I don't know how they could offer me a 1-2 week turnaround time for the replacements if they are being made overseas?

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                            • #15
                              Their poor quality is not just now, believe me. I bought 2 guitar kits from BYOG many years back.

                              The Les Paul shape one had such a bad neck /body interface gap that once fixed the neck pickup rout had to be redone as it was no longer large enough to get a pickup in there. After contacting them about the terrible joint (a gap of over 1mm in spots), the response was 'looks like it missed a bit of finish sanding'.
                              The Jaguar hod every single rout too small or the wrong shape to fit Fender Jaguar hardware......and the 22F neck was not made with an overhang of the fretboard like a typical Fender, but with the same rounded end of the 21F. So no pickguard would work with it.

                              In short, their work was a disaster in every conceivable way it could possibly be.

                              Even not having ever made a guitar I was convinced I could do better........and so I went ahead - my first ever builds ( a pair of Les Pauls) were better.

                              On the upside, I found a new hobby. So it wasn't all bad.

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