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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I understand roasted maple necks as the following link describes them:

https://www.commercialforestproducts.com/roasted-woods/

"When wood is exposed to the high heat temperatures of the roasting process, its cellular structure collapses. As a result, the wood does not shrink or expand significantly in response to moisture level changes."

The purpose makes sense when applied to guitar necks. Weather can really mess with wooden musical instruments. If done well, a roasted maple guitar neck should not expand and contract when there is a change in the humidity level. Given the nature of wood and weather, it is unreasonable to expect perfection but the results of the roasting process can't be random or no one would do it. Here is the process:

Making TMW is a complicated, four-step process. To start off, the untreated lumber is dimensioned at the sawmill. Then it's brought to the kiln and the first step begins: slowly heating the wood to 212 degrees. In the second step, the wood is preconditioned by drying it to nearly 0% moisture content.
This wood resists decay, but it's totally free of chemicals.

Now it's ready for the crucial third step, where the temperature of the wood is raised to 374-482 degrees for several hours. At this high temperature the natural sugars in the wood are converted into substances that all the agents of rot-insects, mold and fungus-cannot eat. In the final step, the wood is cooled and some moisture is restored, bringing it up to around 6% to 7% MC.

source: Stanton, C. (25 March, 2014) Popular Woodworking, Thermally Modified Wood, https://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/thermally-modified-wood/.


So, I find it odd that roasted maple necks have become rather prevalent on $800 Indonesian built guitars when they were really only available on $3000+ American built guitars for a long period of time. For example, all of Misha Mansoor's Jackson signature models have "carmelized" necks as do John Petrucci's EBMM and Sterling Ball signature models. Spec sheets do not account for quality and guitar companies have become very good at using this to their advantage, but they can't lie. If they say a guitar comes with a roasted maple neck it has to come with a roasted maple neck.

So my question, which is semi-rhetorical, is what is the difference between the roasted maple necks on an $800 guitar and a $3000 guitar?

A complicated, four-step neck treatment process seems like it would not lend itself well to mass production, which is why I ask. Nothing against Misha or Petrucci either. I like them both but their signature models, of which there are many, happen to fit the trend really well. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They save money not having to finish the neck, if you buy a Warmoth neck it's usually cheaper to buy roasted maple than buying a non-roasted neck and applying a finish.
You are right about Warmoth, at least as far as I can tell. They have a lot of necks, options, etc.
The thing is if you buy a guitar from EBMM, Jackson, or Ibanez with a Roasted Maple Neck, it has a finish of some type:
Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend
Hand-Rubbed Urethane Gel
Oiled

Perhaps those do not count as "finishes?"
 

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You are right about Warmoth, at least as far as I can tell. They have a lot of necks, options, etc.
The thing is if you buy a guitar from EBMM, Jackson, or Ibanez with a Roasted Maple Neck, it has a finish of some type:
Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend
Hand-Rubbed Urethane Gel
Oiled

Perhaps those do not count as "finishes?"
Well they don't count as hard finishes, but with Warmoth and presumably those cheap budget guitars showing up with roasted necks they don't have any finish at all. Roasted maple doesn't need a finish to remain stable so it's fine, though they look better with an oil finish.
 
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