It’s funny what people will tolerate seeing on the internet.
After a recent recording session, Ryan and I got to talking about a classic photo released by Fender in the 1950s. The story has always gone that the all-maple Fender neck was strong and stable and didn’t require a truss rod. Of course, (per Wikipedia) the original Esquire necks had bending issues and quickly a truss rod was introduced. Still, this image has long been emblazoned into my mind.
There is another picture floating around that’s similar, and more recently Paul Reed Smith Guitars released this video onto the internet:
Whenever we are in Ryan’s garage I notice that this is a box full of scrap wood in the corner. In this box has been a old, dilapidated, excuse for a neck made by Rogue Guitars. What’s that? Never heard of Rogue Guitars? I don’t blame you. Rogue Guitars is a house brand. They are a brand created by Musician’s Friend sold exclusively through Musician’s Friend in the 1990s and, post-GC acquisition, through all of Guitar Center’s assorted stores. Sometimes some real gems fall through the cracks with these house brand instruments (I’d like to think my Mitchell acoustic is one of them), but the reality is that Rogue guitars range from $100 to $200, with their most expensive bolt-on model coming in at $130. All this to say that we knew what this neck was worth when we did this:
I’m not going to say the response hasn’t been strong. We’ve had some technique critiques. I definitely should’ve trusted my balance more and not bounced on the neck so much. The killing move wasn’t really worth it. Maybe this would’ve worked better if I stood on the fretboard side instead of the neck curve side, and of course, the original Fender necks were a single piece of maple, not the attached fretboard design seen in this cheap guitar. What’s been amusing to me is the number of people who have shown anger, disgust and outright horror at the destruction of this neck. Don’t worry guys. This was a piece that was destined to be firewood. The frets were bad, the feel was bad…everything about it…BAD. This was probably the most profitable use for this neck. I wish I was exaggerating, but the life on this neck was over…I do wonder if Ryan recovered that neck plate though…neck plates don’t go bad…do they?
All this not to say that we wouldn’t do this to something nice…just that we didn’t do it this time. I’d love to get my hands on a PRS reject neck and run the same test he did…