I had a very interesting conversation about a month ago with Guthrie Govan about him having only one (1) guitar on tour with him and what that meant in terms of dealing with adjustments, stability and such. His reply was it is the cooked wood neck!!!!!!
Guthrie is still using the same company as in the past but the main difference in his new model is the cooked wood neck.
Cooking wood means heating it at high fairly temperatures in a oxygen deprived environment, what this does is takes out all the moisture improves the acoustic and resonant properties of the wood without the use of Toxic chemicals. This process differs from a kiln (drying) process as the temperature range between 160-245 deg c, at these temperatures the structure of the wood is altered enhancing some of the wood’s physical properties IE: colour, dimensional stability and resistance to weather and fungal decay. Again cooking involves using no chemicals or toxic substances which makes it completely environmentally safe.
I recently visited a local Luthier who has been experimenting with cooked wood guitars and replacement necks over the last five years and has recently started the Coaltone Cooked Wood Guitar company. The initial offerings from this company will be Tele, Strat, P-Bass and J-Bass Style replacement necks and the same Styles for the initial complete guitars. Please visit Coaltone for more details on configuration and pricing.
Cooked wood Necks:
Coaltone lent us a standard 50’s style V to C shape Strat replacement neck set up to be directly bolted to any Fender Stratocaster body. The necks are finished in either a Nitro cellulose laquer or a Satin oil sealer (Not required) but nice looking, ours is a gloss nitro finish. These necks are also set up with a combo heli-coil insert / bolt system insures a tight fit and improves resonance. Our test guitar is a re-issue 50’s style strat and this neck for testing is a NON-Truss rod model. Instantly you could feel the weight difference and it was a bigger, fatter neck than the one on the guitar, after stringing the guitar up and doing some stretching I gave it a whirl and holy shit if I couldn’t tell a difference. The guitar had a a ton more resonance, lots more acoustic presence, amazing sustain even at different string heights, it really improved the sound of this guitar. Fall happens to be the best time of year to test wood because of the temperature differences between inside and out and day and night. We started by leaving the guitar in a relative 50% humidity environment for a few days while picking it up to play it at least twice a day and it had not changed positions since the break in of the strings (OK great no big deal right ?) we then left the guitar in a steamy shower for a few days for a roughly 20 minutes at a time and then put it back in relative environment, still no movement!!!!! ok so now lets leave it outside over night over 3 nights -2 deg C into 23 deg C and still no change in the position of the neck. I have and have had several guitars over the years and as soon as they get moved around between environments there are adjustments that need to be made and sometimes it takes a while for these adjustments to respond all depending on what the wood is like, with the replacement of one of these necks, the travelling / studio hopping player can be worry free. Keep your original neck safe at home and enjoy the stability, reliability and tonal improvement of this amazing replacement neck.
Cooked Wood Guitars:
We are also fortunate enough to have been loaned a Coaltone Tele Style cooked wood guitar. This model was outfitted with a wrap around style adjustable tail piece/bridge combo, a set of Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers, a 3 way selector switch and single volume and tone. The cooked wood on this model is a two piece cedar centre with a book matched flame maple top and back and a flame maple neck “tele 50’s V” finished with Jumbo frets so well done it is glorious and vintage style keys. I must have played this guitar acoustically for hours as it is just a joy to feel and listen to incredibly resonant and loud acoustically, the sustain is felt and heard through the whole guitar. Could not find a single dead spot on the neck and each note rang and sustained like the other. This guitar has to be the most dynamic electric I have ever played, can be controlled focus or ferocious attacking, the sustain is absolutely amazing, clean or mildly overdriven you can get the guitar to sustain for days. This combined with the stability, reliability and fine finishing make it a must try. Check out Coaltone for all the different options and pricing.