Tag Archives: Jeff Beck Strat Neck

Jeff Beck Strat Fat Neck

The Fender Jeff Beck neck has a reputation that precedes it. As I write, just yesterday I was in my local guitar hangout, (Hi Scott, Chris and the others) and discussed this guitar. As soon as I mentioned the Jeff Beck neck – Scott chirped in ‘Oh so you want a tree for a neck then?’

Well, if you are not absolutely up to speed then that’s the assumption.

But those are the ‘old’ Jeff Beck necks. The one I chose here is from a Jeff Beck 2011 (or late 2010) model and I can tell you this neck is awesome… perfect slim(ish) feel and does not ‘choke off’ anywhere on the neck – not even at the top. The neck I bought looks like rosewood on maple. It also has a roller nut which helps with tuning.

How do you get one of these necks? Well firstly you will need lots of money – no one sells these cheap – that is, if you can even find one for sale.

This neck, with shipping and the money we here in the UK have to pay some greedy bas****s in London totaled £450.00 (US$ 700.00). Now I know you USA boys might say that’s expensive, but where I come from it’s expensive too… no only joking, actually for the UK its cheap(ish).

This neck was bought off eBay from the guy who always breaks down new strats and sells the bits. You will find him if you look. He’s not cheap, but his parts are perfect.

The Jeff Beck neck has the roller not fitted as standard so that’s one of the things I wanted because of lack of stability of tuning on strats from my experience and I really do want the best guitar in the world, right?

Jeff Beck Strat Neck Dimensions

When Jeff Beck’s first signature guitar hit the streets a de.  he’d like in his original signature Strat, apart from the big neck Jeff asked  The thick rosewood board, 9.5-inch radius and meaty frets make for blues-rock heaven.

Jeff Beck vividly remembers the first time he saw a Strat. ‘I saw one hanging in the window of a music shop in Charing Cross Road. I was with a guy from the Deltones – we’d skipped off school and got the bus up to Victoria. We didn’t really care where we went – we just wanted to look around guitar shops. From the top of the bus I said, “I have seen the light!” and went bowling down the stairs knocking the conductor out of the way, jumped off the bus and ran across the road. There was a sunburst Strat in the window and a blond Tele with an ebony fingerboard. I thought, “This is it!”
‘We went in and the guy in the shop asked if we were interested in buying it. We said, “Y-y-y-yes!” We were fourteen and he knew we didn’t have the money but he let us play on it and it was like being on a cloud – we didn’t come down for ages after.’

Jeff has played both Strats and Les Pauls during his career, his preference being initially determined by the type of music. ‘I saw Eric playing at the Marquee with Cream and he had a loud, basic set-up and I was very impressed by the low end of his Les Paul. It was so fat it was like an orchestra, and in a three-piece you really needed that. A Strat just would not have worked with that kind of music. The mid-range was fat, even the high notes were fat – just a glorious, thick, rich sound. I planned to get a three-piece as well so I thought I would have to get that sound. It was such a nice sound you could listen in to the guitar and here it clearly and hear the drums clearly as well. So, I did kind of rip that off although I developed my own style with it – I wasn’t using the same amplification set-up as Eric.’

The Jeff Beck Signature Strat is renowned – or rather, notorious – for the thickness of the neck. ‘Yeah, it has a colossal, heavy neck in the sense of size, especially at the nut end. I was finding that the necks of most Strats were too thin and because of the way my hand is it was aching a hell of a lot. After an hour the pain would go right up my arm. As soon as I got hold of a fat Les Paul neck it was like a breeze so I thought why can’t they make a fatter neck on the Strat? The Fender guys approached me, offered me a guitar and I said, “No, no, no! Just double it! Get a log, smooth it off a bit and stick it on the end there!” So they did and it was too fat. They took it down a little bit and it was OK. I think the signature model they’ve got out now has got the fattest neck you can have without being arrested – heh, heh, heh! The kids who were going to the outlets or the NAMM show were complaining about it – “If Beck doesn’t turn up and show us he plays it we ain’t not going to buy it!”.’

An edited version of this feature was published in ‘The Electric Guitar’ (ed Paul Trynka, Virgin books, 1993).

Fender Jeff Beck Strat Neck

The Fender Jeff Beck signature Strat – MSRP of $2,199 – is a unique animal in Strat-dom. Meaning basically it’s a customized standard Strat. But the one Fender sells isn’t much like the one Jeff plays.

The Fender Beck Strat has a Strat-standard alder body, maple neck (9.5″ radius) and rosewood board. But per Beck’s preferences, the neck is fat and the nut is a roller nut.

It has three pickups, but because Jeff hates single-coil hum, they are all noiseless ceramic humbuckers (presumably stacked).

That’s basically it. The Custom Shop model, which costs about $1K more, has the same specs.

So you’d think that the rest of the magic in Beck’s tone is all in his fingers. Much of it yes, all of it no.

The new issue of Vintage Guitar mag has Beck on the cover, and in it is a very good – yet still wanting – interview with Beck’s tech, Stevie Prior. Here’s what Stevie says about Jeff’s personal Strats:

All of Jeff’s signature Strats are slightly modified from the ones you’d find in a guitar shop. The main white one is a ’95 basswood body made by [Fender master builder] J.W. Black with at J.W. Black neck from ’93 and John Suhr pickups, which there are really only two sets of in existence [on] that main guitar and the surf green spare.

Obviously Fender would like to get those [guitars] back so they could try to replicate those pickups, but that’ll never happen because you’d never get the guitar[s] out of Jeff’s hands long enough.

Basswood?! Well crap. I’ve played some basswood guitars and hated ‘em, but if it works for Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen and other tone legends, maybe I need to revisit it…though I’m assuming the basswood those guys get isn’t exactly the same quality that we would (note what qualifies as mahogany and rosewood these days).

Anyhow, a basswood body and unique pickups are definitely going to sound different, whether Beck can do Star Wars on a whoopie cushion or not (see below).