Todd Montgomery wrote:
Why won't Fender make and sell a replacement neck?
Hi Todd. Apologies to those for whom this will be repetitious, but the reason is this.
As we know, one of the excellent aspects of Leo Fender's (and team's) design is the bolt-on neck; it is much more cost effective to manufacture, but it was also Leo's idea that if we broke our necks, needed a refret or just fancied a change we could simply buy a new one (from him) and throw it on, rather than making troublesome repairs.
However, back in the day nobody imagined that this electric guitar malarky was going to become the giant international business we see today, and the likes of Fender and Gibson were tardy as regards legally protecting the intellectual property in their designs. When they belatedly got around to thinking about that they found that their body shapes were already "out in the world" and regarded as generic - hard to retrospectively defend.
Both companies found that the part of the guitar that was easy to lodge as a trademark was the headstock, because of its relatively abstract non-functional outline. So that's what they did, and that is the part of the guitar they vigorously defend in court - along with the brand names and logos, of course.
However, the upshot is that the brand value of Fender guitars resides largely in the neck, specifically the peghead. So if they sell replacements then we can all bolt them onto Squier or other manufacturers' bodies and have ourselves a "Fender" guitar without the company getting much of the benefit. People post here every so often enquiring how to do exactly that.
The company feels, you want a Fender guitar? Buy one.
However, many people have legitimate reasons for wanting to replace a guitar's neck without buying a whole new instrument, and so Fender eventually licensed several companies, including Mighty Mite and Warmoth, to produce necks incorporating Fender's headstock designs, but without
logos on them. So everyone can see that the guitar is not as built by Fender.
There are certain circumstances under which Fender will
sell you a replacement neck. Take a look at the item Does Fender sell any replacement guitar necks and bodies?
on this page to find out how that works:
Under similar conditions Fender will also sell genuine logo decals for the headstock: see Is it possible to get a replacement decal for my old Fender instrument?
elsewhere on the same page.
Cheers - C